Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (2023)

Written by DonSchultz, trueCABLE Technical Manager, BICSI INST1, INSTC, INSTF, Fluke Networks CCTT

The old is new again! Or is it? Gel-filled Ethernet cable has been around for quite some time. Just recently water blocking tape appeared on the ethernet cable. Many have opted for the waterproof tape version of direct burial Ethernet, but the "old" gel-filled style is still cool, and for good reason. The question of which is "better" has been largely answered on our blogDirect Burial Cable Ethernet Gel filled with waterproof tape.

Ethernet cable often has to go outside, and sometimes even underground. Who wants to see wires hanging in the air everywhere? It's rather unsightly. Many choose to bury the Ethernet directly to keep up appearances.

The biggest factor in direct burial Ethernet is how to keep water out and your cable working. Water entering the Ethernet cable will permanently damage it, rendering it unable to transmit data unless steps are taken to reduce or eliminate the effects. I seeWhat happens if water gets inside the Ethernet cable??for more information on the devastating consequences that can occur.

(Video) In Depth: Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet

This blog and accompanying video focuses on the termination of our newCat6 U/UTP Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet CabletoRJ45 8P8C pass-through plugs.

The accompanying video below is designed to be viewed as part of this blog. They both bring something to the table.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (1)

The gel filling has a good effect

The main features of this cable are:

  • Cat6 Performance:
    • 5 Gb/s up to 328 feet
    • 10 Gb/suntil165 feet depending on cross talk conditions
  • Armored
  • Solid copper conductors, 23 AWG
  • CMX UV protection jacket suitable for direct burial as well as above ground applications
  • Non-toxic, non-flammable paraffin wax and mineral oil based gel filling that is sticky and non-free flowing. Cleaning is accomplished with 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol or GoJo hand wipes. GoJo hand wipes are especially suitable for cleaning your hands and tools. Alcohol is best used to wipe the conduit wires.

The correct components for this cable are:

  • For RJ45 connector plugs (8P8C), the trueCABLE Cat6/6A pass through without shielded plugor oursstandard load bar Cat6/6A unshielded plug.
  • For stress relief boots, thetrueCABLE Large Cut for Applicationstyle
  • For keystone sockets, any unshielded or shielded Cat6 or Cat6A keystone will work and you will find ourhere. Armored keystones are not required, but can be used if that's what you have available.
  • For patch panels, any unshielded or shielded patch panel Cat6 or higher is suitable

RJ45 pass-through connector installation

The tools you will definitely need are:

    • Leave the stress latch pressure bar in the ON position (the tool comes this way from the factory)
  • Flush cutter
  • Optionally you can use the-- The All-in-One Crimp and Termination Tool has a very good wire stripper, but no wire cutter. Any good cable cutter will work to cut your Ethernet cable.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (2)

Tools of the Trade

Recommended tools to make your life a lot easier (and less painful):

(Video) Direct Burial Cat6 Ethernet Cable | Gel Filled Cat6 Cable

  • Light work glove (you only need one)
  • A smooth metal shaft of some kind, like a screwdriver shaft
  • Isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) to remove excess gel filler. Oh, and a rag that you really don't care about.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (3)

Step 1:Initial cable preparation

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (4)

Using the built-in stripper on the trueCRIMP All-in-One tool to strip the cable...remove about 2.5" of cable jacket

  • The integrated stripper is self-adjusting
  • Size compatibility is 6.00mm to 8.00mm OD cable cover, covering everything from trueCABLE Cat5e Shielded Riser and thicker
  • It is useful toroll the wire between your thumb and forefinger to make it rounderbefore stripping. This reduces the chances of cutting the cable shield or cutting a conductor.

Now, open the jacket on the sheet music and remove the jacket. Keep the jacket piece, it will be a free tool forat least five minutes. I promise.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (5)

Jacket with correctly engraved "popped". Don't throw away the stripped jacket just yet.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (6)

Flush cut the cutting cord. Check for nicks in the conductors near the edge of the cable jacket.

Step 2:Prepare pipelines for termination

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (7)

Cut each "wing" of the wedge, at a downward angle near the edge of the jacket. Four incisions will be made. Avoid cutting the wedge straight.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (8)

Once all four wings are cut, twist to remove the wedge.Using the alcohol and a cloth, wipe as much gel as possible from each pair of ducts.

(Video) In Depth: Cat6A Unshielded Direct Burial

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (9)

Using the piece of cable sleeve, twist each pair of conductors.Once unfolded, wipe each duct individually with the alcohol wipe.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (10)

Remember that glove and metal rod?

