What is a Network Wiring Diagram?

Written by: Tektel Team

What is a Network Wiring Diagram?


A network wiring diagram is simply a visual representation of the connection layout of a system or circuit. When terminating twisted-pair copper ethernet cable (CAT cables) to 8-position RJ45 jacks and connectors, T568A and T568B wiring schemes define the order of connections (also known as pinout). If a cable is terminated in a random order of colors on each end, it will not function regularly, if at all.

If you are asking yourself “Do I need a network wiring diagram?”, you should take a look at T568A and T568B wiring schemes to assure your connections are in the right order to assure the cable will function properly.


An important fact to know about the two schemes is that they should not be combined. In other words, the two ends of the cables should terminate with the same scheme (same order of colors). Scheme T568B is more commonly used, but any one of the two schemes would do if you are building a new network. If you are working on an existing network, troubleshooting or expanding it for more utility, it is important to continue using the scheme that is in place. When multiple schemes are used – data signals will not transfer.

T568A and T568B wiring schemes are TIA/EIA standards which define the pinout (order of connections) for wires in 8-position RJ45 jacks and connectors. The two differ in pairs 2 and 3 (orange and green), which are swapped.

Selecting a Network Wiring Diagram

In order to determine which scheme should be used, consider the following information:

While  T568B is the preferred scheme for new networks in the United States, you may choose any one of the two schemes, unless:
In a case where there is a network in place that needs updating or expanding, use the scheme in place. Do not introduce a new scheme. If there are project specifications, use the wiring scheme specified.
There are rare cases where T568A-wired components need to be connected to T568B-wired components In these cases, a crossover cable (a patch cord that has an A-configured plug at one end, and a B-configured plug at the other) will be used to smoothly transition between standards without compromising data.

Importance of Network Wiring Diagrams

Imagine building a complex puzzle without a picture to guide you - that's akin to designing and managing a network without a network wiring diagram. The network wiring diagrams play a pivotal role in various aspects of network management, some of which are outlined below:

  1. Design and Planning: Before the physical implementation of a network wiring diagram, meticulous planning is crucial. Network wiring diagrams enable designers to visualize the layout, identify potential bottlenecks, and ensure optimal placement of devices and cables. This careful planning prevents costly errors during implementation and helps in creating a network wiring diagram that aligns with specific requirements.


  3. Documentation: A network wiring diagram serves as a detailed record of the network's architecture. It becomes an invaluable resource for future reference, making it easier to troubleshoot issues, upgrade components, or scale the network. Accurate documentation reduces downtime and enhances the overall efficiency of network maintenance.


  5. Troubleshooting: Network wiring diagram can encounter a multitude of issues, from slow data transmission to complete outages. During such crises, network administrators rely on wiring diagrams to identify the root cause of the problem quickly. By following the diagram's visual representation, administrators can trace faulty connections or devices, minimizing downtime and restoring normal operations promptly.


  7. Upgrades and Expansions: As organizations grow, their network requirements evolve as well. When expanding or upgrading a network wiring diagram, administrators can refer to the existing wiring diagram to understand the current setup comprehensively. This knowledge ensures seamless integration of new components and prevents compatibility issues.


  9. Security Audits: Network security is paramount in today's digital landscape. A network wiring diagram aids in conducting security audits by providing a holistic view of the network's architecture. This helps identify potential vulnerabilities and formulate strategies to enhance network security.


Creating a Network Wiring Diagram

While the importance of network wiring diagrams is evident, creating an accurate and informative diagram requires careful consideration and precision. Here's a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective network wiring diagram:

  1. Gather Information: Begin by collecting essential information about the network, including the types of devices, their locations, IP addresses, and the types of cables connecting them. This groundwork forms the foundation of your diagram.


  3. Choose a Format: Network wiring diagrams can be created using various software tools or even manually using pen and paper. Modern diagramming software offers templates and symbols specifically designed for network diagrams, simplifying the process.


  5. Identify Symbols: Familiarize yourself with the standard symbols used in network diagrams. These symbols represent different devices, such as routers, switches, servers, and endpoints. Consistency in symbol usage ensures clarity and easy comprehension.


  7. Design the Layout: Arrange the symbols on the diagram in a logical and organized manner. Clearly depict the connections between devices using lines or arrows. Group related components together to improve readability.


  9. Label Everything: Accurate labeling is essential for understanding the diagram. Label devices, cables, and ports with meaningful names or numbers to facilitate easy cross-referencing.


  11. Use Color Codes: Incorporating color codes can add an extra layer of information to your diagram. Differentiate between cable types, network segments, or security zones using distinct colors.


  13. Provide a Legend: Include a legend or key that explains the meaning of symbols, colors, and labels used in the diagram. This helps anyone interpreting the diagram for the first time.


  15. Review and Update: Network wiring diagrams are dynamic entities that evolve over time. Regularly review and update your network wiring diagram to reflect any changes, additions, or modifications to the network infrastructure.

A vast enterprise networking

In the interconnected world we inhabit, network wiring diagrams are the lifeblood of seamless communication and efficient data exchange. Whether you're a home user seeking reliable Wi-Fi or administrator managing a vast enterprise network, understanding the intricacies of network wiring diagrams is paramount. These visual representations serve as essential tools for design, documentation, troubleshooting, security, and expansion. By encapsulating the essence of a network's architecture in a visual format, the wiring diagrams empower individuals and organizations to harness the full potential of modern connectivity.

Network Diagram