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Running Ethernet Cable Outdoors

by Methodman1 / July 14, 2005 2:32 AM PDT

Hi all,

I'd like to set up a wired network in my house, and the easiest way for me to do this would be to run an ethernet cable down the side of my house. This would allow me to get the cable from the upstairs to the downstairs, and is the way that my television cable was set up.

Has anyone done this? Is there a special rated ethernet cable that should be used for an outdoor application like this? If there is, do you know where I can get some?

Thanks for your help.

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My old employer
by Alan Copeland / July 14, 2005 3:16 AM PDT

ran 500' of Cat 5 cable through conduit underground. I doubt you would have a problem running it w/o conduit unless you are in a severe climate.

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My Climate
by Methodman1 / July 14, 2005 3:21 AM PDT
In reply to: My old employer

Good point, I forgot to mention where I live. I live in Connecticut, so I see just about a little of everything.

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I've been running a test.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 14, 2005 3:46 AM PDT
In reply to: My Climate

I have regular phone cord from my window to a Dallas One-Wire WS1 weather station in full exposure to the weather just west of Boston, MA. It's been out there for over 4 years without conduit. It still looks good.

My only precaution is that it's not up high where a lightning strike will occur.

Bob

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cable grades...
by Dick White / July 14, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

I haven't seen "outdoor" or "underground" grade ethernet cable like for electric cable, but there is a "plenum" grade ethernet cable that is required by the fire code when running cables in spaces used by the HVAC systems for air exchange. Typically, this would be above the ceiling in open-vented office space, but might be inside ductwork. The difference is that the cable jacket is a tougher plastic that is fire-resistant and thus will not carry a fire from room to room or floor to floor through the ductwork. You're not fighting fires here, but I'd guess that the plenum-grade cable jacket might be more durable outside as well?

dw

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That's iffy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 14, 2005 4:07 AM PDT
In reply to: cable grades...

The plenum grade is about toxic gas emission when the cable burns. It's not about weather or sunlight resistance.

I've been through too many meetings about this. In short, if it's some business where you need to placate the committee or meet codes, then you run it in conduit. If you only need to get by, then toss it out the window and replace it in 5 or 10 years. The cable is so cheap that I don't have any qualms about the 5 to 10 year replacement cycle.

But in any lightning prone area, get someone that knows about such to make sure you didn't create a path from mother nature to your network. This is where a proper metal conduit with a ground system is stellar or if you can stay clear of Zeus, even PVC will do.

Bob

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I learned something new today...
by Dick White / July 14, 2005 4:34 AM PDT
In reply to: That's iffy.

about the toxic gas if it does catch fire. That could be especially bad if the AC is still running when the fire starts and just pumps the toxic smoke to the entire building...

I share your concern about the lightning. Phone wires hang outside all the time, and frequently punch in and out of the exterior wall as an easy way to get from here to there without a lot of drilling/ fishing/ ruining the decor. But phone systems are all very well grounded, which is not likely in a home network cable.

dw

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Plenum grade. . .
by Coryphaeus / July 14, 2005 11:34 PM PDT
In reply to: That's iffy.

sheath is Teflon, it is not supposed to burn. Testing Teflon with a Coleman propane torch proves this.

Any wire that is run outside should have UV protection.

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outdoor wear
by jimmyjim / July 22, 2005 5:27 PM PDT

it should be ok as long as you dont have severe weather,i have a cross/over cable outside for about 2 years not connected now i am using wireless.

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