​Ubiquiti Toughcable Ethernet Cables and Connectors

ToughCable and connectors are better compared to other Ethernet cable brands because of their weather tolerant, long lasting design and their capacity to protect a network against electrostatic discharge.

There are two types of TOUGHCables namely;

TOUGHCable CARRIER is an outdoor carrier-class shielded cable that has an anti-crosstalk divider, integrated ElectroStatic Shock protection, and is rated to offer ideal performance on Gigabit Ethernet networks. TOUGHCable PRO, on the other hand, is an outdoor, carrier-class shielded and is fitted with electrostatic discharge protection.

ToughCable Carrier is not CAT6 as many people perceive it. It has at least some features of a CAT6 cable like insulation between pairs which makes many people confuse it as CAT6. Terminating CAT6 is harder compared to ToughCable Carrier CAT6. Both types of cables are CAT5e.

There are two types of ToughCable connectors namely;

  • TC-CON
  • TC-GND

Both TC-CON TC-GND are compatible with ToughCable Pro is used with ToughCable Carrier while . The connectors should be strictly used with their respective cables only. TC-GND connectors provide ElectroStatic Shock protection and prevent damage to Ethernet hardware. The connectors don’t require soldering which allows fast deployment.

Ubiquiti Networks provides innovative technology platforms and products for Smarthome, Internet access, and Enterprise applications. Some of the products supplied by this company are Ubiquiti Toughcable: Ethernet Cable & Connectors.

Ubiquiti ToughCable is a proprietary Ethernet cabling product that is exclusively owned and manufactured by Ubiquiti Inc, a US company that specializes in wired and wireless networking solutions. It is an industrial-grade outdoor shielded cable that has been specifically designed for installation and use in harsh environments, particularly industrial areas and outdoor conditions. Its extreme weatherproof and waterproof design also permits this cable to be buried, either directly (depending on ground conditions) or via a conduit.

ToughCable is comparable to generic Category 5e cable in terms of its physical and electrical specifications but has some aspects of its design that match higher-rated Category 6 cable.

The national and international standards that specify the physical and electrical characteristics of ToughCable are:

  • ISO/IEC 11801 is a protocol for structured cabling developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The standards outline the use of balanced copper cabling for general-purpose telecommunications applications including commercial, industrial, and home networking.
  • TIA/EIA568B.2 is a US telecommunications cabling standard developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a branch of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The cabling of commercial buildings is outlined, including the use of Cat 5e cable.

Ubiquiti states that this cable is capable of delivering an uplift in Ethernet link speeds and performance in comparison to Cat5e. It should be installed and used for Category 5e applications, discussed below, and has Electrostatic Damage (ESD) protection that protects networks from electrostatic discharge attacks.

ToughCable comes in 2 distinct varieties:

  1. ToughCable PRO - a Cat5e outdoor Ethernet cable that has an integrated ESD drain wire
  2. ToughCable CARRIER - a carrier-class Category 5e outdoor cable that has a drain wire, divider to prevent crosstalk, and a secondary layer of shielding.

Both types of Ethernet cable are composed of eight copper wires arranged in 4 twisted pairs. This arrangement is characteristic of copper Ethernet wire which is arranged in twisted pairs to minimize the effects of electromagnetic interference. This balanced arrangement is designed so that the two wires have similar exposure to any electromagnetic interference present as a signal proceeds along them from the source. At the receiving end, the two signals should have similar patterns of interference which can be more readily identified and removed to preserve the original signal.

Also Category 5e cable like ToughCable has additional shielding to prevent crosstalk within the cable and alien crosstalk which is noise originating from outside the cable. Structural reinforcements keep the pairs aligned and separated within the cable and reinforced jacketing delivers protection from environmental conditions.

[1] TOUGHCABLE PRO

Physical specifications of ToughCable PRO

  • ToughCable PRO Category 5e shielded cable consists of 8 solid bare copper wires arranged in 4 twisted pairs.
  • It has an overall diameter of 6 millimeters (0.236 inches).
  • The copper conducting wires have an American Wire Gauge (AWG) of 24 and a diameter of 0.5mm (0.019 inches).
  • The wires are insulated with polyethylene (PE) jacketing of 0.26 millimeter (0.01 inches) thickness. This means that each individual coated copper wire has a diameter of 1.04 millimeters (0.04 inches).
  • Polyester wrapping of 0.025 millimeters (0.001 inches) thickness is used as a separator for the twisted pairs.
  • The twisted pairs are wrapped in aluminum foil cable shielding of 0.06 millimeters (0.002 inches) thickness.
  • The cable also carries an anti-electrostatic drain wire and a ripcord for the controlled opening of the jacketing of the cable.
  • ToughCable PRO has black PE jacketing of 0.5-millimeter thickness (0.019 inches).
  • The operating temperature range of ToughCable PRO is -40 to 80 degrees Celsius (-40 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Electrical specifications of ToughCable PRO

  • ToughCable PRO can support network connections with data transfer rates of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gigabit Ethernet, 1000BASE-T).
  • ToughCable PRO has a maximum frequency of 150 MHz.
  • The impedance of ToughCable PRO is 100 Ohms.

