Grounding My Outdoor Ethernet Cables (Ubiquiti ETH-SP-G2 Surge Protector Install)

A previous video covered how (and why) I ran three internet cables from my house to my garage. This included two copper-based CAT7 cables that were run in a shallow trench. This project worked well and delivered super fast internet speeds around all parts of my property (and it meant that all four of my Eero Pro 6 routers now run in wired backhaul mode).

But one of the key things missing from this project was grounding – in other words, surge protecting my Ethernet set-up. Copper-based Ethernet cables do NOT mix well with thunderstorms, so with winter on us, it was fairly important that I added grounding and surge protection to my home networking set-up.

This project log shows exactly how I achieved this – using a grounding rod, and some Ubiquiti surge protector units:

The exact products I used for this Ethernet grounding project include:

  • 2x Ubiquiti Networks ETH-SP-G2 Surge Protection units
  • A 4′ 5/8″ grounding rod
  • A 5/8″ grounding rod clamp
  • 4mm thick ground/earth wire (I purchased a 25m/82′ pack)
  • A pack of M5 machine bolts and nuts
  • Some cable crimps

Here are the install instructions for the Ubiquity ETH-SP-G2 surge protector:

This is quite a long video, so please feel free to jump to the specific section(s) that interest you. The individual timestamps of each section are:

  • 0:00: Intro (Why Ground Your Ethernet?)
  • 1:15: Current Living Room Setup
  • 3:33: Do You Really Need To Connect A Ground Wire?
  • 4:09: Remember Power Strip Surge Protectors Too
  • 5:09: The Outside Setup Right Now
  • 6:05: A Look At The Garage
  • 6:43: Wall Mounting The Ubiquiti Surge Protector
  • 7:03: Adding The Ubiquiti Protector To The Garage
  • 8:26: Finishing The Garage Ethernet Setup
  • 14:17: Hitting Big Copper Rod With Small Hammer
  • 15:30: Installing A Grounding Rod: Attempt 2
  • 16:52: Angle Grinder And Sparks Time
  • 18:18: Connecting The Ground Wire To The Grounding Clamp
  • 21:53: Finishing Off The Ground Wire Connections
  • 24:27: Grounding The Ubiquiti Surge Protector In Lounge
  • 29:02: Using A Bolt And Nut For Best Ground Contact
  • 31:22: Final Thoughts
  • 32:45: Should You Ground Ethernet On Both Ends?
  • 35:23: Wrapping Up

I would welcome any feedback and comments on this project – especially because it was my first time grounding a home network installation.

Video Guide And Transcript


Hey everyone, so I recently purchased these, and also these, oh yeah and also THIS.

Me holding up two Ubiquiti surge protectors
Me holding up two Ubiquiti surge protectors
Me holding up a four foot copper grounding rod
Me holding up a four foot copper grounding rod

Now I didn’t JUST buy this so I could pretend to be Gandalf…

You shall not pass!

I’m so cool. Honestly though, that’s totally not why I bought it. I actually need all this because I recently ran three internet cables to my detached garage. This setup works well and delivers really fast internet speeds – but there’s a BIG catch. Ethernet cables are copper based, and copper and thunderstorms don’t mix – in the worst case, your cables and internal networking equipment could get fried.

While the UK doesn’t have any MAJOR problems with thunderstorms, I have hundreds of pounds of networking equipment, so I want to protect that as much as possible. That’s where THESE come in – Ubiquiti Ethernet surge protectors. I should quickly point out that they won’t make thunder MAGICALLY disappear in the sky, and nothing much could protect from a massive direct hit. But they DO work really well to add some level of grounding and surge protection to your networking set-up, along with reducing ESD (electrostatic discharge). So let’s get started.

Current Living Room Setup

So, this is my internal networking setup. As you might remember from a previous video, so at the moment I’ve got a temporary flat Ethernet cable just coming in through my door frame just for simplicity instead of having to drill through the wall, and then effectively that goes into a network switch as you would imagine. Let me just unplug that for a second… the network switch… as you would imagine. That then is connected up to my media plate over here which then goes to my understairs cupboard.

