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Revisiting The Merits Of Battery Backup

According to a FierceTelecom article by Sean Buckley, “Verizon says fewer customers are purchasing battery backup for fiber home voice services.” The article describes how Verizon’s FiOS FTTH customers are tending to rely upon their mobile phones to stay on touch during a power outage.

This assertion comes right as the FCC is concerned about CPE remaining powered during an outage, something that cannot be done over fiber as it was over copper. Since customers were not buying traditional battery backup units Verizon has come up with its own solution called PowerReserve.

PowerReserve is basically a caddy for a set of twelve standard, non-rechargeable, D-cell batteries. Just from the look of it it must be very inexpensive. The solution is reported to provide more than 20 hours of operation for the FiOS CPE, which means that voice services, including alarms, stay operational.


There’s an interesting thread on PowerReserve over at the DSLReports FiOS Forum. One comment quite rights cites the $40 price tag as steep for what is basically a battery holder. They also noting that a small UPS can readily be found in the same price range.

Remember, the purpose of a UPS, loosely defined, is to sustain the protected gear during a brief outage, or until the standby generator comes online. The standby generator is the long-term solution. If you live in a place that for any reason is prone to long term loss of power, you’ll be wanting a generator. I know that I do.


Those FiOS customers who opt to go without backup power seem to think that their mobile phones will always work. In some places that’s just not a great assumption. I know that after Hurricane Ike mobile phone service in Houston was not very reliable, or even available at times. In the days post-Ike numerous cell sites were down or damaged, rendering service unreliable until the carriers could gather & deploy their portable “Cells-On-Wheels.” I imagine the situation was similar in the region affected by Sandy.

We believe in having a simple but well-considered strategy with respect to power. At very least, we intend to provide for sustained operation through minor outages. That means we have a couple of UPS’s here at la-maison-du-Graves.

We have a small UPS is a central closet that powers a small, P.O.E.-capable network switch & a VTech DECT phone base. It’s an 800 VA unit, so quite large relative to it’s load. This yields longer runtime than would be the case with the smaller BGE70.

In the garage apartment that I’ve converted into my home office there’s a 2000 VA UPS that powers my network core, FreeNAS Mini file server, and the Grandstream NVR. From past experience we know that it will run the network core for about 30 minutes. Thereafter, well…it would be time for a break anyway. Right? (I so wish that I had the spare $10K necessary to install a whole house standby generator!)

Sadly, FiOS is not offered in this market. I’d love to have it. If we did, we’d have the better battery backup.

The 2015 Hurricane season starts June 1st. Are you ready?

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