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I have a very good network ethernet in my basement, so I was thinking of extending a CAT5 cable from the DSL router to the second floor where my office is. I can only pass that cable from the outside of the house, but I'm a little concerned about how durable CAT5 would be to heat/rain etc.

Is there something more durable than the typical CAT5?

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There is both outdoor and underground rated CAT5 called direct burial (Google Link). Occasionally on installs involving outdoor cable lightning becomes an issue. Grounding blocks should be installed if possible (or one of those UPS's have ethernet passthrough) if you care about the life of the equipment -- and I would also consider the cost of a terminated run of fiber.

That being said -- its frequently not an issue if your no where near the roof, or runs between buildings. Wifi might also be an option.

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    +1 for WiFi. Most of the time it's the better choice. – mmx Aug 14 '09 at 21:15
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    Wifi is fine if high bandwidth is not an issue. If you're in a high lightning area, fibre is the way to go. – Philip Aug 14 '09 at 21:35
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Can you run it in some conduit? That would at least keep it dry and out of direct sunlight.

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    Conduit also reduces the chance of little furry things using your cable as a snack. – David Aug 14 '09 at 20:17
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In addition to what everyone else has said:

I would make a point of putting it through a surge protector as well if it is going into any expensive equipment, you can get them for RJ-45.

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    Very true...any metal outside is a nice attractor for static build and lightning... – Bart Silverstrim Aug 14 '09 at 17:54
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I've had some standard indoor cat5 running outdoors, unprotected, for years. It's been fine.

Hosepipe makes a good, cheap conduit, but don't forget to make a drainage hole at the lowest point in case any water does get in.

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They do make outdoor networking wire... click here .. I know indoor wire will do OK if you snaked it through the walls, however outdoor rated wires are definitely the way to go if you have no other choice.

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If you do go out through an exterior wall, make sure you have a drip loop.

Otherwise water will get inside.

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Local codes probably have requirements that cover cable connectivity between buildings or cables going through walls. Talk to somebody who knows the requirements in your area.

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If you are running to say another building that is not electrically connected (the same master breaker panel) to where you are running from you absolutely need to ground the line. There can be a significant difference in the ground voltage (base voltage) between the electrical systems. Enough to tear through surge suppressors as it is not a surge but a constant over voltage on one end.

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You can find UV-resistant and/or direct burial cable in bulk that would be a better choice; it's a bit more expensive though.

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