Me showing my network equipment in my living room
Me showing my network equipment in my living room

From there as well I’ve got an Ethernet cable that goes into my Eero Pro router and that works fairly well other than the fact that as I mentioned at the start of this video, if you had lightning strike somewhere and it traveled in through this cable that could fry my networking switch. It could also travel potentially through the actual wall sockets themselves and damage the electrical wiring and it could also potentially damage all of my other networking equipment, such as my Eero Pro router and that’s obviously where all of this grounding stuff comes in. 

Effectively with grounding you have two main options open to you. You either hook into your existing house’s wiring and grounding, for example if I could get the… a grounding cable from here, I could potentially use that and then I can use a device like this to actually ground my network. The problem with that is I don’t really want to start playing with my house’s electric, especially because I’ve got outdoor, you know I’ve got everything in my garage as well. Effectively I’d have to try and run a ground wire all along there and then hook into my house’s electric. I don’t really want to do that.

The other option is you can use a ground wire which is ultimately what your house’s electric probably does anyway, or grounding rod I should say. So effectively this goes into the ground somewhere, you then have this clamp and then you run an earth cable to it, and that goes into your Ubiquiti Ethernet surge protector and effectively then you’ve got this goes in here, which I’ll do now. So effectively that goes in there, should go in, yes it does, and then the other end can just clamp into your… go into your network switch as normal, wait I’ll put it around that side instead. 

Do You Really Need To Connect A Ground Wire?

There you have it. So right now, of course I should point out this is not grounded. All I’ve done is literally just extend my Ethernet, you know, cables and put something in the middle of it. But because there is no ground wire here it doesn’t do anything, it’s false protection:

An ungrounded Ethernet surge protector
An ungrounded Ethernet surge protector

You can’t just run an Ethernet surge protector and not have it grounded. That literally won’t do anything, it won’t help you in any way, but of course at least we can see the network working again. So at least I know that this device works from an Ethernet networking perspective.

Remember Power Strip Surge Protectors Too

We’ll talk about how to ground things in a minute. I’ll show you all that, or at least I’ll attempt it because I haven’t done it before, but one thing I should point out is when I was actually shooting this video I realized that my network switch and my Eero Pro at the moment isn’t actually surge protected. You should always ideally have a surge protector type power strip or something like that in your setup so that even though – you should have something like this as well – you want to protect against any surges in general through your electricity or anything like that, and I don’t actually have that. 

None of my devices currently go through an electric surge protector strip
None of my devices currently go through an electric surge protector strip

So I’m just going to quickly plug this in as well. Okay. So I’ve put everything into a single surge protector just so that my Eero, my Echo Show and my network switch is protected. You can just see over there. So it’s all surge protected now. So at a minimum at least I’ve, you know, protected the actual electrical side of things hopefully a little bit, but as I mentioned before this Ubiquiti surge protector is not currently grounded so it’s not going to do anything at all. 

But at least we know from the lights on the network switch, at least that’s working from a networking perspective – but now we do actually need to ground things. So let’s take a look outside now. You can see where my temp cables are coming in. 

The Outside Setup Right Now

Alright. So let me get this, get this and get this. Okay. This is my setup from outside so you can see you got a flat Internet cable and then you’ve actually got the Ethernet cables that I run previously in a conduit, well it’s not in a conduit actually, that’s a story for another day, that then goes underground and it comes all the way along here. So basically I dug a shallow trench and somewhere along the line you can actually see the cables come out – as I haven’t actually finished digging the entire trench, I’ve only done to the side of the house but effectively at the moment these cables are fairly unprotected and if there was lightning strike that’s then going to cause issues.

Unfinished shallow trench
Unfinished shallow trench

A Look At The Garage 

So that’s where all of this comes in. The current setup is that the cables come into the garage here as you can see. Sorry, just banging on something. They come in through the ground there, come up through some conduit and then at the moment they go into the Eero Pro router and then from there there’s a PoE switch that powers a camera that I’ve got all the way over there in the corner. I’m just going to quickly change this a bit so I can actually wall mount a network switch, and also an Ethernet surge protector. So let’s just quickly do that now.

Adding The Ubiquiti Protector To The Garage

My wall mounted Ubiquiti surge protector and network switch
My wall mounted Ubiquiti surge protector and network switch

Okay. That’s probably one of the most fiddly parts of the job to be honest. Okay. So that’s on, that’s on and now we can actually change up this wiring. So let’s move my tripod. Okay. So at the moment we’ve got this cable coming in from outside. Let’s put that in as we can see there and then from there I’m just going to go straight into my Eero. Again it’s harder than it looks – these clips. So in there and in there. 

