Do You Have A Style Guide For Network Cabling?

Do You Have A Style Guide For Network Cabling?

We’ve all seen network cabinets that should be renamed “Spaghetti Junction”, with a tangle of cables that is destined to ruin someone’s weekend in the near future. One way to avoid that issue is to actually adopt a style guide for all network cabling.

Picture: Aaron Paxson (image cropped)

That’s the approach used by Microsoft in its Azure data centres. “Microsoft has style guides for wiring,” the company’s Michael Atalla noted during a presentation at the Office 365 Summit in Sydney this week. “This perfectly lined up cabling environment is a result of very hard work and a style guide that’s really thick and detailed.”

According to Atalla, that’s not just needed from an aesthetics perspective. “Any inconsistency is a potential point of failure.”

Obviously Microsoft has a lot more cash to develop and document cabling to that level, and a bigger incentive not to get things wrong. You might not need a super-thick guide, but some basic rules can go a long way.

What (if any) cabling rules apply in your server room? Tell us in the comments.


  • Infinite link madness! I’m assuming the link isn’t supposed to link back to this page….

  • All of our patching is colour coded:
    Printers & MFDs – Purple
    Faxes / Analogue lines – Yellow
    Video Conferencing – Orange
    IP Phones, PCs, Laptops – Blue
    Servers – Red

    With our switches ports 1-14 are reserved for infrastructure and 15-48 for PCs/Phones/Laptops

  • previous tech did

    – imagine a bowl of noodles, now freeze it and put it in a rack.
    this is what your cabling should look like

    also, instead of .25m cables, 2m will do, they are more expensive (and you get larger kickbacks) so, that will do perfectly.

    the more colours the merrier, you can get pink and orange cables, they look awesome!

    TP-Link switches are perfect for an enterprise environment, especially if you can make them hang out the front of a cabinet, shows your expertise in getting things working

  • pro-tip
    Spend the extra little bit of time doing it right the first time and for lords sake… DOCUMENT STUFF!
    im sick of going into cabinets only to find that they have 20 patch panels all labeled 1-24 but with no indication of what goes where and what does what.

    I’ve seen cabinets that looks like a spaghetti town massacre but its documented well so i know exactly where to look

    • This!! Documentation of any sort, even if just a brief overview is just the best! Rarely seen in my travels though. When I worked for one school, it was a shambles when I got there. Every cabinet on the campus was undocumented spaghetti. I spent about 2 weeks going through everyone of them, and colour coding everything, and bundling cables with velcro ties and running them through conduits. Looked amazing when I was finally done! Of course, drew up the docs as I went too so anyone walking in there would be able to tell what was what. Lord only knows if it still remains that way after me leaving though!

  • Cabling edge switch cabinets is ALWAYS messy.

    We try and colour code some things for quick reference. Purple for printers, White for PoE devices such as IP cameras and WAPs

    Patch port 1 to Switch Port 1, 2 to 2 etc etc makes tracing things a whole lot easier, and finally every wall location is labelled and a spreadsheet is kept with every patch, it’s physical endpoint, switch port used, VLAN assigned, device type.

    But I fear I’ll never figure out a way to neatly get 200+ cables in a cabinet with 8 or so patch panels and 5 x 48 port switches.

  • Document as much… and keep updating them a habit!
    Color coded cables help
    Label cablings, servers, switches, heck even ports if possible etc. Of course if you have a tidy documentation you can reduce this need.
    Label power cords (near the power point) so you know you’re powering off the correct device.

  • Proper network cabling is most, if network cabling is a mess, then we cannot identify problem perfectly. And delayed in understanding problem means delayed in solutions. And if we set some great color combination in network cabling it makes us so helpful. This blog is really made aware about doing good network cabling.

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