If you are curious about how to run network cables in your garden, and if it is possible, then we have some good news for you.
Yes, you can run Ethernet cables outside and in the garden, but you need to be careful of a few things. You need to plan out your cable’s path so that it doesn’t interfere with water, electricity or gas lines.
We will answer how you should plan your cable run, and suggest that you run your cable in cable conduit so that it stays dry and protected.
Table of Contents
- Outside network and cable protection
- Outdoor Use of Ethernet Cables
- Ethernet cables buried directly in the ground
- Exterior Network Cabling Range
- You should use Ethernet equipment with the following ratings:
- Ethernet Cable Wiring Ouside
- How to Plan Your Network Cable Installation
- Install conduit or bury cable directly?
- Conclusion: What have we learned?
Outside network and cable protection
Cable runs come in three main varieties: solid, stranded and flex. Solid is essentially a wire wrapped around an internal tube, or sheath, to provide extra protection.
Stranded is a twisted cable where each individual wire is twisted around each other to form a helical shape. This provides strength and durability. Finally, flex is a thin-gauge copper wire that can bend more easily.
Solid cable comes in a variety of diameters and strengths, so it’s best to talk with a specialist for recommendations. For larger jobs, it’s a good idea to use stranded cable. The combination of strength and flexibility allows it to withstand movement, particularly when cables are buried.
Flex cable is flexible and doesn’t provide much in the way of protection. Because it’s thinner gauge, it may not be as strong as other varieties of cable. It should only be used where protection is not necessary, and if your cable runs are very long.
Outdoor Use of Ethernet Cables
Network cables are not usually considered “outdoor use”. They should be used indoors only. However, there are situations where you may want to run network cables outside. For example, you could extend an indoor network to the outside of a building.
Or, you may have to run cables for several buildings or blocks. You may also want to use cable outside for wireless network access points or internet connections. This guide will walk you through each type of situation and explain what types of electrical hazards you may be exposed to.
Ethernet cables buried directly in the ground
An electrician installing a new network cable needs to make sure the cable meets local electrical code, and that the installation is safe and secure for users.
This can be especially challenging when installing underground. Underground installation must follow specific guidelines in order to avoid fire hazards and other safety risks.
In order to make sure that your network cable is protected and secure when it is buried in the ground, it is advisable to bury it as deep as possible. Ideally, you want to bury the cable at least 20cm deep, although that depends on soil type and climate.
You might also come across various rocks and stones, so be sure to have a pick axe handy if you want to get to the appropriate depth. If you are coming across enough interesting rocks, then you could do some rockhounding while you are at it!
Exterior Network Cabling Range
We’re often asked for suggestions on how to install Ethernet cabling in an outdoor environment. We’ve had to think about this for a while as we’ve been installing in gardens, garages, and other outdoor environments for many years now, and wanted to share some of our tips for running Ethernet cabling.
You should use Ethernet equipment with the following ratings:
• Use CAT5e or CAT6 cable.
• Run the cable outdoors only if you need a distance greater than 100m
• Use outdoor rated connectors.
• Use weatherproof connectors.
• Don’t use wire nuts for outdoor installation.
• Don’t use wire ties for outdoor installation.
Ethernet Cable Wiring Ouside
The biggest things to aviod are burying your cable in wet soil where it is very muddy. Over time this can cause issues if there are any nicks or cuts in your Ethernet cable – which can lead to corrosion and transmission errors on the wire.
There are many factors that can cause damage to your Ethernet cables and network connections. One of the most common causes of damage is water. If you leave your cable exposed to the weather for too long it will likely develop problems.
Another big problem with outdoor cables is that they can be damaged by animals and birds. Sometimes, these animals will even chew on the wires. It is a good idea to protect your cable with some sort of insulation.
Some of these products are available for purchase at your local hardware store. Make sure that you know how to protect your cables from these problems. Don’t bury your cables in wet soil and always look out for animals that might chew or damage your wires.
How to Plan Your Network Cable Installation
The main thing to remember when planning an installation is that every single part of the installation must be waterproof. This means no bare metal wire runs. Every connection must be made with a wire jacket or rubber insulation. If you don’t use the right materials, water can get in and cause corrosion.
You should also keep in mind that underground installations are a lot more complicated. Waterproofing requires much more care than simply putting in a conduit or cable tray and plugging it in.
In addition to making sure your connections are waterproof, you will want to keep the area around the junction box and inside your walls free of debris and vegetation. While your junction box can be placed in a sheltered location, make sure there are no trees, shrubs or other foliage surrounding the installation.
Once you’ve made sure you’ve got the basics covered, you can start thinking about the installation itself. The easiest way to do this is to create a diagram of where the wires should go, then start laying them. Don’t forget to mark the location of the junction box and any electrical boxes you might need to install along the way.
Install conduit or bury cable directly?
Conduit is always advisable.
Conclusion: What have we learned?
Burying Ethernet cables is not my first recommendation – instead I always suggest wireless access points such as Ubiquiti.
Some of the benefits include the fact that you don’t have to dig in the garden, and the Ubiquiti units are very user friendly and are very reliable.
However, if you do run Ethernet in your garden then you must be careful of the potential hazards that are associated with wiring. A common mistake that people make is to assume that because a cable is buried, it is safe to use.
This is not the case. Buried cables can cause damage to underground pipes and water mains. They can also interfere with electrical circuits and cause fires.