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I am sitting on a beautiful and relatively new patio in my back yard. When installing the concrete patio, one electrical conduit was installed to run power out to the gazebo. This coming week it will be installed.

I’m thinking I would like to also run a Ethernet cable, too. I like the idea of a WiFi access point out here.

I know all the experts say don’t run low voltage and high voltage together because someone might run a nail or something into both, but we are talking conduit here, no nails will ever be a factor.

My main concern is RF shielding. Will CAT6 give a good solid 1G connection, or do I need something better shielded?

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    How about a WiFi extender at the house or at the power outlet in the gazebo to boost the signal at the gazebo instead of running cable? – Alaska Man Jul 26 at 18:32
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    @AlaskaMan I have a growing hate for WiFi extenders and can't recommend them to anyone unless it's the only remaining option left. Simply running 2 conduits will solve the problem as well. – Mast Jul 26 at 19:49
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    “All the experts” it’s a Code requirement, not an opinion. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 26 at 22:10
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica and just in case "Code Violation" isn't bad news enough, it basically means if something happens with the Gazebo electricity, burns down your lot, you can probably kiss your insurance coverage goodbye. Don't mess with electrical code violations; it'll fail and you'll pay for it. – Nelson Jul 27 at 3:26
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Barring you bother to source high-voltage rated Cat5e or Cat6A, sharing a conduit with line voltage is a clear and blatant code violation. It's got nothing to do with nails. You should have put in two conduits, or three to cover the unknown next thing. Cat5e will carry full gigabit the same distance that Cat6 or 6A will.

If you are committed to a cable solution, "all dielectric" (no conductive members) fiber optic would be the best choice and code compliant.

Either type of cable needs to be wet-rated as all exterior conduits are wet by definition (and in reality.)

Your least expensive effective option would be a pair of high-quality 802.11ac point-to-point links if there is a clear line of sight from the building with networking to the gazebo.

You could also try a pair of those "powerline ethernet adapters" but I can't say I recommend them.

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    Good overview of the options, +1. However, I don't think the wireless option will be cheaper than fiber these days -- the media converters are only $20 each, and AC access points are often >100. neweggbusiness.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9B-177-000H-00001 – Nate S. Jul 26 at 19:18
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    What's wrong with running 2 conduits separated from each other? – Mast Jul 26 at 19:50
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    @Mast OP already had the concrete poured. Otherwise that would have been the right answer. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Jul 26 at 21:55
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    @NateS. - media converters are only part of the solution with fiber, and using an easily available indoor patch cable in a wet conduit is going to fail, merely a matter of when. I was not suggesting access points - I was specifically suggesting point to point links, which can be had in the $100/pair range (or as much higher as you want to spend, of course.) Mind you, unless the patio is huge, an exterior access point ($80 for a decent one, or more on up to much more depending on brand and level of overkill) on the house would be nigh as effective and skip the whole bother. – Ecnerwal Jul 27 at 0:51
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    Powerline are by far not as bad as the early generations used to be. But make sure to get AV1000 or higher rated modules. I'm getting reliably 750 Mb/s on a set of AV2000 modules over 40 meters (They are on the circuit that feeds both the lights in the kitchen and the lights in the shed in the back of the garden.) The only drawback is that every once in a while (every 10 to 12 weeks) they loose sync and I have to reconnect them by unplugging/reinserting one of them. They are way cheaper (about $100 for a set) than the CAT6 cabling, the extra conduit and labour. – Tonny Jul 27 at 10:01
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Given that gazebos are made from a lot of air, there's a chance your wireless will reach there.

Go out there with a chair, and see how well it works at this point. If you get a good-enough signal then go with that.

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    One future possibility is that as foliage grows, it tends to block microwave/wireless ethernet signals. – Criggie Jul 27 at 2:32
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    If the signal isn't great, simply put a WiFi access point inside the house at a window with a good view of the gazebo. Hide it from the inside with a plant. Or, get an outdoor rated access point, mount it on the outside of the house and aim it at the gazebo. You'll get bonus coverage over most of the rest of the yard. Far and away the easiest answer. – FreeMan Jul 27 at 12:31
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I suggest direct burial fiber optic cable. It's not terribly expensive, immune to electrical interference, and you don't have to worry about incorrectly grounded shielded cables. You would need two media adapters to convert from copper to fiber and back.

