Can I bury CAT 5 cable?

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  Question: Can I bury CAT 5 cable?

Answer: Standard PVC Jacketed CAT 5 Cable is not specifically designed to be buried in the ground, although it is done quite often with or without the use of any kind of protective conduit.

There are now varieties of CAT 5 Cable that are being manufactured to be buried in the ground without having to be protected by conduit. This type of cable also generally has UV protection for the benefit of those who run the cable on top of the ground for temporary purposes. There are even varieties of Cable that have special layers of insulating material, waterproofing layers, and in some cases flame resistant coatings.

It should be noted that this type of direct-burial CAT 5 Cable is considerably more expensive than standard cable.

However, if you choose to bury standard CAT 5 Cable, the cable should be enclosed in some type of water-tight conduit, and the conduit should be buried, rather than direct burial of the cable itself. If this is done, the cable is less likely to be exposed to environmental extremes that might adversely affect its performance.

If the cable is buried by itself, you should take the minimum protective measure of using PVC or metal conduit coming away from each structure by at least a few feet. This will reduce the chance of cutting the cable unintentionally while digging near the cable. It will also provide a good visual marker for where the cable is buried. Remember to follow local codes governing installation of this type of cable, and be sure to maintain the required degree of separation between electrical cables in the ground, if applicable.

If the cable is direct buried without any protective covering, be certain that the cable is packed around a layer of fine dirt or sand, rather than gravel or any other rough-edged material that could easily penetrate the jacket and compromise the cable.

CAT 5 Cable is very durable, and if you follow the basic guidelines we have just discussed you should have a trouble-free installation.

That being said, many customers have chosen to direct bury CAT 5E Cable, and have done so with no ill effect. Some of our customers have reported runs of CAT 5 and CAT 5E Cable still operating perfectly in the ground after 7-10 years of service. So please use your own judgment in this matter.

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