Building a scalable networks infrastructure is the backbone of every modern business. In order to provide products or services to us, a business relies on the internet to connect with people. And how do we access the internet? With routers, networks cables and switches! Providing internet access to your business might seem as simple as calling your service provider for internet. However, every business operates differently in terms of size, range, and type of work. As a result, there are a million configurations to design a network cabling system that is optimized for each business’ situation. Simply copy and pasting another business’ solution will not always lead to effective results. Depending on your business type, operating requirement, bandwidth, your facility, your company growth pace, and your budget, you need a highly customized network solution just for your business.

This article will walk you through all the key considerations you need to ask yourself before you place your order for network equipment. These are very essential questions for which you need answers. These questions are applicable to most businesses. This is the only resource you will need for building a future-proof internet for your business.

Building a Scalable Networks Infrastructure is the Backbone of Your Business

These days, it is hard to imagine not requiring the internet to complete your day-to-day work. And while smaller businesses can operate with basic internet access, larger companies can be crippled if their network goes down for even an hour. Whether your company is business-to-consumer or business-to-business, internet access and reliable networking is essential for all your basic computer functions, financial transactions, market research, procurement, communications, and a surveillance system.

Surveillance Systems in Scalable Networks

Surveillance system are a crucial part of every business. The reason is that your “surveillance system” is no longer limited for security purposes anymore. Security cameras can also be used in day-to-day work, like monitoring and managing warehouse inventory. You can also use your cameras for vehicle license plate capture to see who is going in and out of your facility or condo for verification and parking management. And it can also aid in safety, monitoring equipment or employees to ensure swift action in the event of an emergency.

Even if your business only uses cameras for deterrence and protection, security cameras are getting more advanced these days. From a network infrastructure standpoint, IP cameras require dedicated network cabling and ports to send the data from each unit to your network video recorder for storing, analysing, backup your footage. Plus, you also need to consider different camera resolutions, which require different bandwidth for data transmission. Then you need to figure out how many cameras to install and where you will place them. It can be daunting at first, but once everything is set up, your new system will be easy to use and will serve you well for years.

Video Conferences

Virtual meetings and remote work environment have become the norm over the past 2 years. As a result, your business’ network should have enough bandwidth to support video calls either for your team or your clients.

Generally, Zoom and most other video communication platforms require at least an upload and download speed of 3 Mbps. Most internet equipment such as switches and routers can easily support these speeds. Nevertheless, if you have many employees attending video calls simultaneously, then it is very possible that your video call quality will suffer.

Luckily, you won’t need to increase your internet service speed to solve this bandwidth issue. There is a limit to your internet speed, but there is no limit to how you can improve your internet usage efficiency. When you are building scalable networks infrastructure for your business, you need to plan out how many internet devices your network supports in order to divide traffic between wired devices and wireless devices. You can implement software commands to your routers to prioritize video calls so that the network will give more bandwidth to such applications and limit others. Alternatively, you can build a meeting room at your office and program your routers to prioritize traffic in this meeting room.

Audio and VoIP Communications

Voice calls requires much lower bandwidth than other applications on a network. However, a low bandwidth requirement does not mean that you can simply put the VoIP phone system on your network without any concerns. The reason is that VoIP communication has a lower latency and interruption tolerance. In other words, a webpage taking a second longer to load is perfectly fine, but one second of interruption during real-time audio phone call is unacceptable.

Additionally, your VoIP system requires the use of a multiport switches to support many devices. To accommodate more users in the future, it is wise to invest in a switch that has more ports than you need right now. It is much easier to add another VoIP using an extra port, rather than having to replace the switch you have outgrown. It is also recommended to use a CAT5e or CAT6 cable to connect the IP phone to the switch or router. Keep in mind, that you need to stay within the recommended maximum length of 330 feet or about 100 meters for CAT5e or CAT6 cables.

