Keep your Phone System up During Power Outages

The hurricane season officially starts today, June 1, 2010 and will end on November 30, 2010. The 2010 hurricane season in the Atlantic will be “active” and produce 16 tropical storms, including eight hurricanes, four of them intense. Sixty-seven percent of small businesses will experience a power outage during a storm. Given that economic reality, making sure you have power backup to keep your critical business systems running is a vital part of a business-continuity plan.

Every year as the weather turns worse, we start getting the first of the phone calls from customers who have a downed phone system.   As we grow increasingly inter-connected and more dependent upon a rich communications infrastructure we grow increasingly vulnerable to disaster. Phone systems are critical resources for businesses and you need a way to better protect your equipment in all conditions.

Do you have a plan for keeping your communications up and running in the event of a power failure? Do you have an adequate UPS (battery backup system) in place? With today’s communication technology and a sound crisis communication plan, natural disasters need not become business disasters for your company. If your business isn’t prepared for a power failure you’re not alone. If the power fails and you don’t have a plan in place, it’s lights out for your bottom line.

Prevent financial losses due to interrupted communications with a UPS. An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) System (battery backup) is a device that supplies battery backup power to your phone system, computers and peripherals during short power outages, and allows systems to safely shutdown during prolonged blackouts. UPS systems also correct brownouts and overvoltages, stop damaging power surges and filter disruptive line noise.

A UPS System provides comprehensive protection against all power problems. To further understand how UPS Systems protect against power problems, consider the different types of UPS:

  • Standby UPS SystemsPower is fed through surge and noise suppression circuitry and on to your equipment. Meanwhile, a battery charger keeps an internal battery topped off and ready for use. During a blackout, brownout or overvoltage, an inverter converts battery power into a simulated sine wave output. When power returns, the UPS switches back to AC power and the battery is recharged. Sensing of a low voltage situation and switching to battery power happens so quickly that your equipment continues to operate flawlessly.
  • Line-Interactive UPS SystemsPower is fed through surge and noise suppression circuitry. Then built-in line conditioning circuitry regulates high or low voltages back to normal levels, and sends clean power on to your equipment, without using battery power. Meanwhile, a battery charger keeps an internal battery topped off and ready for use. During a blackout, an inverter switches on and converts battery power into a simulated sine wave output. When power returns, the inverter switches off and the battery is recharged. Because all switching happens within a few milliseconds, your equipment is unaffected.
  • On-Line UPS SystemsThis is the highest level of battery backup protection available. Power is first broken down and then perfectly reconstructed by the inverter, which is “on-line” 100% of the time. There is absolutely no transfer switching time. This process completely eliminates incoming surge and line noise, adjusts high or low voltages, and produces perfect sine wave power.
  • Expandable Battery Runtime—Most UPS systems for computer use are sized to run for about 5-10 minutes at full load. Certain applications, such as telephone and critical networking systems, often require much longer battery runtimes (from 30 minutes to over 8 hours).

Most businesses have a UPS on their computers, but they don’t think about protecting their phone system. A UPS system is quite useful in the event of a power outage. Do you really want to have limited phone service while power is down? How much will that cost your business?

Every UPS is labeled with a number measured in VA,  the higher the number, the longer the power lasts. I suggest getting one that is at least 650VA. It is strongly recommended that your telephone system is connected to a UPS. In simple terms, in the event of a power failure, it will keep your telephone system running. You have the peace of mind knowing your business will operate continuously and seamlessly, with minimal or no downtime.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

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