  • The glove and metal bar will make it much faster and much less painful
  • Work the conductors individually, starting at the end of the cable jacket and going to the ends
  • He does it easily. Do not apply too much pressure as you may strip the conductor insulation directly from the copper.
  • The straighter it is, the easier it will be for you to insert the plug

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (11)

All sloppy. You are now ready to put the conductors in either the T568A or T568B sequence.I am using T568B. Keep the cable area "clean" and tidy. Less tidy = more difficulty fitting the plug.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (12)

Find a good spot, about 1.5 to 2" away from the cable housing, to flush the leads. T568B sequence shown. I like to work from top to bottom (if I can). White-orange on top and solid brown at the bottom.

  • You can use either T568A or T568B for your sequence. One is not better than the other. Just make sure you use the same series on both ends of the cable, unless you want to make a cross-over cable.
  • Once you line up these pipes, keep pressure on them so they don't give you out. They will, trust me. Try it once to see what I mean...

Here is a useful reference for you. When looking at the color order of the conductor, make sure you understand the orientation of the plug itself! Yes, it is very possible to get the order right and put the plug in backwards. I've done it, so don't be a Don.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (13)

Step 3:I pass

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (14)

(Video) In Depth: Cat6A Shielded Direct Burial Ethernet Cable

Push the leads into the plug so they come out of the nose. Do not fully insert the cable yet. Check the color range again.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (15)

Insert the cable cover fully into the plug. Sit -- at least -- on the green line as indicated. Alternate pulling the conductors and pushing the cable sleeve.

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (16)

Enter the plug and cable assembly into the trueCRIMP tool. Use only light pressure, then push the tool lever all the way down.Check to make sure all eight gold contacts are down and the leads are fully cut

Step 4:Admire (and review) your work!

Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth (17)

Everything ready!

Everything is over! So you just finished the "icky pic" and survived the experience! You can brag to your friends about it. Plug it in and HAPPY NETWORKING!


Something is wrong; Is your cable not meeting your expectations? You may have a bad or poorly terminated RJ45 plug. Better check outWhat does a bad finish look like?

trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the "Cable Academy" blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website in accordance with ourterms and conditions. Although the information on this website relates to data networking and electrical matters, it does not constitute professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.

(Video) In Depth: Cat6 Outdoor Unshielded Cable


Cat6 Gel Filled Direct Burial Ethernet: In Depth? ›

We recommend a depth of at least two feet. Because if you do not bury your cable deep enough, it may suffer the risk of becoming severed someday.

How deep can direct burial Cat6 go? ›

We recommend a depth of at least two feet. Because if you do not bury your cable deep enough, it may suffer the risk of becoming severed someday.

What is Cat6 direct burial? ›

Direct Burial Solid Shielded Cat6 is used for applications that require the cable to be outdoors or directly in ground with or without the use of a conduit. Direct Burial Cat6 is made with a polyethylene (PE) jacket to protect the cable from water, and extreme temperatures.

What is gel filled Ethernet cable used for? ›

Why are some Ethernet cables filled with gel? Gel-filled Ethernet cable is perfect for direct burial methods. A gel gets pumped into the cable, sealing all gaps and recesses through the structure and coating the interior wire insulating layers to repel moisture and reduce conductor damage.

Does Cat6 need to be in conduit underground? ›

Exterior-grade Ethernet cables are waterproof and can be buried in the ground without a conduit. If you aren't burying the cable, choose a waterproof Cat 6 cable that has a UV protective jacket to prevent damage from sunlight exposure. This is important when running the cable up the side of a house or across a roof.

How deep do you put direct burial wire? ›

How to Install Underground Electrical Wiring – How Deep Do I Bury the Wire? Use direct-burial underground feeder cable at 24-inches deep (or more). You don't need to use conduit at this depth with UF cable, however, you do need to provide PVC conduit on your vertical feeds starting at 18-inches.

How deep should direct bury cable be? ›

Most of the rules involve protection of the wiring from damage. The NEC (National Electrical Code) requires that UF cable be placed in a trench at least 24 inches deep. In most communities, you will have to leave the trench open until the inspector arrives to approve the depth.

How do I know if my cable is direct burial? ›

While standard cables comprise thin insulation layers with an outer waterproof cover, direct-burial wires come with several layers of heavy metallic-banded sheathing, shock-absorbing, waterproofing gel, waterproof tape, and PET tape wrapped around the internal wires, followed by another tape for added shielding.

How long does direct burial cable last in the ground? ›

You'd legitimately expect this to last 25 years. When was the last time your house was re-wired? There'll be plenty of examples of cables where they've been found in relatively good condition up to 50 years after installation.