For even further future proofing, you can look into VoIP systems that support power over Ethernet (PoE). This allows you to power your IP phone with a single ethernet cable. No need for extra power cables or adapters, resulting in cleaner cabling in your building.

How Much Internet Do You Need for Scalable Networks?

Low-Speed Use Cases

As mentioned earlier, on average, 3 to 5 Mbps of bandwidth is recommended per employee for adequate quality video calls. Most business these days require much more complicated internet usage patterns. If you only need to do: point-of-sale transactions, simple file sharing, basic web browsing, and providing guest Wi-Fi for 20 to 30 people at a time, 250 Mbps to 500 Mbps is sufficient. For instance, if you are running a small coffee shop, clinic, hair salon, or a retail store, you should be comfortable with 250 Mbps to 500 Mbps bandwidth.

However, if you think your business would have more 30 visitors using your network, or you operate a lot more internet-enabled devices like security cameras, printers, smart TV, and of course, computers and smartphones, choosing 1,000 Mbps (1GB) internet is not a bad idea. It is getting more and more common these days that many smart businesses start to implement more complicated network structures to support many smart devices. As your business grows, you will only add devices rather than removing them. It is wise to budget additional bandwidth.

Mid-Range Speed Use Cases

If you are running a small size tech company, a studio or small hotel, you require much higher bandwidth to transmit documents and support hundreds of visitors. In those cases, you will need at least 1 GB internet. You may not need use the top speed all the time but having the flexibility of additional bandwidth helps your business to respond faster than your competitors. On another note, digital document and file sizes are only getting bigger and bigger. Even you are not actively hiring your internet usage will grow regardless over time. Thus, investing in faster internet now is a straightforward way to future-proof your business’s network.

From an application standpoint, small tech companies may require frequent cloud computing and data backups, server hosting or multiple servers. If you are running any of these applications and streaming conferences, having 3 Gbps or even up to 10 Gbps internet might not be a bad idea. Again, you may not need all the bandwidth at first, but it is still a wise idea for the long run.

Use Cases for High-Speed Scalable Networks

For high-speed applications, you are looking for at least 3 Gbps bandwidth to support all your operations. Some big organizations, such as warehouses or factories, may not need as much bandwidth for their daily operations. However, we are entering a more automated and tech reliant society. Soon, we expect to see more and more smart devices or internet of things (IoT) to help warehouse and factories to improve their efficiency and productivity. These IoTs require a reliable and organized network to operate. Therefore, if you are planning to expand your business and implement newer technology year over year, it is beneficial to use faster internet.

If your business requires a high intensity of cloud computing, data backup, server hosting, or your business needs to support hundreds or more devices, you will need the fastest internet service you can find. At the same time, you must make sure the routers, switches and hubs you use support that much bandwidth, have a firewall and other intelligent resource management functions build in.

You need to make sure you will have a dedicated server room to host all the equipment in scalable networks, which we will discuss in more details in the next section. You need to pre-program your network equipment to manage traffic intelligently. If you are not doing this properly, there is a high chance your network equipment may get congested, overheat, or malfunction, which will lead to slow internet, even outage and damage your hardware.

Establishing a Server Room for Scalable Networks

As mentioned before, to support hundreds or more devices, you need to establish a server room at your premises. Businesses can easily deploy hundreds of devices including computers, VoIP phones, printers, security cameras, or any other smart devices. In that case, many switches are needed to make sure that all your electronics have direct connections to each other. You might also need to manage storage devices for your backups, footage. And you should not forget adding an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), so that power outages will not damage your hardware or corrupt data. Altogether it is far more convenient to have all these devices in one room or rack. Not only will this facilitate repairs or maintenance, but it will also allow for easier cooling of the units and contains all the noise the hardware will produce.

Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Location

There are many things you need to consider when choosing where to place your network equipment. The first factor must be power supply. Operating network equipment is like operating a stove or a dryer in a house. They need enough power supply for all your network equipment and a cooling solution. Ideally, your network should not share the same circuit with other power consuming units in your business, like freezers, HVAC, or machinery.

