RJ-45/ethernet and surge protectors - network viability?

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
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I'm not sure if this is the most appropriate forum to be posting this in, but it may garner the best responses...

In regards to surge protectors and their often integrated RJ-45 protection: does routing networks through such a device compromise the network signal in any way? I would think it may, as you're adding another layer were stuff can go wrong (interference, etc.), especially considering it's running the signal through a power bar.

Someone please clarify, as I'm really curious.
 

cmetz

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Nov 13, 2001
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Turbonium, merely running through another pair of jacks is enough to decrease signal quality, and, yes, the surge protection circuit can also decrease signal quality. If it is properly designed to support a specified EIA cabling spec, you shouldn't need to worry about it other than it probably will decrease your maximum segment distance. Where I'd be more worries is when it doesn't really claim anything about the EIA spec it might be designed to comply with or the Ethernet link rate it might be designed to comply with - when it just says "LAN" - it could be designed to support 10GBaseT, or it could be designed to support 10BaseT, you really just don't know. It's like running twisted-pair Ethernet through unrated cabling - maybe it will work, but it's likely to cause you troubles in the future.

As far as running it through a power bar goes, well, if the bar is UL listed or ETL listed, you should be fine, as they should require the current-carrying and the low-voltage side be appropriately separated to prevent interference if not shorts and electric shock badness. If it's merely "made from UL recognized components" or if it's not national testing labs listed at all - stay away!

Why do you need a LAN surge protector in the first place?
 

Turbonium

Platinum Member
Mar 15, 2003
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48
91
Turbonium, merely running through another pair of jacks is enough to decrease signal quality, and, yes, the surge protection circuit can also decrease signal quality. If it is properly designed to support a specified EIA cabling spec, you shouldn't need to worry about it other than it probably will decrease your maximum segment distance. Where I'd be more worries is when it doesn't really claim anything about the EIA spec it might be designed to comply with or the Ethernet link rate it might be designed to comply with - when it just says "LAN" - it could be designed to support 10GBaseT, or it could be designed to support 10BaseT, you really just don't know. It's like running twisted-pair Ethernet through unrated cabling - maybe it will work, but it's likely to cause you troubles in the future.

As far as running it through a power bar goes, well, if the bar is UL listed or ETL listed, you should be fine, as they should require the current-carrying and the low-voltage side be appropriately separated to prevent interference if not shorts and electric shock badness. If it's merely "made from UL recognized components" or if it's not national testing labs listed at all - stay away!

Why do you need a LAN surge protector in the first place?
Thanks for a great response.

I'm not sure I need one to be honest. The thing is, I'm getting a fairly beefy (~4000 joule) surge protector, and it has RJ-45 protection built-in. I was just wondering if I should bother using it. I'm a bit apprehensive to do so, because I once used a similarly-featured surge protector to route a DSL connection through, and the connection would not hold (though it may have been a defective unit or something - not sure if it was UL/ETL listed - I can check once I get a hold of the surge protector again).

If it matters, the surge protector I'm currently considering is this one (don't worry, I'm getting it at a much lower price than the MSRP). Again, I'm not sure if it's UL/ETL listed, but I would imagine Belkin products are. I could be wrong though (after all, the aforementioned surge protector problem mentioned in the paragraph above was with a Belkin surge protector).

In any case, even with minimal signal degradation (resulting in a decrease in maximum segment distance) as you mentioned, it should in every way be better than a wireless network, correct? If that's a benchmark I can compare it to, then it would be useful (I've been using 802.11g for months now with nary a problem).
 
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