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running CAT5 underground
miekp Mar-05-02 02:21 PM
I am building a 3 car garage out back and would like have access to my network. I have a couple questions as far as running the cable. Piping is being laid for the electrical and phone wire. Would I be able to run my regular CAT5 wire in the same pipe? Should I get the more expensive direct bury CAT5 and lay it in the trench outside the pipe? Or are there any other ways to do this? Thanks

1. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Mar-06-02 05:41 PM
In response to message 0
I am trying to get some more definitive info on this. Next stop: some phone calls to some cable manufactures. Larry

2. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Mar-26-02 12:05 PM
In response to message 1
Just Plug It In: Networking Via Power Circuits (http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,85003,00.asp). HomePlug makes it easy to use existing in-wall wiring for fast home networks. "We tried out the first HomePlug networking products and found them easy to install, robust, and fast..."

8. RE: running CAT5 underground
nardy Jun-06-02 07:08 PM
In response to message 1
Have you heard anyhthing about the need to use special CAT5 ickypicy (or something like that) for running subject in undergraound PVC conduit (2 1/2' running about 200 feet)?

Have you any information about a limit in cascading ethernet switches? I see in some places a limit of 5 and in other places where there is no limit other than about 1000 meters (100 meters max between switches!

Any word would be helpful

9. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Jun-06-02 07:20 PM
In response to message 8
1st question: no.

2nd question has been discussed in this forum several times. Suggest searching with the Site Menu to the left. Larry

10. RE: running CAT5 underground
nardy Jun-07-02 11:01 AM
In response to message 1
>I am trying to get some more definitive info on this. Next
>stop: some phone calls to some cable manufactures. Larry

Did you ever contact cable manufactures about running CAT5e underground in conduit?
If so what was the response?

3. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Apr-12-02 10:43 AM
In response to message 0
-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Byard
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 1:13 PM
To: support@L-com.com
Subject: Running Network Cable Underground
Dear Sirs:

I repeatedly get questions from customers and readers about running CAT 5 cable between buildings for small networks; e.g., between a house and an office in a detached garage. I have repeatedly warned them of the dangers of running cable outside, above ground (http://duxcw.com/faq/network/outside.htm). Could you provide some info/references on the subject? … Perhaps you could help with this example: http://duxcw.com/dcforum/DCForumID2/1748.html?

Many thanks,

Larry F. Byard
Dux Computer Works/Digest

-----Original Message-----
From: David Gallagher <mailto:dgallagher@L-com.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 4:27 PM
To: Larry Byard
Subject: RE: Running Network Cable Underground
Good afternoon,
I reviewed your website and your interpretations are correct. Direct burial and/or outdoor rated cable refers only to the jacket material used on the cable and not its ability to withstand any form of lightning. The cable TV and phone companies commonly ground their cables to a water pipe (old installations) or to a grounding rod (newer installations). This by no means offers lightning protection.
Speaking from personal experience, I lost my computer, phone/answering machine, TV, vcr, and stereo receiver to a lightning strike that hit the ground about 10 feet from my house. My power cables and phone cables entered the building on the other side of the house and were properly grounded to the current code but that did not help. Anything outside of the +/- 5Volts that a NIC card uses can be damaging to network computer equipment.
As far as the Cat 5 cable goes, I do have direct burial, aerial, and conduit rated products. I even carry a surge suppressor for Cat 5 network cable. A properly grounded system can reduce the level of damage but not prevent it. Some of your readers mentioned metal conduit. Currently, there is a push to stop the usage of metal conduit for Cat 5 cabling. The reason is that the conduit affects the signal which is carried by the cable and can actually reduce the effectiveness of the transmission.
When running network systems between buildings I commonly suggest that users install fiber optic cable between buildings. With the cost of this solution constantly dropping, I find that customers choose this more often. I do carry direct burial and aerial fiber cable cable for outdoor usage. Only certified professional installers should work with the aerial cables since there are many dangers involved with its installations.
The fiber cable has several advantages.
1) Greatly reduces damage potential from lightning strikes.
2) Prevents Ground Loops carried over copper cables between different buildings.
3) Future expansion costs are low due to huge bandwidth offered by fiber optic cables.
4) Data speed over the network is maintained without degradation
For your reader who wants to run a network link to a garage, suggest the direct burial fiber. I would recommend a 8 port switch with built in fiber conversion ($299) for the home and either a media converter ($229) or another switch ($299) in the garage. The person should check with the local building inspector for requirements when working with outdoor rated cable within a building. Currently, most areas allow outdoor cable to run up to 50 feet inside a building before termination and conversion. This can vary so it is important for the installer to check the local codes. A pre-terminated 300Ft direct burial rated fiber cable will run the customer around $500 to $600. Although that is more expensive than running the copper cable I think the advantages outweigh the costs. The copper cable is sold on reels of 1,000 feet at $389 per reel. Tools and termination will run you another $100. Add in another $150 for misc hardware and your at $650. The fiber might be about $1,100 total with hardware depending on the cable run length.
I hope this helps your readers out. I agree with you about running the cables inside for those in apartments. Lightning is completely unpredictable and can jump from one cable to another inside the building. People have been known to get injured just for standing near something that gets hit.
Dave Gallagher
Product Manager
L-com, Incorporated
45 Beechwood Drive
North Andover, MA 01845
V: 978.682.6936 x127
F: 978.689.9484