So as before, as I mentioned, this is literally just networking. It’s not actually grounded at the moment. We need to go outside to do that. At least we’ve got that there. Next thing I’m going to do is I’m going to actually put that into my network switch. So at least then any subsequent devices I have can, you know, just come straight off the networking switch. That’s going to be a bit easier I think and this, this cable which goes to my PoE Ethernet camera. I’ll just put it over there. No I won’t. No, absolutely I won’t do that! It has to go here, of course, ‘cuz this contains the power. 

Finishing The Garage Ethernet Setup

So at the moment I’m missing an Ethernet cable but I’ll hook that up in a moment. I do actually have a ratchet screwdriver indoors, but I completely forgot it so I’m just using a normal screwdriver… doesn’t take much longer. Okay. So this cable actually runs all the way to the back of the garage to a power… to an Annke 4k camera. So I’m just going to run that in the conduit a little bit, and then I’ll pop it back out just here, and put that into the actual Power over Ethernet adapter. It’s not really how you’re meant to do it, but whatever.

Okay. That’s not the neatest of jobs but yeah, there we are. That’ll do. So I’ll keep a lot of the slack in the actual trunking itself and I’ll just pop out this at the very end. I need to make sure I get the in and the out correct so that’s the out. Okay. I can’t actually see it because it’s too dark in here. Data in, power out. Yeah, I chose correctly. Okay. So the last thing to do is just obviously get the data into it. That’s quite easy. This Ethernet cable should just about be long enough. 

Right. In fact, yeah. I’ll go through the trunking here. I’ll make it look neater. I’m one of those people I have always said 80% is good enough but actually I’m trying to raise my standard slightly. If I’ve got trunking here and I’ve already got holes there and there I may as well actually use them. So let’s have a look. I think it’s worth tidying all this up first. At least then I know the last thing I need to do is just get the grounding wall detached and then everything’s grounded. But at least now everything else is actually sorted. 

My garage setup without the ground wire protecting the Ethernet
My garage setup without the ground wire protecting the Ethernet

Just get rid of that. Let’s run that there. Okay. Let’s move my phone cause that’s going to crash onto the floor. I’ve already broken one case this month – literally in the garage it broke. Okay. So that there, come on. There, just popping into this far one here and let me do the flashing light test. Doesn’t work because I haven’t plugged in the network switch. Go me. Uh, let me actually plug in the network switch before I put the conduit back on. Alright. 

For now I’ll use that. Okay. So we have power. Let’s have a look and yeah we have flashing LEDs. You can’t really see them but they are there. That’s one thing I don’t like as much about TP-Link network switches is the actual LEDs are a lot smaller, they’re harder to see. At least with Netgear ones they’re a lot bigger. This is just a cheaper TP-Link one but there we are. 

So in theory now my Power over Ethernet camera should work fine. Let’s have a look. So we’ve got this… is coming in to our garage from outside, ultimately from the house as you’ve seen. We then got a short cable coming into the Eero. From there we’ve got another cable coming out into the network switch and from there we’ve then got a single Ethernet cable to Power over Ethernet adapter that then runs up there to the camera. So that’s good. So that works well, should work, apart from the fact that none of it’s grounded, but I can at least now put this trunking back on if I can do it neatly. 

Right. Let’s do that. Oh ladders, my old foe. I’m doing this well aren’t I – I just dropped the conduit as well. Okay. So let’s just put that there. Brilliant. Right. So it’s not the neatest…

Let’s just have a close-up look at that, but it’s not the neatest, but it’s better than nothing. So I’m just going to take my camera off the tripod a sec. There we go. Okay, so essentially now we’ve got an internet cable and a fiber cable coming into the garage. The other one at the moment I’ve just left loose outside because I don’t need it. I’ve then got this conduit that comes up and this is now the one from the outside. This is then the un-earthed Ubiquiti surge protector. Of course you then got an Ethernet cable going in to my Eero Pro router which, as you can see, is working okay. From there you’ve got the cable up to the TP-Link network switch and another cable up to the TP-Link Power over Ethernet, and then from there you got another cable that just goes all the way up there along around my garage and ultimately you can see at the back there going into my Power over Ethernet camera – hello! – which hopefully works fine. 

