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network cable color coding – why should I care ?

when you are crimping a typical network cable , there are two types of  wiring methods you can follow . The straight through and cross over . If you are connecting two dissimilar devices together , you are using the straight through cable and if you are connecting two similar  devices you are using a cross over cable .  But why should I care about those stupid color codes mentioned on the networking textbooks ? like white-orange , orange , white blue -blue …and so so on !! , why is it so ,   do the signals are aware about the color of  the plastic which envelop the conductors ?


Let us look in to the matter from a layman’s and technologist perspective ,


first of all from a layman’s view point , It does not hurt to implement a common standard for network color coding so that if everyone of us follows  the same pattern when crimping a network cable , we do not have to waste our time to figure out what will be the pattern of  conductors  on the other end of the cable when we have to re-crimp an RJ-45 jack as part of a troubleshooting procedure   .

This is the standard color pattern  used by professionals  for straight through cabling and it is called   568 B standard for CAT-5 cabling



What normally confuses a professional is the swapping of colors on 3,4 ,5 ,6 conductors . In the old times of 10 MBps networks , people did not cared much about the cabling patterns like 568B  and they cared only about the pairs of wires coming closer . But  when our networks moved to 100 and then 1000 Mbps , we become aware that this conductor layout does not work with the new standards and we will get low speeds and performance if we do not follow the 568 B standards in which the pair positions are swapped .

This has more to do with reducing the electro -magnetic inductance and cross talk associated with the wires which carry the electro- magnetic waves ,

For those who wish to dive deep in to the physics behind it , please download this article  which will discuss all the dirty details about why the color coding is important for ensuring maximum performance




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