I noticed a thread Network cable color conventions? that talked about what types of colors to use for cabling in server rooms and closets. I thought that if there was a general consensus as to the best set of functional cabling groups (i.e. see list below), then I could figure out the colors myself.

Even though I'm in a company of <15 employees, I would like to plan for the future as if it was a <=50 employee company. I'm focusing on one enclosed rack in the primary server room.

There's about 9 main colors to assign so I'm trying to keep it 9 or less.

I was wondering if you guys/gals could please help recommend some functional groups.

Here's a springboard for feedback:

  1. Crossover cables
  2. IP telephones
  3. IP cameras
  4. cross-connecting switches/servers/routers
  5. workstations or end-clients
  6. links to external closets
  7. Wireless Access Points
  8. Direct connection between patch panel ports

When I finally get around to deciding on my own personal cabling standard, my guiding principle is going to be that the progression from warmer colors to colder colors will equate to how much grief you'll cause me if you unplug one of my cables.

  • When I first read that I thought it was sounding a bit silly but on thinking about it a bit more I reckon it makes at least as much sense as any other scheme and more than some. +1 – John Gardeniers Jun 10 '11 at 23:01

My $.02 worth. For some period of time during the Internet boom I was part of a group that traveled all over North America installing a variety of equipment, in a variety of locations. I have been in what are today's peering-points, CO's, CATV head-ends, CLEC's, etc. I have even installed equipment on rigs in the GOM.

If you have got to the point that you have a lot of cabling(i.e. >100 cables) invest in a P-Touch that will take cable labels. At a minimum each cable should have a unique ID, (same ID both ends).

In some of the "peering-points" I got to see many peoples work, some of it quite colorful but messy. Nothing beats documentation.

We were in a CO in a suburb of Washington, DC doing a replacement of an old (20 years) piece of equipment. When we arrived the supervisor handed us a packet of information that told us where every cable went.


The closer your cables are together, the more dense the spagetti, the more reason to have color coding.

Your list is pretty good, but I would probably have a separate colour coding scheme for server cabs. We operate a virtual cluster iSCSI SAN in a rack, which produces a lot of pasta:

  1. (orange) Management LAN (RDP and server management cards) x 20

  2. (grey) iSCSI path failover1 x 6

  3. (blue) iSCSI path failover2 x 6

  4. (blue with black stripe) Virtual network LAN (DMZ) x 6

  5. (blue with grey stripe) Virtual network LAN (non DMZ) x 6

  6. (orange with yellow stripe) cluster heartbeat x 3

  7. (orange with black stipe) VM transport x 3

    Anyway you mention that this is for an enclosed rack too, so really it depends on the complexity that you have to manage. For example, in your situation, if the cables are going to different locations in the building, then the bundles you have will be more clearly defined, so you could just use colour coded velcro cable ties to seperate the bundles, while keeping your cables black.


Very rare to see that level of detail/organization/commitment. The organization is definitely more efficient when everyone is on the same page and absolutely sticks to it, but any deviations (supplier access, mistakes, etc.) can setup the environment for possibly painful incorrect assumptions.

One fairly consistent practice is to have crossover cables setup with different coloring between the cable sheath versus the RJ-45 clip protector jacket. The arrangement makes spotting/identification very simple. Some crossover cables are manufactured that way right out of the gate.


Our take, it's based on Things That Damage Each Other:

  • Ethernet
  • Important ethernet: heartbeats, clusters, (copper) backbone, CEO gear(!)
  • Digital telephony
  • Analog telephony
  • KVM
  • 'Other' (serial, audio, ..)

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