Of course, choose a room that has a substantial size is important as well. This room is not only for hosting all the equipment but also for people who come in occasionally to do regular inspection and maintenance work. Having some additional space is also good for future network expansion.

Step 2: Keep Your Server Room Cool

The room should already have a good ventilation system. When it is easier for air to go through, dust has less chance to collect on your equipment or cooling fans. Less dust on your equipment means less overheating. Similarly, it is best to keep the room dry as possible well to avoid overheating damage to electronics.

If you have a dedicated server room, you must install a dedicated an active cooling and a dehumidifier system if necessary. There are two common ways to install a cooling system. One method requires raising the floor and letting all cooling units run underneath all your network equipment. On the other hand, a less complication solution uses in-row cooling units on every server rack. Both solutions work equally well for most cases. Worst comes to worst, most server racks also have internal fans which works great if there are not too many racks in one unit.

Step 3: Wire Management

Cable management in a server room is not just for the aesthetic. Mismanaged wires could lead to some serious problems down the line in scalable networks. Firstly, unmanaged cabling makes it extremely difficult to diagnose the problem network issues. You waste a lot of precious time trying to figure which cables leads to the suspect device and vice versa. There is also the potential of the crosstalk effect between cables. This is where there is electrical signal interference among cables when too many bundled together, leading to performance loss. Safety is another issue. If someone trips over loose cables, not only can that person could get injured, and your devices can also be damaged leading to network service interruptions.

Therefore, it is very important to manage your equipment and wiring properly. To avoid the crosstalk issue, using fiber cables is the best solution. Fiber cables can also support faster speed. You just need to make sure your other equipment support fiber cable ports. There are many racks in the market to help you to mounting servers and switches and managing cables. It is important to use professional accessories for all your network equipment. It is also beneficial when you want to expand your network to support more employees or devices.

Step 4: Deploy Security and Monitoring Measures

Considering the server room contains all the switches that connect your devices and storage that contains all your data, this room is easily the most important room in your business. Accordingly, you do not want to leave this room unguarded and must take the necessary precautions.

Firstly, ensure this server room only accessible to authorized employees. You don’t want sensitive info leaking or accidental damage from someone inexperienced. Secondly, make sure it has its own dedicated backup power. In one blackout, you can potentially lose all your data if your devices are updating or processing data. As well, you should have fire extinguishers in this room rather than using water based fire sprinklers. And lastly, depending on the sensitivity of your devices, we recommend that there should be surveillance cameras monitoring the room 24/7.

From the software layer, there should be a solid firewall built into all your network equipment to avoid cyberattacks. You need to update your software and firewall to patch any software layer vulnerabilities constantly.

How to Choose Switches When Building Scalable Networks Infrastructure

Switches are one of the fundamental building blocks for any network system. They facilitate your network resources and allow all your office devices to communicate with each other. A most common mistake business make is only paying attention to the number of ports on the switch or its speed. To be fair, the strategy of “only buying what you need” will be sufficient for smaller business. However, if you want a network system that will work and grow with your business for years, it is wise to invest in scalable networks.

Step 1: Choose the Class and Speed.

Different classes of switches mean that they have a different level of management. Unmanaged switches are simply increasing the number of ports. You can easily expand your network by adding more unmanaged switches when you just want to support additional devices without any resource management features.

Managed switches have additional feature such as VLAN support, PoE controls, traffic analysis, smart traffic control, and multi-cast support. Depending on the specific features you want, there are WebSmart, EdgeSmart, Layer 2, and Layer 3 switches. Explaining all types of switches goes beyond the scope of this article. Normally WebSmart switches have the most versatile features.

Other than the management features, speed is a key factor. As mentioned before, it is better to have the switches that support faster connection speed. Typically, a 10 Gb, 2.5 Gb, Gigabit, or 10/100 switch is adequate for most use cases. These multi-Gigabit switches provide better scalability.

