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What Are Bulk Cable and Bulk Ethernet Cable?

Author Aiyden

Date 12/24/2021

What is bulk cable, or bulk Ethernet cable? what makes bulk Ethernet cable different? This post will answer those questions and more.

What is Bulk Cable?

Bulk cables are cable wires with a large volume or quite a long length, opposite to cables with only a few meters. It is a broad concept and may refer to various products in different areas. The best way to keep thin and long lines neat is to wrap them around support. Imagine a roll of paper! Similarly, bulk cables in the market are found in the form of cable spools and packaged inboxes. Hence, bulk cables are also called cable reels, cable spools, or cable rolls. 


What is Bulk Ethernet Cable?

Ethernet cables are copper wires, transmitting data over electrical impulses. It is used to provide an internet connection between devices to LAN, typically connecting a router or AP to a switch rj45 port.

Figure 1: bulk Ethernet cable 100ft roll


Bulk Ethernet cable is a long Ethernet cable up to 500 ft or even 1000 ft. 1000 ft Ethernet cable is the most common one. Compared with ordinary Ethernet network cables, there are other factors besides cable length that differ. First, the Ethernet cable spool has no termination RJ45 connectors at either end. Second, the Ethernet cable 500 ft or 1000 ft long generally is not bought by individual users, for it is used for more complicated deployment scenarios. Put it another way, customers of Ethernet bulk wires are professional technicians with custom installation demands for wiring projects.


What are Bulk Ethernet Cable Types?

Bulk Ethernet cables can be divided into different types by different dimensions. 


Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a Cat7 Cat8 Bulk Ethernet Cables

Breakdown by Ethernet cable category, there are Cat5e bulk cable, bulk Cat6 cable, Cat6a bulk cable, Cat 7 bulk cable, and Cat8 bulk cable. Among these, Cat6 cable 1000ft is the most popular one. 


Bulk Ethernet Cable Outdoor vs Indoor

Breakdown by application scenarios, there are bulk Ethernet cable outdoor vs indoor options. The two differ mainly in the outer cable jackets and applications. 


Outdoor-rated Ethernet cable (exterior ethernet cable) utilizes a double-layer PVC and LEDP outer jacket to withstand moisture, sunlight, and temperature. It is designed to cater to a harsh environment for secure and reliable operation outdoors. Waterproof Ethernet cables and weatherproof Ethernet cable both refer to outdoor cables.


Figure 2: Outdoor Ethernet bulk cable is waterproof, weatherproof and UV-resistant


Indoor bulk Ethernet cables are regular bulk cables, such as ordinary Cat6 boxes. It uses a usual low-smoke PVC jacket for indoor voice, data, video, and security networking applications. Can I run indoor Ethernet cables outdoor? Not recommended. Since they are not UV resistant, waterproof, and weatherproof. When exposed to sunlight, moisture, and extreme temp, indoor-rated Ethernet cables will become brittle.


Direct Burial Ethernet Cable vs Regular Outdoor Bulk Ethernet Cable

These are two versions of outdoor Ethernet cable rolls. Both are designed with strong jackets to defend sunshine, moisture, and temp. Regular Ethernet bulk cable is not fit to install underground unless it is running in a conduit.

Figure 3: Do not run regular outdoor bulk Ethernet cable underground. If you have to, install it in a PVC conduit.


Direct burial Cat6 allows you to directly bury your cords underground and protect them from possible harms such as dirt, water, weight, high-temp. So remember to consider whether it requires burying your cables underground when planing a copper cabling solution from one building to the other.

Figure 4: Direct bury the direct burial outdoor bulk Ethernet cable underground.


What Makes Bulk Ethernet Cable Different?

Compared to regular Cat6 cables, bulk Cat6 cables is different in appearance, function/usage, and shipping service:



▪ Package——Cable wires are wrapped around a cylinder and packed in a carton.

▪ Cable Length——Long Ethernet cables up to 500ft/1000ft.

▪ Termination——No termination connectors at either end.

Figure 5: 1m Cat6 vs Cat6 bulk cable 1000ft



▪ Usage—— for custom wiring installation project


Shipping Cost:

1000 ft Ethernet cable and 500ft Ethernet cable often are too weighted to enjoy free-shipping service, hence it may charge for the extra shipping fee. 