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  • You mean in the conduit with the power cable? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 26 at 22:09
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica 'Direct burial' implicitly means 'no conduit, shielding, or piping'. The cabling (be it fiber optic or conventional copper) is specifically designed to be safely entrenched without needing any additional hardware beyond the cable itself in the trench. The only caveat is that you have to remember where you put it so that you don't break it if you dig in the area again. – Austin Hemmelgarn Jul 27 at 22:27
  • I'll agree that this is likely to be the most reliable and safe approach that could be taken in this case, but it's not likely to be the cheapest. You're looking at about 0.10 USD per foot of cable on the low end, plus at least 100 USD at either end for media conversion, and that's just counting parts but not the labor involved in entrenching the cable properly. – Austin Hemmelgarn Jul 27 at 22:33
  • @AustinHemmelgarn That's a bit alarmist for a DIY site. Media converters can easily be bought from Amazon for less than $50 a piece, and a spool of LC terminated direct burial fiber is $250 for 250 feet. – longneck Jul 29 at 13:01
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One answer I can give is that either the suggested non conductive fiber or pure WiFi link is the correct way to go - avoid any wired approach. Everybody forgets the damage lightening does, and as soon as you take electricity from one building to another, lightening is attracted to the difference in charge that builds up between them. Your equipment will pay the price if you use wire to connect the Ethernet.

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  • This is the correct answer, don't let your network cable outside of your house. it is a direct link to ever piece of expensive equipment in your house in the event of a lightning strike. – Be Kind To New Users Jul 27 at 17:51
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As others have cited the code violation, I won't repeat it. So, you cannot bundle the wires together, but you CAN send Ethernet over the power line into the gazebo. Google "Ethernet over power" and you will see what I am talking about. I am using this setup to get Ethernet to my barn/cabin which is 200+ feet from my house. I get a good enough signal out there to hold Zoom meetings, watch YouTube videos, etc. without buffering. This works better than the AP I previously had setup outside pointing towards the barn.

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I can't speak to codes but I can tell you that you will likely never notice any interference issues. When I was in the military we used to bundle unshielded cat5e cables with the main lines coming out of 15kw generators and I've never heard of a connection having interference. That being said you should use shielded cable because it's what is called for in that situation and it's better safe than sorry.

Alternatively they make exterior ethernet cable that can be buried outside of a conduit so you could just run it as a separate line.

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  • Thank you for that insight, I appreciate it! As far as running a second line: gazebo is on a concrete patio, when I had the odious installed I had one electric conduit so it isn't possible to have a second at this point in time. – Sam Carleton Jul 26 at 11:50
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    While you're right, it should work, its still not up to code. The military can get away with code violations up till the point it injures someone, then there's a blamefest. Best way is to do it right from the start. The risk is getting mains voltages on an ultra-low voltage wire by accident. – Criggie Jul 27 at 2:34
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    The military also has deeper pockets. You don't want to lose insurance coverage to get WiFi on your gazebo via Ethernet. – Nelson Jul 27 at 3:32
  • I don't think any of you actually read my answer ;) Also @J... The generators probably did cause interference as well, what I said is that you likely wont notice it because most errors get corrected, that being said we never saw any excessive errors on any internal interfaces. – jesse_b Jul 27 at 15:14
  • You will however gets tons of interference on wifi connections from all sorts of everyday objects. If the gazebo has fluorescent lighting they will almost certainly cause more errors than the power line would on a wired connection but also wont be noticeable because of the way network devices/connections handle errors. Even in UDP connections you might notice occasional blips but it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary. – jesse_b Jul 27 at 15:21
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WiFi transmitters are the way to go IMHO. I've linked two buildings with a pair of these (TP-Link Long Range Outdoor Wifi Transmitter – 5GHz, 300Mbps) and they work great. Have also found Ethernet over Power to work indoors but I don't think you want to expose an unprotected area to a direct ethernet link (as others have pointed out).

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