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Local area networks

  • Many companies turn to local area networks (LANs) as a means of automating their data processing operations. Network data cables encompass entire buildings and also span buildings and campuses. LANs have become an interconnection of computers, building power systems, telephone, data acquisition, and video and security systems.

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    As LANs become larger, LAN equipment becomes more vulnerable to damage from voltage surges that appear on network cables. The reason for this vulnerability is that LAN data cables also interconnect the grounding systems of what are, in some cases, separate electrical power systems. A ground potential difference occurs when ground in one part of a building is at a different voltage than ground in the rest of the building or in a neighboring building. Data errors often occur when a ground potential difference exists between network devices. The results are more dramatic when network cables span buildings.

    With advances in LAN technology, many companies have shifted critical operations and data to file servers on a network. LAN managers have learned the hard way how fragile and vulnerable their networks can be to AC power dropouts, voltage fluctuations (brownouts) and AC power surges. As a result, the need for uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and AC power surge protection has become well-accepted.

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