How To Protect Your Outdoor Ethernet Cables

How To Protect Your Outdoor Ethernet Cables

Wired networks are revered for providing a streamlined connection to tech equipment at a greater speed than wireless networks. On top of enabling uninterrupted connection and contributing to workplace productivity, wired networks also offer security advantages that you just don’t get with wireless connections.

As your company receives more and more technological demands, you’ll need a greater selection of devices and wiring to set up a stable connection. If you’re looking to scale your business to an additional building, you will likely need to run your Ethernet cables outside to expand your company’s wired network. Of course, the outdoor elements will pose much greater risks to your cables. CableWholesale has created a guide on how to protect your outdoor Ethernet cables, so you can make the most out of your wired network investments. We’ll cover how to select an outdoor cable that’s right for your home or business needs, and whether to bury your cord directly in the ground or with a conduit. With the following tips, your outdoor Ethernet cables are sure to remain in quality conditions for a long time.

How To Choose the Right Outdoor Ethernet Cable

Which type of Ethernet cable you decide to run outside between buildings will determine which burial method and protection methods will work best for your cable. There are quite a few considerations for selecting an outdoor Ethernet cable that will perform properly. Ethernet cable category and cable jacket type are two factors you should mull over before digging up any ground and burying any cords.

Ethernet Cable Categories

Below are the main types of Ethernet cables that you’ll have to choose from.


Cat5e cables are the evolved version of their predecessor cables, Cat5 cords. Many homeowners and business owners utilize Cat5e cables to fulfill their connectivity needs, as Cat5e cables work up to 100 MHz.

For expansive connection services, businesses often invest in bulk Cat5e cables. Buying wholesale cables is a more cost-effective approach to setting up large wiring systems, whether they are inside or outside.

Cat6 and Cat6a

Cat6 outdoor Ethernet cables provide even greater connectivity speeds than Cat5 cords. Because Cat6 and Cat6a Ethernet cables are also more sufficient for long-distance networks, you may consider either one of them for expanding your company’s wired network.

Cable Jacket Type

Cable jackets help protect cords from external damage and chemical deterioration. Cable jackets protect the cords from heat and moisture and serve as a safeguard during and after installation. Because some cable jackets are intended for indoor home or office use, you must reflect on which is appropriate for your cable.

Will Plenum or Riser Jackets Suffice?

If you plan to directly bury your outdoor Ethernet cord, it is not recommended to bury one with a riser or plenum jacket. Riser and plenum jackets are designed with indoor use in mind, meaning they’re not likely to perform best in the ground.

Should your only option be to utilize an Ethernet cable with one of these two types of jackets, you’ll need to do some more prepping. We’ll revisit that later.

What Is a CMX Jacket?

CMX rated jackets are the best for outdoor installation. CMX jackets are very different than your standard plenum or riser jackets, being that they’re more durable. Here are a few elements that make CMX jackets the superior option to protect your outdoor Ethernet cables.

  • Resistant to temperature shifts
  • Resistant to cracking and maintain performance in very low temperatures.
  • Block various types of moisture vapor.
  • Curtail UV rays from degrading cable condition and performance.

Important Tidbits about CMX Rated Cables: Though CMX cables are the premier choice for outdoor installation, they do have some limitations to be wary of. We’ll note those below, so you can adhere to best cable management practices:

  • National Electric Code section 800.113 states that CMX Ethernet cables must not run more than 50 feet indoors before termination in commercial structures. CMX Ethernet cables must not exceed 0.25-inch thickness for indoor or outdoor cable use for single-family and duplex structures.
  • Under the circumstance that you have an underground rodent issue, it may be best to use a conduit for your outdoor Ethernet cable. That way, you will not need to bury the cord as deeply.

Direct Burial vs. Using a Conduit: Which is Better for Your Ethernet Cables?

Whether you should directly bury your cables into the ground or place them into a conduit such as a PVC pipe and then the ground will depend on the types of cables you buy. Direct burial-rated cables perform better for longer when buried deeply and without a conduit. Burying direct burial-rated cables with conduit has often led to Ethernet cable complications and failure.

When pursuing a direct burial approach, you’ll want to verify that your direct burial-rated cables are at least 18 inches below the ground. Installing your outdoor Ethernet cable in a slight “S” shape is beneficial as wiggle room for your cable to move with any of the ground’s movements rather than go against. Without a little extra length, your cable may become susceptible to buckling asphalt, shifting dirt, or even sinkholes—not ideal.

Instances Where Using a Conduit for Your Cables Will Help

Earlier we mentioned that there may be some scenarios that lead you to use a plenum or riser cable outdoors. While this isn’t an ideal circumstance, you can utilize a conduit to make your long-distance wire network happen. Though a conduit setup will still be more vulnerable to Earth’s elements, it’s still a valid initial option to establish the connection you need between buildings.

To use ordinary home cables as outdoor Ethernet cables, you’ll need some type of plastic piping with waterproof features. You or a technical professional will bury the conduit roughly six to eight inches below the ground’s surface, far enough away from powerlines so that there’s no electrical interference.

CableWholesale has several selections of bulk cables to choose from. Whether you plan on using a conduit, we have all the cords you’ll need. We supply both plenum and direct burial cords in bulk so you can afford a high-performing cabling system without breaking the bank. With a new and expansive wired network setup for your company, your workplace will be sure to achieve new levels of productivity, performance, and profitability.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Ethernet Cables

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