DataCenter color-coding cabling schema

Owen DeLong owen at
Mon Mar 14 18:19:44 UTC 2016

> On Mar 14, 2016, at 03:15 , Aled Morris <aledm at> wrote:
> On 14 March 2016 at 00:23, William Herrin <bill at> wrote:
>> On Sat, Mar 12, 2016 at 2:11 PM, Yardiel Fuentes <yardiel at>
>> wrote:
>>> Have any of you had the option or; conversely, do you know of “best
>>> practices" or “common standards”,  to color code physical cabling for
>> your
>>> connections in DataCenters for Base-T and FX connections?
>> For patch cables, it's common to pick a color for each type of
>> physical signaling
> I used to support this view too, but over the last few years, as everything
> has (basically) become Ethernet, I've taken to a different scheme.
> For copper patching, I now recommend my clients simply invest in a range of
> colored patch cables and use them randomly.
> The length of the patch cable is much more important than the color (too
> little length will make it difficult to re-route cables if you need to
> remove cards etc. and too long will mean tangles and space taken up with
> loops of excess cable.)
> The benefits of my "rainbow" scheme are:
> 1. easier to identify both ends of a cable, reducing disconnect errors.
> When tracing a cable in a bundle or on a patch bay, it's easy when they're
> different colors.

But if you serialize them and have the company you order the cables from
do the labeling (I’ve had this done, it’s not difficult and doesn’t add
significantly to the cost of the cables), then that’s even more useful
for that purpose than your “rainbow” scheme.

> 2. no need to police the cable scheme - if you have a strict color regime,
> what do you do when someone uses the wrong color?  especially if a
> disconnect would be service affecting.  It's really hard to justify
> "maintenance downtime" to an account manager on the basis of you not liking
> the color of a patch cable.


1.	You have someone whose responsibility it is to keep appropriate
	sized cables of various colors in stock so that there’s no incentive
	to do so.

2.	You don’t let untrained monkeys play in your cage.

3.	You hand the 1d10t that did it a roll of appropriately colored electrical
	tape and provide instructions on how to spiral-wrap. He gets to change the
	color of the cable. (This will make a repeat offense relatively unlikely
	as it’s a huge PITA).


More information about the NANOG mailing list