CAT5 Signal Boost to Office 80M Away from Main Office

Posted on 2014-02-07
Last Modified: 2014-02-21

I have a client that requires internet access in an office sitting approximately 80m from their main office building. I've run an unshielded CAT5 cable and connected it up to a laptop in the this office. The green and orange lights on the laptop NIC are lighting and I see activity, but the NIC is not picking up an IP address.

I'm guessing that the signal has either attenuated too much, or I need to make a PoE connect between PoE devices across to the office, but I've never run a CAT5 cable this far before.

Does anyone have experience of running network cabling outdoors, and if so do you have any advice?
Question by:cpadm
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 39841504
We use Cat 6 to traverse 100 meters just fine.

If you can get one, try it.

Author Comment

ID: 39841604
Did you plug in the CAT6 cable directly from a switch/router (standard port - as in non-PoE) to the remote building?
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
ID: 39841616
From 3Com Gigabit switch 2948 to a same model.

It serves as a backup for our fibre line now, but when started we were running on the cable.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39841968
Quick fix:

Throw another switch half-way in between the run.

Author Comment

ID: 39842051
@ktaczala: Unfortunately, that switch would have to be solar-powered and waterproof! :)

The cable is travelling outdoors to reach the other building.

I thought about setting up directional antennas, or WiFi boosters, but I know even less about these technologies and I'm not sure how good they would work over a distance of 80 meters through concrete walls and with no clear line of sight (trees). Budget is also a factor as this is a small company.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39842320
Try CAT6 as Santasi suggested or order a DSL/Cable for that office and use VPN if LAN access is needed.
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39842625
100m is fine for a Cat5, Cat5E or Cat6 run.

Are you sure that the port on the switch is configured properly?  Ie, in the correct VLAN, etc?  Test this by just plugging a laptop into the port on the switch directly.
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Darr247 earned 300 total points
ID: 39843662
I would not use cat5... use at least cat5e.

If you're running it outdoors, its jacket should be rated for UV exposure... i.e. CMX.


Keep the length of the pull to 90m if possible. That leaves room for up to 5m of patch cable on each end to reach from the outlets to the switches while keeping the total length @/under the 100m spec.
LVL 57

Assisted Solution

giltjr earned 200 total points
ID: 39844206
I would double check the total length.  If the buildings are 80m apart that only leaves 20m for any patch cables (as Darr247 pointed out), and inside the building distances to get to where the switches are.

Is this cable hanging in the air, or did you bury it?  As Darr247 also pointed out, you can't use the same wiring for outside runs as you do for inside runs.  Well, maybe if it is totally run within conduit, which getting to the conduit could also add length to the cable.

You may want to see if you know somebody with a cable tester that can measure the total length of the cable to verify that it is at or under 100m.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 39844543
Some cables have measurements printed right on the jacket, too...
e.g.Belden Cat5e Cable with Metering Marks (click for larger)

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