Color vision for network techs

I'm red/green deficient. It's not total - I can identify high saturation reds and greens that cover a large enough area. However, it is enough that when I look at a multi-colour status indicator, I'm left scratching my head. Many times, I've said to myself, "There ought to be a law against using only the colour of light to indicate status." Of course, you know what they say about "there ought to be a law...."

Screening for colour vision is dubious, no matter how much it would help with grokking the status lights. Even without the discrimination angle, consider that a very nontrivial proportion of men are colour deficient (on the order of 5% if my information is correct). You would be reducing your possible talent pool.

Instead of a colour vision requirement or policy, I would start screaming at equipment manufacturers for using only the colour of an indicator to show information. A tristate can easily be shown with steady, slow blink, and fast blink if there really is some compelling reason not to have multiple indicators. If everyone, especially large organizations, put pressure on equipment manufacturers, the problem could be largely eliminated.

When doing Cat5 connectors, a friend couldn't tell the orange versus brown (or was it green.) He found that with a red LED flashlight he could then tell.

There are ways to work around things.

The Military has colour screening for obvious reasons but I am not sure if
it's needed for Networking.

My take is that I designed all to have a wide variance. IE: Red, Blue,
Yellow and Black which helped lower issues. Not solve them but if you
limit the use of Red to certain areas (ie: Yellow / Red on one patch panel)
then it helps.

Yes, I did have a team lead who was colour blind and that did help to lead
me down that path. When he was on our internet facing patch panel which
was Red/Yellow if he saw black he knew it was Red.

Larry A. LaBas(CD)

For pulling cable, the colors are fixed inside the jacket. I have found
differences in cable manufacturers and prefer Mohawk brand cable because
the colors are easier for me to see. White is white instead of clear.
Blue, green, orange and brown are noticeably different. So, my take is
stick to manufacturers that do a good job. If my tired old eyes can tell
the difference, the employees that work with me probably won't have a


Jim Ray, President
Neuse River Networks
2 Davis Drive, PO Box 13169
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
919-838-1672 x100

In high school I worked in a men's clothing store for a couple of
years. One of the guys on the floor was pretty much completely color
blind. It was kind of amusing and annoying at the same time as he'd
run over to me when someone was in the dressing room to ask if this
tie matched this shirt etc (um, NO!)

So one day, I am not making this up, I asked him what he was studying
at college and he said "graphic design".

I guess the right comment is "no comment", or perhaps
"overcompensation much?"

But the example at hand is a much more narrow domain.

I suspect that if this objectively measurable physical infirmity that
actually inhibits one's job function were more common in women than men, it
would be used as a reason to discourage us all from even entering the
profession in the first place.

I can only imagine how making ethernet cables is a pain. The different
colored wires, putting them in the RJ-45. That must be an impossible task
for colorblind people.

Standards can have "bugs", and a standard that is not compatible with
maybe 5% of the population is buggy.

Almost any standard that start "this is red and this is green" is
flawed this way. This mean any future standard created as to look
into this type of stuff (and i18n and localization and others) to not
create flawed buggy standards.

Old standards can be updated ... (maybe include lines of the same
color but different contrast), but we all know how hard is to update

If I where one of these dudes, I would download/create a app for my
iphone that recolorice video to change colours to others I could tell
the difference.

such applications exist, see