Ethernet Cables and What Their Colors Mean

When you begin your journey to purchase Ethernet cables, we are here to help you make the best color choice. Whether upgrading an existing network or starting from scratch we can help take the mystery out of color-coding your project no matter how big or how small.

It doesn’t matter what color Ethernet cable you choose for your installation; they all work the same but installers mainly use certain colors for organization and cable management.

Common Ethernet cable colors

Since there is no direct industry standard for Ethernet cable colors, the ANSI/TIA/EIA-606-B is a voluntary standard showing the importance of labeling and coloring. That being said, there are a few consistencies within the industry worth mentioning here.

The most common colors used are gray, blue, yellow, orange and white.

Gray Ethernet cables  are considered “standard” and are often found in residential and commercial networks.

Blue Ethernet cables are commonly used to connect a terminal server to a LAN network. A terminal server provides the ability to connect multiple systems to a LAN network without the need for a modem or other network interface.

Yellow Ethernet cables are generally used for what is called “power over Ethernet” (POE). This means that your cable can supply both electrical power and data in one connection.

Green Ethernet cables are commonly used to classify a crossover connection, which connects different computers and/or devices directly together. 

Outdoor Ethernet cables are usually Black and made using outdoor graded black PVC that resists wind, moisture and sunlight.

It's important to note: 

  • The color-coding system will be used differently for different businesses.
  • There’s nothing at all different about the cables performance other than the color used on the outer sleeve.
  • Ethernet cable color should not be confused with the internal wires RJ45 color coding. The outside colors are more generic, and can be used for cable management.

Here is an example color guide used by some businesses:

Ethernet Cable ColorPurpose

Blue Ethernet CableNetwork Connectivity

Yellow Ethernet cablePower over Ethernet (POE) devices - Wired Security Cameras
White Ethernet Cablealso Wired Security Cameras

Gray Ethernet CableInterconnects/Jumpers

Black Ethernet CableEquipment/Workstation

Red Ethernet CablePhones/Emergency Systems

Orange Ethernet Cablefor analog non-Ethernet connections

Green Ethernet Cablecrossover Ethernet connections

Organize with various Colors

Organizing your Ethernet cables by color can help your network infrastructure by making it more efficient. When businesses are wired for Ethernet, they sometimes assign specific meanings to cable colors for the benefit of their IT person doing the wiring and those who may need to troubleshoot problems in the future.

 If you have certain areas of your business marked with different cable colors and there is a issue in one of those areas, it will be easier to diagnose the problem. Setting up a well organized color-coded Ethernet cable system at the start will save you headaches in the long run.

For example: If your business uses red-colored Ethernet cables for its security system, and a problem arises, the IT person will know exactly what cables to check to resolve the issue. 
In conclusion, when considering Ethernet cable, keep in mind the purpose of the cable and plan accordingly. Well thought out plans make well functioning systems.