What is the standard for labeling network cables?

Running network cables is a major part of many workplaces. These cables allow devices throughout a facility to communicate with each other, and to access the Internet or another outside network. Whenever installing network cables, it is important to label them properly to avoid mistakes. Properly labeled network cables also make it much easier to troubleshoot problems should they arise. The most widely used standards for labeling network cables is the ANSI/TIA-606-B standard.

Choosing the Right Labels

The first step in labeling network cables is to choose the right type of labels. There are a number of different options out there, each with different advantages and disadvantages. When picking a label, make sure they meet the following standards:

  • Durable – The labels must be able to remain in place and legible while in use. Using plastic, vinyl, or other strong materials is typically the best option.
  • Permanent Print – The best standard is to use an industrial label printer when creating labels so that the print is permanent and won’t fade or smear.
  • Placement of Labels – Labels should be applied to the network cables at each end so that they can be easily identified. This includes labeling the wires whenever they enter a new device.

Principles of Labeling Network Cables

In addition to following industry standards for the physical labeling, you also want to follow standards when it comes to the information placed on the labels. The following are some key standards to help in this area:

  • Consistent Labeling – All labels in all facilities of a company should follow a consistent labeling format.
  • Essential Information – Labels should include key information including the building it is in, room number, cabinet, rack, and port details. This can be printed directly on a label, or if there isn’t room, it can reference somewhere that it can be looked up using a number code or bar code.
  • Color Coded – Some companies choose to use color coded labels. This can be done to identify the type of network cable in use, or some other key piece of information.
  • Matching Facility Plans – The labels on wires should match the information on the plans kept for the facility so they are easy to find and look up.

Labeling network cables takes a little extra time and planning up front but will help to ensure the system is easy to work on for years to come. In some industries, it is a requirement to follow network cable labeling standards, and even where it is not required, it is highly recommended.


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