My 4K PoE Annke camera in my garage
My 4K PoE Annke camera in my garage

Hitting Big Copper Rod With Small Hammer

So yeah, now we can just get on with grounding this. So I’ve done a lot of DIY over the years. I’ve replaced kitchens, I’ve built walls, um, but one of the things I’ve never actually done is hit a grounding rod into the ground. I’m assuming, though, you just get a hammer and you just hammer it. One of the things I’ll try and do is avoid doing it too close to the fences, just because there’s going to be concrete under the ground which I can feel there, you know, to actually support the fence. Equally there’s a tarmac driveway on the other side of this. So, you know, you’re going to have some concrete somewhere. So what I’ll probably do is maybe come to around there. That looks like a good spot doesn’t it? I’ll come to around there and just see what happens, really. 

Do I go with a metal or a rubber mallet? I’m going to go with a metal one just cause this is metal. It’s good logic. Nah. So immediately I’m feeling something hard there which is not ideal. Okay.

Hitting the grounding rod into the ground
Hitting the grounding rod into the ground

Installing A Grounding Rod: Attempt 2

Attempt 2: try again… starting. Struggle! Need to work out more. Okay. So we got around 36 cm or 14 freedom units to go. Let’s see if it’s actually moving. This isn’t any better.

Oh there’s movement: that’s gone down 2 cm. Uh, I’ll keep trying for a bit, but worst case I’ll probably cut the end off just because I don’t need it in, you know, 4 foot completely for this particular project. I’m going to hit it down as much as I can.

The final height of my grounding rod in the ground
The final height of my grounding rod in the ground

Angle Grinder And Sparks Time

So we’re not going down anymore so I think I’m just going to cut the end off – if I’m able to, I’ll get an angle grinder and just give it a shot. It’s quite a big chunk of copper so I don’t actually know if I can cut it off. I’ll give it a shot. Let’s see what happens.

Angle grinder making lots of sparks
Angle grinder making lots of sparks

[Lots of sparks from cutting] Okay. So nothing caught on fire. Yeah nothing caught on fire. Okay. So at the moment that’s, you know, just a sharp and slightly warm stump on the ground which isn’t exactly ideal but, you know, I’ll cover that all up with gravel in time and make sure it’s protected. I’ll probably cover it over with a protective covering. But the next step is effectively going to be hooking up the ground wire. 

Connecting The Ground Wire To The Grounding Clamp

So since I was offline one of the things I’ve done was just run the actual ground cable you can see here. Ground wire. I was a bit concerned I didn’t actually have enough so I just ran it into the house and also another cable off into the garage. Luckily I did just about have enough but with only around a meter to spare. So the next thing to do is to actually attach the two ground wires to the grounding rod. 

Okay. So this is my grounding rod at the moment. It’s a bit rough around the edges. So to be honest what I’m doing is just keeping the cap on it. That’s probably, you know, well that’s going to be a temporary measure. You can actually get grounding rod access wells as well. So when I actually finish this and landscape this area what I’ll probably do is get a proper access well around this to protect this, you make sure someone doesn’t fall on it and get hurt. But for now I’ll just probably clamp this up and just keep the lid on it for now and maybe even chuck a bucket over it. It’s a low tech solution but it works. 

Okay. So in terms of actually connecting this up, different people do different things. Some people trim back loads of the insulation and then they wrap it all around the cable and the clamp. I’m just going to make sure I make contact – a reasonable amount of contact – but to be honest it’s not something I’ve ever done before so let’s just see how it goes really. 

Me explaining the next steps for clamping onto the grounding rod
Me explaining the next steps for clamping onto the grounding rod

Finishing Off The Ground Wire Connections

So first thing I’m going to do, cut the insulation off the cable. It’s quite a thick gauge cable but the insulation should come off fairly easily. Hey, we have lift off. Okay. So that should hopefully be enough there. I’ll twist as much as I can just that’ll help to make better contact than having loads of frayed cables. So I’m just twisting there as much as I can, as you can see there. I’ll do the same with this one. Job done. 

