Tim's Ethernet Patch Cable Color (Colour) Codes

Tim's Ethernet Patch Cable Color (Colour) Codes

Keeping data from getting crossed in a data center can be a pain. Here is how I try to keep things sane. This is the current list of colors of ethernet cables I can find or have seen:
  1. blue
  2. light blue (rare but commonly used on cisco cables)
  3. fluorescent blue (even rarer)
  4. red (many of these are cross over cables)
  5. yellow (this was a standards approved color for cross over cables)
  6. cisco cable yellow
  7. orange
  8. pink
  9. fluorescent pink
  10. green
  11. fluorescent green (never seen this buts its in catalogs)
  12. black (easy to confused with power cords)
  13. white (sort of rare)
  14. light gray
  15. dark gray (rare)
  16. silver (rare)
  17. tan/beige (common in cat 3 patch cables)
  18. purple/violet (they are different but when you order one you get the other)
  19. fluorescent violet (very rare)
Note that the fluorescent colors are very rare today but they do stand out.

One thing to consider is about 15% of all males are slightly color blind and only about 10% think they are. Many colors look the same but often times a color blind person can easily tell the difference between say tan cables and beige cables but can't tell the red from the green.

Color codes for fiber (fibre?)

Color codes for fiber jackets: Note that buildings will often have these colors: For -48 volt systems you can get:

Note that -48 Volt systems tend to be able to provide massive amounts of unfused current. These system will often have enough capacity to boil the metal in tools.

There are many ways to use these codes such as a cross connect cable going from rack 1 to rack five could be an orange cable with a brown band nearest the connect and a green band next. A cable for server 234 could have red, orange and yellow. The code is well known, had been a standard since the 1920s and is an International standard IEC 60062:2016.

Telephone cable colors could also be used but that gets very messy quickly.

Law and medical offices often use a different color code but they will have lots of stickers that make the job easier and well as signs that have things like "7=light blue".

Most of this page describes the outer jackets. Inside cables like power you can have:
Live power from selected places around the world:

The color codes for ships make much more sense and are about as uniform. For example blue is used for compressed air on US registered ships yet blue is for water on UK registered ships.

Multi color warning signal lights have the following colors from the top town:

  1. red - 630nm 255,67,0 - on solid - used as a warning
  2. orange or amber - 590nm 255,216,0 - .5 seconds on, .5 seconds off as a warning
  3. green - 525nm 55,255,0 - on except when activity. Nominally 2.9 sec on, .1 sec off. This indicates normal activity and the flash indicates it isn't stuck on. This is typical of ethernet port as well. They are green when connected and briefly drop out to show traffic.
  4. blue - 470nm 0,153,255 - only on solid.
  5. white - 498nm 255,255,255 - 4 hz equal on and off.
There are international standards for this order and due to color blindness issues, it is a workplace safety offense in many countries (UK, AU) to put them in a different order. The color codes above are 8 bit RGB codes and their nm wavelength. Note that blue is a bit above 437 to aid people with blue color blindness and the red is at 630 which is above the 564 to aid red/green color blindness. The 498nm for white is peak sensitivity of the eye's rods. The blue and white can be used to indicate and error is being corrected or a machine need service.

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