Understanding Power and Internet Outages with VoIP

By Jim Vassallo
Updated: February 09, 2011

Traditional phone systems, run by traditional phone companies, have large generators and backup systems to keep phones running during power outages caused by accidents, severe weather, down wires and many other causes. The reason for this is that in years past, the world relied on landline phones as the major form of communication from person to person. The other reason for this is that phone companies are required to get phone power up and running as soon as possible so citizens can call 911 if needed.

Nowadays, the internet is relied upon as heavily as phone systems are by people all over the globe. This means that when the internet goes down, people are without a major source of information. The internet has only been unavailable on a wide, nationwide scale, a couple of times during its lifetime but it can still suffer outages in smaller segments because of the weather.

VoIP and Outages

Businesses and individuals are susceptible to power and internet outages 365 days per year, no matter where they are located in the country, which means that these outages cannot be avoided even when operating with a VoIP system in the office. So, how can you still operate your VoIP phone system during internet and power outages? The best way to keep your VoIP system up and running during outages is to purchase an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This piece of equipment is installed with your internet router in order to keep power supplied to a DSL/cable/wireless broadband.

When you use a VoIP system through an internet provider and not a phone provider, there typically is a backup system or plan in place in the event of an outage. This plan, or system, could keep your VoIP system up and running for at least a 24-hour period should you be without power for that long. The reason that this can happen is the fact that most of the equipment provided by the internet service company comes with rechargeable batteries that can be used in the event of an outage. These backup batteries are not for constant calls but instead for emergency calls since the batteries might not last up to 24 hours at a time.

Since power outages occur in specific areas, the power outage might not affect the internet or phone service in your area, which means that you will still have excellent VoIP quality when using a backup system during an outage. The only items that should be plugged into the UPS are the modem, the router, the VoIP adapter and the cordless phone. A cell phone charger, a lamp, and a printer should not be plugged into the UPS. The reason for this is that the less you have plugged into the UPS, the higher the quality will be of the VoIP call during an outage.

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