Cat6 Shielded Aerial Messenger Cable: Up The Ladder You Go!
Written by Don Schultz, trueCABLE Network Expert, BICSI INST1, INSTC, Fluke Networks CCTT
Running Ethernet cable outdoors sometimes involves ladders. Probably the most likely scenario is a situation where you need to run a Cat6 cable between two points up in the air when direct burial is not possible. A great example is you wish to extend your hard wired network between your home and remote office in a garage. Possibly you want to get a hard wired Ethernet cable to a surveillance camera that is mounted on a 30 foot pole in the middle of your yard.
Well, you would not want to use any old cable for this. You will need an Ethernet cable that is:
- Outdoor rated (suitable for temperature extremes, moisture, and UV protection)
- Preferably comes with it’s own hanging hardware built-in (called a messenger or aerial)
To be clear, any outdoor shielded Ethernet cable that meets your bandwidth requirements can be suspended in the air. If this cable lacks a messenger wire you will need to pre-run your own with thin stainless steel rope wire and then velcro attach your Ethernet cable to it every few feet. That could be quite inconvenient, and might not even be possible as you will need to move the ladder for every point you need to attach the two together. What if you have a nice fish pond right under part of that cable run?
This video is meant to serve as a companion to this blog, so I suggest watching the video and reading the blog to get the most out of this!
If you run Ethernet cable outdoors suspended between two objects, there is the distinct possibility that your Ethernet cable will build up ESD or electrostatic discharge. This happens because air movement across the cable will charge the plastic. This is most noticeable in the winter season, or if your climate is dry. ESD can travel down to your network equipment and destroy it. Shielded cable is not just designed to prevent environmental interference, it is also a ground path. Therefore, you will need shielded connecting hardware for your terminations and also some way to guarantee that any static electricity can drain off to your AC ground.
Here is the cable you will need for the job!
An example of Ethernet cable ideally suited for this task is our Cat6 Outdoor W/Messenger | Shielded.
This cable has a CMX jacket (outdoor rated), is shielded, and has the aerial hardware built into it--a separate high strength 16 AWG steel wire molded to the side of the cable jacket. No velcro or zip ties needed!
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