Telecommunications Equipment Damage Analysis

Edgardo López, P.E., CFEI

Telecommunications Equipment Damage Analysis Case Study

Telecommunications equipment was discovered to have been damaged when local clients complained of not receiving good quality Internet service. The telecommunications equipment tower (tower) operator reported that interior and exterior equipment had been damaged.

The Assignment:

EDT was asked to determine the cause of the damage to the telecommunications equipment and if the equipment can be repaired or if replacement will be necessary. 

EDT Analysis:

The examination started with the assessment of the condition of the tower and its electrical system. The tower operator presented the tower maintenance plan as well as service records of the different components within the tower.  

The reported damaged equipment, which was removed from the tower, was inspected, identified and matched to the location where the pieces of equipment were installed at the time of the incident. The damaged equipment included transmitters and other electrical equipment related to the operation of the telecommunications equipment. The equipment was tested to verify its operational condition.

Weather events on the day of the incident were researched to determine what, if any, role they had in damaging the telecommunications equipment. The weather research conducted involved obtaining a lightning report which contained the location of lightning strikes that would have taken place in the area if any.

EDT Findings:

  • It was observed that the tower’s electrical system and its grounding system were in good condition as it was well maintained by its operator. 
  • No physical damage was observed to the damaged equipment.
  • The equipment was not in operational condition and due to its age and replacement cost, it was recommended that the equipment be replaced instead of being repaired.
  • Research on the weather the day of the incident indicated that a thunderstorm took place in the area where the structure is located.
  • The lightning report indicated that various lightning strikes took place near the location of the tower.
  • Due to the inoperable condition of the equipment and the weather experienced on the day of the incident, it was determined that the damage was caused by lightning strikes near the location of the telecommunications tower.