A Coax Protector, Why?
Cable TV and internet networks are rather complex, at least in terms of computer networking. Large ones will often span hundreds of square miles; and whilst this feat of engineering can be impressive, the fact that the network is on such a large scale sometimes means that necessary maintenance is not performed as quickly as one may hope. This is one of the reasons why coaxial cable surge protectors are becoming increasingly necessary.
If you have asked yourself the question “why do I need it?” then a little background information about how a cable network is set up may help. Each area will have its own exchange, which is more properly referred to as a “headend.” The headend is where the servers and data routers are located. They send signals down the cables (usually fiber optic) to a node, which then connects a single copper coaxial cable to each house in the street. Nodes look different in different areas because different cable companies operate in various parts of the country; however, you may recognize them because they often look like a metal cabinet near a street.
The cabinet has its own electronic equipment inside so that it can boost the signal and properly transmit it to each house. However, as it has electronics inside, it needs to be connected to the commercial power grid so that it keeps operating. The danger here is that, if the cabinet is damaged by vandals, accidents, storms etc., it simply starts to operate improperly, power from the electricity grid can cause a surge of power down the coaxial cable.
A coax surge protector is designed to protect against this. The surge will still occur, but the coaxial surge protector will block the additional power from entering any equipment that is connected to the cable. This means that the cable TV box and TV itself will remain safe from damage. If the protector was not there, then all of that additional power would enter any equipment directly connected to the cable; even a little too much power can cause damage to electronics, which can lead to costly repairs (or even having to replace the equipment).
It is true that cable companies should install what is called an isolator, which should (in theory) separate the cable network from the customer’s home. In many cases, however, the inexpensive isolator does nothing to protect the user’s TV from damage. The added safety that coax surge protectors can deliver makes them one of the most important parts of the user’s home theater setup.
Where Should I Install My Coaxial Surge Protector?
There are two main types of coax protector. One is the inline that attaches to the cable line itself and the other is a surge protector that has had coax protection added to it via connection points on the device. Regardless of the type you install, it should be connected as close to the cable box and television as possible. Your cable line runs into the surge protection device and your cable box and/or television plug into the coaxial surge protector.
How Does A Surge Protector Work With A Coaxial Cable
Typically there are two to four built in points (line in and line out) on the cable surge protector where coax lines are able to connect. Quality devices will use gold plating for these Type F connectors as gold is very conducive to electricity and will minimize line noise. Your cable line screws directly into one of the points. A device with a four point connection allows a cable line and a satellite dish to be connected.
Here are two examples of both an inline coaxial surge protector and a coaxial cable surge protector, respectively.