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You may have contemplated and even purchased a battery backup for your PC, but what about your router , modem hubs and other small network electronics? Here’s why you should consider it.

What is a UPS?

Although informally it is called a battery backup, formally the type of product we are looking at today is called a power supply. uninterrupted ( UPS ) . A UPS unit is similar but unlike a surge protector .

It’s a surge protector part and a robust battery part that supplies power to plugged-in devices, much like a laptop battery runs the laptop even when it’s unplugged from the wall.

When the power goes out, the UPS kicks in and even though the lights are off, your computer and connected equipment will still be humming along.

Why should I get a UPS for my network equipment?

You’ll find plenty of recommendations for putting a UPS in your computer, especially if you’re doing mission-critical work or have expensive hardware to protect, but putting a UPS in other equipment isn’t talked about as much.

Here are a few reasons why you might consider adding a UPS to your home network closet, whether the closet is a suitable shelf or just a few pieces of hardware on a shelf in the basement.

Expensive equipment is worth protecting

When it comes to the kid-glove treatment, PC gets all the love. Although you may not have given it much thought before, your home network equipment and related components are likely worth a lot of changes.

Between the modem, the router, any extras you’ve added to your setup like a network switch, and then various smart home equipment add-ons like a Philips Hue Hub for their smart bulbs you’re looking for a few hundred dollars or more worth of equipment. Even if you have a good budget Wi-Fi router It is not cheap to replace it.

Internet stays on during blackouts and blackouts

If you’re just interested in protecting your network equipment from getting fried, sure, you could put a very high-quality surge protector on your network equipment and call it a day. But by doing so, you’d be missing out on the biggest benefit of opting for a UPS unit instead of a surge protector. Not only does it offer better protection, but it will help keep your internet up in the face of blackouts and blackouts.

Don’t you think blackouts and power supply problems are a problem where you live? You would be surprised. If you had asked me before connecting the UPS units to all my computers and network equipment if my neighborhood had power problems, I would have said no. But after working on a PC connected to a UPS unit for years, I can tell you that the number of times there is a power outage (which you’ll notice by hearing the UPS battery circuit click) is surprisingly high.

Those little fluctuations can be enough to disrupt your internet connection. However, the computer you’re using or the TV you’re watching Netflix will stay on, just without an Internet connection. That’s not really ideal if you’re gaming or engrossed in a show.

Because I have a UPS on my PC and on my modem and router, whether there’s a power outage in the form of a minor blackout or the whole neighborhood goes dark, I can stay online the entire time.

This is because, in most cases, unless an outage extends far beyond your neighborhood and lasts for a long time, the Internet will stay connected thanks to the security measures your ISP puts in place to deal with it. such events.

How to choose a UPS for your network equipment

A small UPS unit connected to a cable modem and Wi-Fi router.
APC

In our guide to selecting a UPS for your computer we delve into the ins and outs of calculating power loads and UPS sizing requirements. If you’re curious about the more advanced features of UPS units or how to work out the numbers involved in selecting one, it’s worth a read.

Here, however, let’s focus on the things that are immediately relevant to selecting a UPS for your modem, router, and adjacent equipment. First, a warning about a particular type of UPS to avoid.

Skip the “Mini UPS”

Before we delve into talking about the correct UPS size and offer some recommendations, let us steer you away from any products with names like “Mini UPS” or the like. They look like a portable battery pack that you could use for your phone, but with lots of 12v and USB ports.

The idea is that you plug the adapter cables for your modem, router, and other low-voltage equipment into the mini UPS. In turn, the mini UPS, through its own 12v power cable, supplies power along with a small internal battery for backup.

But they are very low quality, a potential fire hazard, and we simply cannot recommend them when there are very high quality products on the market at similar or slightly higher prices. Don’t spend $50-80 on some no-name device that could destroy your modem or catch fire when you can spend the same amount to get a UPS from a company with a 20+ year history in the industry.

Stick to UPS designs from trusted companies, like APC or CyberPower, with AC outlets that you plug your device manufacturer-provided chargers into for a safer experience.

Size your UPS according to your needs

Ultimately, UPS selection comes down to how much power your equipment uses and how long you want it to stay on when the power goes out. UPS power capacity is listed in Volt-Amps (VA) with a higher number indicating longer run time (a 425 VA model will run out much sooner than a 1500 VA model, for example) .

For a modest home networking setup made up of a modem, a Wi-Fi/router combo unit, and perhaps a small add-on or two like a smart home hub, power usage is minimal.

So minimal, in fact, that leaving them 24/7 hardly costs you anything . All of the devices added together probably use less than a single incandescent bulb.

With that in mind, you can easily get by with a smaller UPS unit, especially if your primary goal is simply to smooth out brownouts. Something like this 425A APC UPS It will be enough. Or, if you want a little more runtime and a built-in USB charging port to top up your phone during power outages, this APC-UPS 600 VA is a good upgrade.

If you have a more complex setup with multiple pieces of network equipment, such as a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, and/or have a network attached storage (NAS) as a Synology NAS integrated with your network equipment, I would like to increase the size of the UPS unit accordingly. To achieve an hour of uptime with my setup, which I based the example above on, I had to size a UPS up to 1500VA.

Even if you’re not worried about long uptime, if you have a NAS in your network closet, you’ll benefit from upgrading to a larger UPS unit. The update will allow you to take advantage of the USB-based communication between the NAS and the UPS unit, so that the UPS unit can properly shut down the NAS when the battery is running low. A proper shutdown is critical to data integrity. Please refer to the documentation of your particular NAS for more information on the feature.

For people who have their equipment in their home office or next to their PC, going big with the UPS unit is a no-brainer. Connecting your modem and router to a UPS you’re already using for your PC adds very little overhead. And you’ll get the benefits of UPS for network equipment even when you’re not using your PC.

Similarly, if your modem and router are close to your TV in the living room, a fairly common setup, you can do something similar to enjoy the benefits of UPS for your network equipment and protect your TV and game console on the go. the process.

Any of our recommended models, however, will be more than enough to smooth out blackouts, as well as maintain Internet access and uptime in the face of brief blackouts.

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