After the recent severe storms we had to power off some equipment to reset it. Can we avoid this?

Absolutely. Electronic devices rarely care about blackouts, however problems can occur as the power falls off, or as it comes back on. Ever notice how the lights flicker when power is restored? That is the voltage fluctuating as the entire grid comes online at once. This creates a brownout situation which in the extreme can be highly damaging to equipment. At the other end, sometimes devices only require a simple power down to reset them, however this still results in downtime. Switches, cable/DSL modems, and the like seem to be more susceptible, probably because they are frequently left on 24x7 and not turned off during storms.

The fix is to use a UPS that provides voltage regulation. APC for instance recently released two new models with longer battery runtimes and lower prices, which even include ethernet and modem/DSL protection.

August 2003

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