How to cable a long range telephone extension
August 31, 2005 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience running their own telephone cables over a distance of about 500 feet?

I sometimes work on a rural farm and we need to put in a phone line in one of the buildings further back in the property. The phone currently runs to one building and I was going to split off that, bury the cable for a ways, run it along the side of a building and then bury it again up to the final building. I've seen telephone cable for sale on ebay which seems to be the cheapest, but is it as easy as all that? Just splitting off the main cable and running it? Essentially it's just a long range extension, I don't want it to be a different number or anything, I just want it to ring and work in the other building. Any got experience with this?
posted by miles1972 to Technology (10 answers total)
My dad did this: 1/3 of a mile from the road to his cabin. Dug a shallow trench and laid it in there. No problems so far, and that was about six years ago. I don't know exactly what kind of cable he used, but it wasn't too expensive.
posted by Specklet at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2005

If you are going to drive over it, I'd suggest running it through a piece of pipe to serve as a conduit.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:02 PM on August 31, 2005

A similar question: Share internet with neighbors.

I would just string the wire and see what happens. That said, 500ft is getting pretty damn long!
posted by Chuckles at 1:31 PM on August 31, 2005

If this is not for a data connection, why not use a decent cordless system, maybe with an auxiliary antenna?
posted by DandyRandy at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2005

Never did a 500' run but we did do a 75' around the outside of the house loooooooong ago since it was impractical to mess in the attic. The only important thing is that you buy cable rated for direct burial, meaning you're going to have it outside and not in any protective conduit.

I think I bought the cable from Greybar but I could be fooling myself. If you have a telecom supply shop anywhere near you they'll be able to cut you something, though you'll likely end up with something with 4 or 6 pairs. Expect it to be about as big around as your pointer finger or perhaps your thumb.
posted by phearlez at 2:22 PM on August 31, 2005

Best answer: if you're going through the trougble of digging trenches,etc. it might be worth it to bury a few extra lines just in case. i'm still kicking myself for not doing this on a project a few years ago. The main expense was all the labor i put into it...having an extra line or 2 now would be nice.

I'd just run 2 or 3 lines of cat5e. You can use this for 1 or more phone lines and who knows if you might want to hook up an internet connection someday?

Most places say the the distance limitation for Cat5 is 100m but here's one that says 350 m for data. I'd guess your run would work fine.

Here's a 1000 foot spool for $200 -- you could cut it in half and run 2 lines.

Seems like regular telephone cable is about the same price
posted by jacobsee at 3:03 PM on August 31, 2005

Correct me if I am wrong, but I had the understanding that it was a bad idea to run any electrical wire between buildings (phone, network, tv, etc). The idea being that this cable will connect the different electrical systems of the two buildings. The differing grounds between the two buildings will cause a current making all sorts of problems.

I was under the impression that you should only run underground wire if the buildings are very close and connected to the same electrical system. Even then, the cable should be properly trenched and in conduit.

Perhaps you should talk with a professional. If it were me, I'd look for some sort of long range wireless option.
posted by phatboy at 3:22 PM on August 31, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the input so far. Just to clarify. As this is rural, we are dial-up only, and so I may have to run data thru this cable as well. (All my investigation into any sort of cordless or wireless has made it seem very expensive for that distance, and as we can't get highspeed, I need a way to pick up email).

The general idea still being that we could phone or dial-up from this other building as well as the one that the telco ran to, as long as the line is free.

Now I'm wondering about the electrical, as Phatboy said...
posted by miles1972 at 4:42 PM on August 31, 2005

Now I'm wondering about the electrical

there was a discussion of ground loops between buildings in the other thread linked above by Chuckles. I don't have an answer to that problem myself....
posted by jacobsee at 5:33 PM on August 31, 2005

Before you go to the trouble of digging trenches, you can test is it will work by hooking the cable up with it coiled up in a pile. This will let you know if the distance is too far before you are committed.

Also, if you buy inexpensive indoor cable you must protect it from UV exposure from the sun as it will break down the insulation.
posted by mbell at 2:04 AM on September 1, 2005

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