Fiber Optic Color Code: Complete Guide (2024)

Fiber Optic cable

Fiber optic color codes are like special markers in internet connections.

They’re like the different colors on a map that help engineers find their way through cables. But these colors aren’t just for show—they’re important for ensuring each cable does its job correctly.

Let’s take a close look at how fiber color code works.

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What Are The Colors of Fiber Optic?

Cable jacket colors are the most important aspect of the fiber optic color code system, as they help to track which fibers are carrying data signals and which are carrying voice signals.

The Fiber Optic Association promotes a standardized color coding system for engineers to work with and identify fiber optic cables and other components. 

fiber optic cable jacket colors

These are used to determine the fiber classifications, fiber numbers, and sizes of cables used in premises distribution cables, premises interconnect cables, interconnect cords, or premises breakout cables.

In non-military applications, you can expect the following color coding for these types of fiber: 

Fiber TypeCable Jacket Color
Multimode 50/125 (OM2)Orange
Multimode 50/125 (OM3, OM4)Aqua
Multimode 50/125 (OM5)Lime Green
Multimode (OM1)Orange
Multimode (100/140)Orange
Single mode (OS1, OS1a, OS2)Yellow
Polarization maintaining single-modeBlue
Fiber TypeCable Jacket Color
Multimode 50/125 (OM2)Orange
Multimode 50/125 (OM3, OM4)Undefined
Multimode 50/125 (OM5)Undefined
Multimode (OM1)Slate
Multimode (100/140)Green
Single mode (OS1, OS1a, OS2)Yellow
Polarization maintaining single-modeUndefined

Connector Color Codes 

Initially, orange, black, or gray colors were used for multimode fibers, and yellow was used for single-mode fibers. However, since metallic connectors have been used, different cable jacket colors have been introduced to identify the fiber connector body for the following fiber types: 

  • 62.5/125 – Beige 
  • 50/125 – Black 
  • 50/125 Aqua
  • OM5 – Lime 
  • Single-mode – Blue 
  • Single-mode APC – Green 

Note: the same fiber color code is also used for the strain relief/mating adaptor. 

Fiber Color Codes 

Fibers are color-coded within a loose tube cable to help you identify individual fibers rather than in pairs. You can expect them to follow this pattern. 

  • 1= Blue 
  • 2 = Orange 
  • 3 = Green 
  • 4 = Brown 
  • 5 = Slate 
  • 6 = White 
  • 7 = Red
  • 8 = Black 
  • 9 = Yellow 
  • 10 = Violet 
  • 11 = Rose 
  • 12 = Aqua 

Following this sequence, multiple buffer tubes will continue from 13 to 24, repeating the same colors above but with a black stripe. The black cable will have a yellow stripe. An orange stripe is used from buffer tubes 25 to 36, and from 37 to 48, a green stripe is used. 

Why is Fiber Optic Color Coding Important? 

Ease of Installation

When fiber optic cables are correctly color-coded, it is much easier for installers to identify which cable goes where. This can save time and resources during installation, ultimately making for a more cost-effective project.

Ease of Maintenance

Once fiber optic cables are installed, they can be very difficult to access. This makes having a color code system important so fiber technicians can easily identify which fiber needs to be repaired or replaced.

Simplified Splicing

When fiber optic cables are color-coded, selecting the strands to be spliced together is much easier. A splice tray may carry up to 72 colorful fibers, meaning it would be chaos without a color tracking system.

Tracking the different cable jacket colors of the fiber means engineers can ensure the continuity of twisted pair color coding throughout a cable run for fiber optic communications.

Fewer Human Errors

One of the biggest benefits of fiber optic color coding is that it can help reduce human errors. Fiber technicians can quickly and easily identify which fiber goes where, thus minimizing the risk of mistakes.

Without fiber optics color coding, it’s relatively easy for an engineer to mix up a 50/125 with a 62.5/125 multimode fiber. Of course, multi-fiber cables typically contain tens, if not hundreds, of individual strands. 

Port Separation

In some cases, fiber optic cables must be separated into different ports. Color coding can make this process much simpler and more efficient.

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How It Works 

Fiber color codes help you identify fiber cables (patch, premises, outdoor cables), fiber connectors, and individual fibers. Using a fiber optic color coding system in indoor and outdoor applications has multiple benefits.

In fiber optic cables, connector color codes distinguish fiber types visually, such as single-mode fiber, multi-fiber cable, and the polarity of connectors. 

Additionally, color codes are utilized to identify individual fibers within a cable, making it easier for technicians to trace and manage connections during installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting. 

Overall, color codes in fiber optics simplify the complex task of managing and maintaining the networks, ensuring efficiency and accuracy in data transmission.

How are Fiber Optic Cables Typically Color Coded?

The EIA/TIA-598 fiber optic cable color code is the most commonly used method for color-coding fiber optic cables. This standard was developed by the Electronics Industries Alliance (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). 

EIA/TIA-598 is the standard fiber color code used in the United States and the most recognized system worldwide. The method uses a combination of two different colors to identify each fiber. For example, the first fiber in a cable may be blue, and the second fiber may be orange. 

Which Parts of the Fiber Optic Cable are Colored?

fiber optic cable color coding

The fiber optic color code system is used to color the different parts of the fiber optic cable. These parts include:

  • The outer cable jacket of the fiber optic cable
  • The inner fibers
  • The fiber optic connector

How Do you Remember the Fiber Optic Color Code? 

Need help remembering which color goes where? There are a few different ways that you can remember fiber cable color coding:

  • Use a mnemonic device – for example, “Blue is for business, orange is for outside plant, green is for gigabit Ethernet, brown is for building to building.”
  • Write the fiber color code down in a specific order to easily refer to it.
  • Create a fiber color code chart to hang up in your workspace.

FAQs

Why are different connector colors used for different fiber types?

Different connector colors are used to visually differentiate between various fiber types and prevent confusion during installation and maintenance. 

For example, beige connectors may indicate 62.5/125 multimode fibers, while a blue connector may indicate single-mode fibers.

Are optic fiber color codes standardized across all manufacturers?

While common color codes are used in fiber optics, it’s essential to verify with the specific manufacturer or industry standards for accurate interpretation. 

Variations may exist depending on region, application, and specific requirements.

What are the most common fiber optic color codes?  

The most common fiber optic color codes are those that adhere to the TIA-598 standard. This standard provides a systematic optical fiber color coding approach, ensuring consistency and clarity across fiber optic systems and installations. 

Contact The Network Installers 

Do you need assistance with a fiber optic cabling installation project? Or are you already using a fiber network, but your cabling isn’t correctly color-coded, meaning maintenance is a headache? 

In either case, The Network Installers can provide you with highly qualified and experienced fiber optic engineers to implement an effective fiber optic cable color code system. 

Contact our team of experts today for a FREE, no-obligation quote.

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The Network Installers is a low voltage electrical contractor that provides data cabling, network installation, fiberoptic installation, and WIFI installation. We've been serving commercial customers since 2008 with exceptional quality, consistency, and professionalism.

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