turn off the wireless function or shut down Tomato or unplug the power line will protect the router

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by bingjiw, May 4, 2008.

  1. bingjiw

    bingjiw Addicted to LI Member

    Turn off the wireless function can protect the router from lightning( during storm weather usually in summer )? Or unplug the power line is the best way?

    For example: I have 6 APs in 6 building as a WDS. These 6 APs are indoor, just nearby the windows, located at 5th and 7th floor of 14-floors-buildings. To protect them from lightning, Can I remotely turn off the wireless function or shut down the Tomato of 6 APs?

  2. nvtweak

    nvtweak LI Guru Member

    Is lightning somehow attracted to WiFi signals, smashing through your window just to get at your router??

    I think it's more likely to come through the power line. In which case the best way to protect them is going to be unplugging the units. Although this is not fun. So maybe installing surge protectors is a more feasible solution that could also allow for less downtime.
  3. pfoomer

    pfoomer LI Guru Member

    Flash Bang

    Speaking from experience, suffered a non direct hit a while back, and the phone line was the most susceptible , luckily the UPS and a protected socket saved the day.

    However the answer machine, sat receiver and the companies phone lines were not so fortunate.

    So take out the phone line and power if you have a storm close by, and it is possible for radio equipment to be affected also.

    There are sites that plot real time strikes if you are really worried.
  4. nvtweak

    nvtweak LI Guru Member

    What benefit is there to unplugging the phone line if we have a cable modem? (EDIT- nevermind, duh... lightning coming in through phone line can spread through power)

    I personally just unplug the power to the router and PCs, and the power/coax running to the modem.

    You can get surge supressors that support the works, eg. power, ethernet, coax, phone, etc. but I'm not sure how reliable they are.
  5. pfoomer

    pfoomer LI Guru Member

    More Flash Bang

    I should add that the phone line is above ground as is the power, nice big antenna's for EMP!!!

    Not sure how cable is routed, but IMHO, not worth the risk, sometimes when its really bad, all off, disconnect tv and satellite, make a cup of coffee!!

    Re cross damage from phone to power, yes thats possible also.
  6. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    IMO network cables provide the most likely path for lightning.

    Lightning wants a path-to-ground, and the wireless does not provide a conductor for lightning to latch on to and eventually get to ground. Wireless, or more specifically, any of the ICs in the router, may by susceptable to a nearby strike and thus EMP, although the chances for that hitting home is slight IMO.

    The power should also be mostly isolated when using a transformer wall supply, as the utility power is galvanically separated from the 12V going to the router. Power spikes coming through the utility power may still get to the router, but the transformer, voltage regulator, etc. should dampen those significantly.

    Any network cables however, may provide a path to ground though a PC or other device connected somewhere on the network. If a device on the network is further galvanically (by wire) connected to a phone line, cable, or other conductor of significant length, chances for lightning damage are improved significantly for those devices.

    Thus, if your WDS nodes have no network cables connected to them, they should be mostly OK. Any device connected to a cable or other modem however, should have lightning protection (which may or may not be effective).
  7. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    tbh you should always use a power surge protector on you computer equipment, some even include phone and network protection. it really depends on how much your willing to spend to protect your equipment. the vast majority of my equipment is plugged into my UPS which has surge protection on the power supply.
  8. Maggard

    Maggard LI Guru Member

    Just quick review, wireless devices are no more susceptible to lightening strikes than any other chunk of matter.

    I know certain scare-mongering British newspapers raised a fear of getting hit by lightening while using cellphones a few years ago (and were laughed at by anyone with a highschool science education, which is pretty much none of their readership) but it was bunk. Same is true for your wireless networking devices - lightening isn't attracted, increased, whatever, by any of the trivial bits of electronics you have.

    What should you be doing?

    Make sure you've got proper grounding. Purchase a US$5 outlet-tester and check all of your outlets. I've regularly discovered bad grounds in homes & offices, including in new construction. Don't defeat grounding with 3-to-2 adapters, etc.

    Invest in proper line-conditioner/UPS boxes for your vital electronics. These may cost a bit but if you or your business actually rely on stuff working then they're a minimal investment. Test & replace the batteries on a regular cycle.

    Run EVERYTHING through a good suppressor box. Phone, cable, DSL, ethernet, 110, whatever. Last summer I was in a friend's house when the pole & transformer next to his house were hit. The surge took out every TV, cable box, the DSL box, his home PC's ethernet port (connected to the DSL box), etc. Looks like the phone line was one source, the coax another. Any can be the conduit so cover all.

    Those electrical strips with surge-suppressors built into 'em? Barely worth the 99 cents you paid (or shoulda paid) for 'em. They're unlikely to stop anything serious, and in use will lose any capability to do any surge suppressing after one good hit or a few months of daily spikes. Consider them nothing more then extension cords.

    Finally, disconnect hardware that isn't in service for extended periods of time. If it's not getting used on a weekly basis or so then take it entirely offline (heck, consider if it is worth keeping around at all.) Put in place a strategy for shutting down if you get a severe weather alert. I've got a batch file that will remotely shut down every major device I'm responsible for - the software to do this is free and easy to set up using DHCP address assignments in Tomato.

    Finally, review relevant insurance policies and ensure everything is covered - just-in-case.
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