Dive Into Bulk Ethernet Cable Structure

In this part, we’ll dive into Bulk Ethernet cable to know its inner structure. I hope it can help you better understand how the bulk cable works against outside interference.

Bulk Ethernet Cable Diagram

Figure 6: Shielded Cat6 bulk Ethernet cable diagram

Bulk Ethernet Cable Construction

Figure 7: Shielded Cat6 bulk Ethernet cable construction


Besides protection by the outer jacket, shielding is significant. A bulk Cat6 box may come with UTP, F/UTP, or SF/UTP. F/UTP has an overall foil shield with unshielded twisted pairs and drain wire. SF/UTP has a foil and braid shield with unshielded twisted pairs.  Both two can deliver better EMI and RRI protection in contrast to UTP.


Bulk Ethernet Cable Applications

Bulk cables have really wide application scenarios, ranging from indoor to outdoor, small office to data centers, in the air to underground. You can always find one type for your installation requirement in almost all areas. To identify the application of Ethernet cable spools, some copper cable manufactures color-code Ethernet bulk cords in different colors. But there is no rule to standardize the color-coding. So make sure to consult your vendors before placing the order. The table below lists the typical applications for different regular bulk Ethernet cable Categories.




Data Rate



Cat5e Bulk


1 GbE


security, home, office, etc

Cat6 Bulk


1 GbE

100m / 30~40m at 10G

indoor voice, data, video, security at home, office, or campus for extra bandwidth

Cat6a Bulk


10 GbE


high-performance & mission-critical environments

Cat7 Bulk


10 GbE


datacenters, server rooms, telecommunications rooms

Cat8 Bulk


40 GbE


switch to server connections, data rack center: ToR, EoR, and MoR.


Q&As on Bulk Ethernet Cables

Are Bulk Ethernet Cables Waterproof?

It depends. If your wiring project has the possibility of touching the water, I recommend picking up an outdoor-grade bulk Ethernet cable. They are waterproof Ethernet cables.

Running Ethernet Cable Outside is feasible?

It is possible to run indoor Ethernet cable outdoor for urgent use, however, it is not recommended and not reliable. Because the jacket of a regular Ethernet cable is quite thin, which can easily break and the wires inside may deteriorate. Even if there is no serious harm, exposure to sun and moisture will largely shorten its lifespan. Someone may recommend running it inside a conduit. Yes, it may help for a while. However, the conduit may be destroyed in extreme environments. For stable performance, you should choose outdoor cable reels instead. 

Can You Direct Bury Cat6 Cable?

You can direct bury Cat6 once you adopt the direct burial Cat6 cables. Otherwise, you just can’t, or at least you can’t achieve it directly. There are various ways to bury Cat6 cables. Just remember to check your Cat6 cable type. For example, if it is a regular indoor Cat6 cable, then don’t do this. If it is an exterior Ethernet cable but not a direct burial one, you can house it inside a PVC conduit for burying underground.

Does a Long Ethernet Cable Affect Speed?

Speed is another word for signal strength. Longer Ethernet cables versus shorter cables transmit electrical signals longer. Hence they have more latency. After running more than 100 meters, signal loss will reach outside of the acceptable range. However, the running of even a very long Ethernet cable (such as Cat6 1000ft) is only a small part of the whole networking connection, hence the latency is negligible.


Further Reading - Bulk Fiber Optic Cable

There are two types of bulk cables in networking: bulk Ethernet cable vs bulk fiber optic cable. As mentioned above, the former is a long Ethernet cable for copper connection. How about bulk fiber cables?


Fiber optic cables are fiber cords, delivering data via light signal. It is designed for optical fiber connections to transmit massive data traffic at a high speed. Typical usage of fiber cables is long-distance, high-performance data networking, and telecommunications.


A bulk fiber optic cable is a large or long fiber wire, found 1000 ft bulk fiber cable as common in the market, 500 ft, 200 ft are also available from some fiber optic manufacturers. 

To know more info about bulk fiber optic cables, please keep an eye on our blog for later updates, or contact us via sales@qsfptek.com.


Related Article:

Comprehensive Tutorial of Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat6A vs Cat7

Cat 8 Ethernet Cable Wiki with FAQs



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