Okay. So again we’ll twist it as much as we can. I should point out that pliers would have been a better job than my mouth but my… I lost my pliers recently. I kind of need to buy new ones, but for now a mix of just using there and my teeth seems to work well enough! Okay. It’s got our two ends. As I said, the length doesn’t matter too much. I mean some people literally just strip a tiny bit off and just make contact. The main thing is making contact with the rod there. We are, might go on… no. The hell? Ah god!

Okay. So one of the bolts has fallen off, but yeah hitting it with this does seem to help a bit. It’s a very scientific approach. Right. Just tighten up these a little bit. Just, it’s not going to fall off all the time. Right. Okay. We have lift off. Okay. So next thing is I’m just going to make contact with this. So I’m going to get the wire in as much as I can. Just going to feed that through. Let me bring in a second. I’m going to bring the camera a little bit closer. 

Right. Let me just get that up there. Let me bring the camera a bit closer as well. So basically the main thing is just getting contact with this grounding rod, of which by threading it through here and then tightening the bolts that should be getting the relevant contact. I’ll probably twist around a bit more then but, you know, you don’t overly need to do that, as long as you’ve got contact and that’s why I stripped off a decent amount of the cable just to sort maximize contact really. 

Okay. Just thread that through as well. Let’s wrap it around a bit as well. Okay. As I say I mean there’s no, you know, I am making good content there. There’s not much more I can do and obviously even with a cap on it or whatever, you know, there’s still decent contact there. Great. Okay. So do that. Hold it tight. Okay. So one of those cables is tight but not the other one. Oh no, they’re both quite tight. That’s quite good. So even though that looks like it’s moving there’s actually not much movement inside. So I’m just going to move a little bit more but effectively I should be as close to done as I can be. 

Connecting the grounding wires to the clamp
Connecting the grounding wires to the clamp

Right. Almost done. So the last thing I’m going to do is just wrap some of this cable a little bit more. Just use up some of my slack. You know I don’t really need to be doing that but I think by using up a bit of the slack is just going to keep it in place even more. Not the actual contact with the cable itself. Okay. So that’s a fairly tight bond. I can’t easily move that cable. Okay. So that’s now bonded as much as I can and as I said it’s not the safest. So for now what I’m going to do is just cap it over and leave it a bit like that but right now at least these cables are bonded.

The final grounding rod setup
The final grounding rod setup

The next thing to do is go in the garage and go in the living room and attach it there as well. Then it’s all nice and safe. So now the things are grounded out in the garden, the next thing to do is actually connect up the Ubiquiti Ethernet surge protectors.

Grounding The Ubiquiti Surge Protector In Lounge

So I’ve got my ground wire running in. As I mentioned before at the moment I’m just running it through the weather seal in the door. Same with this flat Ethernet cable. This is a temporary measure. At some point I’ll actually, you know, drill through the wall but for now, or maybe through here – just the edge – but for now I’m just going to leave it like that. 

Okay. So in terms of connecting this up, let me bring that up a bit. So, so by default all the Ubiquiti give you is a screw and a serrated washer and basically the idea of that is if you had some grounded metal pole, you would just hook in to the wall. You screw into the wall with the screw they provide, but that’s not what we want. You know, in this case I’m actually trying to connect a ground wire and Ubiquiti make clear on the instructions, which aren’t included in the box by the way, but on the website they make clear in the instructions that you don’t get any bolt or washer.

The Ubiquiti surge protector in my living room
The Ubiquiti surge protector in my living room

Using A Bolt And Nut For Best Ground Contact

So I had to go out and buy these but obviously it’s one of those things where instead of spending 2 pounds on a bolt and a washer pack of like eight, I end up buying a pack of 100 for like £10 but whatever. So these are M5 bolt and nuts, and basically I’ll be putting that in the back there, the nut, and then screwing in there. But firstly I need to actually, oh no. Have I left my crimping tool out in the fu [edit sound]. The moment I said crimping I realized that I didn’t have my crimping tool with me, which is annoying. So I checked in my garage, didn’t find it, went upstairs, didn’t find it, checked downstairs, didn’t find it, checked to my garage again and it was the first place I looked, which is annoying. Anyway, so yeah effectively I’ve got my nut, bolt and serrated washer. I’ve got my grounding wire from outside – or drain cable as Ubiquiti calls it – and the next thing you need is a crimp set. 

