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I'm using outdoor Ethernet cable outside to connect security cameras and I'm worried about rain exposure, especially with PoE. I've got a short (8") Ethernet line coming off of each camera with a female terminal and need to plug the end of a long cable with a male terminal into that.

I see that there are various "dust/water covers" one can buy but often can't see how the internal "socket". If these are what I need then I guess I need one that has female-to-male, though most seem to have female-female socket for male-to-male connections. Suggestions? Thanks!

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  • If the camera has a dangling female ethernet connector, come to think of it, it's probably not meant for outdoors. Maybe the entire camera, the short cable and connector all need to be inside a waterproof enclosure? Or perhaps, if the camera is any protected location and it's just the cable that needs to be suitable for outdoors, then the connector shouldn't matter?
    – jay613
    Feb 28 at 7:02
  • It might be good to say where in the world you are - I live in a very windy and rainy place, and some of the answers here would fall well short. But they would probably be fine in a climate where it rains less often and the rain always falls near vertical.
    – Jack B
    Feb 28 at 14:58
  • Ive had cat cable outside for probably 10-15 years without ANY issue. However, I do have it running through some conduit type pvc pipes.
    – JonH
    Feb 28 at 19:35

7 Answers 7

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  1. Make sure you're using outdoor rated cable.
    • The jacket is rated for UV exposure and the ends are also weather rated and properly sealed at the factory.
  2. Leave a drip loop.
    • This is a bit of the cable that's an inch or two lower than either of the end points - both where it connects to the camera and where it enters the house.
    • The drip loop will allow water that hits the cable to run downhill (thanks, gravity!) and drip off the cable instead of following the cable into the port on the camera or into the house.

Having not done any actual research on the "dust/water covers", I can't say for sure, but I'd suspect that they're not of any great advantage so long as you have a drip loop, the camera (especially the Ethernet port) and the entry point to the structure are reasonably well weather protected. Do make sure that you use an appropriate method of sealing the wall penetration where the cable enters the house.

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  • Would you suggest spraying the contacts with something like DeoxIT before assembly to leave some sort of water-repellent coating? There's always condensation to worry about. Feb 27 at 19:44
  • Since I don't know what DeoxIT is, I have no recommendation one way or the other. Sounds like fodder for a new question, @AndrewMorton.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 27 at 19:45
  • It apparently "Lubricates & seals connections", among other properties. It's intended for electrical connections, so perhaps better than WD-40 for that application. I just thought maybe you'd had practical experience of such things in addition to the good point about a drip loop. Feb 27 at 19:52
  • heat shrink might help waterproof the connection... not sure how well it holds up to UV though.
    – Questor
    Feb 28 at 18:44
  • Can't imagine, @Questor, where you'd put it. A quality CATx cable with a factory installed boot should be pretty well sealed already, especially if one has purchased outdoor rated cable.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 28 at 18:49
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Look up "waterproof RJ45 connector".

The cable is outdoor-rated. The plugs and sockets are not. There's no such thing.

Imagine you build or buy a small waterproof enclosure and connect your cables inside it, and then imagine reducing that enclosure to its minimalist form. So small it doesn't need to be wall mounted, and so waterproof the cables don't have to come in the bottom. (It's low voltage so that can be done in a way similar to irrigation twist nuts). Such a thing exists and can be bought for about $5.

