The Importance of Ground Bars in Telecommunications Facilities

Grounding and bonding are integral parts of the design of any facilities containing ‘mains’ powered electrical equipment. This is owing to the fact that properly grounding a facility provides a conducting connection between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth. Such a connection protects both equipment and personnel from damaging surge voltages, which can occur due to various unexpected electrical events.

A growing demand for computer installations and telecommunications facilities, which both house extremely sensitive devices regarding electrical disparities such as surges, has seen an increase in the emphasis on grounding and bonding techniques. The recent growth of the telecommunications industry has also resulted in the further development of more complex systems involving components such as ground bars.

The Role of Ground Bars in Grounding and Bonding

Ground bars are basically the dedicated connection between a facilities’ grounding electrode system and the housed electrical installations. It is essentially a predrilled metal bar, displaying various different hole patterns, and can be purchased as a kit, or be specially manufactured for a particular operation. Ground bars are constructed from materials such as copper, depending on where they are manufactured and are generally coated with various metals to allow for better conduction and connectivity.

Ground bars permit all of the indoor equipment and devices within an installation to be bonded to one another, which in turn, means that they can be earthed at the same position. This is essential, owing to the fact that when systems are grounded at different points, an unexpected electrical event can cause unwanted hazardous current differences, or ground loops, to occur. This consequently has the potential to endanger personnel, damage equipment and negatively affect the overall performance of the establishment.

The Importance of Ground Bars Regarding Grounding Telecommunications Facilities

The importance of more complicated earthing and bonding processes in telecommunications facilities are, in general, as previously stated, due to the sensitivity of the equipment housed. It is also important however, as these facilities are often large towers constructed from metal, which makes them subject to extreme electrical events such as lightning strikes.

Ground bars can aid the facility in the event of such an occurrence as it provides the operation with an equipotential plane or zero voltage difference between electrical circuits. This is not only important in telecommunications operations regarding personnel and equipment safety; it also provides a decrease in electrical noise and static within the system. This in turn allows for better transmission of higher frequencies such as those utilized in these operations.

As surge conditions are an ever present problem regarding telecommunications installations, engineers and technicians are increasingly recognizing how important proper grounding systems are. New and more stringent guidelines have also been released forcing institutions to comply with updated and more complicated grounding processes. This indicates that the advancement of grounding and bonding technologies and components, such as ground bars will only improve in the future, allowing for better operations and increased employee safety.