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Outdoor aerial type cable questions

by Steven Haninger / September 24, 2013 7:43 AM PDT

I do some volunteer work in a school and one job has been to run Cat5e throughout the building and to a patch panel in a network cabinet. The school wants to run Ethernet to an auxiliary classroom in a building about 50' from the main structure. Distance won't be a problem. The primary purpose of the new cable will be to accommodate the new VOIP phone system which uses the school's network. I can't do the outdoor work so the phone company will do that wiring. I suggested that the cable should be a direct burial type but run through PVC conduit for extra protection. However, the decision was to go aerial due to costs. I asked to see the wire they were going to use as it needs to be "CMX" UV protected. Though it does seem to have a "messenger wire", I saw nothing on the box or on the cable to designate a UV rating. I maintain the network cabinet and equipment in it. The school has already suffered lightening damage to network equipment when a strike occurred to a (thankfully, now departed) satellite dish. The wiring from the dish was routed into the same room as the network cabinet but was not electrically connected. It was several inches away but arced to the metal frame taking out several pieces of hardware including NICs in two PCs. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice in how this is being done but will need to terminate at the patch panel.

Here are my questions:

What should I look for on the cable that would designate it as proper for outdoor use?

What, if any, surge protector types should I be looking into?

Some reading suggests surge protectors should be installed at building entrances regardless of whether cable is aerial or buried. I see some for about 80 bucks from Surgegate or some such. I don't want the school to go cheap here because I'm not rebuilding that cabinet if it smokes again. Happy TIA and sorry for the long post

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When it comes to lightning strikes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 24, 2013 10:46 AM PDT

There is no known protection that handles all strikes. Some are taken aback by such a statement but the more you do the more you know that you can't afford what it takes to survive a direct hit.

About the cable. Since it's inside the pipe, why do you think it needs an outdoor use rating? If it was for outdoor use, why put it in a pipe?

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I'm aware that direct hits are generally fatal
by Steven Haninger / September 24, 2013 8:15 PM PDT

but my guess is that one can help in protecting from the types of surges happen from nearby hits. As I also said, the cable will not be in a pipe. It will be suspended through the air. This is not an area I have experience in and such is why I'm raising these questions and hoping to find someone who has. All I know is what I can find to read. BTW, the idea of putting the buried cable in a pipe came from reading too...a lot of reading. It was suggested that direct burial cable is still subject to damage by critters that live under the ground or like to dig. Makes sense to me. Of course even heavy conduit won't protect from an earthquake. We can only do so much. Just looking for common sense here. Tks.

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My background includes cellular base stations and more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 25, 2013 12:37 AM PDT

When it comes to lightning it's always a long discussion to define just how big a strike we are expected to survive. And since direct strikes are also called the hand of God, if we are asked to handle that we design sacrificial elements into the project that we document will be vaporized but at least it cuts the connection and the current flow.

There are many tomes written on this subject so a condensed version will be ridiculed or at least pointed at as incomplete. But in short you provide a path to ground that is hefty and not your gear.

Plastic pipe is cheap so that's what folk will use but you can mitigate this being the object of least resistance by having the usual lightning rods and grounds higher up on the buildings. Again, all well discussed and in the tomes.

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Too late now so never mind
by Steven Haninger / September 24, 2013 10:29 PM PDT

Telephone people already wired it w/o any surge protection or ground clamping. Cable is marked "CM" which I think is general purpose use. Oh well.

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