Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Cabling

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Definition of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Cabling in the Network Encyclopedia.

What is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) cabling?

Polyvinyl Chloride cabling, or simply PVC, is a grade of network cabling that uses polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic for its outer protective insulating jacket. Polyvinyl chloride cabling is cheap and flexible but gives off dangerous gases during combustion. Building codes usually require that plenum cabling be used instead of polyvinyl chloride cabling for horizontal runs from wiring closets to wall plates.

Polyvinyl chloride cabling is usually used to connect wall plates to computers. Both coaxial and twisted-pair cabling are generally available in either polyvinyl chloride or plenum-grade jackets.

PVC cables
PVC cables

Benefits of Polyvinyl Chloride Cabling

Cable with a PVC insulation or sheathing is flame retardant, which is an important consideration for electric cables in most applications. PVC can be made resistant to a wide range of chemicals including oils, acids and alkalis, and is tough, durable and resistant to abrasion. The addition of various additives can improve its temperature range, typically from -40 to 105°C, as well as the resistance to sunlight, reduced smoke emission and improved water resistance.

PVC does not cost a great deal to make, and it is in much greater supply than other natural resources, which makes it rather a great deal cheaper to purchase. The fact that it has such a long lifespan only makes it more cost-effective – it doesn’t have to be replaced or repaired for a relatively long time, making it a wise investment for comparatively little money.

PVC vs. Plenum & LS0H

Whether you choose a riser (PVC), plenum or LS0H jacket depends on where you’re going to run the cable.

PVC cable features an outer polyvinyl chloride jacket that gives off toxic fumes when it burns. It’s commonly used for horizontal runs from the wiring centre. You can use it for vertical runs between the floors – but only if the building features a contained ventilation system running through the duct work.

Plenum cable is used between floors in a building. It has a special flame-retardant coating.

Building showing plenum cable (red) and riser cable (blue).
Building showing plenum cable (red) and riser cable (blue).

A plenum is a space within the building created by building components, designed for the movement of environmental air.