IEEE Standard Wiring Colors

By Tamara Wilhite

The IEEE does not dictate what color the cable must be.
i Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) issues recommended standards for electrical and electronics design, including wiring and power cables. IEEE does not specify wiring colors; this is done by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). However, IEEE standards must be followed for electronics and electrical design using wires following TIA color codes. Furthermore, IEEE has color-coded its electronics design books based on the type of equipment, called the IEEE "Color Books."

Default Color

According to "LAN Wiring" by James Trulove, "the most common color for nonplenum coax cable is black. Most of the nonplenum cable that is used for LAN wiring will have a black synthetic rubber or PVC outer jacket with white markings." The white markings then specify the wiring type and the standards that the wiring meets, such as IEEE or EIA standards.

Four-Pair Wiring Colors

The Telecommunications Industry Association has issued standard TIA 568A and 568B that define a standard color code for wiring. Each color combination for a wire pair identifies the type of wire. "Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide" by Michael Meyers says "manufacturers color-code each wire within a piece of a four-pair UTP to assist in properly matching the ends. Each pair of wires consists of a solid-colored white and a striped wire: blue/blue-white, orange/orange-white, brown/brown-white, and green/green-white." Wiring can be color-coded based on the connection speed and end connector in accordance with TIA 568A and 568B in addition to meeting IEEE design standards. According to "Planning for the Fiber Distributed Data Interface" by William E. Burr, "the connector used for terminating the shielded twisted pair at the outlet is that specified by ANSI / IEEE 802.5 (token ring)."

25-Pair Wiring Colors

There is also a 25-pair color code for cables. "Residential Network Cabling" by BICSI says "the ring colors are blue, orange, green, brown and slate. The ring color identifies the position of the pair within the group of five tip possibilities." The color code for wires, in combination with rings, allows up to 25 unique pairings without duplication.

IEEE Color Books

IEEE Color Books are identified by different color dust jackets. For example, "The Electrical Systems Design & Specification Handbook for Industrial Facilities" by Steven Marrano and Craig DiLouie states "IEEE standard 141 (is) 'Recommended Practice for Electric Power Distribution for Industrial Plants, 'The Red Book'; IEEE Standard 142 'Recommended Practices for Grounding of Industrial and Commercial Power Systems,' (is) 'The Green Book'". These IEEE Color Books include recommended practices on wiring layout and connections. The IEEE Color Books provide IEEE recommendations how connectors must be identified and wiring must be labeled. The recommendations in the IEEE Color Books are also shared with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).