DataCenter color-coding cabling schema

Aaron C. de Bruyn aaron at
Mon Mar 21 19:44:41 UTC 2016

That's a good reason to use it.  Who would cut it?  ;)


On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 8:53 AM, STARNES, CURTIS <
Curtis.Starnes at> wrote:

> Just to throw it out there but I always try not to use RED cable.
> Normally, RED wire in any building is dedicated as FIRE system cabling.
> Curtis Starnes
> Senior Network Administrator
> Granbury ISD
> 600 W. Bridge St. Ste. 40
> Granbury, Texas  76048
> (817) 408-4104
> (817) 408-4126 Fax
> curtis.starnes at
> OPEN RECORDS NOTICE: This email and responses may be subject to Texas Open
> Records laws and may be disclosed to the public upon request.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: NANOG [mailto:nanog-bounces at] On Behalf Of Owen DeLong
> Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2016 7:10 PM
> To: Yardiel Fuentes <yardiel at>
> Cc: nanog at
> Subject: Re: DataCenter color-coding cabling schema
> I don’t know of any universal standards, but I’ve used the following in
> several installatins I was responsible for to good avail:
> Twisted Pair:
> RED:    Untrusted Network (Internet or possibly DMZ)
> YELLOW: Optional for DMZ networks though I preferred to avoid documented
> in [1] below
> BLUE:   Trusted Network (back-end, internal, etc.)
> GREEN:  RS-232 straight-thru
> PURPLE: RS-232 X-Over (effectively Null Modem) 12345678 <-> 87654321 pin
> map.
> ORANGE: Ethernet X-Over (Best avoided documented in [2] below)
> GREY:   Special purpose cabling not in one of the above categories
> Fiber:
> Orange — Multimode Fiber
> Yellow — Singlemode Fiber
> The absolute most useful thing you can do if you can impose the discipline
> to update the cable map rigorously and/or allocate manpower for periodic
> audits is to apply a unique serial number to each cable. I preferred to
> document not only the cable ID, but also the length. For the installations
> where I have worked, 5 digits was sufficient unique ID, so I used formats
> like IIIII-L[.L] where IIIII was a unique ID and L.L was the length of the
> cable in feet. (e.g. 00123-6.5 is cable number 123 which is 6.5 feet in
> length).
> The labels are (ideally) the self-laminating wrap-around types. I prefer
> the Brady labeling system which will automatically print 2-4 (depending on
> font size) instances of the label text on the self-laminating label such
> that it can be read from virtually any side of the cable without requiring
> you to rotate the label into view in most cases.
> The Brady labeling system is a bit overpriced compared to the Brother
> P-Touch, but the expanded capabilities and the quality of the label
> adhesives and such is, IMHO, sufficiently superior to justify the cost.
> Whatever you do, please do not use Flag labels on cables… I HATE THEM.
> They are a constant source of entanglement and snags. They often get
> knocked off as a result or mangled beyond recognition, rendering them
> useless.
> Similarly, I’ve found that circuit-ID and end-point labels on cables are
> often ill-maintained, so if you do use them, please make sure you remove
> them when the cable is moved/removed.
> The length is very useful because it gives you a radius within which the
> other end of the cable must be located and you can usually expect it to be
> reasonably close to the outer edge of that radius.
> More than a few times I’ve prevented a serious outage by giving the port
> number to the remote hands guy and then insisting that he read me the cable
> ID. “No, try the other port FE-0/2/4… You’re off by one. It’s
> above/left/right/below you.”
> [1] I prefer to avoid Yellow cables because some people have trouble
> understanding that Yellow Fiber and Yellow UTP might have different
> meanings. I also feel that the distinction between UNTRUSTED and DMZ
> networks is usually not all that important in most cabling situations. YMMV.
> [2] In this era of Auto-MDI/MDI-X ports and the like, it’s very rare to
> encounter a situation that truly requires a crossover cable with no viable
> alternative. If such is needed, I prefer to document it on the cable tags
> rather than using a special color code. Again, you have the risk of people
> not understanding that orange Fiber might not mean what Orange copper
> means. YMMV
> Yes, I know you can now get virtually any type of fiber in virtually any
> color, but the simple fact of the matter remains that when you send skippy
> out to buy emergency jumpers or such, you’re most likely going to either
> get orange multimode or yellow singlemode and that’s just the way it is.
> Owen
> > On Mar 12, 2016, at 11:11 , Yardiel Fuentes <yardiel at> wrote:
> >
> > Hello Nanog-ers,
> >
> > 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? If so,
> > Could you share  any ttype of color-coding schema you are aware of ?….
> > Yes, this is actually considering paying for customized color-coded
> > cabling in a Data Center...
> >
> > Mr. Google did not really provide me with relevant answers on the
> > above… beyond the typical (Orange is for MMF, yellow for SMF, etc)…
> >
> > Any reasons for or against it welcome too...
> >
> > --
> > Yardiel Fuentes

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