What Type Of Steel Cable To Support Outdoor Cat5 Runs?

When running cat5e from one pole to another pole outdoors, what type of steel cable is best to use to support it? I will be having 3 cat5s along the cable.


This is an interesting question. I called two distributors today (ADI and Anixter) and randomly asked them for suggestions on this, neither of them had an answer. If/when they respond with specifics I'll update this thread.

I called a local building supply distributor, and they had a kit of 100' of 304 stainless steel wire rope and bridle hooks that was specifically for 'flying cable' runs. Maybe you can try a distributor local to you and ask for something similar?

If you get a cable with a built in messenger, like what Und 1 posted up there, it could be as small as 1/8" single strand.

However, if you're running a messenger to lash something to, it's generally 3/16" and up. Something like this:

That'll hold your Cat 6 cables and then some. If you're in the northern reaches, don't cheap out on smaller strands, as ice loading can easily snap them.

Any electrical distributor should be able to quote you 3/16" strand and the associated hardware. You'll need clamps for the poles in the middle of the run and different fittings I can't remember the name of at the ends to terminate and clamp it.

I agree with und 1; however, adding additional cables, I would opt for something a bit more heavy duty:

The 160lb turnbuckles should get the wire rope pretty tight (not too tight!); this setup has worked well for us with no issues here in Hawaii over the years (10+ years).


... different fittings I can't remember the name of at the ends to terminate and clamp it.


Oh and always always always use UV rated zip ties, and use more of them than you think you need. Non-rated ones will get brittle and break. And if you don't use enough, things sag.

Unless you were planning on actually lashing it, which I didn't think, but forgive me if that's the case.

I have strung arial cable with and without a built in messenger wire. I mentioned the built in wire to also highlight the recommended type of cable (shielded and UV rated). I should have also mentioned using surge protection upon entering the building. In one instance at just 75' the weight of the wire was such that I used 1/4" stainless and stainless straps every 3'.

I found it easier afterward to use the built in wire but a little more costly and you do have to estimate the length between poles to see if the messenger will support.