What Is CMX Cable?
Looking to install cable outdoors or areas exposed to weather conditions? Well when it comes to ethernet cables you have many choices. The great things about copper cables is that they come in many different forms. Pretty much anywhere you want to install a cable there is a specific type suitable for it. From inside the walls, to areas with air flow and even locations directly exposed by sun there is a jacket type for it. The most popular cable for outdoor is CMX cable and in this blog post we will go over what is cmx cable?
What Is CMX Cable?
CMX cable is a type of ethernet cable that has an outdoor rated jacket. The CMX jacket gives the cable the ability to be installed outside in conditions such as sun (UV protection) and rain. The jacket material for CMX cable is Polyethylene (PE). This type of material is stronger and more durable than other types such as CM or CMR rating which give it the ability to last outdoors. It is suitable for direct installs in the sun or rain. The great thing about outdoor cable is also the ability to be directly buried. With its stronger jacket it gives the cable the functionality to be buried or trenched underground and out of sight. Making this cable perfect for installs between buildings or in your backyard.
Is CMX Cable Waterproof?
CMX cable is constructed to be waterproof. It can be placed outdoor facing damp conditions that can come from early mornings or rain. It gives it the ability to be waterproof with its Polyethylene (PE) jacket. Inside CMX cables there are also other ways that can help water proof your ethernet cable.
Water Blocking Tape
Water blocking tape can be used inside the cables structure to wrap around the individual pairs. This tape helps in concealing the wires from any extra moisture.
Gel filled cables is a technique in which your cables core is flooded with gel (stick) like compounds. This alternative method also helps in giving your copper or fiber cable extra water protection. This also gives helps when you are putting your cables underwater.
Double Jacket Layer
This technique of doubling the layers of jacket materials also helps in strengthening the jacket for installs outside. Even thought this cable does not have water blocking tape or gel filling it is still suitable for protection from water.
A lot of the decisions of outdoor cables comes down to personal preference. The majority of CMX cables today will all have different variations of all three of these materials. Choosing which one for you comes down to where you are installing and what you like to work with.
When we decided to carry outdoor cable from Elite Cable the decision was made not to include water blocking tape or gel filling in the cables.
The reason for this is optimal signal transmission quality. These types of materials can have an adverse affect on signal quality and we ultimately decided to stick with outdoor CMX cables with the single and dual layer jackets. This ensures that Cat5e of Cat6 cables have the ability for maximum transmission performance. At the same time providing all the benefits of outdoor cables such as waterproofing and UV resistance.
Directly Burying Cable
The great thing about CMX cables is their added ability to be buried out of sight. This means that you can install this cable directly in the ground with no added protection. While this cable does have this ability we always recommend it to run it in conduit for added protection. This gives you a couple benefits.
The first one is that it is easier to reinstall cable after the fact. After the cable has been buried or trenched along side conduit it can save you time if you ever want to remove or switch cables. The other benefit is that no matter how tough an outdoor cable can be you just never know what might get through to this cable.
We've seen things happen such as animals chewing through lines. Though this is rare you can never be too prepared.
Cable In Water
Another use for CMX cables might be that you need to submerge the cable underwater. This is ok with outdoor rated cable. The important thing here is that all loose end are sealed tightly. This means that while you are putting the cable though water the ends are not exposed and covered. This makes sure no water gets inside during your cable run. The other important thing is to have tightly concealed terminations. Exposed RJ45 plugs can cause electrical performance mishaps. Its also recommended to add a strain relief boot over the RJ45 plug as well to conceal it from the back. There different types of ways you can do this as there is waterproof housing, junction boxes and even outlets.
Outdoor rated cable (CMX) is a perfect solutions for installations that want to go outdoors. They are waterproof, UV resistant and can even be directly buried. When directly burying cable we do recommend that you include conduit for added protection. Whether you're upgrading your network to gigabit or beyond look to CMX cables when the cables runs are looking for some fresh air.