Network Cable colors CAT5 & CAT6

Posted on 2006-03-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Can anyone tell me what the different color of the CAT5 & CAT6 means

Is there specific standard for using the different colors. ie Cables come in different colors like Blue, Red, Yellow, green, etc... what should you use every color for Is there standrs for that.

What is the different between CAT5 & CAT6


Question by:mtzsw
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    network cables come in lots of pretty colours, the colours dont mean a thing.

    The general difference between category 5e and category 6 is in the transmission performance, and extension of the available bandwidth from 100 MHz for category 5e to 200 MHz for category 6. This includes better insertion loss, near end crosstalk (NEXT), return loss, and equal level far end crosstalk (ELFEXT).

    These improvements provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio, allowing higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications.

    Because of its improved transmission performance and superior immunity from external noise, systems operating over category 6 cabling will have fewer errors vs. category 5e for current applications.

    less errors mean faster networks

    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    The colors are merely colors.  There's no rule or much of a guideline as to what colors should be used and they do NOT indicate category of cable.  

    I have heard most people reserve Red for a fire alarm systems and security systems, but other than that, nothing important about the colors.

    You're forgetting Cat5e - which is enhanced Category 5.  Cat5 is rated at 100 MHz, if, I'm not mistaken.  Cat5e is 350 MHz, and Cat6 is 500 MHz.  The ratings will affect the maximum speeds that the cables can transmit data at.  IF you only have a 100Mbit network (cards and switches) then it doesn't matter what cable you use, from the category standpoint.  If you have a gigabit network, you want 5e or 6 preferrably.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    I was mistaken about the MHz ratings... have a look over this:
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    whilst it is true the better cables transmit faster, it is because of less errors, so even 100mb networks wil run faster on Cat 6 cables.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    Standard is simply this -- follow it exactly on both ends of ethernet, you never go wrong.
    1.  ahve the gold pins looking up at you on the connector before you crimp.
    2.  leftmost to right most colors are as follows --

    orange/white -- orange -- green/white -- blue -- blue/white -- green -- brown/white -- brown.

    It is as simple as that.  Make both ends of connectors identical for normal ethernet.  If you need cross over cable, you just invert postion of blue vs. blue/white and green vs. green/white on ONE end of the connector only.

    Remember to use 100 base ends today.  These are engineered to a little better specs than 10 base connectors.

    Have fun and buy a good crimper for 8 conductor, only cost you $19.99 last a long time, it is worth it!

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