Flexibility is essential in setting up a data network for your restaurant, pub, club, bar or office. As you select the networking hardware that will build your system, it’s important to consider items that will grow with you. Components that work well now, might not be able to keep pace with your budding business. Scalability is essential to making the most of your technology investment. Here are the basics for building the foundation of a scalable data network.
Understanding the difference between switches and routers
Two of the most essential pieces of equipment are switches and routers. While they look similar, they each have separate functions.
Switches connect devices together that are on the same network within the same physical building. This could include multiple computers, printers, audio systems, surveillance cameras and more. Once connected, these devices can communicate and share data among each other.
Routers tie these individual networks together, and connects them to the Internet. It dispatches information and protects your data from external security threats.
Building a scalable network foundation
Your network needs to keep up with the demands of business. That’s why it’s important to invest in business-grade equipment that will withstand time, versus smaller solutions that are designed for home use. Professional hardware will also enable you to add functionality where and when needed, such as video surveillance and wireless applications.
When selecting a switch, consider the number of Ethernet ports it has. The number of ports available should outnumber the devices within your network. Plan ahead in your business’ life cycle so that you don’t have to invest in another switch (simply to add more ports) before your existing one reaches its end of life.
A scalable network is one driven by performance for the long term. If your business requires large files to be transferred through the system, such as HD video files, you’ll need a switch that can perform this task quickly.
Consider wired vs. wireless networks
When reliability and speed are your main network concerns, a wired connection is usually preferred. However, expanding your network when it’s wired down may prove difficult for some businesses experiencing growth. Since wireless systems don’t require a physical network, they provide a simpler foundation for expansion.
Building a scalable data network for your business requires a balance between supporting the systems you have in place today, along with the requirements you may have tomorrow. In order to effectively manage this growth, it’s important to consider scalability and flexibility in both hardware and functionality as you build your data network.
If your business needs assistance in configuring the server room that houses your network components, wiring it together or operational IT services, connect with Panopticon Solutions in Toronto. Solutions-focused longevity is at the heart of what we do, so that your network systems can scale with growing businesses. For more information, give us a call at: 647-706-8650.