[Nut-upsdev] Idea: UPS id via powerline broadcast

Charles Lepple clepple at gmail.com
Thu Sep 1 12:39:19 UTC 2011

On Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM, Stuart D Gathman <stuart at bmsi.com> wrote:
> The problem:
> We maintain small servers in customer offices.  Customers often get
> confused when asked to plug the server into the UPS.  Sometimes they
> have multiple servers from different vendors, and multiple UPSs, and
> plug our server into the wrong UPS.  The end result is that the UPS
> being monitored with NUT is often *not* the UPS the server is actually
> plugged into.
> A solution:
> There is a set of X10 gadgets that respond to commands broadcast over
> home powerlines with up to 16 addresses.  A UPS could use a similar
> protocol to broadcast a 48 or 64 bit ID (similar to a MAC) over the
> power cords plugged into it.   A computer could have a detector built in
> (or even added on via USB and a POWER socket insert - but a customer
> could probably figure out a way to mess that up also).  When the
> built-in detector sees the UPS ID you are expecting, you know that the
> server is plugged into the correct UPS.  If you see no ID or the wrong
> ID, you know that it is plugged into something else.

Hmm, interesting.

There are actually a number of network-over-power-line devices that
relay entire Ethernet packets, so I wonder if there is a "lite"
version of the MAC/PHY chips which could be used to send that ID.

If the UPS and power supplies provided a full network link, the NUT
protocol could run over that as well, keeping it out of the regular
traffic on the other network interfaces. Discovery could be done with
mDNS and DNS-SD.

- Charles Lepple

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