Cat 5e Outdoor ethernet cable

i need to run 20m of Cat5e cable round the house to our conservatory. Do i specifically need an ‘outdoor’ ethernet cable, or will an ‘ordinary’ one do? If i need an outdoor one, Can anyone recommend one from experience?

Only reason i need Cat5e is because i already have a cat5e connection plate that i will use in the conservatory – but i guess this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as higher spec cat 6 etc are backwards compatible anyhow?

many thanks

Cat 7e is also compatible and everything in between. In fact, over a 20m run might be a better option.

I can’t recommend an outdoor one though. I’ve not come across one. Exposure to the elements and sun is likely to make any soft rubber sheath vulcanize and perish.

Can you elaborate on the definition of outdoor? Are we talking laid bare on a patio; buried under the lawn; stapled to the brickwork; running through sealed trunking or what?

well, not exactly ‘stapled’, but cable clipped. many thanks for response…

I got 15m of Cat6 from Cable Monkey recently that routes down the front of my house. They have a variety of ‘external’ specific cables.
All working well.

Is it an option to use a standard cable and run it through a conduit tube?

The guy that installed and maintains our alarm system ran 20 m of outdoor grade cat 5e thru conduit…cost me £140, seemed reasonable.

I’ve got a run of 25m of bog standard Cat5e which runs around the outside of the house to connect the Hi-Fi in the lounge to the network kit in our study. It’s been there for 10 years now with no problems. Just clip it in place with the appropriate cable clips so it’s secure and respect cable bend radius on corners and all will be fine.

I put many of my external cables in uv resistant corrugated plastic trunking… it’s worked reliably for over a decade, and it’s easier to replace cables should you need, and it’s easier to use egress/ingress weatherproof glands.

Indeed any of my outdoor runs is made with black 20mm conduit.

Look it up on screwfix I reckon you could do a run of 20 metres for less then 30 quid and I would always run at least two cables inside it.

Hmmm… i ran a Belden Cat 5e cable over garage/utility room roof today into the conservatory. Connected my laptop to it – result, no internet? Then i tried another much cheaper cable, which i had to join up with a coupler to make the length – and this worked immediately.

So i suspected that the pinouts on the new cable may perhaps be incorrect – very unlikely of course, but i was struggling to find an explanation. To check this suspicion, i checked the cable with a network tester – and it tested perfectly OK???

So, my question to network experts here is why the cable isn’t working when it passes this continuity tests – what other issues might be at play here? I know i cable tied it to an existing phone line (i think), i doubt this is an issue???

Looking fwd to hearing some wisdoms on this??


I’ve just run 30m of outdoor cat5e Ethernet cable that has POe functionality. This is for two IP cameras feeding into a NAS.
One thing you might wish to consider is running the cable in electrical trunking. UV light degradation is a risk when using non external cable.

spile, many thanks… i had assumed the external vs external issue wasn’t going to be such a big deal…


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If you use indoor cable it will quickly degrade in the sunlight and water will get in. You can use indoor cable inside conduit but personally I’d always use proper outdoor cable.

The Ubiquiti Tough Cable works well but is quite stiff and thus difficult to run round corners and to terminate in boxes. The Excel cable is much lighter and a good option if you don’t need to worry about rodents. Excel also do a really nice Cat6e in outdoor grade but this needs special termination as it is stiff and a bit larger in diameter, fine if you are using a patch panel but you would struggle using a module and no chance of a crimp on plug unless you specifically get one for large cables.

thanks Pipdan… so this deterioration can happen almost immediately after installation??? Wow! To a total novice like me, strange that the cable tests OK in terms of continuity – but i guess this shows that this alone is not enough?

The sheaf will deteriorate over a few years and start to crack but water will permeate quite quickly.

Got myself an outdoor-suited Cat 6 cable from the big river - installed it Monday pm and it worked first time!!! Phew! I wonder what was the matter with the Belden cable (i use a lot of these and i have never had one fail on me – but then previously all indoor use)


Ethernet cables come in two pin out variants, pass through and cross over. The format used most often is pass through… as that is the format used to connect devices to switches for example. Cross over is used to connect devices together, or a host directly to a router (router without switchports).
Now some devices will auto detect, and compensate, but many won’t… so I suspect that is going on with you. There are other less likely options, such as not all cables being connected (as they don’t need to be for the cable to work in some modes)… but that would show up in the cable checker.

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A company I know sells about 2Km of outdoor lan cable a month; 95% of it is cat5e. It’s primarily used by WISP providers for CPE installations on roofs etc… Good outdoor cable (double sheath) is UV resistant and you should easily see 10 years out of it.

Actually a story… so c. 30 years ago a school asked about our company to install a 50m run of cat5 around a building. In those days outdoor cat5 was quite expensive so they said put indoor cable in. Ten years later all the PVC sheath had crumbled away and the nails in the hyatts rusted so the cable was sagging down. What the school had done to stop this was tuck the cable under some bricks on the ridge of the building… and you know what - that cable run was still working perfectly okay!

So another story, the same school. This is the school that walled a Novell file server in behind a stoothing wall! They got the builders in and they just walled the server (386 PC) in. The school only knew about this when, several years later, they wanted to replace some coax lan cable (so pre UTP) and they were trying to trace where the server was. After following the cable they eventually realised where the PC was… for years the Novell server had been sat there working away without any maintenance or admin needed - god Novell was good, you wouldn’t get a windows server running that long without, at least, needing a reboot and a dozen ‘updates’.

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Interesting – i have always ordered loads of ethernet patch cable from this company and have never had an issue with x-over cable being delivered by mistake. but i suppose there is always a first. But i think you and @solwisesteve are correct that just having using a non-outdoor cable shouldn’t have caused this issue, unless the other cables up there (FM radio aerial, telephone, TV) caused some interference. The company is kindly sending me a replacement cable (still indoor cate 5e) – which i now wont use of course – but there are always other uses indoors. Its 20m, but i can use smaller re-terminated pieces as needed. Thanks for your thoughts…

Windows! Tell me about it…!! One only has to look at Task Manager to see all those processes running – some of them hogging resources like mad!! Why do i need them all?

Sorry i digress :slight_smile:

I have hard wired ethernet in the conservatory now and i’m happy.

The Cat 6 outdoor cable was very stiff – but i ‘primed’ it for a couple of hours before installing by laying it straight in our garden – but even then it still required cable tied every foot or so to prevent ‘recoiling’. The reviews of the cable on the big river has some people claiming that it was almost impossible to use – it is nowhere near ‘impossible’ – just shows you how these sorts of reviews can be a bit unreliable…

the next thing for me to so is install a Cat 6 connection socket in the conservatory for maximum flexibility.