Journal of computing related issues for Web Authoring, and general topics using Mac, Windows and Linux platforms.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lightning Strike on Ethernet Cable

Lightning Strike on Ethernet Cable

I look after a pal's PC kit he uses for his art publishing company. His company is run on the ground floor at the rear of next door's house and his home kit is in the attic of the other house.

His printing kit consists of two very large and expensive high quality printers that are connected to two PCs via a LAN switch, 8 ports of which 4 are used. One PC runs Windows 7 connected to this switch via on board Ethernet and there is a PCI Ethernet LAN card so that we can occasionally connect to web for maintenance. His other PC runs XP and is also connected to the LAN switch so it can also access printers and Windows 7 machine. This XP machine also has a LAN PCI card connected to a long ethernet cable that runs through both houses and all the way through the roof to his router in the attic which is connected to Virgin Cable ISP. This router has 4 ethernet ports, one connected to his home XP machine, others to various laptops and other PCs as required.

In Aug 2011 I received a call to say the Windows 7  and XP machine could not talk to each other, the Windows 7 could not connect to printers and the XP could not talk to internet!

We had a similar problem about a year ago that seemed to have been caused by large release of MS updates, which was resolved by new updates a few days later. However not so this time. Although obvious now it took some time to realise that the lightning storm that had happened overnight was the cause. Since the storm the following did not work.

  1. 2 of the 8 ports on the down stairs ethernet switch.
  2. On board Windows 7 Ethernet
  3. Ethernet Lan Card on XP
  4. 3 of the 4 connectors on the router
  5. Home PC no power

On investigation an unusual phenomena had occurred and it was said that a lightning fireball had rolled across the sky to hit the roof of a house 2 fields away. I suspect this had induced a current in the long ethernet cable, a good length of which runs through the roof of this house, and this had caused the damage.

I bought two new Ethernet LAN PCI cards and a switch, replaced the one in the XP, added the second into a spare slot on the Windows 7, and all OK. The Home machine is off to PC repair shop as I do not carry any parts to try and fix a dead machine. Tomorrow I fit new router so that hopefully home users can also access Internet when business users are active, because at the moment only one surviving cable socket for all.

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About Me

Husband, dad and grandad. Physics graduate from London University in late 60s. Retired from IBM company in 2000 after 27 years as both Sytems Engineer and Salesman. Interests include photography, nature, science, maths, walking, travel. I like facts as a basis of opinion and not opinion that is assumed to be fact.