Computers & Electronics

Buying ethernet cable by the meter?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 14th, 2021 9:10 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto

Buying ethernet cable by the meter?

I need to replace a few runs of the 15+ year old cat5 I ran on the exterior wall of my house (long story) with some fresh ethernet cable rated for outdoors.

Before I plunk down $300 for 1000 ft of direct burial rated cable from Primecables, does anyone know if/where this can be bought in shorter lengths? They sell 500ft lengths in non-outdoor rated stuff, but I'd rather invest in something a bit more durable.
29 replies
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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alpovs wrote: Here one example (I don't know if it's a suitable cable), sold by foot: https://www.infinitecables.com/cat5e-cat6-cat6a-cat8/cat5e-bulk-cable/bulk-cat5e-hi-flex-harsh-environment-cable/

Look around. Other places sell bulk cable. Even amazon.ca. Primecables is actually too expensive for bulk cables.
At $1 / ft it's better to just buy the spool. I came back to delete my post as I did find 500ft spools of outdoor cat6 for about $125, so will go that route.
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
546 posts
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Don't even think about buying Ethernet cable from Amazon. Amazon does very little about counterfeit products and there is there's too much risk you'll get scammed with CCA or otherwise fraudulent cable.

Try calling a few electrical supply houses (e.g. Nedco). They will often sell cable by the meter.
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Sep 16, 2013
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torontotim wrote: At $1 / ft it's better to just buy the spool. I came back to delete my post as I did find 500ft spools of outdoor cat6 for about $125, so will go that route.
Can you post where you found what you found? And please keep your post and replies as they may be helpful to others in the future.
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Sep 16, 2013
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middleofnowhere wrote: Don't even think about buying Ethernet cable from Amazon. Amazon does very little about counterfeit products and there is there's too much risk you'll get scammed with CCA or otherwise fraudulent cable.
Is there such a thing as counterfeit Ethernet cable? How is that? Copper-clad aluminum instead of copper? This can be noticed I guess in the cut wires. Were you ever scammed with Ethernet cable or you know someone who was?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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alpovs wrote: Is there such a thing as counterfeit Ethernet cable? How is that? Copper-clad aluminum instead of copper? This can be noticed I guess in the cut wires. Were you ever scammed with Ethernet cable or you know someone who was?
Yeah, based on reviews of some of the cable on Amazon, there is a lot of CCA being sold as solid copper. So... looks like I'll just buy a 1000 ft spool of reputable cable. I'll use some at the cottage to run a POE access point over to my neighbor's place 300 feet away.
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Sep 16, 2013
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torontotim wrote: Yeah, based on reviews of some of the cable on Amazon, there is a lot of CCA being sold as solid copper. So... looks like I'll just buy a 1000 ft spool of reputable cable. I'll use some at the cottage to run a POE access point over to my neighbor's place 300 feet away.
Can you post where you found reputable cable? It may be useful to me and others in the future.
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
546 posts
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alpovs wrote: Is there such a thing as counterfeit Ethernet cable? How is that? Copper-clad aluminum instead of copper?
Yes, and yes. It's a significant industry problem. CCA does not meet electrical performance requirements needed for reliable Ethernet transmission and, separately, does not meet electrical code requirements for permanent installation.

While CCA poses the largest problem for fraudulent cables at present, there is also a significant problem with non-compliant copper Ethernet cables that do not meet minimum electrical standards for Ethernet and/or do not meet UL/CSA requirements for permanent installation.

Either way, you won't get the data performance you expect, and you might get a little more fire than you bargained for if you use counterfeit cables for PoE.
Sr. Member
Nov 23, 2004
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Ontario
alpovs wrote: Can you post where you found reputable cable? It may be useful to me and others in the future.
I'm not the guy you asked, but figured I'd share! RFD had recommended Cable Sales Canada to me many years ago, and I've been buying there ever since that recommendation.
https://www.cablesalescanada.com/
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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That looks like a good place to buy from. I'm looking at the "1000ft Solid UTP CAT6 Network Cable - Outdoor Direct Burial With PVC Water Block" spool at $240. Seems to be good for direct burial but is also UV protected as this will not be buried.

My 110 year old house has no internal communications wiring. When I bought the place 22 years ago it had been reno'd, but inexplicably they didn't install any phone lines, no coax etc.

Now 22 years later none of that really matters as it would all be obsolete or useless to me, and the many strands of cat5 I ran have mostly failed. It was all typical blue indoor-rated network cable. It runs from the basement, through the brick wall and then up the side of the house that is 3 feet from my neighbors up to a few of the bedrooms etc. A cat5, phone and coax to each location where I have keystones.

