How To Protect Outdoor Cat5e Wire From The Sun Without Using Outdoor Rated?

I am going to be running some cat5e between two buildings for about 15 feet (25 feet up in the air). However, they are 200 feet runs and most will be indoors so I dont want to use outdoor rated cat5. Any suggestions on how to protect them for those 15 feet?


Why don't you want to use outdoor cable outdoors?

A 200' outdoor rated Cat5e cable is $80 on Amazon.

A 25' cable is $25. You could terminate the indoor cable to an outlet near the part where it goes outside and then use an outdoor rated cable for the inter-building part.

It would be hard to find an alternative that was significantly cheaper and easier.

It would be hard to find an alternative that was significantly cheaper and easier...

Agree if it was just one cable. But the OP is implying multiple runs.

Across a single outdoor span.

Also, isn't it best practice for ariel cable to be lashed or self-supporting?

It is always better to offer a first class job for a reasonable cost and not get the opportunity than offer a second class job, using the wrong parts. To what end? Who did you help? You? The customer? No one wins going that route, yea you get a few pennies more for 'skating' but did you hurt your reputation doing it? Does your reputation mean that little to you?

FORGET being el Cheapo-----> Use the right stuff, do excellent work and guess what, the customers will come to you because they know you will do the right thing for a reasonable cost. At a minimum go hunt up some cheap PVC pipe and cover the wire from the sun (not that it is the best) but its better than Ty-rapping indoor cable outside....

Consider the inevitable cost of maintenance on that one exposed 15' segment. If/When it breaks or rots, you're going to rerun the ~185' of good cable?

Here are my different options:

1) For the runs that involve getting exposed run outdoor rated cat5e (a total of about 1700 feet) - This ends up being about $250 more then using regular cat5e for those runs. (Outdoor rated costs me about $145 per 1000 feet). The longest run is just under 300 feet.

2) use regular cat5e and somehow protect the exposed spans.

3) Use regular cat5e for the interior part and use a patch panel with outdoor cat5e to cross over. However then the longest runs will have four of these connections

4) Use a switch in each building and only have one run going back. Except there is now one point of failure which will take down each buildings cameras. Anyway in this case there is no power that I can use by each building

I guess I will go with option number 1

If your project is in the United States, you should follow the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Telecom Industry Association (TIA) standards. The NEC states cable must be rated for the environment in which it is installed (Article 800). You can use "indoor/outdoor" rated cable, which eliminates transitions from indoor rated to outdoor rated cables. If you run cable through a plenum-rated space, it will also need to be plenum-rated. If you span the cables, how do you plan on securing the spans to each building? Will you be attaching a messenger cable between buildings, then securing the cables to the messenger? Is there a local authority who will be inspecting the installation for conformance to state and local codes? If so, you may want to consult them and get their input before you do all that work. Your option #3 would not be a good choice as you're only allowed 1 transition point per horizontal cable run (TIA-568-C.1). Is there conduit connecting the buildings together that you can possible use? Good luck!

Do you plan on lashing for the 15 feet? If you are dead set on protecting an elevated, indoor cable, as opposed to using an outdoor cable, there is always ariel conduit.

Do you have cost per foot/ minimum order quantity of that HDPE conduit?

Honestly can't tell, it's all dealer pricing. For bulk, it's typically 1000ft min. There is also pre-cut. Guessing a 20ft section is $250, if you get the kind with the tensioner wire/lashing.

yep the conduit is how I'd do it for sure.

When we come into these scenarios, we use outdoor rated cable outdoors and terminate it near where it comes into the building and proceed with indoor cable. The other thing you have to look at is if the interior runs need to be plenum as exterior cable is not usually plenum rated, but if you come into a box, terminate and run indoor cable your safe. Exterior rated cable is pretty inexpensive. Also you may want to consider using a network surge suppressor on any run that goes outside to protect your equipment. I use the APC PNET1GB they are about $20.00 and will protect your network from bad things happening.

Do the job right the first time.

Why NOT use outdoor cable? It doesn't have to be expensive.

Can you recommend a plenum, UV cable that is reasonably priced?

I don't even know if that exists. You shouldn't be running outdoor cable very far inside the building anyways. You should be terminating the outdoor cable within a few feet of entering the building and switching to plenum cable if needed.

In that case what's the labor/material on 20 terminations/plates/drywall?

Because it looks to be five or more cables crossing at one single point, for 15 feet.

Can't blame him for thinking just to protect it for the 15 feet.

If I were forced to use copper over that aerial link (as opposed to fiber), I would simply install a switch at both sides of the link. Unless you have a need for 10Gb of total capacity end to end, a single copper (two or more for redundancy or LAG) run should suffice.

David, is there a reason to keep all of the runs independent over the aerial? Are you going to exceed 1Gb over that link if combined?


Anyway in this case there is no power that I can use by each building...

Ever heard of PoE?


So what POE powered 6+ port switch did you have in mind

Or maybe use a POE power breakout with a regular switch?

Where did you want put those switches? In the wall/ceiling?

What's your labor on twelve terminations?

There's no reason to have 12 terminations. In fact, he could simply run a single CAT5e with PoE power to the edge of the building to a PD powered media converter, aerial fiber to second building, PD powered media converter, back to copper, to another PoE switch.

This scenario would alleviate the need for surge / ground protections, due to the use of fiber for the aerial. Using copper over the aerial, you need surge for each link anyways, so your terminations (12 is it?) and surge protectors will likely eat up more budget than the fiber and media converters.

Also, it is just the right way to do this.

EDIT: This is assuming that two UBNT NS Loco's wouldn't do the same job for you.

There's no reason to have 12 terminations.

You said two switches, not me.

Anyway, it sounds like you answered your own question:

Why NOT use outdoor [category] cable.

As for why not use fiber or wireless, maybe he should consider them. I'm not opposed, per se.

Shields UVA/UVB rays, and is "Very" water resistant.

Yes, but only works with their own connectors:

I work for a school district and we've come across this situation in the past for getting data cable to "temporary" buildings that end up being not so temporary. We've simply wrapped the aerial portion of the cable in black "10 mil" tape. I believe 3m makes it. Cheap and the cable lasts forever. My 2 peso.