Signal attenuation of ToughCable PRO

  • At 1 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 2.03 dB per 100m.
  • At 4 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 4.04 dB per 100m.
  • At 10 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 6.46 dB per 100m.
  • At 16 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 8.24 dB per 100m.
  • At 20 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 9.26 dB per 100m.
  • At 31.25 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 11.72 dB per 100m.
  • At 62.5 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 16.9 dB per 100m.
  • At 100 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 21.97 dB per 100m.
  • At 150 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable PRO cable is 23.40 dB per 100m.

[2] TOUGHCABLE CARRIER

Physical specifications of ToughCable CARRIER

  • ToughCable CARRIER Category 5e shielded cable consists of 4 twisted pairs of solid bare copper wire.
  • It has an overall diameter of 6.8 millimeters (0.267 inches).
  • The copper conducting wires have an American Wire Gauge (AWG) of 24 and a diameter of 0.5mm (0.019 inches).
  • The wires are insulated with polyethylene (PE) jacketing of 0.295 millimeters (0.011 inches) thickness. This means that each insulated copper wire has a diameter of 1.16 millimeters (0.045 inches).
  • Polyester wrapping of 0.025 millimeters (0.001 inches) thickness is used as a separator for the twisted pairs.
  • ToughCable CARRIER also has a cruciform low-density polyethylene (LDPE) anti-crosstalk divider which has a thickness of 0.3 millimeters (0.012 inches).
  • The twisted pairs are wrapped in aluminum foil cable shielding of 0.06 millimeters (0.002 inches) thickness.
  • ToughCable CARRIER also carries a secondary braided shield with 95 percent coverage.
  • The cable also carries an anti-electrostatic drain wire and a ripcord for the controlled opening of the jacketing of the cable.
  • ToughCable CARRIER has black PE jacketing of 0.52-millimeter thickness (0.0204 inches).
  • The operating temperature range of ToughCable CARRIER is -40 to 80 degrees Celsius (-40 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Electrical specifications of Tough Cable CARRIER

  • In line with Cat5e specifications, ToughCable CARRIER can support network connections with data transfer rates of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gigabit Ethernet, 1000BASE-T).
  • ToughCable CARRIER has a maximum frequency of 200 MHz, a third more bandwidth of ToughCable PRO.
  • The impedance of ToughCable CARRIER is 100 Ohms.

Signal attenuation of ToughCable PRO

  • At 1 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 2.03 dB per 100m.
  • At 4 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 4.04 dB per 100m.
  • At 10 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 6.46 dB per 100m.
  • At 16 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 8.24 dB per 100m.
  • At 20 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 9.26 dB per 100m.
  • At 31.25 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 11.72 dB per 100m.
  • At 62.5 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 16.9 dB per 100m.
  • At 100 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 21.97 dB per 100m.
  • At 150 MHz the attenuation of ToughCable CARRIER cable is 23.40 dB per 100m.

Ubiquiti ToughCable should be used with the complementary ToughCable connectors

Ubiquiti ToughCable Ethernet cable is thicker and heavier than standard Cat5e cable due to its superior shielding and jacketing. A thicker and more rugged cable can prove challenging to terminate effectively with a standard Registered Jack 45 (RJ45) modular connector. Ubiquity has proprietary modular connectors which are specifically produced for use with ToughCable.

ToughCable Connectors can be securely attached to ToughCable without crimping meaning that the cables can be terminated quickly and simply. They have been engineered to deliver added electrostatic discharge protection to the cable assembly. They come in standard and ground wire variants.

Why is Ubiquiti ToughCable important?

Ubiquiti ToughCable provides enhanced protection for outdoor installations

Outdoor installation of Ethernet cable is often necessary when installing large area networks that span multiple buildings or large distances. Wired networking still delivers several practical and performance advantages over wireless links, particularly because of increased resilience to the electromagnetic interference and optical phenomena that can occur with wireless networking.

This means that the cable used will have to be able to withstand the key challenges that come with exposure to the outdoor environment or burial.

