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Outdoor Cat6 Cable

Make your Outdoor Cat6 Cable installation a success!

The purpose of Direct Burial Rated or Outdoor Rated Cat6 cable is to be able to safely install a network cable outdoors and have it successfully withstand the environmental elements. The most common environmental elements that can damage a network cable are the sun, heat, and water. Another major concern when installing network cables outdoors is doing so in a way that the cable is also protected from people and installed using the best installation methods.

Outdoor rated Cat6 cable is built to combat the weather. It has a UV rated jacket to combat the sun and heat, and special weatherized jacket and internal construction to combat moisture from rain, sprinklers, or everyday moisture in the air. If you were to install a regular indoor Cat6 cable in the outdoors the cable simply will not last. Which means eventually the cable will fail and that means your network will also be down. The sun will cause a common cable to melt, crack, and eventually fail. A quality outdoor cat6 cable will have the necessary jacket type to ensure your cable is protected and your network is always working even in the most challenging environmental conditions.

The internal construction of an outdoor Cat6 cable is also unique. Some manufacturers use a water block tape that is surrounds the internal cable pairs inside the outer jacket and some use a gel product that is also injected into the cable and also surrounds the cable pairs. Both products (gel and water block tape) are made to combat moisture as it enters the cable from either condensation or from a crack if the cable jacket is damaged. Many professional installers feel the gel type outdoor cat6 cable is more difficult to work with, but better for extreme weather conditions. Both the water-block and gel type outdoor Cat6 cables will do the job for you!

Many outdoor Cat6 cable are also offered with a shielding. The shielding is essentially a foil shield that is wrapped around the internal cable pairs inside the jacket. Its purpose is to combat possible signal interference which is common in outdoor network installations. The reality is electromagnetic and radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI) is all around us. Outdoor network installations are the most susceptible to external interference, so using a shielded cable is a small price to pay to ensure nothing interferes with your network signals.

What does “Direct Burial Rated” Cat6 Cable really mean?

Let’s talk now about installing outdoor cat6 cable. This is where many professional installers and do-it-yourselfers make mistakes. Remember one of the biggest threats to outside cables is people. So it is important to use the best installation practices when installing outdoor network cables. Since the cable jacket is UV Rated and weatherized you can run the cable on rooftops or between buildings and not worry about it being damaged from the weather. Installing the cable in the ground is a little trickier. Although people often refer to outdoor Cat6 cable as “Direct Burial Rated Cat6 Cable” the words “direct burial” are often abused. It is not best practice to directly bury a cable right into the ground. It is always best to install it in a conduit using a PVC pipe. This is the best way to ensure your cable is protected. It also makes repairing the cable or adding more cables down the road easier. In a conduit you can simply pull out the old and pull in a new. Or you can leave a pull string in the pipe to be able to easily add cable in the future. The conduit or pipe gives the cable even more protection from rocks, moisture, and even varmints that could damage your cable. If you have no choice but to burry your Cat6 cable with dirt than go for it! But it is best practice and very inexpensive to dig a trench and lay down some PVC pipe to give yourself a safer long lasting Cat6 cable installation.

You can use Outdoor Cat6 Cable for many applications!

Cat6 Cable is one of the most diverse cables there is. You can use it for networking applications to send a network signal to numerous devices such as IP Cameras, TV’s, Hot Spots, Routers, Switches, Hubs, and any networkable automation devices and appliances. Just about anything that takes a network signal can use an outdoor Cat6 cable. Besides network signals an outdoor Cat6 cable can also carry automation, control signals, audio, video, and voice signals. You just never know when a Cat6 cable will be needed. Plus with the technology industry growing and changing rapidly there is no doubt there will be more and more applications in the future where a Cat6 cable is needed and required.