Ubiquiti ToughCable Carrier and ePMP AP or recommended CAT5 shielded cabling


Do you know if the Ubiquiti ToughCable Carrier (formerly Level 2) series will be too thick for the ePMP APs?  Or, does someone know the maximum OD (maximum thickness of a CAT5) cable that can be used with the ePMP series?

If the Ubiquiti ToughCable is too thick, then can anyone recommend an alternative.

Looking at the ToughCable Carrier series because we're going on a tower with an FM transmitter or two on it.  Additionally, there is an AM tower about 1.5 miles away.  Also, we've lost equipment due to lightning below the tower (that is, on the building next to the tower).  Though we've not lost any of the PMP FSK 100 series that are presently on the tower due to lightning.  But the last set of shielded cable was really thick.  Almost the size just below an LMR400 RF cable.  They were fine when we had it installed with the Trango Broadband APs.  But when migrated to the PMP FSK 100 series, we had to loose the connector and shave the cable.  That is, we basically didn't use the shielding any more because the cover would not close.  So the final, in cable was just like a regular outdoor CAT5 cable.  I think it was a CommScope cable.  If not a Belden.


We only use Superior Essex copper clad BBDG cable on towers and I would highly recommend using nothing else on FM towers (Actually, I would recommend not collocating on FM at all, if possible).  Be sure to ground the copper shielding at the bottom to the station ground, use ferrites, ground everything.  Keep the AP's off the legs of the tower with the FM heliax and try to mount on the opposite side of the FM loops usually located at the very top.  On ePMP gear we file down the plastic so the cable will fit up in the radio and then we use smaller zip ties to hold the cable up tight in the AP's.  Good freaking luck.  



IMG_0545.JPGThis was from our last FM tower deployment using Superior Essex copper clad.  We've used ferrites to scrub the common mode noise that gets induced on the cable runs (your cables will literally become FM antenna's).  Ferrites are the snap on type 43 or 44 that attenuate well in the 100mhz range.  Stupid? Yes.  Does it work? Yes.


We exclusively use the Ubiquiti Carrier grade ToughCable for our ePMP gear, and it works great. It fits very nicely in the cover. I will say that "AUX" side of the case that the connectorized and integraded radios have do seem to be a bit smaller. It requires us to shave away a small amount of plastic to fit nicely.


Hmmm, tell me more about these ferrites.  I just had 2 FM transmitters move onto my tower (and 5 more are on the tower next to me).  I have not installed ferrites before. I am using the Ubiquiti carrier cable. I have no choice but to mount the antenna directly to the tower but may be able to change that this summer.  Things are grounded well.

Ferrites are going on the AP end of the cable, switch or both ends?  How many are you using and what gave you that number? It looks like quite a few from your picture.  Where are you buying the snap on ones for FM frequencies?

The only reason to add ferrites is if you're having frequent ethernet negotiation issues.. e.g. duplex/speed mismatch between the radio on the tower and your equipment in the bunker and/or you're having a large number of CRC, input or other ethernet issues. If you're not seeing any of this, I'd probably not touch anything.

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Hi Cory;

Thank you so much for the feedback, but most certainly the time you took to post an actual photo of it in use.   The pictures says a lot.

Hopefully everything works in our application.  I'll have to find out more about those ferrite beads and stuff.

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Hi Nathan;

Thanks for the feedback and the advise on the use of ferrite beads.

Can you kindly share what type of ferrite's you used in your application and how did you determine and/or calculated the amount of ferrite's and spacing to use?

First, I want to stress two things: 1. Grounding your equipment properly usually solves wierd ethernet issues, I cannot stress the importance of good grounding on your equipment and the grounding of the tower you are using.  In our case, we only use the Superior Essex copper clad cable and each run is grounded to the tower ground with a very thick and short as possible ground cable.  Use thick ground cable not the cheap green stuff.  2. Ferrites help and I have personally seen them solve ethernet negotiation issues in high RF environments but are by no means a substitute for good grounding.  

