Cable Colors

William Herrin herrin-nanog at
Tue Jun 17 01:26:14 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 6:32 PM, JoeSox <joesox at> wrote:
> I was just wondering if anyone knows of a website with recommended
> colors for cables for a new datacenter?
> I have written some things down but I don't want to get stuck saying
> 'darn, I wish I would have bought this color for this type, now I am
> stuck'.
> What standard color to use if voice and data on same interface etc. Thanks.


Some tricks I've picked up for colorizing patch cables... Your mileage may vary.

For any given cable you can control three different colors:

1. The color of the cable.
2. The color of the strain-relief boot.
3. The color of the electrical tape you wrap around the cable at each
end (the same at both ends) as a quick visual ID of which endpoints
are the same cable.

Also, *IF* your switching matrix is straightforward, consider getting
48-port 1U "virtual chassis" switches instead of a big switch. Then
interleave those switches with the 48-port patch panels on the rack
and use 1' cables from the switch to the panel. It makes it oh-so-easy
to trace which cable goes where and which cables are the exceptions
(hint: exceptions are the only cables longer than 1'!) You get bonus
points for not having to touch the cables while tracing (since that's
how you knock loose other cables while hunting for the current

I've never had much luck attaching labels to cables. Even when the
labels stay on they're impossible to quickly tell apart.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at bill at
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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