Direct Burial & Outdoor Cable

Written by: Tektel Team

Direct Burial & Outdoor Cable


When running cables outside, installers turn to direct burial or outdoor cables. These types of cables are designed to withstand nature’s elements.


Indoor cables are covered with a PVC jacket, which lacks UV protection and may deteriorate, whereas direct burial and outdoor cables are built for more extreme conditions, cables designed for outdoor use in cold climates are rated PE, and have a Polyethylene jacket. A PE jacket is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic material, which can withstand temperatures as low as -40C.


Direct burial cables are designed to be buried under the dirt with no need for a conduit. A conduit is a plastic or metal tub that protects the cable from outdoor elements,these are three different types of direct burial cables. The difference between them lies in the internal material used to construct them:


1.Gel-filled Unshielded Ethernet cable is filled with waterproof gel inside the cable. This gel oozes into the cracks & crevices that keep the internal wires coated, & prevent water from getting through to them & damaging the cable.


2.Water Proof Tape Unshielded Ethernet cable has a waterproof tape that covers the internal wiring, & protects the cable from water and moisture.


3.Water Proof Tape Shielded Ethernet cable has internal wires wrapped with PET tape, which is made of a material similar to polyester. Mylar tape is then applied around the PET tape to add shielding to the cables.


Some direct burial cables also feature a special built-in armor for rodent protection, to prevent rodents from chewing through the cables once they are buried in the ground. Direct burial cables are dramatically stiffer than indoor cables, since they are typically built with splines inside to reinforce their center to prevent them from getting crushed.


The types of cables available in outdoor rated or direct burial include Ethernet, coaxial & speaker wires. An outdoor / direct burial Ethernet cable can be used to run interned connection between structures, for example. An outdoor / direct burial speaker wire may be used to place speakers outside, avoiding exposed wires from source to speakers, amongst other uses. An outdoor / direct burial coaxial cable may be used to run external surveillance systems, closed circuit TV and more.

Advantages of Direct Burial Cables

The primary advantage of direct burial cables lies in their durability and resilience. These cables are constructed using materials that can withstand exposure to moisture and other environmental elements. The outer jacket of direct burial cables is typically made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or other rugged materials that provide excellent protection against moisture ingress. This robust construction ensures that the cables remain functional even in adverse weather conditions, making them suitable for a wide range of outdoor applications.

Another notable advantage of direct burial cables is their ease of installation. Traditional methods of installing cables in conduit can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. With direct burial cables, the installation process is streamlined, as there is no need for the additional step of placing the cables within protective conduits. This not only reduces installation time but also minimizes the need for maintenance, further contributing to cost savings over the long term.

Applications of Direct Burial Cables

Direct burial cables find application in a variety of outdoor scenarios, ranging from residential to commercial and industrial settings. Some common applications include:

Residential Landscaping and Lighting: Direct burial cables are commonly used to provide power and connectivity for outdoor lighting, irrigation systems, and other landscape features. These cables can be buried directly in the ground to supply electricity and data to various outdoor fixtures.


Security Systems: Outdoor surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and access control systems require reliable data and power connections. Direct burial cables offer a dependable solution for connecting these security devices and ensuring continuous surveillance.


Tele-communications: In outdoor environments such as parks, campuses, and remote locations, direct burial cables play a crucial role in extending network connectivity. They enable the establishment of Wi-Fi hotspots, public announcement systems, and outdoor information kiosks.


Industrial Installations: Factories, warehouses, and industrial complexes often require outdoor connectivity for monitoring and controlling processes. Direct burial cables provide a robust solution for transmitting data and power to these remote locations.


Agriculture: Direct burial cables are used in agricultural applications for tasks such as powering water pumps, controlling automated irrigation systems, and transmitting data from sensors that monitor soil conditions.


Installation Guidelines for Direct Burial Cables

While direct burial cables offer numerous advantages, their successful installation requires adherence to certain guidelines to ensure optimal performance and longevity:

Depth of Burial: Direct burial cables should be buried at a sufficient depth to protect them from accidental damage and environmental factors. A common guideline is to bury cables at a depth of at least 18 inches, though this may vary based on local regulations and the specific application.


Protection Against Physical Stress: In areas where cables may be exposed to vehicular or pedestrian traffic, it's advisable to use cable protection methods such as sand or gravel beds to minimize the risk of physical damage.


Jacket Material: The outer jacket of direct burial cables should be chosen based on the specific environmental conditions of the installation site. UV-resistant jackets are essential to prevent degradation caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight.


Sealing and Moisture Protection: Properly sealing cable connections and using moisture-resistant connectors is crucial to prevent water ingress, which can compromise cable performance and lead to electrical hazards.


Grounding: Grounding the cables effectively is essential for safety and optimal performance. Grounding rods should be installed at regular intervals to provide a safe path for electrical currents in case of faults.

 Reliable and Efficient 

Direct burial cables stand out as a reliable and efficient solution for establishing and extending connections in challenging environments. Their robust construction, ease of installation, and resistance to environmental factors make them a go-to choice for a wide range of outdoor applications. Whether it's illuminating a garden, securing a property, or enabling data transmission in remote locations, direct burial cables play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless and dependable connections. By following proper installation guidelines and leveraging the benefits of direct burial cables, organizations and individuals can harness the power of outdoor connectivity with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that their networks are built to withstand the test of time and the elements. So, the next time you consider outdoor installations, remember the key to success lies in embracing the power of "Direct Burial" cables.

Direct Burial cable