Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/165097/how-can-i-safely-run-ethernet-cable-outdoors/
You want to link your home network to an outbuilding, like a garage or workshop, and wired is the only way to go. How do you run the Ethernet cable safely to the secondary building?
Should always, always use a proper conduit. Not only to protect against ground damage, but someday you'll forget where it is and drive a shovel down and potentially slice it.
Do it once. Do it right.
Have you considered implementing a 802.11N wireless network? 802.11N has an indoor range of 70 meters and an outdoor range of 250 meters which is considerably longer than the distance that you need to cover. If the devices in your garage only support Ethernet, you can set up a wireless repeater since most come with an integrated switch.
Wouldn't Wi-Fi be slower than Ethernet, not to mention being possibly hacked into?
I agree about using conduit. Not only does it protect against damage, it also allows for easy replacement and future expansion. It's also a good idea to pull a pull string in with the cable so, if the existing cable should ever break, it will be easier to pull a new run in.
When putting in conduit, it's imperative to make sure it's sealed from water intrusion. Even waterproof cable can take total emersion for only so long. Checking a code book will give ideas on how to make sure the cable stays reasonably dry.
This article needs some more research. It should include links to the exact cable that needs to be purchased along with conduit piping. And no mention of hanging the cable, which is often the only solution available, was included. I know it's hard to have a continuous flow of articles each day. However this is a good topic and needs better answers.
As an electrician I must butt in here. You must do things by the book! There are rules out there for everybody's safety and for ease of work and your future expansion should you feel the need. It's great to come here and have all this free advice but there are some things that are missing:
1)Let us know what country you are in.
2)How long of a distance are you trying to connect.
I will never recommend running your cable in free air if you can do it another way. There are simply too many ways for it to get damaged.
It is correct to use rigid pvc conduit for buring cable.
1)If you are using direct burial cable it needs to be a minimum of 18".
2)It would be the same depth for PVC conduit so you should just use the conduit to offer your cables some protection from rot and damage.
3) It's cheap
Remember when installing any kind of wiring underground that there is no way to offer 100% protection from water intrusion whether it be in conduit, water-tight conduit, or even in concrete. Even the change in temperature will cause condensation. So use the correct type of wire that's designed for what you are trying to do.
LINE VOLTAGE CABLE (60 volts and up) AND LOW VOLTAGE CABLE CAN NOT BE RUN IN THE SAME CONDUIT! If your power cable were to heat up and burn, your LV cable would then become it's fuel. So don't do it.
Now some tips:
Keep your pipes as straight as possible and avoid having all your angles adding up to more than 360*. Even with just one cat5 cable you will need a mule to pull it through your whole run of pipe if more than 360*...trust me on that. Make sure you glue all your pipe connections! The glue isn't to keep out water it's there to keep the pipes from separating, even when buried underground. The simple friction from the cables being pulled through will separate the pipe sections. Avoid using flexible conduit for runs longer than 6'. It is very expensive compared to rigid PVC. It is also so soft that the cable will drag all the way and then you will need the mule again to pull it through unless it is arrow straight.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Make yourself a simple sketch of where your pipe will run and what you are going to need as far as length of pipe, angle fittings, and how and where your pipe will exit your house and enters your outbuilding.
Do a PDF search for a code book from the NEC. It has a the rules in it. You can also search for a NEC Handbook which is a little more user friendly. Use any of them from 2005 and up. I also recommend visiting an electrical supply store for advice and supplies, not your local Homey or Low big box store. They can usually steer you in the right direction and catch a mistake in your order better than a big box store.
I hope I was of some help and good luck!
802.11n is slower than Ethernet but has a maximum net data rate of 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s which is faster than most consumer internet download speeds. I use it at home and stream HD video to multiple devices without issue. Wireless is more susceptible to hacking than Ethernet but shouldn't be a concern if you are using WPA/WPA2 encryption.
But hey... If you're old school and love wired connections... then by all means please don't let me interrupt your cable pulling party lol I'll set up my wireless network in a few minutes and buy you guys beer and pizza with the money I save on conduit, cabling and digging labor
WiFi is more susceptible to slowdowns and interference (interference can be a huge problem over long distances) as distance increases and is less secure that Ethernet. Even though WiFi can be encrypted, that encryption can be broken by a determined hacker (or one that gets lucky guessing at a password). If the conduit has been correctly installed, it will most likely last forever so, should the cable ever fail (unlikely), it will be easier and less expensive to replace than a router, etc.
Many people don't trust WiFi. I have a friend who is a lab tech that tests electronic equipment for a major electric utility and he refuses to use WiFi in his home. His computers are all hardwired. I use WiFi mostly because I didn't have room for the modem and router where my desktop is located and I'm too lazy to wire in my notebook on the rare occasions I use it at home.
Let's all go over to the OP's place to help with the installation since Angelo-Fleming is buying the beer and pizza!
Squarepants is dead on with his advice with one exception. The depth of direct burial vs. conduit varies from place to place. When I replaced a gas post lamp at the end of my driveway with electric several years ago, I checked the local codes and found out that conduit had to be buried twice as deep as direct burial (odd that), which was a huge problem for me since the subsoil in my area was hard and rocky (I live in a desert; what means topsoil?). Interestingly enough, if I pulled sheathed cable (aka Romex) instead of individual conductors, as is normally done, the conduit was then considered a sleeved and not subject to the additional burial depth required for conduit. Codes do change over time and will vary from place to place (local codes can have additional restrictions on top of national codes). Even if bootlegging an installation (bypassing the permit process), following code will reduce the chance of problems.
I agree with what you're saying but given this particular application distance/ interference shouldn't be an issue. The weak link in WPA2 encryption is the pre-share key but since WPA2-PSK supports up to a 63-character Pre-Shared Key... you have plenty of room for something complicated (most hackers are using dictionary or rainbow tables type attacks).
A determined hacker will comprise anything even a wired network. Hopefully as hackers troll my neighborhood they'll look for easier targets... especially since most of my neighbors are not using encryption or are using wep.
If we were creating a solution for a business then I may not be willing to accept the trade offs in security for cost and ease of installation. However for most consumer applications this would be fine.