Step 2: Choose Port Counts

For the number of ports, you need to consider the total number of devices will connect to the network through wired connections. This includes Wi-Fi routers, printers, VoIP phones, surveillance IP cameras and any other future devices you plan to add.

One thing to note, if you are using these switches for surveillance camera system, it is better to reserve 2 additional ports for the Network Video Recorders (NVRs).

Step 3: Choose the Form Factor

There are usually two types of form factors to choose from. They are both capable of supporting all types of devices. One is wall-mountable switches, which are a great option if you want to save space. This type of switches is more useful for low-intensity network operations. Unfortunately, wall-mountable switches are not very easy to upgrade or manage your cables.

The other type is rack-mount switches. You can integrate these switches on industry standard server racks. Unlike wall mounted switches, rack mounted switches are easier to maintain and upgrade or to connect new devices. Regardless, neither is better than the other and what you choose depends entirely on your space and use case.

Wireless Support

If we are talking about future-proofing a network, we cannot avoid talking about wireless or Wi-Fi networks. Ironically, wireless network still requires wired connections from the backend. It will be less wires compared to a wired solution, but its important to understand that each individual wireless access point requires at least one Ethernet cable for network connection and power. Since these access points are outside of the server room, there is a higher chance of wireless interference from other wireless signals. This section will focus on a few key areas for building the best wireless network.

Wireless Standards for Scalable Networks

When we talk about new Wi-Fi 6 technology, at the technological level, we are actually talking about if they support the latest Wi-Fi standards. If they do, that means the Wi-Fi equipment is more advanced. Since the introduction of Wi-Fi technology, there have been 7 generations of Wi-Fi standards, with Wi-Fi 7 tech slowly making its way in 2023. Their names, band, speed and features are in the following table.





Max. Data Rate


Wi-Fi 1



2.4 GHz

11 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 2



5 GHz

54 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 3



2.4 GHz

54 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 4



2.4/5 GHz

600 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 5



5 GHz

6933 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 6



2.4/5 GHz

9608 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 6E



2.4/5/6 GHz

9608 Mbit/s


Wi-Fi 7



2.4/5/6 GHz

46120 Mbit/s


Today, 2.4 and 5 GHz bands are the most common bands for Wi-Fi manufacturers. Most existing networks are using Wi-Fi 5 or even older standards. They do provide adequate speed, but they lack many modern intelligent features to manage resources. Since Wi-Fi 5, wireless network started to support multiple input and multiple out (MIMO) feature, which further improves speed and efficiency. However, when it comes to resource management and handling larger network traffic, Wi-Fi 6 does a much better job. If you want the highest speed with the most advanced features to avoid interruptions, Wi-Fi 6 is the best choice for future proofing your wireless network. Although, if you are in no rush, Wi-Fi 7 is aiming to improve the advancements of Wi-Fi 6 even further! It is slated to release in 2023, with mainstream adoption by 2024.


Interference from adjacent access points or other wireless signal operating at the same frequency could be a series issue. A typical example is that microwave oven operates at 2.45 GHz which is close to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi signal. It is a common issue for some poor-quality Wi-Fi access points that when you try to heat up food in the microwave, you may notice interruptions in your Wi-Fi connection.

To avoid interference, it is better that you install a dual channel system, which uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You can change to the other band when you detect any connection issues. A better solution would be using a Wi-Fi 6 system. When the access point detects interference, it will ramp up the power to ensure there is no interruption to your connection.


As mentioned before, Wi-Fi 6 has much improved capacity, thanks to the 8x8 MIMO. What does that mean exactly? That means it will carry 4 times of the traffic comparing to Wi-Fi 5. At the same time, you are not sacrificing any speed whatsoever. In real-life practice, you probably will get faster connection speed.

Therefore, from capacity standpoint, Wi-Fi 6 is the ideal solution for a meeting room, office cubicles, or manufacturing floor with many internet-enable devices. It is also for businesses like hotels, hospitals, and museums where they are many visitors.

