Surge Protection Technology 101


Many telecommunications system problems are voltage- and/or current-related. High voltage surges, often caused by lightning, can damage or destroy sensitive telecommunications equipment while high current can cause building fires. Line cards cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace, yet most customers think their new telephone systems shouldn’t break down and don’t want to pay for repairs.

Interconnects (those that sell, install, and maintain telephone systems) can avoid this common problem —and keep bids competitive—by selling the value-added features of ITW Linx custom surge protection.

For as little as $5 per line, you (and your customers) will avoid costs and hassles of repeated repairs which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. And custom doesn’t mean more expensive. It means ITW Linx’s protection devices can be used selectively, ensuring that you pay for only those lines needing protection!

Why should one use Voice/Data Surge Protection?

  • Safety The safety goals are to protect people from electric shock, protect equipment from damage, and protect building wiring from excessive electrical current. Providing surge protection minimizes, as far as practical, electrical hazards to persons engaged in the operation, maintenance, and use of telecommunications systems.
  • National Electric Code (NEC) Article 800 The National Electric Code (NEC) Article 800 calls out telecommunications codes. It calls for primary protection at the building entrance. The NEC also states that if secondary protection is used, it must be listed for that purpose.
  • Investment Protection As with any big investment, you want to protect that investment with some sort of insurance. Surge protection on the telecommunications lines is that insurance you are looking for. Looking at the cost to protect the equipment versus the cost of losing the equipment to a potential surge, it is clear that surge protection should be installed on every possible path entering or leaving the equipment.
  • Business Downtime = Lost Revenue Not only does losing the equipment have economic importance, but the down time associated with the lost equipment can be even more costly. Downtime of the equipment equals thousands of dollars in lost revenue for companies—not to mention their upset customers.
  • Service Savings With solid-state protection, the protectors are self resetting, eliminating the need for service calls on your telecommunications line. PTC fuses are also resettable to also reduce service calls while providing overcurrent protection.
  • Responsibility The question of who is responsible for providing primary and secondary protection is often misunderstood. The regulated telephone company is only responsible for providing a standard level of primary overvoltage protection for central office trunks connected to the customer premises at the network interface. This protection is designed to prevent the building wiring from catching fire due to super heating from a surge event like lightning. It is not generally designed to protect highly sensitive electronic systems. All the other customer premises protection is the responsibility of the installing interconnect and the equipment owner.