Very small offices may have very basic communications and network requirements, or none at all. However as the office population increases to a few rather than just one or two, this scenario usually changes. A sophisticated network evolves, with staff enjoying access to centrally-stored emails, documents and other data held on a standalone network-connected file server. This server can be used from within the office, by other offices and often by authorised mobile staff. Third party users may also log on to the server for backup and maintenance purposes.
Another factor affecting the growth and complexity of smaller office systems is the increasing popularity of Voice over IP (VoIP) communications. Businesses are migrating from traditional telephone systems to take advantage of the bandwidth efficiency and low costs offered by VoIP. The idea of unified communications services is also attractive – these services treat phone calls, faxes, voicemail, email, web conferences and other data exchange packages as discrete units that can be delivered by any means and to any handset, including mobile phones. Participants can enjoy a consistent user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
A VoIP phone, necessary to connect to a VoIP service provider, can be implemented in different ways. A dedicated VoIP phone can be connected directly to the office network using wired Ethernet or WiFi. Alternatively, a traditional analogue telephone handset can be interfaced to the IP channel through an analogue telephone adaptor.
A more integrated solution comprises applications software installed on a networked computer with a loudspeaker, microphone and possibly video camera. A user interface is provided to allow users to set up calls with their mouse and keyboard.
Whichever approach is used, the overall result is the same – an office populated with a sophisticated, networked computer system on which the staff rely absolutely, every day, for not only their data processing but also their communications requirements. Under these circumstances, any loss of the computer system’s availability, however brief, will have a severe negative impact on the business’s operation. It follows that this sophisticated network should be protected from the dangers of mains power disturbances or loss with equally sophisticated UPS capability.
Most major UPS manufacturers now recognise these realities and cater for them with single-phase UPS systems that are scaled in terms of capacity, footprint and cost to the office environment, as well as offering many if not all of the features usually associated with UPSs for data centres or other large-scale applications.
The single-phase UPS range from KUP
KUP. offers systems that, like their larger models, use online double conversion technology to ensure that their critical load is protected not only from power blackouts but also all other potentially damaging transients that can arrive through the mains supply. Slot-in UPS power modules mean that systems can be cost-effectively scaled to an office’s needs, and incremented to meet future growth. Very high availability can be achieved through redundancy, by configuring the UPS modules in N+1 or other redundant mode. Communications with the office system can be set up, with options for auto shutdown. User interface software and colour graphic displays ensure that office users can easily view and respond to UPS status at any time.
While it’s true that office UPS systems have become more complex, and users more dependent on them as voice and data systems converge, it is also true that the quality of power protection available from UPS manufacturers has developed to meet the needs of these environments.