What cable is best for direct burial? ›

While standard NM cable is rated only for dry, interior applications, UF cable can be used outdoors as well as indoors. For example, if you want to install a cable between the house and an outdoor lamppost, or to run power out to a garden shed or detached garage, UF cable is the standard choice.

Is direct burial cable waterproof? ›

All direct burial cables offer water resistance. The level of water resistance you need will vary depending on the installation environment. Different levels of water resistance have different strengths and weaknesses. Direct burial cables feature one of two kinds of waterproofing: tape-shielding or gel-filled cabling.

What is the difference between Cat6 and Cat6a? ›

Cat6 cable is rated for 250 MHz, so it has a reduced maximum length (37-55 meters) when used for 10GBASE-T applications. Cat6a doubles that capability by performing at up to 500 MHz, which allows 10GBASE-T to be run over longer distances of up to 100 meters.

What do you bury Ethernet cable in? ›

Bury the Cable in Conduit When Possible

In most cases, however, it's preferable to hide the cabling out-of-sight and bury it underground. Direct burial OSP Ethernet cable does not need to be placed in a metal EMT or plastic PVC conduit but doing so is a best practice.

How long will Cat6 last outside? ›

Outdoor ethernet cable cat6 is not fire-rated. Therefore, you cannot use it for runs longer than 50 feet before termination in a commercial structure.

Can you bury cable without conduit? ›

Direct burial wire is no different. True to its name, this wire type can be buried without conduit or metal cladding, and its rugged insulation and flexibility are perfect for underground cable applications. No matter the type of underground work, a direct burial cable is generally required.

How far should Cat6 be from electrical wire? ›

Throughput: At 1Gbit or less 2-4" (separation from parallel power cabling) is sufficient for data over shielded (FTP) cable. For unshielded (UTP), you should try for 8-16" separation. Having metal conduit separation of either the power or the ethernet will allow you to use the lower bounds.

What is the code depth for underground wire? ›

Keep in mind that 240v power typically requires a depth of at least 18 inches. Additionally, different types of wire and conduit have specific depth requirements: GFCI-Protected Underground Feeder Cable - 12 inches. Underground Feeder Cable (UF Cable) - 24 inches.

What is code for direct bury wire? ›

UF cable can be direct-buried (without conduit) with a minimum of 24 inches of earth cover. Wiring buried inside rigid metal (RMC) or intermediate metal (IMC) conduit must have at least 6 inches of earth cover; wiring in PVC conduit must have at least 18 inches of cover.

What is the minimum depth for cable laying below ground? ›

The minimum depth for cable laying below the ground varies according to the voltage capacity of the cable. The depth should be atleast 0.9m for 3.3kV to 11kV cables, 1.05m for 22kV to 33kV cables. The minimum depth of a low voltage cable should be 0.75m.

What types of wire cable can be installed underground direct burial? ›

Both Wires and Cables can be used in underground construction. An underground wire can be made from either copper or aluminum. Copper wire can safely be bare in the ground or can have a protective jacket or insulation. A cable is a group of two or more conductors sheathed together.

What is the minimum depth for direct burial of cable not having mechanical protection? ›

Electrical wiring in trench is required to be buried to a minimum depth of 600mm (24 inches) for non-vehicular areas and 900 mm (36 inches) for vehicular areas, all with ribbon (12 inches) below grade.

What is a disadvantage of direct buried cable systems? ›

But there are some downsides. Cable needs to be buried deep in the ground to protect it from accidental damage – and the deeper an operator has to dig the more costly it is. Unforeseen obstacles such as tree roots can dramatically add to costs. If a buried direct cable is broken, it is expensive to repair.

Does direct burial cable need sand? ›

Backfill material for direct buried cables must be screened sand or soil with maximum particle size of 4.75 mm. Raceways installed in accordance with rule 12-012 4, are acceptable.

Can you splice direct burial cable? ›

Direct-buried conductors or cables shall be permitted to be spliced or tapped without the use of splice boxes. The splices or taps shall be made in accordance with 110.14(B).

Can Ethernet cable be direct buried? ›

Use Cable You Can Bury Directly or Install Conduit

There are two options when you're burying an Ethernet cable: direct burial or traditional burial that requires running a conduit.

Does direct burial Ethernet need to be shielded? ›

Any Ethernet cable outdoors that is subject to air movement outside, especially when it is suspended in the air, is going to generate ESD - period. A properly grounded cable shield will help prevent damage to your network devices.

Can direct burial wire be exposed to sunlight? ›

Although it is rated at a conductor temperature of 90ºC dry / wet, its ampacity is limited to 60ºC according to the NEC 2008 AND NEC 2011. UF-B may be directly buried or installed where exposed to sunlight.