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  • 1
    There's outdoor rated ethernet connectors. They're called M12 connectors. They are not RJ45, but they're 100% waterproof.
    – vidarlo
    Feb 27 at 8:26
  • @vidarlo how many PoE cameras come with such a port?
    – Huesmann
    Feb 27 at 14:36
  • 1
    The M12 connectors look interesting. A quick view of their docs says they are suitable for industrial applications but does not say they are outdoor-rated. They are quite expensive and it's not clear how they interface with your camera which is outside and has an RJ45 connector. They seem useful for component-level design of industrial systems that can use their features, not for waterproofing the connection to a finished residential outdoor camera.
    – jay613
    Feb 27 at 17:27
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    @jay613 IP67 is immersion in up to 1 meter of water. In industrial settings outdoor rated is not used; IP grade is. IP44 and better is generally regarded as suitable for outdoor.
    – vidarlo
    Feb 28 at 9:22
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    @Huesmann I don't know how many, but certainly more than zero. E.g. Moxa makes IP cams with M12.
    – vidarlo
    Feb 28 at 9:23
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Depends some on the camera. I've bought several Reolinks, which do reasonably well outdoors. The plug goes into a housing with two gaskets and a screw-together connector. Assuming you got the UV protection part down, the key on that setup is to make sure the part your Ethernet enters the housing is not on the downward slope of the wire. I would expect any outdoor-rated camera to offer at least some sort of water resistant connection housing.

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Cat 5/Cat6 outdoor cable is rated for weather and sun.

However that cable is usually fed to the outdoor device via a waterproof enclosure utilising a water-excluding gland. The dangling RJ45 connector suggests that device is not rated for outdoor use, perhaps there is an optional enclosure. Check the specification and chassis for a marking "IP" followed by two digits, then look up that "ingress protection" code.

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I have a setup of several PoE cameras around my house. They too had a short (about 6-8") feed with female RJ45 connector. The idea for the cameras was that you drill holes in the wall large enough to pass this feed through it and connect the ethernet cable inside it. I didn't want to drill large holes in an old brick wall, so I bought an external weatherproof mounting box from the camera manufacturer directly. This mounts onto the wall, with all cables going inside it via sealing glands and all connections done inside.

Check with your camera manufacturer - they may offer something like this.

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I've done this - At my first home the main runs of wire between house and garage were indoor-rated cable, but I used many zip ties and strapped the cables to the underside of a fence rail that provided sun protection.

There were two points where the fence didn't go far enough. So my solution was to slip some flexible plastic conduit over a ~4 metre length, and then ran that down, across a narrow access and slightly buried it, then up into an elbow that pointed down.

You can fit 3~4 cat5 cables in a couple of metres of 18mm conduit.


At my next home I used 13mm irrigation hose (the stuff used for home garden sprinkler systems) because its cheap. You can start three separate pieces of cat6 in there, but they don't go far. I barely got 2 pieces through a 10 metre run of this hose because friction increases with distance.

I run a Pi4 and a hard drive on one POE line, and a network camera on the other. This hose was buried under a paving slab pathway for protection, and has survived for almost 6 years without issue.


My oldest effort was the least successful. We had a need to run data cables between two adjacent prefab classrooms for a while, and due to people moving between could not run on or under the ground. So an aerial cable worked for a while. If you go this route, run a catenary of fencing wire and tie it off to eyebolts at each end. Then loosely tie your catX cable to that so the catenary is holding the weight not the cable.

At the eve of each building, put a loop in your cable so that any water will drop off, and not run along the cable and into your building.

Expect this to last no-longer than a year, probably less. White or beige or light colours will be better than dark colours because sunlight.


My cameras are all under eves/soffits and I've had great success even using indoor rated cameras outside, as long as they are physically incapable of getting rained on or sunlight on them. I also only use cheap $~40 aliexpress POE network cameras, which are no-great loss to replace if one does fail.

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For the dyi type installations treat the actual connections with a liberal amount of silicon grease, and the rear of the connector with a liberal amount of silicon caulk. That will give you a cheap reliable and compatible connection. The cameras are pretty much disposable so if they last they last, but the cabeling takes quit a bit if work so if you're going to do it use underground rated cat 5 or 6 that is also uv rated. You can get it, and the other components, grease and caulk on Amazon. The underground rated cable is coated inside with the same silicon grease I recommended above. Do not make the mistake of getting direct burial as it's very expensive and takes special connectors for it to work properly.

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