Ethernet cables come in many colours, it’s common to see red, green, blue, yellow, white and grey leads in every office. A lot of people get confused when they are buying a new lead as they wrongly believe the different colours do different jobs. A coloured Ethernet cable is used for identification. If you have an office network that has many connections, it can be difficult to know which cable goes where. This is why coloured leads are used, you can easily identify that the blue cable is connecting computer A to the network whilst the yell one is connecting computer B and the green goes to computer C. It’s not uncommon to see leads being sold in twenty plus different colours.
Another reason to use coloured leads is to help set up new equipment. Many internet service providers will send a free modem to the customer when they take out a new connection. Not everyone is confident at setting these modems up, they can come with two different types of lead, an RJ11 ADSL lead and an Ethernet cable. Both of these cables look very similar and many people try to connect the RJ11 lead into the Ethernet socket. Internet service providers use coloured leads for this very reason. The instruction book will advise the customer to connect one end of the blue Ethernet cable (or whatever colour is supplied) to socket A on the modem and then to your computer, this avoids any confusion and probably saves them from thousands of technical helpline calls each year.
Whatever the reason for replacing your Ethernet cable, maybe you need a longer length as you have moved the computer, the dog may have chewed your original, you may be trying to increase the speed with a better quality cable (we cover that in another article) or you may simply have lost the lead when you moved house. You can rest assured that you can use any coloured Ethernet cable. The only caveat to add would be to ensure you do not buy a Crossover cable, these are used to connect two computers together without using a router, they are always clearly advertised as Crossover and it would be difficult to buy one in error.
If you are looking to upgrade the speed of your connection, an easy and cheap upgrade is to opt for a Cat6 cable. Cat6 cables are cable of faster Gigabit speeds and are backwards compatible with standard Cat5e systems.
When buying a new lead it’s a good idea to look online, there are big savings to be had. Many online stores can sell at a fraction of the price a high street store as they have less overheads. For a short two meter cable, you should expect to pay around three pounds.