I have been quite busy this summer working on my house in Michigan. Along with some new decorating performed per my lovely wife’s instructions, I also had four IP cameras installed so I can watch the deer and groundhogs decimate the vegetation around the Engebretson Van Buren County bunker.

One of the realities of rural living, at least where my house is in Michigan, is that AC power outages happen quite often, whether it’s a storm or some maintenance service that the local power company is performing. Although I do receive emails letting me know that my power has failed, I don’t receive notifications that the power has been restored. I can check with my alarm company, EPS in Grand Rapids, to see what signaling they’ve received. In some cases, if the power is off long enough that the backup battery in my Honeywell alarm panel goes low and sends in a signal to the central station.

When I was planning the installation of my video system I decided on two Wi-Fi cameras indoors, and two cabled outdoor domes, looking at the front and backyards. I immediately decerned that I was going to have to power the outdoor cameras, so a PoE switch would have to be used so that the cameras can be installed with single UTP cables.

I have used and endorsed TRENDnet products for years. They work, they last a long time and their devices are economical to purchase. Thanks to Ms. Denise Shaw at TRENDnet I was able to get one of the TPE-TG51e five-port network switch with Gigabit capability for all five ports, with four ports providing PoE or PoE+ power outputs. Sixty watts of overall POE is available, so this very small unit can be a power supply for up to four cameras. Additional features include the ability to extend the PoE+ out to 200 meters of UTP, with the bandwidth limited to 10 Mbps.  DIP switches provide the ability for the ports to be selected for VLAN port isolation, and this innovative switch can provide up to 10 Gbps of aggregate throughput.

With the regular occurrence of power outages, I need to plan a method to provide battery backup for the home’s IP network devices, including the TRENDnet switch, Wi-Fi router and the internet service provider, in this case Bloomingdale Communications, fiber to UTP media converter, all of which require individual power connections. I selected a UPS power supply with enough AC sockets to accommodate all these devices.

I selected the UPS for an additional reason. When there’s a power failure and then the power to turns back on, this generally produces an AC surge that can and will damage connected electronic equipment. Trust me, it cost me a refrigerator when its circuit board was blown out by a power surge or spike. I did put an inline power strip-type surge protector on the refrigerator, and connected all the internet and network electronics with the new UPS so that the devices are protected (at least I hope so).

So with the help of the professional installers from Bloomindale Communications and my Michigan right hand man Paul Miller, we were able to get the camera system installed and running in probably two hours.  And now I can open my Obercloud app and see just what vegetational destruction the deer have committed. If the power fails my outdoor cameras will still work and be connected to the internet, while my EPS alarm system provides intrusion notifications.

Then the homeowner must wait the 30-plus minutes for the county sheriff officer to arrive. That is what you get for living in an unincorporated area. And don’t get me started on the volunteer fire department’s performance.

I miss the Lucky Girl. Great barbeque and beer.