Multiple Kantech Devices "Toasted" By Storm/Outage, Techs Say Switches are at Fault

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NEP
NEP Posts: 64  Ally Member
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edited January 19 in Switch

Hello everyone,

Does anyone here have experience with Zyxel switches (XGS2210-52HP in our case) and Kantech KT-1 door controllers? We are pretty consistently having trouble with them when there is any sort of storm and/or power outage. The switches are on battery backup, but that only lasts so long and occasionally the outages are extended.

The techs that came in to fix the KT-1 devices are saying that when there are brownouts the devices get into one of a few weird states. I couldn't rattle off what they said (because I didn't understand it), but essentially different components in the device can be affected by the power drop, which causes them to lose their memory/config. They say this is because some ports on the Zyxel switches shutdown or only run at partial power. I don't understand why the whole device doesn't turn off if it doesn't get appropriate power. Anyway, they have thousands of other customers with these devices and the only ones with issues are the ones with Zyxel switches.

I'll be the first to say that I know nothing about electrical power, but this seems crazy to me. I say that because we have 100+ VOIP phones, 20+ APs, and 75+ cameras that all use PoE and are spread across the same switches and "knock on wood" have not had similar issues. This makes me think that the issue is with the KT-1 devices (we have 50+ of them), but I can't say for sure.

I guess what I'd like to know is…

  1. Is there an actual way to prevent this? Based on what they said, possibly a setting in the switch to use all power or no power for a port.
  2. I believe the switches are only grounded via the power cord (ie. the ground screw is not attached to the rack). Is this a no-no? Does the rack then need a separate ground?
  3. Is it overkill to add a surge protector inline on the Ethernet running to the device? This was suggested by one of the techs and to me just moves the issue to another "replaceable" device.
  4. Can there be a surge on a port which takes out the device attached to it, but the port still functions with another device afterwards?
  5. How did that surge get into the switch/port if the switch and all the other ones connected to it are battery/surge protected?
  6. One of the techs also said that there is "junk" power going to the rack. I have maintenance checking this but was under the impression that UPS devices maintained proper power by acting as a buffer. However, after doing a little research this appears not to be the case. Is that everyone's experience or does it depend on the UPS? We are using Tripp-Lite SMART1500LCD.

Thanks in advance!

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  • Zyxel_Kay
    Zyxel_Kay Posts: 703  Zyxel Employee
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    Hi @NEP

    1. Is there an actual way to prevent this? Based on what they said, possibly a setting in the switch to use all power or no power for a port.

    Zyxel switch utilizes active PoE in accordance with IEEE standard, which requires communication with the peer device to confirm PoE requirements before supplying power, so the switch will not shutdown peer devices power. Could I ask if how many PoE devices connected to a XGS2210-52HP?

    2. I believe the switches are only grounded via the power cord (ie. the ground screw is not attached to the rack). Is this a no-no? Does the rack then need a separate ground?

    If the switch is not grounded, excess lightning energy may flow from the switch port to other low-impedance devices. It is recommended to ensure that the equipment is properly grounded. Connecting the ground screw to the rack and providing a separate ground for the rack can help mitigate potential issues.

    3. Is it overkill to add a surge protector inline on the Ethernet running to the device? This was suggested by one of the techs and to me just moves the issue to another "replaceable" device.

    Adding surge protectors to the Ethernet cables leading to the devices can provide an extra layer of protection. If the surge remains within the protector's protection level, the device will be safeguarded.

    Regarding your questions 4-6, we would like to have further clarification with you. In our previous experience with another user, their building had door controllers installed on metal walls and doors, and they were properly grounded. However, when a surge occurred from the building's lightning rod, it affected devices all the way to the ground, including those door controllers.

    Therefore, kindly provide the following information for us:

    1. Are the door controllers indeed installed on metal walls and doors?
    2. How many door controllers are installed on the switch XGS2210-52HP?
    3. Are there any outdoor devices connected to switch XGS2210-52HP?

    Share yours now! https://bit.ly/4aO0BMF

    Kay

  • NEP
    NEP Posts: 64  Ally Member
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    Hi @Zyxel_Kay,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. Had to get some information together.

    Zyxel switch utilizes active PoE in accordance with IEEE standard, which requires communication with the peer device to confirm PoE requirements before supplying power, so the switch will not shutdown peer devices power. Could I ask if how many PoE devices connected to a XGS2210-52HP?

    Id

    Count

    Usage

    Percentage

    1-1

    12 devices

    35.9/375.0 W

    9%

    1-2

    16 devices

    71.4/375.0 W

    18%

    1-3

    9 devices

    52.0/375.0 W

    13%

    2-1

    21 devices

    70.5/375.0 W

    18%

    2-2

    10 devices

    32.6/375.0 W

    8%

    2-3

    28 devices

    123.7/375.0 W

    32%

    We have other switches as well which aren't listed, but these are the ones that operate the doors that we are having trouble with.

    If the switch is not grounded, excess lightning energy may flow from the switch port to other low-impedance devices. It is recommended to ensure that the equipment is properly grounded. Connecting the ground screw to the rack and providing a separate ground for the rack can help mitigate potential issues.