Me holding a box of cable clamps
Me holding a box of cable clamps

I mean you could potentially just, you could potentially just try and get contact with this. So that when you bite down on this it, it connects here. You could try and do that, but usually it’s better to crimp. You usually end up with a better quality of finish, and a more stable sort of bond. So I got one of these. So the main thing you do is you’ve got to cut the wire off, put it in there and then crimp it. So let’s cut the end off this. There we are, nice and easy. Okay, you put that in there, and in the actual crimping tool itself you’ve just got a little bit of metal, and you’re just going to squish that down as much as you can. So I’m going to have the wires sticking out a little bit there and then in the bottom here you can see insulation crimping and it explains which setting you want to use. Effectively I just want to squish things as much as I can. So let’s do it there, let’s do it there if I can. So I’m pushing as much as I can. 

Important to know, you know, don’t put it in the wire cutting mode because obviously you might damage the crimping… the crimp or the wires now. So that needs a bit more: there’s a bit of movement there. So I’m just going to push that in a little bit more. Let’s have a look. Yes, that’s better. So now I’m not really getting any movement. I’m tugging on that and it’s not coming out. So effectively I’ve cut the end off there and I’ve put this crimp connector onto there which now means I can just connect it to my Ubiquiti Ethernet surge protector. I’ll bring the camera a little bit closer for that. Let’s try and do that. Let’s try and go there and then bring it down a bit. Yeah. So let’s do this then. 

The final crimped ground wire next to the surge protector
The final crimped ground wire next to the surge protector

Okay. So I’m going to start with the washer, according to the instructions. That goes through there. So I’m going to start doing that first. Let’s just get that through there. Okay there we are. So we put it through there. So yeah we’ve got our crimp on and it shouldn’t hopefully now pull out. We’ve got a good amount of contact obviously, you know, once they tighten all this we should have a good amount of contact with everything. So the next thing to do is just put the bolt in there, put the nut rather, put the nut in there as you can see on the back there. 

I’ll hold that in place a second. I’m just going to come along here. I’ll put this under I think there. Okay. Let’s get that there… and the nut falls out! Let’s put the nut back. So I’m holding that in place now, the crimp. I’m just going to tighten and that’s really all there is to it apart from the fact that obviously if it’s too loose that’s not a good thing. So I’ll tighten as much as I can. I love ratchet screwdrivers, they’re so good! Right, okay that’s now, that’s not quite tight. Tighten a bit more. Okay, I don’t think I can do any more. 

Okay. So there we have it. So that now is a crimped wire, it’s not coming out luckily anymore. So you’ve got your nut, the serrated washer that’s then making contact with the crimp which ultimately is, is connected the ground wire to this Ubiquiti surge protector and then in the back I’ve just got that, the nut I bought or the bolt I bought, sorry, is a little bit too long. If you were wall mounting, you know, that wouldn’t be ideal. So I probably need to just, if I do wall mount this in the future over there somewhere then what I probably need to do is just buy a slightly shorter bolt. But for now it’s fine because I’m just leaving this loose. 

Okay. So that’s good contact. So yeah, you know, you can see there’s good contact there. The last thing to do is just put the cover back now because this cable is so thick I’ve actually gone for a slightly thicker gauge than they said; it doesn’t fit through that particular bit. So what I’m going to do is just move the wire over to the other bit, decent out bit, make sure it’s all in and then slide on. That’s it. That is now my… that now means my outdoor Ethernet setup is surge protected, which is awesome! 

Finished Ubiquiti surge protector with ground wire connected
Finished Ubiquiti surge protector with ground wire connected

Final Thoughts

There you have it. Everything is now grounded and surge protected: in theory. The reason I say “in theory”, is I haven’t obviously tested any of this. I’m not an electrical engineer and I’m not going to go out and get ground resistance testers to test the Ohms or the resistance or however you pronounce it. I’m not going to do any of that. For now I’m just taking the pragmatic approach. I know that I needed to run the grounding rod into the ground, which I’ve done. I’ve got two good connections. You know, as you’ve seen in there I’ve tightened everything. The cables aren’t coming off. I can see the connection between the actual ground wires and the grounding rod with the clamp. I’ve then connected those in the garage and the living room into the Ubiquiti Ethernet surge protectors and the contact is good there as well, which is brilliant. 

