By Grace Wellings
Power outages are common in rural areas, but the number that have happened within the last semester seems insane for this campus. These are not true outages either. They are just little flickers of the lights and nothing more. This is a serious problem on a university campus with backup generators and batteries in place. This means that even when the power just barely flickers, all of these backup machines are affected.
There are battery backups everywhere on campus. They are meant to store enough power to keep any machine plugged into it running until it can be safely shut down - meaning that no data will be lost. We have every WIFI switch rack plugged into one of these battery backups so that when the power goes out it has time to shut down correctly. That’s fine. It is when it has to suddenly choose between shutting down and turning on again because the power only flickering that there becomes an issue.
Entire buildings will lose WIFI access from just one power outage because the battery backup has to be reset after every outage, no matter how small the flicker is. So, if the power goes out over the weekend, the dorms lose all internet access and suddenly no students can do homework because they have no way to access internet. This means that one of Office of Technology staff have to around campus and reset every battery backup to get the WIFI up and running again. What is sad though is that this is not even the biggest problem with these power outages.
The biggest problem the Office of Technology faces with these constant power outages is the technology constantly being fried from the sudden surge of power that happens every time the power flickers on and off. The technology can’t take that sort of kickback as often as it has to on this campus.
There is almost always an entire department worth of desk phones that get fried every outage. Then there are times where there will be four, five, six computer towers all with their power sources completely toasted even though they were plugged into a surge protector. This campus has lost thousands of dollars’ worth of projectors in various auditoriums because of the power outages. The keycard locking systems in most of the buildings are totaled due to the sudden surges. The list just goes on and on because nothing is being done about it; if anything can be done about it, that is.