    We didn't have any lightning with that storm (or the others that I remember) but ok on the attaching the ground. I'll see about having maintenance get that done.

    Regarding your questions 4-6, we would like to have further clarification with you. In our previous experience with another user, their building had door controllers installed on metal walls and doors, and they were properly grounded. However, when a surge occurred from the building's lightning rod, it affected devices all the way to the ground, including those door controllers.

    Therefore, kindly provide the following information for us:

    1. Are the door controllers indeed installed on metal walls and doors?

    2. How many door controllers are installed on the switch XGS2210-52HP?

    3. Are there any outdoor devices connected to switch XGS2210-52HP?

    1. I talked with the person who installed the controllers because I wasn't exactly sure. Anyway, 99% of the door controllers are mounted in new work boxes on wood studs. There may be one or at most two controllers attached to metal. However, the door frame is metal, so the actual door contacts are attached to metal.
    2. I don't have an exact count on just controllers. The total PoE device count is listed in the table above. This includes phones, APs, door controllers, and cameras. Since the power usage is well below 50% all the time, I don't know that the individual count matters. But I could be wrong, please let me know if so.
    3. In our other building we have a couple of APs that our outdoors. However, they are rated for such and are completely covered under a 100' loading bay roof.

    How did the other user remedy their issue? Based on what is listed above, what do you think? Is there some way we can monitor this?

    Let me know if you need/want any other information. Thanks!

  • Zyxel_Kay
    Zyxel_Kay Posts: 703  Zyxel Employee
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    Assuming that the surge comes from the AC power source, the UPS will filter out most of the energy, and the switch will filter the residual energy in second time. In theory, there should be no abnormal energy output to the end device. Based on our analysis, the source of energy may be from elsewhere. Therefore, we still need to have further information to clarify the issue:

    1. What are the devices connected to those KT-1door controllers?
    2. Could the KT-1 technician analyze and provide a report on the damaged interfaces of the door controller, along with damaged components of PCBimages?
    3. Please also provide images of the installation location of the door controller and the image of switch rack. Give some photos as references from a history case.

    This information will help us better understand and address the issue.

    Share yours now! https://bit.ly/4aO0BMF

    Kay

  • NEP
    NEP Posts: 64  Ally Member
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    @Kay Thank you for responding. I am waiting on the answers to your questions. Just reached out to our installer and it sounds like they had an issue with manpower, so getting the answers has been delayed. I will get back to you when I have what you asked. Hopefully this week but it's outside of my control. Thanks again!

  • Zyxel_Kay
    Zyxel_Kay Posts: 703  Zyxel Employee
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    Hi @NEP

    Have you received any feedback from the installer? If there is any, please let us know. Thank you so much!

    Share yours now! https://bit.ly/4aO0BMF

    Kay

  • NEP
    NEP Posts: 64  Ally Member
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    Sorry for the delay in responding to this, but my hands were tied and still are to a degree. The installer (who is also the KT-1 tech) has not analyzed the controller. I am told they are too busy. However, I have received some pictures from them of the controller board. I don't see any visible issues but I'm also not an expert.

    1. There is a single "ioSmart Smart Card Reader" and magnetic door latch (not sure the name, see img6) connected to the KT-1 (see img7). Nothing else.
    2. No analysis was provided. Tech too busy.
    3. Images have been attached. Img1-4 are the controller, Img5 is the rack which has the switch that the KT-1 is connected to, Img6 is the keypad/latch, and Img7 is the controller.

    Possibly related to this, I've had the installer mention to me that they have seen similar issues with Zyxel switches at other companies. That is, sometimes after a storm a KT-1 controller won't power up with the Zyxel switch on the existing port. If you move it to another port or a different switch all together, the controller will power up. Almost like the KT-1 is being blocked by the switch. Is that possible? I've also been told that the port is not dead, as once the new controller is connected to that existing line it works.

    It's a very strange situation, so let me know if there is anything else that you would like to see or know. Hopefully I can provide it in a timely manner. The installer has said too that they have only seen this issue at installations where Zyxel switches are being used. I find that hard to believe but again I'm no expert.

    At any rate, thank you for your patience.

  • Zyxel_Kay
    Zyxel_Kay Posts: 703  Zyxel Employee
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    Hi @NEP

    Thank you for sharing this information with us; we really appreciate it.

    As we haven't received the analysis report from Kantech, it's challenging for us to determine the root cause of the issue based on the image provided. To further analyze your situation and streamline the process, we would like to inquire if you would be willing to lend us your Kantech controller. Ideally, we would like to examine 2x malfunctioning controllers and 1x operational controller from your network environment.

    If you're open to allowing us further analysis, please provide your following contact information via private message, and our local support team will get in touch with you:

    • Name:
    • Tel no:
    • Address:
    • Email:
    • Your preferred time to receive a call

    Share yours now! https://bit.ly/4aO0BMF

    Kay

  • NEP
    NEP Posts: 64  Ally Member
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    Ok. Thanks for the help. At this time, we don't have two malfunctioning and one functioning controller to provide. This has been handled by our installer. I just handle the management. As such, I suppose this matter can be closed without being resolved (not Zyxel's fault). I am at the mercy of the installer and can't provide anything else that is meaningful. Thank you again.