English

Fiber Color Code: Complete Guide to Mastering Identification

Updated on Dec 22, 2021 by
162.9k

For years, we have been using various types of fiber optic cable in labs and data centers. However, it’s common for beginners to confuse different types of fibers, such as 50/125 and 62.5/125 multimode fibers, as well as single mode fibers. To simplify identification, the EIA/TIA-598 standard provides a unified color-coding system for fiber optic cables. In the following sections, we will explore these fiber optic cable color codes and their applications in detail.

Colored jackets of multi-fiber cable

What is Fiber Color Code?

The fiber color code is a standardized system used to identify individual fibers within a fiber optic cable, as well as to distinguish between different types of fibers. This system can streamline the intricate process of managing and maintaining networks, guaranteeing efficient data transmission. For example, technicians can quickly trace and manage connections during upkeep and troubleshooting via the fiber color code. EIA/TIA-598, launched by TIA (The Telecommunications Industry Association), is the most commonly adopted standard for fiber color coding, which utilizes a range of distinct colors such as Blue, Orange, Green, Brown, Red, Black, Yellow, etc. for distinguishing fibers. This standard addresses the fiber color codes into three categories for the following different segments: fiber outer jackets, inner fiber sequences, and connectors.

How are fiber optic cables typically color coded?

Outer Jacket Color Code

Colored outer jackets or prints may be applied to outside plant and premises fiber cables, such as fiber distribution cables, fiber optic patch cords, etc., for easy identification and distinction. In EIA/TIA-598, the fiber color code defines the jacket color codes for different fiber types. So for optical fiber cable that contains only one type of fiber, we can easily identify it by its jacket color; unless otherwise specified, the outer jacket of premises cable containing more than one fiber type shall use a printed legend to identify the quantities and types of fibers within the cable. For example "12 Fiber 8 x 50/125, 4 x 62.5/125" indicates the presence of 12 fibers in total, with 8 fibers having a core/cladding size of 50/125μm and 4 fibers having a core/cladding size of 62.5/125μm.

Here are the jacket color codes for different fiber types:

Fiber Type Color Code
  Non-military Applications Military Applications Suggested Print Nomenclature
OM1 62.5/125µm Multimode Orange Slate 62.5/125
OM2 50/125µm Multimode Orange Orange 50/125
OM3 50/125 µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) Multimode Aqua Undefined 850 LO 50/125
OM4 50/125µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) Multimode Aqua/Violet Undefined 850 LO 50/125
100/140µm Multimode Orange Green 100/140
OS1/OS2 Single Mode Yellow Yellow SM/NZDS, SM
Polarization Maintaining Single Mode Blue Undefined Undefined

Besides the jacket colors specified in the fiber color code standard, other colors may also be used if the print on the outer jacket can tell the fiber classifications. Such colors should be agreed upon between the manufacturer and the user.

Inner Fiber Color Code

Inside a multi-fiber cable, individual fibers are compliant to fiber color code as well. They are often distinguished from one another by color-coded jackets, buffers or tubes on each fiber. According to EIA/TIA-598, inner fibers are color coded in a group of 12 fibers and they are counted in a clockwise direction.

fiber color code

There are two situations for multi-fiber cables:

Primary Colors: Any tube with 12 or fewer strands will be identified or colored using the same fiber color code when working with cables that have numerous buffer tubes. The most common color scheme follows the sequence: Blue, Orange, Green, Brown, Slate (or Gray), White, Red, Black, Yellow, Violet, Rose (or Pink), and Aqua (or Light Blue).
Repeating Pattern: The color coding for fiber optic cables repeats itself when there are more than 12 strands in the wire. For example, in a 12-fiber cable, the first fiber is blue, the second is orange, and so on. On a 24-fiber cable, the sequence would repeat twice.

The color sequence for inner fibers is as follows:

Inner fiber color code

Connector Color Code

Connectors are also a part of the fiber color code. Since there are different polish styles of fiber end-face, the connectors of fiber jumpers and the mating adapters are color coded for identification. However, the advent of metallic connectors like the FC and ST makes connector color coding difficult, so colored strain relief boots are also used. The boot color may vary among manufacturers.

Fiber Types Polish Style Connector Body
OM1 62.5/125 UPC Beige/Grey
OM2/OM3 50/125 UPC Beige/Grey
OM4/OM5 50/125 UPC Beige
Single Mode UPC Blue
Single Mode APC Green

Conclusion

In conclusion, the EIA/TIA-598 standard offers a vital color-coding system that simplifies the identification and management of fiber optic cables. This standard defines the color coding of optical cables from three aspects: outer jackets, inner fiber sequences, and connectors. By using distinct colors for different fiber types and sequences, technicians can more efficiently handle network maintenance and troubleshooting tasks, ensuring accurate and efficient data transmission. Understanding and adhering to these color codes is essential for both beginners and experienced professionals in fiber optic communication.

Related Article: Optimize Network Capacity with Ribbon Fiber Cable

You might be interested in

Knowledge
Knowledge
See profile for Sheldon.
Sheldon
What is Fiber Optic Cable Jacket & Fire Rating
Sep 27, 2021
54.8k
Knowledge
See profile for Moris.
Moris
How Many Fiber Connector Types Do You Know?
Nov 9, 2021
161.1k
Knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge
See profile for Sheldon.
Sheldon
Decoding OLT, ONU, ONT, and ODN in PON Network
Mar 14, 2023
401.2k
Knowledge
See profile for Irving.
Irving
What's the Difference? Hub vs Switch vs Router
Dec 17, 2021
372.7k
Knowledge
See profile for Sheldon.
Sheldon
What Is SFP Port of Gigabit Switch?
Jan 6, 2023
347.9k
Knowledge
Knowledge
See profile for Migelle.
Migelle
PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switch: How to Choose?
May 30, 2024
430.4k