If you’re from a state known for its heavy winter season, and you’ve run your ethernet or internet cable outside, then it is obvious you’ll be worried.
Whether you run through your attic, outside wall, or underground, it is exposed to cold weather, which may impact the internet experience.
So, Can Ethernet Cable Freeze?
YES! Your Ethernet cable may freeze in extremely cold weather, especially if it is not an outdoor-rated ethernet cable and just a normal indoor-rated cable. And this can not only serve a poor internet connection or speed but also damage your whole ethernet wire.
Also, this depends on many things like the temperature, cable type and quality, protection on the cable, and other things discussed below.
So let’s learn about those crucial things that will help your ethernet cable survive the extreme winter season.
- 1 What Is The Lowest Temperature an Ethernet Cable Can Handle?
- 2 What Are the Impacts Of Cold Weather On Your Ethernet Cable?
- 3 What Type of Ethernet Cables are Best For Cold Weather?
- 4 How To Protect Ethernet Cable in Extreme Cold Weather?
What Is The Lowest Temperature an Ethernet Cable Can Handle?
If you’ve run an ethernet cable or are planning to run it outside, it is important to know the lowest temperature it can handle.
The lowest temperature capability of an Ethernet cable varies from cable to cable. However, most outdoor-rated ethernet cables can handle up to -32° F to -40° F. If you have a simple ethernet cable, it would not be able to handle too much cold, whereas the outdoor-rated ethernet cable can work fine in extreme weather.
Simple ethernet cables, meaning indoor-rated ethernet cables, and ethernet cables without a proper jacket may freeze easily in winter if used outside.
Whenever you buy an ethernet cable that you think will be exposed to extreme weather or outdoors, you should always check the lower temperature capability from the specs of the cable. Most manufacturers list the cable’s temperature capability in the box or description.
Moreover, you should also check the highest temperature that the ethernet cable can handle for summer if you have a hot summer in your state.
What Are the Impacts Of Cold Weather On Your Ethernet Cable?
Many impacts can be seen when your Ethernet cable is exposed to cold weather. In heavy cold weather, your cable may get hard, and the wires get damaged slowly. This is a poor situation as you have run a new ethernet again.
Often your ethernet cable might not be impacted heavily, but you get a slow internet speed due to the extreme weather.
Next, if you’ve buried the cable after the cold temperature when your ethernet cable gets in touch with a slightly warm atmosphere, the moisture gets inside your cable to the twisted pairs.
Thus the wires often get damaged, but CAT 5/5e/6 direct burry ethernet cable has goo which eliminates the moisture from getting inside and protects the wires.
So the hot weather can also impact the same as winter. Thus, while running ethernet cables outside, you have to think about summer and winter.
What Type of Ethernet Cables are Best For Cold Weather?
The Ethernet cable type becomes crucial when used outdoors in cold temperatures.
Any good Outdoor rated weatherproof CAT 5e or CAT 6 ethernet cables are good to run outside in cold extreme weather. The weatherproof ethernet cable has a resistant jacket that protects the cable from water, cold, sunlight, UV, and more.
And always remember to check the lowest and highest temperature of the cable, as it is one of the important things you should take care of.
How To Protect Ethernet Cable in Extreme Cold Weather?
Not only does a great cable need to stay unaffected in cold weather, but there are a few precautions you can take to ensure you get the highest speed and last long your connection.
#1 Waterproofing the Connector Box
If you have an old plastic connector box through which you’ll connect the ethernet, it will be better to replace it completely or add a metal cover.
If water goes into the box, you’ll have various issues like Return loss, connection errors, and even your cable may get damaged.
So always ensure the box is weatherproof; if possible, try to place it in a safe zone.
#2 Undergrounding the Ethernet Cable with a Conduit
Burying your ethernet cable is a great solution to protect your cable from extreme weather swings. But, directly burying your ethernet cable might not be sufficient, and also, the earthly pressure can break the cable often.
So the best method would be to use a pathway [pipe] or conduit to run your ethernet cable. The conduit will protect your cable from water and cold weather.
That way, you’ll ensure your Ethernet cable lasts long and serves a great internet connection no matter what is happening outside.
#3 Other Things
- Always Make sure the ends of your ethernet cables are safe.
- If you have an indoor-rated ethernet cable, it would be better to replace it with an outdoor one.