Due to our use of the copper clad cable, which is much thicker than toughcable or any other shielded cable I've ever seen, we are forced to use the snap-on ferrite cores.  I get them online from Newark Element 14. I choose them for their specific diameter, ferrite material, and frequency range.  You'll notice when you look through the the listing of ferrites that they have different oHm and frequency ranges.  In my case, I knew FM was the issue and I suspected that the FM frequencies on the tower we were collocated on were the issue, I selected a ferrite that was in that range of frequencies and the most OHM's .  

The more loops you run through a ferrite, the more OHM's of resistance it creates.  Because you cannot loop these copper clad cables due to thickness, I simply stacked on 12 ferrites on top of each other at each end of the cable.  Also important to understand about ferrites is that they do not affect what is going on "inside" the cable.  Ferrites only remove or attenuate, or choke, the frequency being induced on the cable from the FM and turn that energy into very small BTU's of heat.  What I mean by that is your cables on, say a 500ft tower you are on, are being blasted by all kinds of RF energy from AM to FM to your own equipment and that energy flows along the cables and literally makes the cables an antenna for that AM, FM, or whatever.  That energy, if left untouched, WILL enter your radios and network equipment and cause you tons of hell.  Some people say to move the CMM up the tower to shorten the cable runs and this works sometimes as well because you are essentially lessening the noise entering your equipment.  The HAM guys will tell you that they put chokes on their coax because FM will get induced and it will produce a spark when they talk into the microphone.  We once put a toner on a cable running up the tower to locate the cable and could listen to the FM radio station through the toner that was touching the cable!

A couple different ones I've used:



It is important to understand that the reason these things fix ethernet negotiation issues is because they remove the common mode RF noise that is being induced by the RF environment.  Because FM transmits around 100Mhz, this creates a huge problem for ethernet and you will notice things may run totally fine when the weather is good but during a heavy rain you will start having CRC errors and dropping packets like crazy.  I've heard that in the Southwest USA, the dry dirty winds will cause static electicity and cause this behavior as well.  


In case you're still looking for input, we use Carrier (level 2) cable exclusively.  It's worked great for dozens of ePMP APs so far.  Handful of them are at gig working just fine.  The remainder are 100 meg due to the base infrastructure, not ePMP's fault.

Hi JLuthman;

Yes and thanks, your feedback really helps.    REally looking forward to using it.


Hi Nathan;

Wow, thanks very much for expanding (with simplicity) on your earlier contribution.  That really helps.  I'm glad that you've had very good success with that solution.  It provides confidence to know that there is an inexpensive solution out there to tackle, combat and workaround interference from AM and FM transmitters which are either collocating on the same tower or very nearby.


Hi All;

Thank you so much for your feedback and comments.  The cables are working out great.  There is certainly no problem with the size of the cable and the ePMP covers (Ethernet pass-thru opening and  closing the covers).  It's a snug fit for sure with the Tough Cable Carrier version. 

We'll have to now see how it holds up over time and performs under load and bad conditions.  Until then, it's been very positive so far.

Does the Tough Cable meet the requirements of Cambiums specs based on page 71, ePMP User Guide Release v2.5.2.  That is:-

For copper connections from the device to the power supply, use Cat5e cable that is shield
copper-plated steel.
Always use Cat5e cable that is shielded with copper-plated steel. Alternative types of
Ethernet cables are not supported by Cambium Networks.

Maybe I should ask that question in a new post.


I'm going to re-open this thread. First off, very helpful!  I have used the specific Ferrite cores mentioned here and it solved many of our Ethernet issues on our ePMP radios that are co-located with FM.

I am about to add an ePMP 2000 radio to a tower 10' away from two others that each have a few FM stations (along with 900mhz paging and UHF DTV).  My question now is about using conduit. We are only going 60' up the tower. We have a bunch of 3/4" EMT conduit that we can attach to the side of the tower and run our Ubiquiti ToughCable Carrier inside the conduit.

Will EMT conduit help shield the RF? Is it worth doing (knowing it's a low cost to do so)?  

We will be running a #4 ground wire down the tower from the radio to the tower ground as well. I am assuming (?) that Cambium has tied the cable shielding to the radio ground terminal or do I need to connect both the radio terminal AND the Ethernet shield to ground separately?