TIA's Glossary of Telecommunication Terms

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uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

A device that is inserted between a primary power source, such as a commercial utility, and the primary power input of equipment to be protected, e.g., a computer system, for the purpose of eliminating the effects of transient anomalies or temporary outages. Note 1: An UPS consists of an inverter, usually electronic, that is powered by a battery that is kept trickle-charged by rectified ac from the incoming power line fed by the utility. In the event of an interruption, the battery takes over without the loss of even a fraction of a cycle in the ac output of the UPS. The battery also provides protection against transients. The duration of the longest outage for which protection is ensured depends on the battery capacity, and to a certain degree, on the rate at which the battery is drained. Note 2: An UPS should not be confused with a standby generator, which may not provide protection from a momentary power interruption, or which may result in a momentary power interruption when it is switched into service, whether manually or automatically.