I had a phone call recently from my brother, who was having internet connection problems with his wireless computers after a lightning storm. The lightning storm had fried both of his wireless routers. It had happened before, too…
First, let’s talk about his physical layout, which has a lot to do with the lightning damage problem. In How Can One Cable Modem Work With Two Wireless Routers?, we’ll look at the network configuration problem that kept him from getting back online.
He lives outside of town, where he was able to get plenty of land. His office is about 250 feet from the house. It’s where his Internet connection arrives. He has a wireless router at that office. There’s a desktop computer connected directly (via Ethernet cable) to the wireless router.
Why would you want to directly connect a computer to the wireless router? The answer is that, while you can make configuration changes via a wireless connection, it’s too easy to lock yourself out of the router if you do it wirelessly. It’s far easier to make configuration changes with a wired connection.
The house also has a wireless router, to provide easy access for his notebook computer. The house wireless router also has a desktop computer directly connected to it via Ethernet cable. The house wireless router connects via Ethernet to the router at the office — about 250 feet away.
There lies the situation causing the router damages. That long run of Ethernet cable is within the Ethernet maximum distance specification (100 meters = 330 feet).
However, it runs through a shallowly buried underground conduit. That means that it is susceptible to electrical shocks caused by lightning in the area — much more susceptible than the house wiring or Ethernet cable in the house or office.
In effect, the reason he keeps losing wireless routers (or routers of any kind), is that they’re acting as expensive fuses — expensive, non-resettable circuit breakers!
The Ethernet cable, from the office to the house, connects through these two devices.
So far, I know he’s had Linksys, DLink and now Belkin routers.
This time, not only did he fry two routers, he also lost the motherboard on one of the computers that was connected by Ethernet to one of the two routers.
What’s the right solution?
Since he’s demonstrated the vulnerability caused by the long, buried Ethernet cable, I think he needs to add surge protection on both ends of that Ethernet cable. Both ends are needed because he has computers and routers at both ends of the cable.
I did a quick search and found these options for Ethernet surge protectors.