Question Power outage, cable modems, and backup generators.

gaveitatry

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Jan 26, 2014
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If I my cable modem is plugged into a portable backup generator while there is a power outage, will my internet work?

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I really have no idea. So that's why I came here for help. I have a wireless cable modem+router combo. When there is a power outage, there is no internet because the cable modem isn't getting any electricity. It might as well be unplugged. I would think that the obvious solution would be to buy a portable backup generator or battery or something and plug the cable modem into it. But I'm worried that won't work. I don't know how internet cable and companies work. Will the internet cable in the area be "dead" during a power outage, despite me having a portable power source inside of my apartment?
 
it may depend on how the building is wired.
if they have a powered hub that outputs to each apartment than unless they also have a backup you'd get no signal.
if it's individually routed to each apartment from outside than a good UPS should give quite a few hours of connection and a nicer generator should give you as much time as you can afford gas.

just remember to keep any generator outdoors when in use.
 
This depends on so many things it is not possible to say for sure.

In most cases the ISP has some kind of backup power in their equipment. If you look back many years even when the power was out for long times stuff like old style telephones worked. If you are using DSL running on phone lines those have the largest chance to work since it based on the same system. Things like cable modems or fiber connection tend to have power backup also. This maybe government required since many people now run their telephone over these systems and the government has all kinds of regulations about telephone service.

I have had power out in large area around my house for over 10 hours and the I ran on a generator without issues.

I guess it depends on how long the power goes out. For very short outages say under 30 minutes you can use a UPS. You must look at the total amount of power you are using from all devices. A UPS on the modem does not help if you have no power for your computer. You really should do the math and see how large the batteries are in the units. You can also be lazy and look at the weight. Batteries are heavy and in general the more they weight the longer they last.

For longer outages you need to use a generator. I would never recommend using a generator if you are in a apartment. You need a area outdoors to be able to run it without killing yourself. In addition you need a special type of generator for computer equipment. The cheaper generators are designed to run power tools on a construction site. The generator you need is called a inverter generator. These produce much cleaner power and since they are designed more to power home device the are a lot quieter.
 
A UPS on the modem does not help if you have no power for your computer.
this is definitely not true.
there are many other devices these days that use Wi-Fi or even direct connection to the internet other than a computer.

we've got multiple tablets, phones, laptops, even TV
that make use of my single UPS backed up modem and router.
For very short outages say under 30 minutes you can use a UPS.
with a 47" TV and our modem & router connected we get ~6 hours of power.
plus have Wi-Fi connection for all portable devices in the house.

for a regular blackout or downed power-line this is perfect.
for a hurricane or other major catastrophe of course a generator may also be needed.
 
with a 47" TV and our modem & router connected we get ~6 hours of power.
plus have Wi-Fi connection for all portable devices in the house.
When people exaggerate I tend to not believe the rest of the post. Unless you spent huge money it is not likely you have a UPS that can power a tv and other stuff for 6 hours. Even a very low power 47 inch tv use about 120watts. You need 60 amp hours of 12 volt battery to run for 6 hours assuming no power loss in conversion. When you consider most UPS that are in the $200-$300 price range only have 10amp hours and many UPS that cost over $1000 only have 40 amp hrs. It really makes me doubt you have a UPS that large. But sure if you have unlimited money you can buy the solar power battery systems and run your whole house for hours.
 

punkncat

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I keep my modem connected to a very humble UPS unit. In my own experience, not every time that the power "flashes" off is also a time that internet and comms traffic fail. I have found it to be super useful when working from home. By and large our power here is pretty reliable, but every now and again under periods of high demand it will "flicker" which was just long enough to have to wait a couple of minutes for the cable modem to sync again.

I also use a USP unit for the two computers in the office such that we have time to finish what we are working on and save before failure, if the power stays out longer. In my own case I get ~30 mins of run time for two computers, three monitors, and the switch they are connected to. If I shut one of those computers down (the higher powered one) I get just about two hours perhaps a little more.

One computer is a 2700X system with a GTX 1080, and the other an 8400 using integrated graphics.
 
When people exaggerate I tend to not believe the rest of the post.
so you don't "believe" that there are many other devices that use an internet connection than just a computer?
guess you've been hiding in some small village in some 3rd world country for the last decade or more.
it is not likely you have a UPS that can power a tv and other stuff for 6 hours
no where did i state that a television and "other stuff" is run for 6 hours off of the UPS. and hopefully no one just sits staring at a screen for that long even these days.
i stated that all that is connected is the TV, modem, & router and that we get ~6 hours of Wi-Fi connection for all of our portable devices.

and "other stuff" doesn't even play into account.
more devices connected via Wi-Fi does not make the router or modem draw any more power.
 
Ok I guess I just assumed since you actually said you had a tv connected you really used it. So I am unsure why you made a point of mentioning it.

The math is pretty simple though. You can figure out the time things will last. It purely is a function of how many amp hours of battery you have.

It has nothing at all to do with believing that there are other device using a router. It is I did not believe you that you ran your 47 inch tv. Which you now claim "ohh I didn't mean that"
 

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