The best-kept secret in remote, web-based power control is the Digital Loggers LPC Ethernet Power Controller. Don’t let the hilarious 70s porno background music and voice-over complete with GIANT ANOUNCER VOICE put you off. This is simply the only cost-effective multi-outlet power controller for home office use. For about $100 shipped you get a web-based, eight-outlet controller that’s built like a tank: wall-mountable metal case, built-in cooling fan, “real” heavy-duty wall outlet receptacles. In a year of use I’ve never had it unexpectedly change the state of an attached device, and I’ve never had to reboot it. If you’re really hard-core, it’s even controllable via code (see PDF manual for example PERL script).
Though I have been completely happy with the unit, there are a couple of quirks. For one, I’ve sometimes been unable to log in remotely using Internet Explorer, especially over public Wi-Fi. Continued attempts will cause a temporary security lockout. The workaround is to use Firefox (before the lockout!), which has never failed. The only other complaint I’ve had is noise. The tiny, high-speed case fan makes this the loudest device in my office (always on, of course), except on the hottest days when the processor fan on my P4 maxes out.
One of the nice things about the big metal box school of design employed by Digital Loggers is you’re somewhat encouraged to crack the case. Once my warranty is up in June I’ll probably drill some holes and replace the fan with a larger, slower one. I’m also going to investigate the possibility of splitting half the outlets onto a separate power supply, thus allowing for some UPS-protected outlets and some unprotected ones. Theoretically the supply side of the relays should be independent of the switching side. I probably wouldn’t even consider this kind of mod on a more expensive or injection-molded plastic unit.
For server rooms, Digital Loggers also offers an intriguing upgrade unit, the EPCR2. This ads extra outlets (though still eight circuits), dual power supplies and power cords, metering and monitoring, front-panel override switches, and backup dial-up access via serial ports–all in a 2U rack-mount chassis. I almost bought this one, but the $300 price tag was a little much for home use.
A note on customer service: Because I was working on a deadline (leaving for vacation), I ended up ordering by phone to discuss expedited shipping. Digital Loggers is a small company, and they keep it old school–hand sending email confirmations and seemingly remembering your name between calls. I had not experience that level of customer service since having a personal sales rep at CDW in the 90s (and I was spending a lot of corporate money with them to get that). Quite refreshing.
I can’t recommend this product or company enough.