Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth
Written by Don Schultz, Technical Expert, Fluke Networks Versiv & BICSI INSTC Certified Technician
The old is new again! Or is it? Gel filled Ethernet cable has been in use for quite some time. Only recently has water blocking tape been seen in Ethernet cable. Many have opted for the waterproof tape version of direct burial Ethernet, but the “old” gel filled style still soldiers on, and for good reason. The question as to which is “better” has largely been answered in our blog Direct Burial Ethernet Cable Gel Filled vs Waterproof Tape.
Ethernet cable often has to go outside, and sometimes even underground. Who wants to see cables hanging in the air all over the place? It is rather unsightly. Many opt for direct burial of Ethernet to keep up appearances.
The biggest factor for direct burial Ethernet is how to keep the water out and thereby your cable working. Water getting into your Ethernet cable will permanently destroy it, rendering it unable to pass data unless measures are taken to reduce or eliminate the impact. See What Happens If Water Gets Inside Ethernet Cable? for more information on the destructive effects that may occur.
This blog and companion video focuses on termination of our new Cat6 U/UTP Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet Cable to RJ45 8P8C pass-through plugs.
The below companion video is designed to be viewed in the context of this blog. Both bring something to the table.
Gel filling shown to good effect
The primary characteristics of this cable are:
- Cat6 performance:
- 5 Gb/s to 328 feet
- 10 Gb/s up to 165 feet depending on cross talk conditions
- Solid copper conductors, 23 AWG
- CMX, UV protectant jacket, suitable for direct burial as well as above ground applications
- Non-toxic, non-flammable paraffin wax and mineral oil based gel filling which is tacky and not free flowing. Clean-up is accomplished with 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol or GoJo hand wipes. The GoJo hand wipes are especially suitable for cleaning your hands and tools. The alcohol is better used on wiping off the conductor wires.
The correct accessories for this cable are:
- For RJ45 connector plugs (8P8C), the trueCABLE Cat6/6A pass-through unshielded plug or our standard load bar Cat6/6A unshielded plug.
- For strain relief boots, the trueCABLE Large Cut-to-Fit style
- For keystone jacks, any Cat6 or Cat6A unshielded or shielded keystone will work and you will find ours here. Shielded keystones are not required, but may be used if that is what you have on hand.
- For patch panels, any Cat6 or higher unshielded or shielded patch panel is appropriate
RJ45 Pass-Through Connector Installation
Tools you will absolutely need are:
- All-In-One trueCABLE RJ45 Crimp & Termination tool (trueCRIMP)
- Leave the strain latch presser bar set to ON (the tool comes this way from the factory)
- Flush cutter
- Optionally you can use the Cable Stripping & Cutting Tool -- our All-In-One Crimp and Termination Tool has a very good cable stripper on it but lacks a cable cutter. Any good cable cutter will work to cut your Ethernet cable.
Tools of the trade
Recommended tools to make your life a lot easier (and less painful):
- Light work glove (you only need one)
- Smooth metal shaft of some kind, like a screwdriver shaft
- Isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) to remove excess gel filling. Oh, and a rag you really don’t care about.
Step 1: Initial cable preparation
Using the built-in stripper on the All-In-One trueCRIMP tool for stripping the cable jacket...remove about 2.5” of cable jacket
- The built in stripper is self adjusting
- The size compatibility is 6.00mm to 8.00mm cable jacket OD, which covers everything from trueCABLE Cat5e Shielded Riser and thicker
- It is helpful to roll the cable between your thumb and forefinger to make it more round prior to stripping. This reduces the chances of slicing the cable shield or nicking a conductor.
Now, pop the jacket open at the score and remove the jacket. Keep the jacket piece, it will be a free tool for at least five minutes. I promise.
Properly scored jacket being “popped”. Don’t toss the stripped off jacket piece just yet.
Flush cut the rip cord off. Check for nicks in the conductors near the cable jacket edge.
Step 2: Prepare conductors for termination
Cut each “wing” of the spline, at a downward angle close to the jacket edge. There will be four cuts to make. Avoid cutting the spline straight across.
Once all four wings are cut, twist to remove the spline. Using the alcohol and a rag, wipe off as much gel as possible from each conductor pair.
Using the cable jacket piece, untwist each conductor pair. Once untwisted, wipe each conductor individually with the alcohol rag.
Remember that glove and metal rod?
- The glove and metal rod will make this much faster and far less painful
- Work the conductors individually, starting at the end of the cable jacket and going to the ends
- Easy does it. Don’t use too much pressure as you are liable to remove the conductor insulation right off the copper.
- The straighter they are, the easier it will be for you to put the connector on
All untwisted. You are now ready to put the conductors into either the T568A or T568B sequence. I am using T568B. Keep the cable jacket area “clean” and neat. Less neat = more difficulty putting on the connector.
Locate a good spot, about 1.5 to 2” away from the cable jacket, to flush cut the conductors. T568B sequence shown. I like to work from top down (if I can). White-orange at the top, and solid brown at the bottom.
- You can use either T568A or T568B for your sequence. One is not better than the other. Just be sure to use the same sequence at both ends of the cable, unless you want to create a cross-over cable.
- Once you have those conductors lined up, keep pressure on them so they don’t get out of order on you. They will, trust me. Try it once to see what I mean...
Here is a handy reference for you. When looking at the conductor color sequence, be sure you understand the orientation of the plug itself! Yes, it is quite possible to get the sequence correct and put the plug on upside down. I have done it, so don’t be a Don.
Step 3: Terminate
Push the conductors into the plug so they come out the nose. Don’t fully seat the cable yet. Check the color sequence again.
Fully insert the cable jacket into the plug. Seat --at a minimum-- to the green line as indicated. Alternate between pulling on the conductors and pushing on the cable jacket.
Insert plug and cable assembly into the trueCRIMP tool. Use only light pressure and then press the tool lever fully downward. Check to be sure all eight golden contacts are down, and the conductors are fully flush cut
Step 4: Admire (and check) your work!
All ready to go!
All done! So, you just terminated “icky pic” and survived the experience! You can brag to your friends about it. Go plug it in and HAPPY NETWORKING!
Something not right? Your cable not performing your expectations? You could have a bad or poorly terminated RJ45 plug. Better check out What Does a Bad Termination Look Like?
trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the “Cable Academy” blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website subject to our website terms and conditions. While the information on this website is about data networking and electrical issues, it is not professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.