People ran cat6 cables in conduit all the time. Conduits protect the wires. But if you want to run cat6 cables in a residential or commercial area, you should consult a contractor. If you have neither a contractor nor an architect, you must calculate the number of wires that can fit in your conduit of choice.
How Many Cat6 Cables in ¾ Conduit?
|Conduit Size||Number Of Cat6 Cables With 40% Rule|
According to the Hubspot guide, you can fit 2 augmented category six cables (GigaLAN 10), 3 category 6E cables (GigaLAN), 4 category 6e cables (Advanced Net), 3cat6 cables, and 6 LAN cables in a 0.75 conduit.
Some people do not believe that a contractor can pull 7 cat6 cables through a ¾ conduit. But 5 cables would present a serious challenge, which means that seven is practically impossible.
Any number beyond two will significantly increase the difficulty involved with pulling a network cable through a ¾” conduit.
Cat6 cables constitute four twisted pairs (Copper Wire). Boasting a bandwidth of 50MHz, Cat6 data transfer speeds can easily reach 10Gbps over a distance of 180 feet. The transfer speed falls to 1Gbps once the length reaches 328 feet.
Cat6 cables have become the standard for any setting that requires ethernet connectivity. But despite their durability, many people run Cat6 cables in conduit to protect them from extreme conditions.
The conduit fill (The number of cables you can run through a conduit) matters. You don’t want to waste money on a large conduit when the number of wires it has to accommodate is small.
On the other hand, I don’t want you to force a large number of cables through a small conduit. You could damage the wires.
How To Calculate The Number Of Cat6 Cables That Fit In ¾ Conduit?
Before you concern yourself with the number of cables you can fit in a conduit, you must first identify the conduit material. The application determines the conduit material.
For instance, telecommunication cables use HDPE conduits which offer excellent resistance to chemicals and UV light, not to mention decent flexibility and high-impact strength.
You don’t have to think about nylon conduits. They are highly flexible, self-extinguishing, and resistant to oils and solvents. But they are suited to automotive manufacturing.
On the other hand, you will find PVC-coated metal conduits in general factory wiring.
You would typically consider the type of insulated wires as well because their attributes and applications vary. For instance, THHW conductors are rated for wet locations of up to 165 degrees F and dry areas of 90 degrees C.
THHN conductors are rated for 194 degrees F (dry) and damp locations. But since you already know the type of cable (Cat6), you can ignore this section.
Get the NEC book. Go to chapter 9 and look for the wire gauge. A 6.5mm cable (cat6) has a diameter of 0.256. You can use that information to determine the gauge.
Once you know the wire gauge, the table in chapter 9 can show you the maximum number of wires you can run through the conduit for that gauge.
The NEC expects contractors to apply the 40 percent rule to calculate the conduit fill capacity. In other words, they don’t expect a contractor to use more than 40 percent of a conduit’s total capacity. That figure jumps to 60 percent for adds/removes.
However, NEC expects contractors to limit the number of cables running through the conduit to 40 percent of the conduit’s capacity if they want to use three or more wires. That number falls to 31 percent for two wires, then jumps to 53 percent for one wire.
|Number of Wires||Percentage|
|More Than 2||40%|
You should make your calculations with these limitations in mind. You cannot determine how much space you have used by simply looking at the conduit.
A conduit that is 40 percent full looks completely full. This is because communications cables are not rigid, and their tendency to produce waves can make the conduit look fuller than the actual capacity.
You cannot afford to add more cables than the conduit can accommodate. An abundance of wires increases the resistance. If the conduit is too long, the twisted pairs will also decouple, getting out of balance. You can damage the cable jackets in the long run because they keep rubbing against the conduit’s sharp edges.
With the NEC book, you can determine the gauge, insulation type, and the number of wires. You can also use that information to determine the cross-sectional area.
For instance, 8AWG THHN wire is 23.61 square mm, whereas 4AWG THW wire is 62.77 square mm.
Essentra Components have a conduit cable fill chart on their website. You can use it to determine the number of wires you can fit in a conduit. They have also highlighted the calculations you can use to determine the cross-sectional area of multiple cables.
Can You Run Cat6 In Conduit? Is It Safe?
You don’t have to run an ethernet cable in a conduit. But the situations where you have to install the ethernet cable in an attic, basement, or crawlspace. A conduit is an extra layer of protection. It will enhance the lifespan of your cat6 cable. Conduits are completely safe.
Installing Ethernet cables in these locations is perfectly safe and legal without a conduit. However, there is an exception for ethernet cables that have to be buried.
An underground ethernet cable requires a conduit.
Running cables inside conduits is a hassle. A layperson is more likely to break or bend the cable. Professionals use fish tape. But even with the right tools, this process is long and taxing, which is why you shouldn’t use conduits if you don’t have to.
However, conduits are necessary. They protect cables from extreme elements that would typically harm them. If you want to use a cat6 line outside, you should run it in conduit. This is especially true for cables you want to run above ground.
Contractors typically prioritize cat6 cables with protective jackets specifically designed to work outside. They feature hefty price tags because they have mechanisms that shield them from moisture and radio frequency interference.
As far as Life Wire is concerned, you can run these exterior-grade ethernet cables underground without using a conduit. You can also do the same for cat6 wires that run above ground if they have moisture and UV protection.
However, use a conduit if you can’t afford these expensive ethernet cables. Some contractors encourage homeowners to run their cat6 cables in conduit even when they have mechanisms that protect them against the elements.
Recommended Conduit Size For Cat6 Cables
You shouldn’t use conduits smaller than ¾” for communications cables. A recommended conduit sizes for cat6a cables include ¾”, 1”, 1¼”, and 1½.”
What About Cat5 – How Many Cat 5 Cables In A ¾ Conduit?
7 cat5 cables can fit a ¾” conduit.