I'm in the process of building an office in my garden. It's about 25m away from my house.

I'd like to run a wired network connection to the office. I'd rather not go down the powerline route, as speeds don't seem great, and I'm likely to want to be moving a lot of data around on the internal network.

I have an electrician who is running armoured electrical cable to the office, and is providing conduit for me to run network cable. My questions are:

1) What type of cable to run 2) How I terminate/connect it at both ends

I could get something like armoured cat6 utp solid core (like this: http://www.netstoredirect.com/cat6-cable/289166-external-armoured-cat6-utp-solid-cable-price-per-metre.html) which seems fairly robust, but then I have to terminate it. Additionally, where the cable enters my house, there is about another 15m to where my router is situated.

I also read this artice: http://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/bjc-cat-network-cable-quality-interview which scared me into realising I don't know what I'm doing!! particularly with termination.

Or I could get an "cat6 external patch cable" (e.g http://www.netstoredirect.com/rj45-network-cables/239231-external-cat6-utp-ldpe-rj45-patch-leads.html) and run that in the conduit, and work out how to terminate it at the house end. At the office end I guess I can just plug it into a switch.

Any help?


Edit To answer some questions. Speed is reasonably important, streaming video, and backups over the local network.

Also I'd rather go for higher rated now (within reason) than have to faff around too much. Obviously with a string through the conduit, I can faff around if necessary, but I'd like to minimise the need to do that!

Additional Edit When running into the buildings, it's likely that there will be a small run at each end which is above ground, and therefor not in the conduit. (E.g up the side of the house/office until it goes in) Is that likely to be a problem with non-armoured cable?

  • 1) Cat 6 is approriate for new installations. 2) A patch panel at both ends will likely be what you want. – ssnobody Aug 20 '14 at 23:13
  • What are your requirements? Do you need to have the fastest connection possible? – imtheman Aug 20 '14 at 23:14
  • If you bury conduit, then you can go cheap now with Cat5e. Then pull Cat6 later when you actually need it. Terminate the cable with 8P8C (aka RJ45) plugs. "External cable" is not for burial; it usually means that it has resistance to deterioration from UV. – sawdust Aug 21 '14 at 1:01
  • added some extra info to answer these – Matt Aug 21 '14 at 9:15
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    "When running into the buildings..." -- There's no need to expose any cable to the elements. Use elbows to extend the conduit above ground, and then into a junction box or extend the conduit through the wall into the building. – sawdust Aug 21 '14 at 17:37

First, if you have a conduit, you don't need armored cable. The armor cable is for direct (straight into the ground) burial with nothing protecting it. You could simply use normal PVC or plenum cable. Technically plenum isn't needed since that is normally used inside air spaces (think dropped ceiling) but some like it better for running inside conduit since it is stiff and rigid and not as likely to kink.

Since the price difference between Cat 5 and Cat 6 is relatively nominal, I'd go with a big brand Cat 6 cable. Make sure you also run some poly string at the same time so you can pull additional cables later. Plug up both ends with conduit putty to prevent vermin from infesting the conduit. Don't want mice or ants to have a way in/out.

Termination at both ends are normally to a patch panel. From the patch panel, you just use pre-made patch cables to go from the house patch panel to the switch and from the garden patch panel to your other switch.

  • Is your answer compliant with electrical standards world-wide? – suspectus Aug 21 '14 at 7:17
  • Thanks - good to know. Ok so what qualifies as "big brand" cat6 cable. That article I linked suggested most cat6 cable sold is below cat6 standards. – Matt Aug 21 '14 at 9:09
  • I've added this to my original question, but in regards to your don't need armoured cable bit, what about where the cables are exposed. E.g getting from ground up side of buildings etc. – Matt Aug 21 '14 at 10:41
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    @Matt The cabling going up the wall will normally be protected, or it can easily be protected, by adding a cover. If you have a qualified electrician do the actual installation, they should take care of all that; this is nothing unusual. I definitely second Blackbeagle's suggestion of going with Cat 6; the price difference is small, and certainly much less than if you were to go with 5/5e now and rewire with 6 later. – user Aug 21 '14 at 14:24
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    By big brand, I mean Belkin, Belden, others that you normally would purchase through a large professional electrical supply house versus something you'd pickup at some sort of big box store (Walmart/Home supply..) Regarding the electrical standards - most LAN is covered under low voltage regulations which are more relaxed. Check your local regs - always. Regarding the conduit, most of the professional installs go through the wall, down and then turn again to go underground, come back up and go through the wall. You don't have exposure. – Blackbeagle Aug 21 '14 at 19:31

I would use a separate conduit from the power, with a in line surge protector on either end. Ground loops and lighting scare me!

CAT6 In-Line Surge Protector

That armored cable looks pretty cool, it is not all that hard to terminate cat6(a) cable, lots of tutorials out there.

  • I would use cat6a as it will work with 10GBase-T when the time comes. – thenewguy617 Aug 20 '14 at 23:17
  • Yeah, the armoured power cable isn't being run in the conduit. The conduit is just for network cable. You say that it's not hard to terminate cat6(a), but the article I linked suggests otherwise. – Matt Aug 21 '14 at 9:12
  • Really it is not that hard! – thenewguy617 Aug 22 '14 at 15:33
  • Have a few spare connectors and little extra length. It might take you a few tries, but is doable. – thenewguy617 Aug 22 '14 at 15:34
  • It's not so much the making the connection, it's making the connection while adhering to cat6 standards. (And having no idea, because testing equipment is so expensive). But yeah, I'm sure it'll be fine. – Matt Aug 22 '14 at 15:55

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