WFH Workers: What’s your Power and Internet DR Plan?

When we all worked in corporate offices, our enterprises (if they were large enough) developed DR plans for power and Internet connectivity, enough that it took a significant event to take a workforce offline. Through economy of scale, workers were all covered by DR plans for power, Internet, and environmental controls, resulting in a decent level of resilience.

APC UPS for laptop and WiFi

But now that many of us are home, our DR is not what it should be. In our home offices, we lack multiple ISP and power feeds. In almost every respect, our critical infrastructure at home (power, Internet, environmentals) are N+0: if our power goes out, or our Internet goes out, or if our heat or A/C go out, there are probably no backup systems.

We are each responsible for our own DR in our home offices. If we want resilient power, we need a UPS and/or a generator. If we want resilient Internet, we have to have a fallback plan. If we want resilient heat or A/C, we must have another source of heating or cooling.

We live in the country, where there’s no landline, no cable, and no fiber. We’ve lived in WA for decades, and are accustomed to extended power outages due to severe weather events. For us, Internet outages are infrequent, but they happen, particularly at harvest time when farm equipment parks in front of our fixed wireless antenna, or when our local ISP is doing maintenance on network elements such as patching routers.

Fixed Wireless Internet Antenna

Here are the details of my primary and backup plans:

ResourcePrimaryBackup
InternetFixed Wireless WiFi (12Mbps/12Mbps)iPhone tethering (3Mbps/3Mbps)
PowerUtility PowerCyberpower UPS for Internet POE (5 hrs)
APC UPS for WiFi and Laptop Computer (6 hrs
Honda EU2200 Generator
Future: 10 circuit transfer switch + larger generator + EMP circuit protection

Our utility power does go out from time to time. Since living here in our present home since mid-2020, we have had one outage lasting ~30 hours, and three outages lasting 1-3 hours. In the more prolonged outage, we fired up our larger generator (not pictured) to run our freezers and charge the UPSs.

Our source of water is a well that is on our property. When the power goes out, we have no water. For this reason, we have purchased a transfer switch that can enable us to run our well using our larger generator (I doubt that the little Honda can power it).

Gas generator

All of these measures have given me confidence that we will have power and Internet for short-term outages. For longer-term outages, the larger generator and transfer switch will enable us to run water and remain in our home for as long as we have generator fuel.

Since I do not work in a corporate office in a commercial building, I must implement my own resilience strategy. No one else is going to do it for me.

Smartphone WiFi hotspot

From a cybersecurity perspective, I’m pretty confident in our setup, but I’m not going to go into details here. We have a commercial NG-Firewall protecting our entire network, advanced anti-malware, secure DNS from cleanbrowsing.org, and other safeguards.

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