Surge & Lightning
The Impact of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) on Networking Gear
The surge protector guarding your electronics from lightning strikes and grid surges will not protect your equipment if the ESD originates from contact with the device. Even low-frequency ESD can travel down tightly-wound cables through an ethernet port and cause data loss or even physical damage.
An added layer of protection for your ethernet ports against both surges and ESD (also known as "transient" events) can be installed in the form of Transient Voltage Suppression (TVS) diodes. When added to the chain of current, a TVS diode acts as a "trap door," grounding the transient current before it can damage sensitive equipment.
TVS diodes increase the capacitance load and clamp voltage, so the right TVS diode must be selected to avoid disturbing the signal quality.
If a network is highly sensitive, with surge damage a potential disaster, additional precautions can include permanent or metallic wrist straps, ESD-resistant shoes and mats, ESD testing stations, and adoption of strict anti-ESD procedures.
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD), more commonly known as static electricity, is the result of a sudden transfer of charge between bodies that touch. Since all that is necessary for a discharge is differing electrostatic potential, ESD can cover a huge spectrum of frequencies.
When humans feel ESD - for example, when they walk on carpet and then get shocked by a doorknob - they are feeling discharges of 3,000V or higher. However, ESD below the range of human detection can still fry network gear.