Is Cat 7 faster than CAT6? ›

CAT 7 Ethernet cables support higher bandwidths and much faster transmission speeds than Cat 6 cables. As a result they are much more expensive than their Cat 6 counterparts, however, if you are looking for better performance, they are worth the extra cost. Cat 7 cables can reach up to 100 Gbps at a range of 15 meters.

Is CAT6e better than CAT6? ›

ICC's CAT6 cable has a frequency range of 500 MHz versus the CAT6e cable which has a range of 600 MHz. In addition, CAT6 is established by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as an industry performance standard and CAT6e is not.

What is the maximum length of a CAT6 cable? ›

What is the maximum allowed length for a Cat 5e / Cat 6 cable? For Ethernet copper cabling when used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the maximum allowed length of a Cat 5e / Cat 6 cable is 100 meters (328 ft).

What is the best way to run Ethernet cable through house? ›

The attic and crawl space are both good ways to run cables through your house. How many ethernet ports per location? Two ethernet sockets per location are really recommended. The UTP cables don't cost that much, and the additional cost for an extra ethernet port is minimal.

Does outdoor CAT6 need to be shielded? ›

As a rule, you will only need shielding when your cable is running through an area of high electro-magnetic interference or radio frequency interference (called EMI/RFI). This might be output by power line structures, large magnets or sometimes radio antennas.

How far can I run Ethernet cable from router? ›

Ethernet cables are used to connect your computer to your router, and are specifically designed to work over a maximum distance of 328 feet or 100 meters. This is assuming your cable is placed in an ambient temperature of 68°F (20°C) or below, and your ethernet cable is made of 22 to 24 AWG copper.

What is the minimum depth of burial for direct buried MV cable? ›

The minimum burial depth according to the NESC is 30" for the primary and 24" for secondary.

How far can Cat6 transmission go? ›

Standards for cable distance recommend that Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a cables have a maximum cable segment run length of 100 meters or 328 feet.

How far can Cat6 go before speeds will be impacted? ›

Cat6 Ethernet cables consist of four twisted pairs of copper wire and 250 MHz of bandwidth, supporting data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T) for distances up to approximately 180 feet.

Does direct burial cable need to be buried? ›

Depending on the type of direct burial wire and application, there are various rules to prevent accidents. Underground Feeder (UF) cable must be buried at least 24 inches underground. Meanwhile, PVC conduit only has to be buried 12 inches underground.

Does Cat6 lose speed over distance? ›

A Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable can reach 295 feet (90 meters), with up to 16 feet (5 meters) of patch cable on either end, for a total of nearly 328 feet (approximately 100 meters). The signal begins to deteriorate once you go beyond this distance, lowering your connection speed and dependability.

Will Cat6 work at 500 feet? ›

You could always go with the regular nanostation if you are really concerned, but for 500 ft the locos should do fine. ipat8: Just FYI cat 6 deterioration starts at about 750 - 800 feet.

What are the limitations of Cat6 cable? ›

When used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the maximum allowed length of a Cat 6 cable is 100 meters (328 ft). This consists of 90 meters (295 ft) of solid horizontal cabling between the patch panel and the wall jack, plus 5 meters (16 ft) of stranded patch cable between each jack and the attached device.

How far can Ethernet cable run before signal loss? ›

A single run of Ethernet cable is designed to work at a maximum of 328 feet or 100 meters. It's entirely possible to exceed the manufacturer's specification and still maintain network connectivity. However, this greatly increases the chances of connectivity issues, reduced speeds, and lower reliability.

Can you run Ethernet 1000 feet? ›

The concise answer is that most manufacturers recommend a maximum distance of 100 meters (about the length of a football field), or 328 feet, when running ethernet cables outdoors. Any further than that, and the wires could still work, but you risk connectivity issues the further you push past this limit.

What is the best Ethernet cable for long distance outdoor? ›

Cat6 Shielded Cable is typically best for outdoor networking. This outdoor ethernet cable is best when placed underground. Most ethernet cable is laid indoors, but there are occasions where you will need your network to traverse outside areas, such as: Connecting two or more external buildings.


1. ENS NEW PoE Switches and Outdoor/Direct Burial Cat5/Cat6 Cables
(ENS Security)
2. Cat5e Burial Cable with Copper Shielded UV Gel Filled
(Discount Low Voltage)
3. LoopsDirect - Outdoor Rated CAT6A Networking Cable - Product Overview
(Loops )
4. In Depth: Cat5e Outdoor Cable
5. RJ45 Termination of Cat6 Shielded Direct Burial Ethernet


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