Apps & Software

How Does an Uninterruptible Power Supply Work?

In today’s highly connected and data-driven world, the need for continuous, clean power is essential. Downtime can be devastating and costly and can result in equipment damage, data loss, and other issues for a business. An uninterruptible power system is a simple, cost-effective solution to help prevent unexpected and unwelcome downtime. There are several different types of systems available, you just need to choose one to match your needs and budget.

What Is an Uninterruptible Power Supply?

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a backup system to provide power during a utility failure. It provides a window to safely shut down sensitive equipment to help prevent data loss and minimise the effects of a hard shutdown on electronics. Some UPS systems also shield connected devices from power problems and voltage fluctuations that damage electronics and affect their performance and lifespan.

How Does a UPS Work?

A UPS powers devices plugged into its AC outlets when electricity flow drops to an inadequate voltage, or there is a complete outage. During a blackout, the UPS switches to battery mode to provide continuous power for the length of the battery life. Depending on the unit, a UPS can protect anything from a single computer to an entire data centre. A UPS can keep computer systems and IT equipment safe and operational until generators can be started or servers and network components can be correctly shut down. This prevents loss of data. A UPS also provides protection against other power issues, for example, voltage sags, surges, brownouts, line noise, frequency variations, and over-voltage.

Types of UPS Systems:

There are three types of UPS systems, standby, line-interactive and online. Each type delivers different levels of protection against power problems in a different way and places different demands on the battery.

Standby UPS.

This offers the most basic protection, whereby equipment runs off utility power until it discovers a problem. A standby UPS switches to battery power to protect connected equipment during power failure, and also adjusts for sags and surges. The system kicks in within milliseconds after a power loss, and normally will not interrupt the power flow to equipment. During a lengthy outage, the battery power permits safe shutdowns so equipment and data are protected. Standby UPS is most suitable for less demanding home network environments that do not experience frequent disruptions. Although standby UPS is the least expensive option, it frequently uses the battery, which reduces service life.

Line-Interactive UPS.

Line-interactive UPS shields devices from power failures, sags and surges, and also protects against voltage spikes and drops. This type of system is controlled by a microprocessor that monitors incoming power and reacts to fluctuations. It is normally used to protect enterprise network and IT applications. It offers more protection, power conditioning and regulation than standby UPS, which helps prolong battery life. It can compensate for under-voltage and over-voltage without using the batteries. If the voltage fluctuates too much, the UPS uses built-in automatic voltage regulation to adjust the output voltage to an acceptable level. This prevents frequent switching to the battery, which drains the reserve power needed for an outage. 

Online UPS.

An online UPS is designed to deliver continuous protection against all the most common power issues and supplies consistent power regardless of incoming fluctuations. During power disturbances, the online UPS completely isolates equipment from incoming power. If power fails altogether, the UPS uses the battery to maintain operations and converts back to high-efficiency mode when it is safe to do so. Online UPS is the optimal choice for data centres, communication hubs and other setups where continuous power is critical. 

Benefits of UPS.

UPS above all protects against utility power failures. As well as keeping equipment working during a power loss, a UPS also shields devices against fluctuations in the power supply, which can damage sensitive equipment such as computers and network components. A UPS allows for a steady stream of power to reach connected devices, which helps to safeguard against common power issues that damage this equipment. Furthermore, battery backup power protects against data loss and allows time to save work-in-progress during periods of outage, surges or other power fluctuations. Ultimately, a UPS gives you the confidence that your business will avoid the financial cost, customer frustration and other disruptions caused by any network downtime. Whether you want to protect a home office, a small network, or an entire data centre, a UPS system will help prevent damage, downtime and data loss.

Nowadays it is critical for businesses to protect their operations against the damaging impacts of downtime. While all three UPS systems meet the input voltage requirements for IT equipment, there are significant differences in demands on the battery. Determining the best system for your business depends on a variety of factors, such as the level of reliability and availability needed, the type of equipment to be protected and the applications and environment.

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