-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Byard
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 5:12 PM
To: 'David Gallagher'
Subject: RE: Running Network Cable Underground
David, thank you very much for your fast reply and a thorough response. Your expertise is evident and much appreciated. May I have permission to post it on my web site? Do you have any comments on going wireless as a possible solution and what the cost differences would be? Larry

Good morning,

Go ahead and post whatever part you need to. I am currently working on a project to detail out in a diagram the answer to your questions below since this is something that I get asked almost daily. I will try to remember to forward a copy of that to you for future reference once it is completed.
Wireless networking products are one of the fastest growing segments. Most wireless products are limited to 11Mbps. This will change over time but for now that is the standard. Every manufacture offers different equipment and features but they are rather similar over all. Asante Technologies, Linksys, Netgear, and 3Com offer a selection of wireless equipment at reasonable prices. Most of these systems work up to about 1500Ft(outdoor). 3Com offers a solution that can work up to a max of 2.5 miles using special external antennas. Currently we list some of these common technologies on our website. Users can install a wireless hub at less than $170 and then cards for each computer for under $100. I usually recommend users limit their expected distance to around 200 feet for optimum speed and quality. These systems are line of sight so obstructions such as buildings will affect performance. A wireless network is a shared environment instead of a switch so users with multiple computers attempting communication, will find that the speed slows down. Then the last concern with wireless is security. This is a research paper all by itself. This debate will continue for years so I will not try to attempt it. Personally I believe that no matter how secure something is, someone out there is smart enough to hack it.
If the users needs high speed then a hard wired solution is best. If this is just for a home environment for a couple computers then the wireless solution is not all that expensive when you consider the alternatives.

Dave Gallagher
Product Manager

4. RE: running CAT5 underground
Denali Apr-27-02 02:21 AM
In response to message 0
Hello, I kind of did what you are doing... Only... backwards. I built a garage with a guest house above it. My Telco lines from the pole terminate behind the garage, as well as my DSL line. Also the power lines from the pole drop to the same area behind my garage. I ran a 2½ PVC pipe for power from the garage to the main house. Also I ran 2” and a 1½ inch pipe for phone and network. It is a 150 foot run. I pulled 3 Belden 1872a cat 5e and 4 Quad shielded RG-6. It works great no signal problems at all. Plus I can run anything I want in the future. Never run direct bury wire if you have a trench dug. PVC is cheap!


5. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Apr-27-02 01:16 PM
In response to message 4
Thank you very much for the input.

Always install more/larger pipe for future upgrades (as I see you have) and pull extra strings when you pull cable. Looks like you have put a lot of thought into you wiring needs. What kind of soil do you have there? Did you account for frost? What kind of PVC pipe did you use. How was the ditch prepared? Stones, sand, gravel? Larry

6. RE: running CAT5 underground
Denali Apr-27-02 11:09 PM
In response to message 5
As always you come back . Loven this!!! If you forget the strings… There is a fix! I did not have a 200 foot pull tape! Who does! I needed to think! I went to my local Home Depot I purchased standard electrical pull string. I taped it to a Ping Pong ball... I hooked my shop-vac up to the other end and sucked it through! It took about six seconds for the ball to reach the other end! It worked like a charm! If you have a smaller pipe that a ping pong ball can’t fit down. Try a plastic bag as a parachute. Trust me it works!

Larry, here in So. Cal. I don’t need to count for frost… But my PVC is down three feet! The “ditch” was dug with a back hoe. No gravel was laid first. Not the code here..


7. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Apr-27-02 11:24 PM
In response to message 6
Brilliant! Larry

11. RE: running CAT5 underground
celtwave Jul-27-02 03:23 PM
In response to message 7
Is there a problem running the outdoor or direct burial cat 5 cable in interior walls? I guess I am asking if it is fire rated?

13. RE: running CAT5 underground
lbyard Jul-27-02 04:06 PM
In response to message 11
I don't know. It probably depends on the cable and the building codes governing your location. Some codes may also require that you terminate an exterior cable where it enters the building or a certain distance from the entry point. Larry

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