So I'm in clean-up and replace mode, pulling the mess of old wires down and am just running a single ethernet run to probably only 3 locations. One on the third floor for an access point and two on the second floor for two bedrooms. And a fourth back to the detached garage.

I also need to make a POE cable for an access point at the cottage to provide my neighbor access to my internet service. So I'll make a 200-300 foot long cable for that - as long as I can get away with for POE.

Figure with all of that I'll use up most of the 1000 feet I guess.
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Mar 14, 2017
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If you are in the Mississauga area, at the area near Dixie/Matheson there are at least three electronic stores (Sayal, AA, Angel) that sell ethernet cables - both in ready-made length and in bulk.

[P.S.: I bought outdoor-rated CAT6 from AA about 5 years ago so that I can relocate the DSL jacks of my home to the basement.]
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Sep 16, 2013
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I would go with shielded cable, for outdoors especially. I ran shielded indoors at my place. POE may have a limit if 100m depending on your devices, just as the CAT6 limit for 1000BASE-T. Make sure it's real POE 48+V, not 24V passive POE that has much shorter limit.
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Feb 16, 2006
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torontotim wrote:
I also need to make a POE cable for an access point at the cottage to provide my neighbor access to my internet service. So I'll make a 200-300 foot long cable for that - as long as I can get away with for POE.
You should be looking at "CAT6A" to support future PoE applications. The "A" is important. Genuine CAT6A supports the new PoE standard that allows for higher power, up to 90w. You'll be future proofing.

Genuine brand names where you won't have an issue with copper over aluminum are:

Belden
Commscope
Panduit (probably made for them by a 3rd party)
Hitachi
Leviton (often labelled Berk-Tek)
Hubbell (probably made for them by Hitachi)
Superior-Essex
General Cable

PS.... Cat6E is not the same as CAT6A. "A" is the official higher standard.


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Last edited by NewsyL on Sep 10th, 2021 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
546 posts
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torontotim wrote: And a fourth back to the detached garage.

...

I also need to make a POE cable for an access point at the cottage to provide my neighbor access to my internet service.
Running Ethernet between separate buildings is generally a bad idea. Inter-building Ethernet links invite unreliability and/or damaged equipment due to ground loops and induced current from lightning strikes.

Run fiber if at all possible. Pre-terminated fiber isn't that expensive nor are media converters or SFP fiber interfaces.

If you can't run fiber, invest in some high-quality Ethernet surge suppressors and terminate the ends of the Ethernet links on some cheap grounded switches. If there are electrical problems on the cable, the switches will take the hit to protect your more expensive equipment getting fried.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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This is just an exposed run along my fence to the garage. Easy to replace if I ever need to and not prone to lightning strikes. The ethernet cable to my garage would be the least of my concerns.

It's a bit out of range of my wifi, and I've tried powerline extenders with limited success. I just want to toss an access point out there so I can put a Nest camera on the garage and have decent connectivity out there.

Will look at the CAT6A wiring.
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
546 posts
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torontotim wrote: This is just an exposed run along my fence to the garage. Easy to replace if I ever need to and not prone to lightning strikes. The ethernet cable to my garage would be the least of my concerns.
The risk with inter-building wiring is from induced currents caused by non-direct lightning strikes. A lightning strike a few KM away can easily induce enough current on outdoor wiring to damage network devices at both ends of the cable. Surge suppressors are designed to protect equipment against induced currents from distance lightning strikes.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto
middleofnowhere wrote: The risk with inter-building wiring is from induced currents caused by non-direct lightning strikes. A lightning strike a few KM away can easily induce enough current on outdoor wiring to damage network devices at both ends of the cable. Surge suppressors are designed to protect equipment against induced currents from distance lightning strikes.
I'll keep that in mind. Thankfully the equipment at one end is a Bell modem plugged into a surge protector and at the other end would likely be a $30 POE access point. They can fry.
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Mar 13, 2004
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About 10-15 years ago I ran Shielded Cat6 cable from my Bell phone box on the side of the home to the phone jack where my DSL Modem is because our internal phone wiring is crap. To this day I'm still using the same cable and at least 50ft if not more is outdoor year round. I figure in a few more years I'll have to replace it but even every 10 years its worth it. Just make sure you get Solid Copper, I got stranded as I did not know the difference at the time and any time in the past when I have had to redo the end connections I kick myself lol.

So this may be another option for you if you want to save a few bucks
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Apr 7, 2011
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Try Dayal Electronics. They are my go-to for anything networking. IIRC they did sell by the metre at one point.

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