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Undoubtedly, the effectiveness of data centers depends on their uptime. A layer of better visual management can dramatically reduce the possibility of human errors. Human errors and malpractices are a no-no as these things can lead to money-wasting downtime though cables come with factory printed legends. However, these legends are tough to locate…. Let us talk about how color coding is better than other cable management technique?

Why to Consider Color Coding?

Use of color coding is quite a simple and effective management technique. Color codes provide technicians with instant knowledge about network connections – literally at first sight. Thus, color coding can be considered as very powerful. With proper color coding, you can ensure the minimization of mistakes during troubleshooting or maintenance. Color codes provide a generalized way to identify almost anything. Let us proceed with some detailed information on color coding and its use in data centers. For best results, try using color codes in following ways!

1. Classification based on Fiber Grades

For indoor environments, different color codes for different fiber grade cables are defined by the TIA. However, data center operators can use other colors also provided that the cable`s outer jacket recognizes the fiber grade. Hence there is much flexibility in TIA standards. In addition to this, exclusive agreements between the consumer and manufacturer are also needed to be considered.

Following are existing color-coding standards according to the TIA:

  • Orange for Multimode OM1
  • Orange for Multimode OM2
  • Aqua for Multimode OM3
  • Erika violet or Aqua for Multimode OM4
  • Yellow for Singlemode OS1 or OS2

As you can observe, in some cases, different fiber grade is denoted by the same colors: Yellow represents OS1 and OS2, for example. This issue can bring confusion for technicians resulting in accidental mixing of two different fiber cables. In case of OM1 and OM2 (both are represented by orange color) a potential of huge losses exits as these two cables come with different core diameters. Mismatched fiber cables may lead to mismatch-induced high bit error rates – subsequently, a degradation in the overall network performance will not be inevitable. Let us discuss another scenario where OM3 and OM4 fiber is mixed and matched. Believe us! It can be a very troublesome thing. Initially, your network performance may continue working as it is meant to work, leaving you clueless about the mistake. However, with time and with aging active components, bit error rates start rising uncontrollably. In most cases, the mixing of OM3 and OM4 is misdiagnosed and goes unidentified. So, electronics are replaced unduly by data center operators in an attempt to solve the networking issues. As a result of these issues, we started using Erika Violet for OM4 cables. This helps in; restricting accidental mixing of OM3 and OM4 cables due to human errors, decreasing bit rate errors, and ensuring maximum uptime.



2. Identifying Patch Cords

Use of colors for labeling patch cords or fiber jumpers is a straightforward solution available to mitigate with the potential of human errors. Consider this example: Highlight all system critical fiber jumpers in red, and then teach maintenance staff that a red patch cord cannot be removed without prior authorization. Manage a persistent scheme throughout your network. In other words, your fiber connector color scheme should have to be consistent with the defined fiber-grade color standards. In this way, you can have your technicians trained in identifying different fiber grades.

3. Port Icons

Color coding is utilized in the port icon system as well. Different network routings can be identified with the help of port icons. You can streamline and simplify network management by using specific tags for patch panel ports.

4. Differentiating Connector Boots

Color coding can also be used on connector boots. You can use your desired colors to make moves, additions, alterations, and maintenance easier. In this way, the preservation of correct parallel groupings for relevant switch ports will be more comfortable and more straightforward for technicians. In case if you want to use a different connector color, you have to ensure that the jacket color of your fiber represents the correct fiber grade – to avoid any misunderstanding. Color coding of connector boots is an excellent technique that can be used to differentiate between various particulars of the network.