Overall and Final Verdict

Where your average home user might just be looking at a basic power strip, a PDU is a product that not only offers a way to keep your power wiring on a server rack clean it also has other functionality depending on what type of PDU you go with. EnGenius’s ECP106 Switchable Smart PDU would be on the higher end of that functionality with it having surge protection, per outlet and total PDU power tracking, and individually switchable outlets that tie in with their EnGenius Cloud service allowing a few unique abilities beyond remotely being able to control each outlet. While being able to clean up some of the mess that is our server rack is nice, the main reason I have been looking at a PDU was to work out an issue that seems to pop up only when I travel where some part of our network has an issue and requires a reboot. I tried a smart plug early on but learned that because you issue the off and on independently turning the outlet off would kill any internet connection and I wouldn’t be able to turn it back on. Similarly, when the internet connection itself had a problem the smart control wasn’t accessible. The EnGenius’s ECP106 does have proper reset commands which means that even if rebooting the outlet kills the connection it will still complete the reboot. But the big feature for me is its auto reboot functionality. You can set up a check that will ping a specific IP and when that goes down, after a specific number of failed pings EnGenius’s ECP106 will reboot that outlet. This is a better hands-off solution for my issues that can potentially fix the issue even before I notice things are down.

The EnGenius’s ECP106 was easy to get set up and with two different sets of brackets, you have a variety of mounting options. For in rack you can mount the PDU flush or have it recessed back so the cables don’t get in the way of a door. Beyond that though you can use those same brackets to mount to the wall or vertically on the edge of your rack as well. The only downside I ran into for my specific setup was that I would love to have a model with the outlets facing out the back of the PDU. That is mostly just to be able to have the power display visible on the front of our rack while still having the cleaner wiring. That front display doesn’t replace what you can see when looking through the software but it is nice to be able to check on when in person, same with the power button as well but individual power buttons per outlet would be a lot more useful to avoid turning off multiple devices. The timed delays build in and that you can adjust is a nice addition when powering up the entire rack as well.

The EnGenius’s ECP106 is relatively simple and hits its mark in all of the things I needed for our specific setup. The only other area that I would like to see improved on is expanding what you get in the logs. The current logs available on EnGenius Cloud just cover firmware updates and the bootup of the ECP106 itself. I would love to see any powering up or down of individual outlets added in and other areas like ping’s failing or when the auto-reboot feature is used. Those logs are on the software side and could potentially be added in the future and I hope that EnGenius considers doing just that.

The EnGenius ECP106 is listed on their own store for $699, which by the way when did EnGenius get a store I’ve never seen that before! But the ECP106 can be found in other online stores like CDW for $434.99. For a lot of people, that is going to sound a little crazy for a high tech smart power strip. But it is in line with what you would see for other commercial PDUs. A basic single switch manual PDU with 6 outlets for example runs around $80 at CDW and that quickly goes up in price once you add in wattage/voltage/amperage tracking and the ability to control the outlets remotely like the ECP106 does. A good example of the competition would be the PDU41001 from CyberPower which isn’t cloud-controlled but does have similar features and is $499. So while not cheap from the outside, EnGenius is cheaper than the competition.


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Author Bio
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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