Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Network Cabling
Choosing the right type of network cabling is essential to ensure your network’s overall success. Two of the main categories of Ethernet and fiber-optic cabling are indoor and outdoor. Because each cable type is designed to operate in vastly different environments, choosing the wrong type of cabling can severely impact communications, cause loss of revenue and lead to potential safety hazards for personal and equipment.
For these reasons, it’s important to understand the differences in cabling before making a purchase. To better understand the difference between indoor and outdoor cabling, continue reading.
Indoor Ethernet Cabling
Indoor communication cabling-whether it be Ethernet or fiber-optic cabling, is designed for wiring applications within buildings. These tight-buffered cables can be placed inside of walls, conduits, and in-between floors. To protect these cables from potential hazards a PVC jacket is wrapped around them. In designated areas where air conditioning and ventilation systems are used, a specialized flame-retardant PVC jacket is used. This jacket is created from a relatively soft material that maintains the flexibility necessary for indoor applications. Indoor cables are also designed to withstand tensile stresses. However, the jacket on indoor cabling doesn’t offer water resistance. As such, they are vulnerable to water damage, which can permanently affect the cables’ integrity and lead to high attenuation and a degraded data signal.
Outdoor Ethernet Cabling
Outdoor or Outside Plant (OSP) cabling is specifically designed for harsh outdoor or industrial applications due to its extreme durability. OSP-rated cabling is resistant to damage caused by humidity, moisture, sunlight, condensation, and unregulated temperatures. As such, OPS cables are used in various outdoor and industrial applications. Perhaps the most notable distinction between outdoor and indoor cables are the rugged outer jackets that outdoor cables possess.
Unlike indoor cabling, outdoor cabling is composed of an outer jacket designed to withstand sun damage, moisture and abrasion. Many outdoor loose-tube cables are also protected by a water-resistant gel that surrounds internal copper wires. This provides extra defense against moisture and humidity. While outdoor fiber-optic cabling is suitable for harsh outdoor and industrial environments, it isn’t ideal if the cable pathway has tight bends, as it can suffer cable strain which can force the glass fibers to break.
Antaira Technologies is a leading provider of exceptional industrial networking solutions to keep data moving in a multitude of application environments. Our reliable and innovative products include serial-to-fiber converters, industrial WiFi routers, managed and unmanaged Ethernet switches, and industrial media converters. For more information regarding our cutting-edge industrial communications technology, contact us today.