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What is a UPS and Does Your Business Need One? | Lower Mainland Tech Support

Hardware, Managed IT, Tech Tips | January 21, 2021

We have talked before about disaster planning and the importance of having a good Disaster Action Plan. But, with snow in the forecast (and clean-up still going on from last week’s windstorm!), we thought we should focus a little more on power interruptions. After all, the one thing all technology needs is power! This brings us to the beloved Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS).

Now, power issues can come in many forms… courtesy of Mother Nature, such as surges from lightning, power-outs from downed lines… or human caused, such as interference from a local construction project. The list goes on!

One very useful piece of equipment companies can invest in, to protect their technology in these situations, is a UPS.

So, what is an Uninterruptible Power Source?

a UPS is a piece of electrical equipment that provides a cleaner power signal to your valuable electronics (ie. Without those brown outs or spikes) and emergency power when your main power source fails. Oh, and it does it at a near instant rate!

The battery time for most UPS systems depend on the size of the UPS and the amount of equipment you are running. It can range from 45 minutes to 5 minutes. However, it is just meant to serve as a buffer until you can switch to another longer-term power source, like a generator. Alternatively, it can buy you enough valuable time to save an important document or allow you to safely shut electronic equipment down.

A UPS also has surge protection built in. So, it can also protect against unexpected spikes or dips in voltage.

Three Types of Uninterruptible Power Sources

UPS systems fit into 3 general categories…

  • A standby or off-line system – This is the most basic, and resorts to battery backup power when needed. Typically used for entry-level computers, security systems, POS and basic electronics.
  • An on-line UPS or double-conversion – Used for high-end servers, data or storage centres and vital equipment etc.
  • A line-interactive UPS – This UPS has an autotransformer and corrects minor power fluctuations without switching to a battery. Used for network equipment and entry-to-mid-range servers.

Things to Consider When Picking a UPS

There are many options out there for Uninterruptible Power Source solutions. They come in different forms and sizes, with the 2 most common being tower and rackmount. UPS systems vary in battery types and wave outputs. They can have sine or simulated sine wave output – both having pros and cons.

So, like any equipment, you need to know what you are looking for. Then, you can pick the right model for your business. It is very important to pick something that is rated correctly for the machines it will be supporting. Also, we advise that you avoid cheaper models. They often do not have a fast enough switchover reaction, which makes them useless really!

To give you some idea, APC has a tool on their website that you can use to work out what would be better for you. Alternatively, you can contact us, and we will be happy to advise you on the best solutions for your business! Just give us a call on 604-210-9811 or email

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