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Posts Tagged ‘desktop computers’


Problems with Power Loss: Tips for Workplace Computer Battery Backups

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

It’s inevitable: employees working hard on a time-consuming project and then out of nowhere, the lights start to flicker and the power goes out. Suddenly, those workers express their frustration by pulling out their hair because they’ve just lost hours’ worth of work. In addition to being portable, laptop computers have a major advantage over their desktop counterparts: they can still work when the power goes out. Fortunately, battery backup devices also referred to as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), keep desktop computers running even when the power isn’t working like their more portable counterparts.

What is a UPS?

A UPS is a battery-powered device that resembles a large surge protector designed to provide a continuous flow of electricity to any devices it plugs into. This provides protection from changes in the power flow including surges where too much power comes through, complete power loss when no power comes through, and fluctuations where the amount of provided power is insufficient to keep everything running. In short, UPS devices provide short-term disaster recovery.

Why You Need Protection from the Unpredictable

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to predict when the power is going to fail. Occasionally, a powerful storm might blow through your area which increases the risk that the power will fail, but it’s no guarantee. Your office could experience 100 intense storms and never lose power, but then lose power for hours on a sunny, bright day because a strong wind gust knocked down a power line.

Installing a UPS device between a desktop computer and a power outlet can minimize power loss risk.

UPS Features

  • Types: There are two types of UPS devices: “standby” and “online.” Standby devices will switch on as soon as a power interruption is detected; however, there will be a several millisecond lag so that the computer may or may not avoid shutting down. Online UPS devices run the power to charge the battery and then continuously power the computer from the battery itself. Online UPS devices will not interrupt power until the battery is depleted.
  • Capacity: When selecting a UPS, you need to make sure the UPS is powerful enough to run your computer. Battery life can vary greatly depending on the UPS device capacity and how much wattage the computer will draw. Some devices can keep the computer running for hours, while others only a few minutes. Depending on the capacity, the UPS may serve as a “save now, shut down” backup or provide the ability to continue working.
  • Slots: The UPS has a specific amount of power outlets built in, so make sure it has enough to run the bare minimum. Do not be afraid to let non-essential devices like a second monitor or printers lose power.

Note: While laptop devices don’t need a UPS to keep running during a power outage, they still should be connected to a surge protector when charging to prevent device damage from power flow irregularity.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your business find strategies like adding UPS devices to desktop computers in order to increase productivity and avoid potential disasters. Contact us today to learn more!

Android and IOS: Is the Device Just Old, or Is It Obsolete?

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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When trying to determine if a piece of technology is simply old or completely obsolete, keep in mind that there are different criteria for Android and iOS devices than for desktop and laptop computers. An employee stuck using an obsolete device is likely, after all, to argue that replacing it would increase their productivity.

On the flip side, replacing functional devices too often can spiral out of control into unnecessary expenses.

An IT consulting firm can help your business understand how long a device should remain in use, a safe time range for buying older models, and how to plan upgrade cycles.

When Does A Device Become Obsolete?

The general rule is that a device becomes obsolete about four years after its release. This means that trying to save money by purchasing older devices on the cheap may not work out well, as they are unlikely to receive updates as long as a newer device. Usually you can buy only the most recent and second most recent smartphone devices new, but older refurbished devices are readily available.

Performance Issues with Old Devices

Determining if a device is aging vs. obsolete is pretty straightforward: If the employee can still complete all necessary work with the device, it is not yet obsolete.

However, older devices often have performance issues; notably, they may operate slower than the latest models. Older devices using Android often receive updates late, too, so users won’t receive security and interface improvement patches as soon as they’re available.

When Does a Smartphone Become Obsolete?

Forbes paints a pretty grim picture of aging devices, declaring that smartphones have about two years before they’re obsolete. Still, users can typically continue on without any major problems for an additional year or two.

Once obsolete, however, many devices are prone to disruptive conditions:

  • Security updates are no longer provided.
  • Vital applications are no longer compatible with the operating system.
  • The web browser ceases to display web pages correctly.

When Does Apple Consider Devices Obsolete?

Officially, Apple considers any product more than five years old obsolete, meaning the company tends to support their devices for a little longer than Android distributors. Apple usually supports iOS devices with the latest operating system for about four years. At this point the device will not receive updates, but it will still likely work for a while longer.

The device typically hits the obsolete category when it no longer runs the most recent version of iOS. If you buy an iOS device that’s already been on the market for two years, you’ll have to plan to replace it in another two years. A one-year-old device will be good for at least three years.

How Long Can Android Users Expect Operating Upgrades?

Android devices have a two-tier obsolescence system in which system updates stop coming and applications stop working. Android is a much more difficult case to gauge because updates need to come through Google, go to the manufacturer, and then reach the phone provider.

Android users can expect operating upgrades for two years after the phone is released, and a few additional months of security updates; both are soft obsolescence moments. What finally ends an Android device’s life (or, at least, its usefulness) is application incompatibility after about four years, which is dependent on the developer. Most try to support the oldest version possible, but this is not always the case.

If you want to make sure your employees are using up-to-date devices that increase productivity, MPA Networks can provide an IT and productivity assessment. Contact us today.