Those who read my reviews of TrippLite UPS systems a couple of years ago know that I was so impressed I’ve adopted their large rack-mount units for all my networks. For much smaller setups or a SOHO configuration, these big UPSs are too expensive and provide more capabilities than are needed. Typically this has meant buying one of the smaller UPSs from a number of vendors (including TrippLite), most designed to unobtrusively slip under a desk and provide battery and surge protection for your system and peripherals. The latest such offering from TrippLite, the InternetOffice 280, is intended to meet all SOHO requirements for just under $100, setting a price level that practically everyone can afford.

The InternetOffice 280 provides six outlets, all surge protected. Three of the outlets provide backup battery power. Adding to the feature list, the InternetOffice 280 provides both telephone and RJ 45 10Base-T sockets to protect against surges, too. Offered with a $25,000 lifetime guarantee, the InternetOffice 280 has a recommended selling price of $99.00.

To test the InternetOffice 280 it was attached to a typical SOHO setup: Pentium computer, HP Deskjet printer, and modem. The RJ45 network jacks were used to connect to an unmanaged hub. Our testbed allows electrical supply to be varied considerably, as well as permitting the introduction of spikes of varying voltage and duration. Whenever we varied the incoming voltage by more than the triggering thresholds (measured as 99 and 132 volts) the InternetOffice 280 kicks in and runs off battery until the voltage stabilizes again. Measured at the outputs, the InternetOffice 280’s voltage varied between 105 and 126 volts, all well within the design parameters of computer power supplies. When we failed the power completely, the battery provided our computer and monitor with 8 minutes of power (the reserve depends on the draw, of course). The spike and surge filters performed much better than typical surge protection power bars, clamping down quickly and filtering spikes equivalent to those a typical electrical supply generates. To prevent burning out the loaned unit we didn’t push the limits too far, but we’re confident the InternetOffice 280 can protect your equipment from the rigors of typical electrical utilities.

While UPSs are not glamorous, they are necessary. If you need to protect only a single computer and you’re looking for a reasonably priced unit that also handles network and telephone cables, the InternetOffice 280 is a winner.