Difference Between Outdoor and Indoor Cat6 Cable

Cat6 Ethernet 1000ft Cables are available in indoor and outdoor variants. Both variants have different features and are designed for different applications. The indoor Cat 6 cables are designed to be easy to install, fire-retardant, and resistant to uncertain weather. Similarly, the outdoor Cat6 cables are designed to be highly resistant to harsh outdoor conditions. It is pertinent to mention that indoor cables can also be used outdoors considering they feature highly durable jackets such as the plenum. This blog will explore the difference between outdoor and indoor Cat6 cables.

But before we do that, let’s introduce Category 6 cables for context.

Cat6 Cable

Category 6 ethernet network cables were introduced after their predecessors, cat5e cables. These cables feature 4 twisted pairs of 23 AWG conductors. Cat 6 cable comes in three different types of jackets. Plenum, Riser, and PVC.

The data transfer speed of these cables is up to 1 Gaps over a distance of 100 meters and supports bandwidths up to 550 MHz. These specifications are ideal for all sorts of Ethernet networks. And that is the reason you see its wide application in home and office LANs.

If you are getting this cable, you will be easily able to run ethernet applications in your network such as 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T, 100BASE-VG, PoE, and PoE+/++, etc.

Cable Jackets

The main difference between indoor and outdoor Cat6 cables is the different cable jackets. Therefore, it is important that we discuss the types of jackets.

Plenum Jacket: The Cat6 cable that comes with a plenum jacket is to be installed in plenum-rated spaces of a building. For instance, dropped ceilings, or raised floors where air can flow freely.

Riser jacket: Riser-rated category 6 cable is specifically designed for enclosed vertical rising spaces in a building. For example, between floors, elevator shafts, and within walls.

PVC jacket: These cables are designed for outdoor door runs because if the PVC jacket catches fire, it can emit toxic smoke which can be lethal if inhaled by residents. These cables are not produced often now because of their substandard features.

What is an indoor Cat6 cable?

Indoor Cat 6 cables are twisted-pair ethernet cables whose jackets are designed for relatively moderate weather conditions. And the temperatures in indoor spaces are what these cables can sustain without wearing out or causing a fire hazard. Moreover, it is important for indoor cables to be fire-retardant.

Cat6 cables for indoor use are available in all three types of cable jackets described above. But we do not recommend the cable with a PVC jacket to be used indoors because of its less strict fire safety standards.

Choosing the right Cat6 ethernet cable for the right purpose is important. It can save you from additional costs and safety hazards. The reason why these cables are ideal for indoor use is because of their jackets. It is thinner compared to an outdoor Cat6 cable jacket. And their fire safety standards are much more strict i.e. fire-retardant.

What is an outdoor Cat6 Cable?

As implied by the term, outdoor Cat6 Ethernet cables are used in outdoor network cable runs. These cables feature a thicker jacket as compared to indoor cables. This jacket is waterproof and can sustain harsh environmental conditions. It can also be used as a direct burial cable. This means you can bury it underground if it is a requirement for the network you are establishing.

Outdoor Cat6 Cables are long-lasting, sturdy, and easy to use with their heavy-duty specifications.

Outdoor vs Indoor Cat6 Cable

The difference between indoor and outdoor Cat6 cables is that the former are prioritized to be safer whereas the latter cables are prioritized to be more durable. This means that indoor cable jackets are made to be fire-retardant. So much so that the plenum-rated Cat6 cable neither catches fire nor emits toxic smoke. And the Cat6 riser cable is also put to rigorous tests to ensure that it will not carry a flame during a fire outbreak.

Outdoor cables are designed to be more durable in extreme weather conditions. Note that the Cat6 plenum cable is an indoor and outdoor cable and you can use it in both types of settings. Not only is this cable highly safe for indoor use, but it also withstands humidity, heat, cold, and other environmental uncertainties.

When to use Cat6 indoors?

Now that you know what an outdoor and indoor cat6 cable is, let’s dive into the question of their application:

When and Where to use it?

Well, of course, it is to be used indoors, but for what applications exactly?

Office Networks: Let’s say you are establishing a network for an average office building. And you need to run cables for security cameras, smart TVs, computers, and other smart devices.

In this case, you will need to run this cable. It will support all the high-speed heavy-duty applications that the office will utilize.

Home networks: A regular home network might not use too many high-performance applications but most homes do have security cameras and smart TVs. And at this province point, there is virtually no better cable than a Category 6. Even if you do not use high-performance applications, you should be prepared in advance for the future.

Schools, Hospitals, Etc

You can also use this for large-scale networks. In fact, the category 6 specifications are particularly designed for that. However, note that you must install the cable with the appropriate jacket rating. For instance, this EIA/TIA verified Cat6 plenum is to be installed in the indoor plenum-rated spaces of the building. It is crucial for the security of the people and the building - safety should be your first priority.

When to use Cat6 outdoors?

By now, you also know about outdoor category 6 cables. Let’s take a look at when and where you can use them.

Outdoor means outdoor - either you run it in the open air or bury it underground, this outdoor category 6 cable is built to stand all types of weather conditions. And it can also be used indoors.
You can use it in the following outdoor spaces:

  • Cable runs for ATM
  • Security camera posts
  • For devices installed outdoors such as TVs
  • Etc

Why Smartech Cables?

SmarTech Cables manufacture the best Cat6 indoor and outdoor cables and this claim is supported by the fact that our ethernet cables surpass all industry standards (FCC, CE, CSE, ISO/IES) by a wide margin. Also, our ethernet cables are RoHS compliant.

We offer free shipping across the US on orders above $99 and all of our ethernet cables come at market-competitive prices and with a 10-year warranty (terms and conditions applied). Rest assured, when you shop from Smartech Cables, you get the best value for your money.