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Can Ethernet Cable Freeze

Can Ethernet Cable Freeze? [Facts You Should Know]

You are having cold weather and wondering if your Ethernet cable will survive or not? If yes, then you are at the best resource as here we have explained that matter in detail.

But, Can Ethernet Cable Freeze?

YES! In extremely cold temperatures, the cables could freeze. You read it right; it can freeze or get covered in ice during a storm. Furthermore, if the cable is subterranean, the ground may harden over time and cause frost heaving, eventually breaking the cable.

Over time, even the temperature can affect your connection. Let’s take a very hot climate; as the temperature rises, the jacket on the broadband cables can soften and expand, which can cause you to diminish your speed.

What Is The Lowest Temperature for an Ethernet Cable?

Any reputable Ethernet cable supplier and manufacturer will always list the temperature ranges, and these are set by ANSI/TIA 568 or the manufacturer.

The absolute “do not exceed” temperatures for installation, operation, and storage in terms of temperature extremes.

So, what about the lowest temperature?

  • -40º F (or C) as the lowest possible operating or storage temperature 
  • -4º F (or C) as the lowest possible installation temperature

This means that you should not try to install an Ethernet cable below -4º because your cable is likely to crack in the long run. At extremely low temperatures, plastic becomes brittle. If you go this low

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Does the Cold Affect Ethernet Cables?

The quick answer is Yes! Anything below -4º F can easily affect your Ethernet cable. It can crack your cable and most likely ruins all your efforts to install and run the cable.

The plastic will also become weak over the period, decrease the shelf life, and not be beneficial in the long run.

After installation, I hope you guys are following the colder operating temperature limit of -40° F takes effect. The lowest storage temperature is also -40° F.

The average person won’t notice the difference in performance at lower temperatures. But to use the cable at its best, we should take precautionary actions right from the start.

In some cases, we are talking about crosstalk percentages less than 1 %, so many can’t calculate the actual benefits they will get compared to other types.

Unless you’re installing major developments or data centers, running the numbers might not be worth it.

Can I Run Ethernet Through Cold Air Return?

While running the cables, we all might have wondered once if we could just run the Ethernet through a cold air return or widely known as air ducts. These ideas might seem perfect to hide the wires and connect the rooms without hassle.

But before pushing the cables, you should know a few things about the air return and cable types. And Yes! You can run Ethernet cables through air returns, but they may be against the codes of the building.

Teflon-coated or PTFE cables are more resistant to temperature and air returns. A low voltage wire can be run inside an air return (aka plenum) in the US; you can also find the “plenum rated,” which means it has a lighter jacket on it.

While it is possible to run a cable through your air ducts, most HVAC IT professionals are against this, but you can run the Ethernet through the cold air return.

Tips To Protect Your Ethernet from Cold Weather

Ethernet cables are portable and convenient to connect your routers, switches & PCs. If you’re running an Ethernet cable, you may want to add some protection from the weather, especially from cold weather conditions.

Taking a few small actions can prevent the Ethernet cable in the long term and increase its shelf-life, making it as efficient as possible.

1. Exterior Coating

As long as you’re running the cable outdoors, you might face some issues after some time, so you can use a coated cable to protect it from cold weather.

In cold weather, the regular coating of Ethernet cable becomes brittle and tends to break. Other than this, you can also follow the below steps to protect your Ethernet cable.

2. Waterproofing Ethernet Cable’s Connector Box

Waterproof your Ethernet cable’s connector box, which will both minimize the likelihood of stroke and will also prevent damage withstood during the stormy weather.

To make it waterproof and resistant to damage, you need to replace the outer plating with a silicone seal to the outer edges.

3. Using Polyethylene Cables To Withstand Extreme Temperatures

If your Ethernet cable is exposed to harsh weather, choose one with a polyethylene jacket. Polyethylene cables work in cold and hot weather and can resist down to −40 °C (−40 °F).

Polyethylene Ethernet cables are made to resist temperature, so they are best to use when you’re running the Ethernet outdoors. In contrast, the Basic PVC cables withstand −20 °C (−4 °F) temperatures.

4. Undergrounding Ethernet Cables

To get rid of the weather condition which affects the wire, you bury the wires underground but avoid burying basic Ethernet cables, as they are not made to run through underground conditions.

The cables, labeled as “direct burial,” can be used for burying, as they come with stronger waterproofing materials and can withstand rodents and larger pests.


So, that’s all about the Ethernet cable. I hope I have answered all your questions; the above-stated methods and facts are thorough research and experiments. Please feel free to ask your doubts in the comments section.