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Storms and lightning – very, very frightening

In Plain Site by Dee During

Coming from the Cape, I’m used to the blustery south-easter and the driving, relentless rainfall in winter. It’s taking me quite some time, however, to get to grips with the extremes we experience in the KZN Midlands. As much as I love the summer thunderstorms, they create havoc with all things Wi-Fi.

Lightning and your modem: What to do?

If there is any lightning whatsoever, unplug your modem/router immediately! Turning it off is not good enough.

A lightning strike close by can easily send a power surge through different materials, such as electrical wiring, copper phone lines, plumbing pipes and cables. These attract lightning.

Networking equipment, such as routers, computers, antennas etc, are very sensitive pieces of hardware. Power outages or electrical surges can zap them and other sensitive equipment when the power kicks back in.

How can I tell if my router has been zapped?

• Internet connection will have dropped.
• Lights on modem may be going crazy.
• Burning smell coming from your equipment.
• Power plug could be scorched.

Will a Surge Protection Device (SPD) protect against a power surge?

Possibly. There are expensive ones and cheap ones. The more expensive ones are generally designed to protect more sensitive equipment. The cheaper ones will protect your white goods (ie washing machine, microwave). Unfortunately, no SPD is completely effective, as some part of the surge could sneak through and, if it’s powerful enough, exceed the SPD’s capacity.

The ultimate safeguard is to physically disconnect your equipment from the main sockets. Anything that uses wires is potentially at risk.

If your Wi-Fi goes down and you’ve done the troubleshooting (rebooting, checking cables, etc), be sure to get hold of us at Bundu NetworX so we can get to the root(er) of your problem.

Using a cellphone during a thunderstorm is fine, as the electric current from a nearby lightning strike cannot reach it.

If you have any questions or queries, post them on the Bundu NetworX Facebook page or contact 087 222 9500. Alternatively, check out our website at


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