Twisted Pair Cable Color Code

Color Code for Twisted Pair Cables

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Color Code for Telephone and LAN Cables

Telephone and data twisted pair cables are terminated using an industry standard color code in North America. This color code may also be in use in other regions of the world. At one time, Japan used (and may still use) a different code consisting of blue and pink wires with pink and blue dots.

For cables that consist of more than 25 pairs, the color code repeats itself. Each group of 25 pairs (called a binder group) is identified with some other means such as a plastic ribbon which also follows the same color code.  For example when using 100 pair cable, the 25 pair color code is repeated 4 times, i.e., there are 4 wires that are white/blue, 4 blue/white, 4 white/orange, etc. Each 25 pair binder group is wrapped with a different color ribbon. The first with blue or white/blue, the second with orange or white/orange, the third with green or white/green, the forth with brown or white/brown, and so on.

Remembering the color code is simply a matter of remembering the 10 color sequence as below.

First Group

  White
Red
Black
Yellow
Violet

Second Group

  Blue
Orange
Green
Brown
Slate

Therefore,
the 1st wire is white/blue (think of it as mostly white with blue marks or stripes)
the 2nd wire is blue/white (mostly blue with white marks or stripes)
the 3rd wire is white/orange (mostly white with orange marks or stripes)
the 4th wire is orange/white (mostly orange with white marks or stripes)
and so on.

Some manufacturers use a variation of this with solid colored wires. This is commonly found in outdoor burial cables.

In this case,
the 1st wire is white
the 2nd wire is blue
the 3rd wire is white
the 4th wire is orange
and so on.

As you can see, there will be 5 wires that are the same color for each of the 10 colors. The first white wire (which would otherwise be white/blue) is identified as being twisted together with a blue wire, the second white wire (the 3rd wire overall) as being twisted together with an orange wire, and so on. It is important to strip enough of the jacket off the end of the cable to maintain the twist of the conductors in order to identify each wire. This is especially true of category 3 or lesser cables since the pairs are not twisted together very much. Stripping the cables 18 inches or more makes it easier to identify which wires are twisted together. This also has the effect of making it easier to terminate the wires onto a punchdown block.
 

Pair Wire Moniker Polarity Wire Color Stripe Color
1 1 white/blue tip + white blue
1 2 blue/white ring - blue white
2 3 white/orange tip + white orange
2 4 orange/white ring - orange white
3 5 white/green tip + white green
3 6 green/white ring - green white
4 7 white/brown tip + white brown
4 8 brown/white ring - brown white
5 9 white/slate tip + white slate
5 10 slate/white ring - slate white
6 11 red/blue tip + red blue
6 12 blue/red ring - blue red
7 13 red/orange tip + red orange
7 14 orange/red ring - orange red
8 15 red/green tip + red green
8 16 green/red ring - green red
9 17 red/brown tip + red brown
9 18 brown/red ring - brown red
10 19 red/slate tip + red slate
10 20 slate/red ring - slate red
11 21 black/blue tip + black blue
11 22 blue/black ring - blue black
12 23 black/orange tip + black orange
12 24 orange/black ring - orange black
13 25 black/green tip + black green
13 26 green/black ring - green black
14 27 black/brown tip + black brown
14 28 brown/black ring - brown black
15 29 black/slate tip + black slate
15 30 slate/black ring - slate black
16 31 yellow/blue tip + yellow blue
16 32 blue/yellow ring - blue yellow
17 33 yellow/orange tip + yellow orange
17 34 orange/yellow ring - orange yellow
18 35 yellow/green tip + yellow green
18 36 green/yellow ring - green yellow
19 37 yellow/brown tip + yellow brown
19 38 brown/yellow ring - brown yellow
20 39 yellow/slate tip + yellow slate
20 40 slate/yellow ring - slate yellow
21 41 violet/blue tip + violet blue
21 42 blue/violet ring - blue violet
22 43 violet/orange tip + violet orange
22 44 orange/violet ring - orange violet
23 45 violet/green tip + violet green
23 46 green/violet ring - green violet
24 47 violet/brown tip + Violet brown
24 48 brown/violet ring - brown violet
25 49 violet/slate tip + violet slate
25 50 slate/violet ring - slate violet