How to stop recurring network lightning damage.

Every year, lightning hits our network and destroys hundreds of dollars of equipment. This is a church and we have three buildings with cat5 cable running between them. I guess that's what the lightning strikes and it sometimes cascades through switches and routers to destroy actual PC's or sometimes  knock out the network cards.

What is the solution to this? The buildings are close enough for wireless but how would I get the bandwidth we need?
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Jeff swicegoodTechnicianAsked:
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PerarduaadastraCommented:
I agree with micropc1 that surge protection is the way forward for the computers, but UPS's for the switches may be more money than you want to spend. APC do a range of ProtectNet products here:

http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=145

that seem to address the exact issue that you're having.

It would also be helpful to get those ethernet cables underground if possible, even if it doesn't look very tidy; hanging them out in the breeze when electrical storms are common is asking for trouble...
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micropc1Commented:
For your PCs, invest in some good surge protectors with network protection...

http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=P8VNTG

For your switches get you can try some UPSs with power conditioning...

http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=310
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Jeff swicegoodTechnicianAuthor Commented:
Ok the suggestion of surge protectors with network protection is helpful.

But the switches were ON a ups when they got hit last time. It came in through the ethernet.
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Jeff swicegoodTechnicianAuthor Commented:
Ok Perarduaadastra, I guess I'm on the right track because I actually did install some of those apc  small in-line protectors. I forgot to mention that. Please answer one question about those: Do they get destroyed at the first hit? How to tell if they are still protecting after a suspected hit?

You are right about burying. One of my three cables is just lying on the ground.
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PerarduaadastraCommented:
Unfortunately I can't answer your questions about the ProtectNet units, as I've never neede to use them, but APC can - I have used their chat service before for other issues, and it shouldn't be difficult to get the answers you need from the agent.

However, skimming the bumph on these products seems to suggest that they are sacrificial in their operation - once they've been zapped, they don't let anything through, including data!
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