Tech Troubleshooter Part 1: Taking the Eish! Out of Eish!Kom

Alex Sudheim
on 17 May 2021

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This is the first of a series of brief articles designed to render the arcana of tech-speak understandable to those of us who don’t have degrees in electrical engineering.

Here we look at how the Voys phone system in the cloud, in tandem with a decent uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can spare you and your business from some of the grief brought on by Eskom’s load shedding. This also applies to other sudden, sometimes destructive unplanned outages such as when your local substation gets zapped by lightning or some tiefs make off with all the copper.


Eskom Se P***

You know that feeling when you’ve just turned on the kettle to make a lekker cup of rooibos and fired up Netflix for a moerse binge session and then: LOAD SHEDDING! Fewer words have the power to rattle even the most stable South African. And the number of remaining stable South Africans is currently shrinking at an alarming rate. We certainly appreciate our Eskom Se Push app but boy, wouldn’t it be nice if we never needed it again? Let’s face it, ‘glass of tap water by candlelight’ just doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Netflix and chill’ amiright?

Luckily the tech-gods have smiled upon us long-suffering South Africans and blessed us with the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which can power your essential electronics through these times when days are dark and electrons are few. By ‘essential’ we mean ‘the internet’: the kind of UPS we’re talking about here isn’t going to keep your beers cold and vleis frozen. (For that you’ll need an inverter or generator, but more of that in Part 2.) But it will keep your router going which means those crucial communication lines remain open.

Because the Voys Hosted PBX is cloud-based, it remains unaffected by load shedding. Our servers are located in state-of-the-art data centres with emergency power supplies in place. If a server should go offline, a server in another geographic location seamlessly takes over. So, if your office is struck by a power failure or loss of internet connection, your Voys PBX will stay online. Your business’ welcome message and auto attendant will still be active and inbound calls can automatically be rerouted to the cellphones of your colleagues.


The Only Way is UP(S)

However, to remain fully functional on the interwebs, it is optimal to have a UPS in play so you still have juice to keep the necessary electronics alive while Eskom isn’t doing so. To really put the ‘uninterruptible’ into ‘uninterruptible power supply’, the ideal solution is to be running on fibre with a reliable UPS in place to power your router and ONT, the terminal connecting your modem to the fibre box installed outside of your premises.

Fibre optic systems are ideal in the context of load shedding as they have backup power in place where many a mobile network does not. Yes, ADSL might not be as affected when the grid goes down but it moves at glacial speed through copper cables. 4G also has its advantages when the grid goes dark but cellular networks get flooded during outages, leaving you with an unreliable connection.

MICRO DC UPS POWERBANK 8800MAH ULTRALAN

We recommend a Micro UPS which has several advantages over the traditional kind. Here’s an example. It’s purpose-built for fibre routers which means it provides power for up to 8 hours and will outlast anything Eskom can throw at it. It has a USB charger so you can juice your phone/tablet when the power’s down; it doesn’t make those epileptic robot noises the traditional UPS is notorious for and comes in at under a grand.


 

Other Recommendations:

  • Set failover (cell) phone numbers in your Dial Plan in Freedom. If a VoIP phone is not available, another device will ring. At the very least, set a voicemail message so you can return calls when business is back to normal or make outbound calls with the Voys 4G app.

  • Go renewable. According to energy engineers, solar panels now produce power at around 65c per kWh. Apart from insulating you from the schlep of load shedding, going green makes both environmental and financial sense.

If you’d like to chat about options or need some help in setting up failover to cell phones please get in touch with us on 021 012 5000. We’re only too happy to rescue you from the Dark Ages.

 

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