When/Why to Upgrade your Cabling in Scalable Networks?

Cables and cable management play a very important role in a network. They seem like just wires, but they have more technology in them than most people realize. Cables and cable management require upgrades just like any other network equipment. This section will walk you through all scenarios where you need to upgrade your cabling.

Network Cabling Technology

The most common cables are copper and fiber cables. For copper cable types, there are usually CAT5 and CAT6 cables. As mentioned earlier, copper cables could have crosstalk interference and they also have limited transmission distance of 100 meters. Typically, CAT6 cables have more advance build than CAT5 cables to avoid the crosstalk issue.

If you want further future-proof when building scalable networks infrastructure by removing crosstalk and transmission distance limit, fiber cables are the better option. For starters, fiber cables can transmit twice the speed of copper cables. The transmission distance is over 30 kilometers. And lastly, there is no crosstalk between fiber cables since they are using optical signals. Overall, fiber provides much more flexibility when it comes to cable management and scalable networks.

Fiber Cabling

We mentioned a few advantages of fiber cables over copper cables. However, does that mean fiber cables are more future proof than copper cables? The answer is yes. Fiber cables are not only faster than copper cables, but they are also more secure, reliable, and durable.

Fiber optical cables are much lighter and thinner than copper cables. That helps them to survive storm, hurricanes and other natural disasters. With additional protective cladding, they can be waterproof, weatherproof, and temperature-proof. If your business relies on fast and stable internet, large documents transfer and intense cloud computing, fiber cables will provide the most consistent and high-quality connection.

Inferior Performance and Frequent Outage

If you are consistently experiencing lower speed or even frequent outages, there is a good chance that your cables are too old to handle your internet traffic. Or this could also be a result from the interference effect, as mentioned earlier. In this case, it is wise to check to make sure your other network equipment is operating normally, and your software setting is up-to-date. In that case, you certainly need to upgrade your cabling with the latest standards and better cable management.

Inspecting Your Cabling

When failures happen, people don’t normally think it is a cable issue. This can make diagnoses confusing when you accidentally test your hardware using faulty cabling. Therefore, we recommend inspecting all cables exclusively every year. If any cable system does not pass the inspection, you should replace them. If you can visually see that some cables are in a very bad shape or even physical damaged, it can be a good excuse to replace and upgrade to better network cabling.

Adding or Upgrading your Devices to Your Scalable Networks

Year after year, businesses usually expand in workforce and sometimes locations. This means you are adding new employees, adding new computers, and installing VoIP phones or Wi-Fi extenders constantly. Sometimes you even need to move to a bigger office to accommodate your business’ growth. Even if you are not planning to expand your business in the near future, technology will continue to progress. In fact, electronics like computers ideally needs upgrades every 3 years, alongside your other devices which all have varying life spans.

When you are upgrading your network devices to support newer and faster network access, scalable networks infrastructure needs to support these changes. Plus, investing in more advanced network cabling certainly makes your upgrading process easier.

If you are adding more hardware, it usually necessitates more switches and routers. You also need more cables to support these new devices. To have consistent performance across your organization, it makes sense to have the same type of cables connecting all your devices.

Insufficient Security System

Security systems require advanced cabling because they are constantly transmitting and storing video files. Any network interference or outage would mean missing frames and distorted image quality. If you want a more advanced security system such as off-site storage backup, or real-time remote access, having an advanced cabling will remove all quality and function limitations.


Overall, building scalable networks infrastructure requires a lot of thought. You need to understand the direction of your business, how many employees you expect to have, understand how technology will progress and make decisions based on your situation. There is truly so much work if you are planning to build a future proof network for your business. Luckily help, is never far away. Whether your business is in manufacturing, or in an office setting or even retail, Panopticon will have the right network and security solution for you. Call Panopticon Solutions at 416-613-8828 to book your consultation appointment today.