Outdoor Direct Burial Cat6 Cable
Posted on March 04 2020
Direct Burial Cable CAT5e and CAT6
It is widely known that cabling consists of both indoor and outdoor cabling. Even non-professionals might be accustomed already to indoor cabling, and that is why we are going to discuss about outdoor cabling. It is possible to run Cat5e outdoor cable and Cat6 outdoor cable to your network devices between homes or other surrounding buildings. These Ethernet cables can equally be installed outside of a house or through a roof to reach a target room.
Although it is possible to achieve this task with regular Cat6 cable, it is recommended to use the weatherproof network cables— outdoor rated Cat6 cable.
When to Use Regular Network Cables
With their plastic, thin casing, regular Ethernet cables degenerate fast when it is exposed to natural elements. If you still want to use regular Ethernet cables, you can get the best result by putting them in a conduit and then burying the conduit under the ground. The depth of burial ground should be about 6 to 8 inches and should be far away from sources of electrical interference like power lines.
Plastic pipes such as PVC installed with waterproofing can serve as a conduit. Regular network cables aren’t designed for outdoor uses. This is because natural elements like extreme weather conditions and humidity can affect the cable performance leading to failure.
When to Use Outdoor Direct Burial Cat6 Cable
Special outdoor weatherproof direct burial network cables should be used for outdoor cable networking instead of ordinary cables.
Even though direct burial cables cost more, they’re designed to last longer and precisely for outdoor use.
You should take note that both direct burial and ordinary network cables can attract lighting strikes to some degree, and burying your cable underground doesn’t lessen its affinity for lightning. You should install surge protectors as a form of an outdoor Ethernet network guard against strikes from lightning and avert damage to your indoor device.
Outdoor Network Cabling Range
One Ethernet cable, whether installed outdoor or indoor, is designed only to function on over a distance of about 328 feet (about 100 meters). However, there are some networks that can operate properly with Ethernet cables that can reach twice that distance.
When a network cable is stretched past the recommended 328 feet limit, it’s performance and reliability might suffer. Repeater devices or active hubs is normally installed with network cables to increase the range of an outdoor Ethernet network. Also, this can equally be said for indoor cabling.
Extra Benefits of Outdoor Burial Cables
It isn’t rare to find direct burial cables with additional features for protection like stiff interior splines to avoid accidental crushing, or an extra layer of armor that will prevent underground rodents or other animals from eating or biting into the cables. Though, the best protection as we have mentioned before is to run our cables inside conduits. Some argue that using conduits reduces the convenience of using direct burial cabling, and it is easy for conduits to fill with water and develop a new set of problems.
Installing Outdoor Direct Burial Ethernet Cables
The installation of an outdoor Ethernet cable is a straightforward task especially when you’re using the appropriate cabling. The only vital caution is that you should make sure you place lightning/surge protectors at each end. This is because, Ethernet network cables is widely known to attract lightning strikes as was still mentioned above. It is required by law in many areas to add this protective measure.
You might have guessed that the installation of direct burial cable may be more complicated than indoor installation. Firstly, you’ve got to avoid hitting any utility pipes or wires when digging your trench. It is best to leave the digging job to a professional, utility companies or the authorities would be a good place to start for this. You must equally make sure your Ethernet network cable is about 6-8 inches away from power lines (this is to avert interference) and at equal depth underground.
As a form of relief, most code requirements that deals with underground cables are more concerned with electrical cables and not specifically Ethernet cable. However, you still need to contact the authorities before you start digging so as not to be ignorant of the law.
Outdoor Burial Ethernet cables are available in Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a applications. It comes in different lengths ranging from 50-300 feet and also bulk spools up to 2000 feet in length. As mentioned before, it is expected to experience degradation over 300 feet, and that can be avoided by using a signal booster. These conductors are normally between 23AWG - 26AWG.