Tue. May 28th, 2024
Indoor Vs Outdoor Ethernet Cable Signs Do You Know (2024)

When we hear about the word Networking Cables we might think of colorful wired cables installed for networking purposes. The ethernet cable bulk is a protocol used for connecting WAN and LAN. Wireless technology can be the best alternative but it is not worth using to install outside when you need a streamlined and stable internet connection. 

How do you distinguish between indoor and outdoor cable jackets? So here is what you need to know about the Cat6 solid bare copper gel-filled cable and the Cat6 plenum cable. The gel-filled and plenum cables are the key points in the cable attributes. Which ethernet cable is for indoor installation and which is for outdoor purposes? 

Bulk Cat6 Cable At A Glance

The Category 6 cable is the next-generation LAN cable with improved features that can cater to the recent needs for high-speed network connectivity. But why is this cable the best solution for your home or office needs? 

Whenever you are going to choose the cable besides the cable length (Bulk Cat6 Plenum) the speed is of much importance as the speed of the cable will significantly increase the operations and ultimately performance of the cable. There are some of the key factors that will idealize the Cat6 cable performance. Let’s discuss the Cat6 cable performance ignoring its jacket ratings — Plenum and Direct Burial Jacket (Cat6 Solid Copper Gel-Filled). 

Bandwidth and Speed

  • Ideal Speed — Meet the gigabit speed Cat6 plenum 1000ft cable that offers 1000 Mbps speed over the longer runs 328ft of the ideal installation length of the cable. The Cat6 bare copper cable at shorter distances delivers 10 Gbps speed. This feature is a baseline and most prominent factor of Bulk Cat6 plenum cable. 
  • Bandwidth or Frequency — It is understood that the higher bandwidth indicates the better performance. In standard Cat6 bare copper cable, the bandwidth of the cable is 550 MHz and designed to meet high grading applications, especially over longer lengths. 

Construction Quality

The construction quality of the cable includes Wire Gauge and Shielding present in the cable. So let’s hear it.

  • Wire Gauge — The thickness of the conductor is often measured by the AWG size of the conductor with a lower AWG value; the conductor is thicker and shows tremendous results in the transmission of signals. For Cat6 bare copper cable it is 23 AWG offering the best speed and easy transmission of bulk data packets. 
  • Shielding — There are two variants in the ethernet cables — STP (Shielded Twisted Pairs) and UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair). Cat 6 shielded plenums are specifically designed on purpose cables so first hear about UTP cables. The Cat 6 plenum copper cable without any insulation layer of Aluminum Foil or Braid Mess are general ethernet cables that are used to install in low interference areas and therefore they are cost-effective solutions for networking cabling infrastructure. On the other hand, the STP cables like Cat 6 shielded plenum cables are much-secured and have less bending radius due to the presence of Foil or Braid Mess. Most commonly they have different variations like U/FTP, F/UTP, S/FTP, S/UTP, SF/FTP, etc. These cables are highly recommended when you are going to install cables in an active noise field. 

Compliance Standards

All ethernet cables should meet industry standards so that you can easily use them for installation purposes. You are also aware of the ANSI/TIA or TIA/EIA.658-2.C that has set its standards for the ethernet cables. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) test Cat6 bare copper cables for their high safety and performance parameters. 

Additional Performance Parameters

The other parameters to check the cable performance are as follows:

  • Cable Length — Check the speed variance of the cable and judge the cable speed at shorter and longer distances by testing through the Fluke test. If the cable has a high value for AXT, NEXT, PS-NEXT, etc. If the cable has passed the test the cable is more likely to be used for networking. 
  • Quality Materials — Cat6 plenum or Cat6 Riser cables are two indoor jackets and there is also a special cable for outdoor installation denoted as CMX (Outside Plant) filled with the gel-like substance to provide maximum protection against moisture and water entering the cable to erode the conductors. 

Performance Parameters of Ethernet Cable

FactorDescriptionImportance for Performance
Stated SpeedSupports Gigabit Ethernet (up to 1 Gbps)Ensures the cable meets the basic Cat6 speed requirement
Bandwidth FrequencyHigher frequency (500 MHz)Indicates potential for better performance, especially over longer distances
Wire GaugeLower AWG number (thicker wires, e.g., 23 AWG or 24 AWG)Reduces electrical resistance, improves signal transmission
ShieldingShielded Twisted Pair (STP)Offers better protection against crosstalk in noisy environments
Compliance StandardsCat6 certified (UL, TIA)Verifies the cable meets Cat6 performance specifications

What is the difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Jackets

TraitsDirect BurialPlenum (CMP)
PurposeUnderground installation without conduitIdeal for plenum shafts – oxygenated spaces of the buildings (Drop ceiling, HVAC system)
LocationDirect buried in the soil 24 inches in depthVertical and Horizontal spaces
Environmental ProtectionWater-resistant, moisture resistance, and extreme temperatureFlame retardant and LSZH material and emits non-toxic smoke
Material Polyethylene with waterproofing agentsFEP-rated material (Fluorinated Ethylene Polymers)
Fire safetyN/AHighly fire resistant
RegulationsRequire a specific burial depth depending on local codesRequired by building codes for air circulation spaces
CostLess Expensive than plenum cablesPlenum cables are expensive with copper
FlexibilityLess flexible due to the gel-filled substanceMore flexible

Direct burial Cat 6 bare copper gel-filled cables are frequently used to give access to other buildings for the maintenance of the data flow. Direct burial cat6 cables are buried underground where they are likely to spend maximum time. 

The benefit of using the Cat6 bare copper cable gel-filled is you will save the extra cost of conduit. Gel-filled in cat 6 direct burial cables protect the cable from the water entering the cable to corrode the conductors and the thickness maintains the stability of the cable. 

In A Nutshell

Cat6 plenum 1000ft cable or Cat 6 bare copper gel-filled cables are the two similar cables but have different jacket ratings. The main idea to identify the Indoor and outdoor cable is the cable thickness. The cat6 plenum cable is a bit thin as compared to the Cat6 direct burial cable. 

If you are going to install cables within your home or office premises opt for the Cat6 plenum 1000ft cable and for outside installation use the Cat 6 bare copper gel-filled cable for securing the right cabling infrastructure.

By Davina

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