  1. Solar radiation - prolonged exposure to sunlight not only heats the cable but also causes UV damage to the plastic jacket of the cable that exposes the inner layers to further physical damage and corrosion. This process, known as photodegradation, drives progressive oxidative and hydrolytic reactions with the cable materials that break them down over time. ToughCable uses UV-resistant plastics for its outer layer.
  1. Temperature extremes cause sequential expansion and contraction of the materials that make up the cable, aging them and reducing their structural integrity. Overheating in Ethernet cable can cause insertion losses and impair link stability. Above the peak operating temperature, data will not be transferred reliably. Extreme cold can cause cracking of the plastic jacket of the cable. An outdoor-rated cable like ToughCable can withstand ambient temperature extremes, over long lengths of cable because of its insulative outer jacket.
  1. Moisture ingress can quickly cause Ethernet cable to be consumed by corrosion. Water-damaged cable is a common cause of costly network downtime and replacements. After prolonged outdoor exposure, weathered cable can develop fissuring and cracks that allow moisture to enter its inner layers where it can cause electrical changes which impact its performance

Standard Ethernet cables are not designed for prolonged outdoor exposure and deteriorate quickly under these conditions. ToughCable is specifically reinforced to hold up against the challenges of an outdoor environment making it a sound investment for maintaining the integrity of your network installation.

Ubiquiti ToughCable provides enhanced protection from electrostatic discharge

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a sudden, unexpected flow of electricity between two electrically charged and conducive objects. It is a common problem with electronics, which can experience a charge build-up during manufacture, transport, or storage without being connected to a power supply.

ESD can be very damaging to electronic devices and components, causing them to fail and take down a network. For this reason, sensitive electronic equipment needs specific protection from this phenomenon with effective grounding.

ToughCable is manufactured with care to prevent the build-up of static charge while it is being made. Electrostatic Discharge Protected Areas are special manufacturing environments (specified by the IEC and ANSI) that are clear of charged materials and equipment with workers and manufacturing components being grounded with filaments and anti-static mats to prevent any charge build-up. Humidity control is also used to prevent static build-up in the air.

ToughCables ESD damage protection also includes a supplementary adapter for Power over Ethernet (PoE).

Ubiquiti ToughCable for Gigabit Ethernet

Gigabit Ethernet delivers network connectivity with data rates of up to 1 Gigabit per second. It is also known as 1000BASE-T and specified by the IEEE standard 802.3ab. It is used widely for the backbone of enterprise level-networks and can be used for internet network connectivity, and sharing of a mobile internet connection between compatible devices. Gigabit Ethernet requires at least Category 5e cable, meaning that ToughCable can achieve the performance required for what is now a standard wired local area network technology. 1 Git Ethernet uses all four twisted pairs within the cable for bidirectional trafficking of data at high speed. Due to attenuation, the length of cable used for segments Gigabit Ethernet networking should not exceed 100 meters (328 feet).

Ubiquiti ToughCable for Power over Ethernet (PoE)

ToughCable has the robust power handling needed for delivering Power over Ethernet. Delivery of DC power over Ethernet cabling enables downstream devices to receive power and transfer data via a single cable. Applications that could benefit from ToughCable integration include VoIP phones, access points, and routers, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), access control systems, and Point of Sale (POS) devices. With PoE, power is transferred from power sourcing equipment to powered devices. The use of ToughCable for PoE affords significant savings cost and installation time as an additional powerline does not need to be installed. ToughCable can support all of the 802.3 standards for PoE including 802.3bt, released in 2018, which specifies power transfer over all four pairs of wires with up to 100 Watts of power.

ToughCable Ethernet cable and connectors is also designed to work with the Ubiquiti Power over Ethernet Injectors and PoE switches for comprehensive protection against ESD attacks.

Frequently asked questions

Is ToughCable RoHS compliant?

Ubiquity ToughCable and ToughCable modular connectors comply with the European Unions Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive which limits the use of hazardous materials including, lead, mercury, and cadmium in electronics.

How is ToughCable buried in outdoor installations?

Burial of Ethernet cables may be necessary as part of an expansive or outdoor installation and needs to be carefully planned. As an outdoor-rated cable, ToughCable has solid copper conductors and strong PE jacketing, which makes it suitably robust for burial.

Burial is advantageous for outdoor installations as Ethernet cable should not be run on the ground. Burying the cable keeps them out of the way of physical impacts and exposure that could damage the cable. It also keeps the cable isolated from power lines and other structures that may cause interference.

There are two options for burying Ethernet cable:

  • Direct burial is possible with ToughCable due to the thickened jacketing.
  • Conduits are made from solid copper or plastic piping which are laid down for the Ethernet cable to be run through. They provide an additional layer of protection (against gophers and moles that may chew on the cable) and are sealed at junctions or gel-filled to prevent moisture ingress. This method is more labor-intensive.

Before digging a trench to bury the cable, it is essential to make sure that the course of the cable run will not affect utilities. If in doubt this needs to be checked. Ethernet cable should be buried at a depth that is unaffected by surface activity.

In conclusion

Ubiquity ToughCable is a high-quality, outdoor rated Cat5e cable that delivers reliable performance for Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet. Its structural resilience makes it suitable for a range of outdoor networking applications and is suitable for future-forward network installations that do not require Cat6 or higher.

Learn more

Ethernet Cable

Weatherproofing

Ubiquiti PoE Injectors

Ubiquiti PoE Switches

UniFi IP cameras

Posted by George Hardesty on 4th Sep 2021


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