So I think I’m happy enough with that for now, especially since the UK is a fairly mild climate, it’s not like we have massive thunderstorms that regularly knock out all of our equipment. What I should say is, you know, the actual grounding rod I’ve gone for is 5/8 of an inch and I’ve got it into the ground around 3 and a half foot. For me that seems pretty good. I don’t really want to go overkill with this – but I know, you know, for a full-on electrical installation, for a house, you are going to need, you know, potentially a thicker grounding rod, but certainly you need to go deeper into the ground but I think for my purposes of just trying to add a little bit of extra protection to my Ethernet setup I think it’s okay. 

Should You Ground Ethernet On Both Ends?

Before wrapping up I wanted to cover one quick question that some people have and I had as well which is: should you ground your Ethernet at both ends? In other words, should you just have, should I just have used the Ubiquiti search protector in the living room and not in the garage or, or vice versa? And certainly if you Google this question sometimes you see big electrical engineers who specialize in, in running, you know, copper Ethernet cabling and they sort of say “no you should only ground on one end, otherwise you’ll have a ground resistance loop and things will explode and you’ll all die”. 

They don’t actually say the last bit but they say things like that and that concerned me at first but then you look at Ubiquiti’s some of the install instructions for their power over Ethernet cameras, and what they actually say is you should use their surge protector devices on both ends of the run:

Screenshot from Ubiquitis install instructions showing that you can protect both sides of an Ethernet run
Screenshot from Ubiquitis install instructions showing that you can protect both sides of an Ethernet run

And I think what this all comes down to is if you’re a professional and you’re installing, you know, internet cabling in a cabinet somewhere in a street, and then you running that into somebody’s house, you’re not going to need to ground inside the house as well. As long as the actual cabinet and all the connections in there are grounded that is sufficient for that sort of industrial application – or sort of residential in this case – but that’s sufficient. 

Outdoor BT internet cabinets
Outdoor BT internet cabinets

But for my purposes I’m running an Ethernet cable from my living room through my backyard in a shallow trench into my garage. In that case that’s something I need to sort of ground on both ends ideally. But one of the things you should ideally do is make sure that you use the same grounding source, because you could still have something like a ground loop or or issues with grounding resistance if one is grounded more than the other. 

I don’t fully understand that, you know, the specifics, the science of that but basically that’s why I had the one grounding rod, not two, and I just run a long bit of earth wire or ground wire from the grounding rod all the way through my backyard, into my living room – so that I could have the one point for actually grounding. And I think that’s better anyway because, you know, my house’s electrics are grounded anyway. The builders, you know, who built the house would have made sure of that and that’s all been tested and signed off but I’m happy then to have a separate grounding rod just from my Ethernet, you know, setup.

So just one grounding rod, and connected to that from two places – and that seems good to me. So in short, yes, if you’re doing what I’m doing (which is just running an Ethernet cable through your backyard) you should use a surge protector for your Ethernet on both ends. Obviously if you’re some professional doing some, you know, big installation in the street for a cabinet or something – well you’re probably not going to be watching this video for tips – but if you are then you should probably only ground the cabinet. 

You wouldn’t actually want to go into every person’s home and start installing search protectors inside people’s homes as well. That would then be overkill.

Wrapping Up

Me wrapping up the YouTube video by asking people to like the video
Me wrapping up the YouTube video by asking people to like the video

And I hope you enjoyed this video, and I hope you found it useful. I’m pretty happy now to have surge protected my network. If you found this video useful, please click the thumbs up button – which will tell YouTube it was a good video, and more people should see it. Please also consider subscribing to my channel, and clicking the bell icon – which will notify you when I release a new video. Thank you!

cropped A picture of me Tristan
About Tristan Perry

Tristan has been interested in computer hardware and software since he was 10 years old. He has built loads of computers over the years, along with installing, modifying and writing software (he's a backend software developer 'by trade').

Tristan also has an academic background in technology (in Math and Computer Science), so he enjoys drilling into the deeper aspects of technology.

Tristan is also an avid PC gamer, with FFX and Rocket League being his favorite games.

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