Does water damage a fiber optic / cat5 cable

Solution 1:

The real danger is at the terminations, where corrosion can start. As for the cables themselves, they're fine in water, although I'd be careful using it in a corrosive solution. Keep an eye open and you should see plenty of examples of network cables, including fibre, used outdoors in the weather. I know of examples where cables sit permanently in water and have done so for many years. Network cabling is no different to any other kind of electric cabling. Keep the ends dry and the rest doesn't matter.

Solution 2:

Replacing the bundles would be expensive. If you've got it in your budget (or insurance will pay for it), do it.

As long as there were no nicks in the PVC sheathing, you should be alright (

It's hard to tell if you had any nicks in the plastic, but I imagine that you're going to find out. Do you have any spare cables in the bundles? I would save yourself the time of panicking during an emergency and find and label them now. Create documentation on how to replace a poorly performing cable with a spare.

Know that if you don't rerun the cables, this event is going to be the scape-goat for all future network performance issues forever, until more cables are run.

Solution 3:

I don't think the water will have any immediate effect as long as the water never entered the cables--obviously copper wiring will oxidize if given the chance.

My argument for re-running the cable would partly be that you can't reasonably ensure the current cable will dry instead of growing mold/mildew and turning into a slimy nasty mess.

Solution 4:

Effect on Electrical Performance The ingress of water into the data cabling system can have a serious affect on its ability to support high bit rate data applications like Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. In some cases, cables that are already near the link length limit (and therefore the attenuation budget) for the standard may fail after flooding. This is because when the cable gets wet, its dielectric performance is changed, which affects impedance and the related parameters of attenuation and return loss.

Cable Construction and Water Ingress It is a common misunderstanding that PVC, the material used to coat standard data cable, is waterproof. It is not; it is hygroscopic. Standard Category 5e and Category 6 cables have a PVC coating and are designed for indoor use and are not suitable for use in wet conditions.

Cables designed for use outdoors, where moisture or water is present in any quantity, incorporate waterproofing measures such as barrier tapes and gel filling, which are costly and sometimes degrade electrical performance. It is also worth noting that many of these waterproofing gels are petroleum based and are therefore unsuitable for use indoors (other than to a demarcation point), as they represent a fire risk. Indeed, the distance such cables can be run within a building is usually limited by national standards.

Further, the construction of the cable affects water ingress. Low-smoke zero-halogen (LSOH) cables tend to have a lower resistance to water ingress because the sheathing materials used are even more hygroscopic than PVC. FTP cables, with a longitudinal foil screen, have better resistance to water ingress as the screening material acts like a water barrier tape. However, it should be noted that FTP is still not waterproof.

Severity of Exposure The effect of water ingress is also dependent on where the water has been and for how long. Short-term exposure to the middle of a PVC cable run, with a small quantity of clean water, is unlikely to have any long-term deleterious effect. On the other hand, if LSOH cables lying directly on a concrete floor slab, with no containment or protection, are submerged for a week, then the risk of damage is much greater. Water containing dissolved contaminants from, for instance, a dusty screed floor, also represents a greater risk.

An even greater threat than the effects of water ingress through the cable sheath is posed by the open end of a cable being exposed to water. The tightly twisted pairs inside a data cable encourage a capillary action that can draw water significant distances into the cable, destroying the electrical characteristics. Cable affected in this way will nearly always have to be replaced.