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June is upon us. Heat, humidity, thunderstorms, lightening, power fluctuations, flash flooding are all a part of southern life this time of year.

Before heading out for a vacation (can I say that word while Covid-19 is still lurking about?) make sure to protect your systems. If you’re going to have an extended absence from home, it may be best to turn off, unplug and disconnect your computers. routers, modems, cable connections and other electronics. Then if a power surge hits while you’re gone, your sensitive electronics are protected.

There are a few steps you can take to protect your sensitive equipment and keep you connected to your electronics, such as your home computer, Wi-Fi attached water heater, Wi-Fi attached water softener, your security systems, lighting, etc.

These are the same steps Nay & Associates, LLC takes to prevent loss and downtime that have saved our electronics several times over in the ears we’ve been in operation. It is much cheaper to replace power protection devices than it is to replace electronics along with reconfiguring computers and networks.

First, protect your sensitive electronics with uninterruptible power source (UPS) battery backups. These devices protect your systems from power fluctuations inside your home. Battery backups range in price from small units at $35 on sale to several hundreds of dollars with pure sine wave protection. They are designed to take a power surge or daily power fluctuations and keep a steady flow of electricity to your components. If there is not protection in place, power fluctuations can destroy your electronics over time. Also, battery backups prevent misconfigurations if the power just blinks off and comes back on. Short, intermittent power losses can often make your modem/router malfunction, causing lost connections.

Next consider installing whole house (or business) surge protection. This is a box that an electrician puts in to prevent surges from the main power line to your home before it gets inside and wreaks havoc. The device needs to be installed by a licensed electrician. It has a light on it that let’s you know when it should be replaced. It costs a few hundred dollars, but it will significantly reduce the chance of damage to your home or electronics from outside sources. It’s designed to take a major hit and safely direct the energy to the ground versus letting it inside your home.

I recently had a client that did get damaged equipment from a power surge through a cable provider box. It damaged portions of the cable modem and a physical firewall. They lost their internet connection for about a week while waiting on the cable company to come out. I could not check internal systems until the cable service was restored. They had to limp along using a Wi-Fi hotspot. As a result, billing and scheduling were adversely affected.

There are failover wireless network systems that work inline with the cable modem when it fails. The client did not choose to have that option.

Also, consider using Cat6/Cat5 cable protection. Most mid-range and higher battery backups have the capability to protect the signals (data) going through these cables.

There is some drawback to doing this such as restricting the flow of data. You can try before and after speed tests to determine the slowdown. Technically, the cable from the cable company should already be grounded, making this step unnecessary, although the cable modem failed in the client’s case mentioned above.

There are trade-offs to consider…cost versus loss of internet for your home or business along with equipment and loss of data. In middle Tennessee it is better to err on the side of protection than the side of chance.

All the best and stay well,
Jim Nay

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