Can You Use Outdoor Ethernet Cables for Indoor Runs in 2023?

  • Last modified: December 28, 2023

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If you don’t know it already, let us tell you that ethernet cables come in a wide array of jackets. The type of jacket decides in which place you can run an ethernet cable. The jacket decides whether you will run cable in the plenum spaces of the buildings or riser. The jacket decides whether you will run cable in outdoor spaces or indoor spaces or underground. Depending on the types of jackets, ethernet cables are classified as either indoor or outdoor cables.

Now, a question might pop up in your mind that whether or not you can use indoor cables in outdoor spaces or vice versa? Let’s find out the answer to it.

Legally speaking, you can’t run an outdoor cable in indoor spaces. But when it comes to technical terms, there’s a way out.

The National Electric Code has some relaxations and as per these relaxations, you can run outdoor ethernet cables inside indoor spaces up to a length of 50 feet.

At or before 50-feet, you have to terminate the outdoor cable. However, BICSI standards state that the outdoor cable can’t run even a single food inside indoor facilities and should be terminated at the entrance facility of the building at every cost. But when it comes to residential installations, there are considerable relaxations available.

Indoor Cables vs Outdoor Cables: Why are restrictions imposed?

The installation restrictions are imposed because of safety concerns.

Indoor cables, like Cat6 Plenum cable or Cat6 Riser cable, have jackets that have fire-retardant properties. These jackets are made up of extremely fine material and when exposed to fire, halt the fire progression and emit no hazardous or perilous elements. On the other hand, outdoor cables do not have such properties. Therefore, it is not safe to install outdoor cables in indoor spaces.

Plenum and riser jackets are also UV-resistant and they have excellent protection against all sorts of external interferences such as crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.

Indoor Cables vs Outdoor Cables: Inner Structure

When it comes to the inner structure, there isn’t any difference between the two. Both have eight numbers of conductors that are either made up of pure copper or copper-clad aluminum. In both indoor and outdoor cables, the 8 conductors are tightly twisted together in the form of 4 twisted pairs.

As far as data speed and bandwidth capacities of the indoor and outdoor ethernet cables are concerned, they depend on the category or generation of the cable, and not on the jacket type. For instance, Cat6 Plenum and Cat6 PVC will have the same maximum and minimum data transfer rates of 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps. Likewise, both cables will have the same bandwidth capacities of 550 MHz.

Also, whether a cable should be installed in outdoor spaces or indoor spaces solely depends on the jacket type, and not on the other specifications.

Best Indoor & Outdoor Cables

NewYork Cables is your one-stop shop to purchase high-quality indoor cables and outdoor cables. Our cables surpass all industry standards and come with a 10-year warranty (terms and conditions apply).

We offer free shipping across the USA on orders above $299.99. The cherry on the top? Our prices are market-competitive.

Specification Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a
Cable Jacket Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum & Riser
Wire Gauge 24-AWG 23-AWG 23-AWG Highly Twisted
Frequencies 350 MHZ 550 MHZ 750 MHZ
Installation Temp 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C
Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs
Package Easy Pull Box Easy Pull Box Wood Spool
Colors Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow
Isabella Anthony

Isabella Nightingale, our Ethernet cables maven, blends style with functionality in networking. Follow her blogs for the latest trends, ensuring your setup is both chic and efficient.

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