Grounding and Bonding a Shielded System

The importance of grounding and bonding cannot be overstated. In both commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings bonding and grounding systems is crucial in protecting both data center and networking equipment. It ensures a shielded twisted pair structured cabling system is free from transmission errors and unwanted noise. The grounded circuits of machines need to have an effective return path from the machines to the power source in order to function properly.

Furthermore, non-current-carrying metallic components in any facility, such as equipment cabinets, enclosures, and structural steel, need to be electrically interconnected so voltage potential cannot exist between them. The benefits for the building owner are many — maximized equipment protection, elimination of shock hazard potential, increased process uptime, and reduced costs through avoiding expensive machine servicing. However, troubles can arise when terms like “bonding,” “grounding,” and “earthing” are interchanged or confused in certain situations.

The Differences Between Grounding and Bonding

Bonding is the permanent joining of metal parts together to form an electrically conductive path with the capacity to conduct safely any fault current likely to be imposed on it. More specifically, it is the act of intentionally electrically connecting all exposed metallic items not designed to carry electricity in a room or building as protection from potential electric shock.


Equipment grounding is the connection of earth ground to non-current carrying conductive materials such as conduit, cable trays, junction boxes, enclosures, and motor frames.

System grounding is the connection of earth ground to the neutral points of current carrying conductors for instance the neutral point of a circuit, a transformer, rotating machinery, or a system, either solidly or with a current-limiting device.

A grounded system is one in which at least one conductor or point (usually the middle wire or neutral point of transformer or generator windings) is intentionally grounded, either solidly or through an impedance (IEEE Standard 142-2007 1.2).

Now that you understand the difference between grounding and bonding you are less likely to confuse the two. and more importantly, you understand their importance and will know when / where they are needed.