With the first heat wave of the year hitting, I made the annoying discovery that the power provided to the 100-year-old home I moved into at the end of last summer wasn't very consistent. My various pieces of UPS equipment, which had served me well for the past few years, were continually setting off alarms as the power brownouts tripped their circuitry. Repeated momentary power outages didn't help, either, and the multiple 500 VA UPS units were in danger of being overwhelmed by the power problems. I also had some concerns about the quality of the electricity being provided, and after one computer died after repeated power failures, I decided to upgrade my power protection.

Like many small business owners, I wasn't in the position to pay thousands of dollars for larger UPS units with good management and communication features--I just wanted to get some control of my power and be able to get information about what the UPS was doing. A search of the major online resellers led me to the Belkin 1500 VA Dual Form Factor Small Enterprise UPS ( http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=&Section_Id=77&pcount=&Product_Id=186894 ).

For less than $200 per unit, the Belkin 1500 VA UPS provides complete support and protection for three connected computers. The UPS lets its management software connect over USB, serial, and network connections and includes the cables to support the connection types. This setup gives me the confidence that the three attached computers can shut themselves down, as necessary, which is important to me because the computers are always left on and are often unattended.

The unit also supports what Belkin calls Automatic Voltage Regulation, which is its name for a line power conditioner that lets the unit provide cleaner power to attached computers. As I expected, this functionality has been quite active (as indicated by the front panel display); it doesn't run continually, but comes into play when the temperatures peak in the afternoons and the power quality in this old neighborhood is reduced.

I now use my older UPS units to provide power protection to my external storage devices and the monitors in my office, most of which I rarely turn on because I use RDP to access and manage them from my primary desktop, if at all possible. I attach my printers to the surge suppressor sections of two UPS units, but the printers don't get battery backup. The two flat-panel displays attached to my main desktop computer are also plugged into the Belkin UPS, meaning that I'm using five of the eight provided power connections and have three connections available for future growth.

This UPS provides a high level of power protection and battery backup with a useful set of features at a price point that is so low that any small office/home office (SOHO) user, as well as small business user, should give serious consideration to picking up a couple of these units for his or her office.