We had an installer put in security cameras a few years ago (PoE-powered), and he decided the best place to install the network switch would be in the attic, since that made wiring the cameras easier (because they are all under the eaves).

The problem is that it gets extremely hot in there during the summer, often up over 100 degrees (F), and the network switch is rated to operate only up to 104. We have experienced connectivity issues to some of the cameras, and my first thought is that the switch is dying due to its environment.

In any case, we are now installing more cameras (and probably IP phones in the near future) and need a larger switch. I am currently planning for 16 cables to go up to the attic, and am installing a 24-port switch to give future room to grow.

I have selected a location inside the building to install the new network switch (inside a sound-dampening network cabinet because it is in a public space), but I need to figure out how to run the wires down out of the attic.

Here are the options I have considered at this point:

  • Make a hole in the ceiling and pass the whole bundle of cables through it, then run them down to the switch inside a wire wrap or raceway. This is the easiest way, but then how do I seal the hole from the attic into the conditioned space? With a hole that size, the specific concern is bugs getting inside from the attic. (We have had problems with all kinds of bugs in the attic, including wasps, and we don't want to allow them inside.)
  • Mount a large wallplate on the ceiling with as many RJ45 keystones on it as I need, then run patch cables from those keystones to the switch. The benefit of doing it this way is that the wallplate provides a good barrier between the two spaces, with extremely small holes. The downside of this method is that it takes up a lot of space and looks bad. One of my requirements is to make this installation as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Mount a large wallplate on the wall behind the switch with the RJ45 keystones. This has the benefits of the first idea, but this way the wallplate is not visible. However, I am not sure I want to drill enough holes (or big holes) in the top plate of the wall to be sufficient for that many cables to come through.

I really want to do the first option just because it is the easiest, but having an open hole is a major issue.

What is the best way for me to go about this? Is it one of these options? What can I do about the issues mentioned for each one? Is it something else entirely?

  • Note: I found this question, but I do not think it is a duplicate because mine has a lot more information.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 17:05
  • What about fire retardant foam, with a decorative escutcheon plate on the ceiling?
    – bib
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 17:10
  • @bib Not sure I can picture what such a plate would look like.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 17:11
  • 1
    @dandavis Not sure how you expect PoE-powered cameras to use Wi-Fi.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 4:05
  • 2
    WiFi router is also likely to be just as temperature-sensitive. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 4:50

2 Answers 2


What I ended up doing turned out to be the simplest solution: picking a different mounting location.

In the new location, the network cabinet is mounted directly touching the ceiling, and the cables go directly through the drywall into the cabinet.

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  • Two fans holes? How many watts is that thing drawing? Oh, that's just the case. I'd expect the device to be slimmer and smaller so you could just suspend it down in one of the interior walls. Looks like given the dimensions you probably did the right thing. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 18:21
  • 2
    @WayfaringStranger It's a standard wall-mount network rack. There aren't actually any fans at all in those holes, since we don't draw enough power to need extra cooling. The network switch is also a standard rack-mount size.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 18:34

I can tell you what I've done/am doing. I'm using rigid PVC conduit rated for electrical cable, elbows/junction boxes, and where required, duct seal compound, like https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-1-lb-Plug-Duct-Seal-Compound-DS-110/100212441. You could also add some fiberglass insulation as well, and/or steel wool. At any place I have to pierce the barrier between the attic and the rest of the house, I use expanding fireproof foam to surround the PVC pipe. You could also use "smurf tube" or the like, but it's easier to seal around rigid pipe. In order to run the PVC conduit through the attic, if you choose to do that, you'll probably need an expansion joint.

Note, though, that in order to pass 24 CAT-6 cables (my preference, for future proofing), you'll need 2" conduit at least.

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