What Happens if Water Gets Inside Your Ethernet Cable?

What Happens if Water Gets Inside Your Ethernet Cable?

Ethernet cables are essential parts of wired networks, and keeping them safe from damaging sources like water is important. Knowing what happens to an Ethernet cable if water finds its way inside is important for maintaining your network. Continue reading to learn how to respond to water getting into your Ethernet cable.

Ways That Water May Enter an Ethernet Cable

While most Ethernet cables have a water-resistant jacket, there is a difference in protection between outside and indoor-rated cables. Indoor-rated cables will have less protection from elements such as water, so they will primarily connect to networks inside a building instead of outside. Outdoor-rated cables will have more protection from water because of their thicker jacket and extended range.

Water has a better chance of getting inside an indoor-rated Ethernet cable with an exposed end. Water will enter through this end and run along the wires on the interior of the cable.


Water entering any electrical system causes a malfunction when the electrical current becomes disrupted by moisture. When water gets inside an Ethernet cable, the copper wires won’t have the same capabilities of carrying an electrical current that sends data.

Even if the water were to dry—which is unlikely when inside an insulated jacket—the conduits would still need to stay completely dry for proper signal transfer. As the water spreads through the Ethernet cable, the malfunction will grow worse until it leads to eventual cable failure.

Cable Failure

Cable failure occurs when a cable’s insulation deteriorates, or the jacket begins to split open, causing the cable to cease operation. Cable failure may occur under different circumstances, but one of the most common is water damage.

If water gets inside an ethernet cable, the insulation may break down. The cable jacket may split open from the increased electrical stress from the moisture that travels through the damaged insulation and affects the cable jacket. As water passes through the cable, it will deteriorate the insulation and damage the signal, leaving the Ethernet cable with only a few hours of functionality.


After the cable fails from water getting inside, you’ll need to replace the cable to ensure there aren’t any drops in your network’s signal. It’s helpful to buy Cat 6 cables in bulk to ensure you have replacement cables if water finds its way inside. Although discarding good technology is unfortunate, there isn’t much to do to salvage the cable’s wet interior.

Accidents such as water entering an Ethernet cable may happen in certain circumstances, so staying prepared is important. Knowing the effects of water inside a cable will help you react to an occurrence such as this so your network won’t suffer.

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