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Fiber Color Code: Identify Optic Cable

Fiber Color Code is the color coding system used in fiber optic applications, which can help us identify fiber cables, connectors, and individual fibers. This fiber color coding system is the EIA/TIA-598 standard developed by the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The EIA has since been dropped and we now only use the TIA-598 standard. This standard is the most recognized fiber optic color coding system worldwide. It addresses the manufacturer’s fiber color codes to follow and reference to ensure consistency across the industry.

fiber color code

Fiber color code plays a vital role in quickly identifying fiber optic cables. In fiber optic cables, multiple individual fibers are bundled within an outer protective jacket. Therefore, technicians need to quickly identify each fiber for proper installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting. The TIA-598 color coding standard 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. According to different parts of the optical cable, we can divide the color coding into three categories: outer sheath, inner fiber, and connector.

Outer Jacket Color Code

The outer jacket of a fiber optic cable often has a specific color to indicate the type or application of the fiber optic cable. In TIA-598, the fiber color code defines the outer jacket color codes for different fiber types. So, fiber patch cords or fiber pigtails can identified with color coding, as they can have different colors on their outside. For optical fiber cable that contains only one type of fiber, we can easily identify it by its outer jacket color. However, the outer jacket of the premises cable containing more than one fiber type shall use a printed legend to identify the quantities and types of fibers within the cable.

Fiber TypeColor Code
Non-military ApplicationsMilitary ApplicationsSuggested Print Nomenclature
OM1 62.5/125µm MultimodeOrangeSlate62.5/125
OM2 50/125µm MultimodeOrangeOrange50/125
OM3 50/125 µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) MultimodeAquaUndefined850 LO 50/125
OM4 50/125µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) MultimodeAqua/VioletUndefined850 LO 50/125
100/140µm MultimodeOrangeGreen100/140
OS1/OS2 Single ModeYellowYellowSM/NZDS, SM
Polarization Maintaining Single-ModeBlueUndefinedUndefined

Inner Fiber Color Code

Inside a multi-fiber optic cable, individual fibers are color-coded for easy identification. They are often easily identified within each cable or inside each tube in a loose tube cable. In the TIA-598 standard, inner fibers are color-coded in a group of 12 fibers and they are counted in a clockwise direction.

inner fiber color code

There are two situations for multi-fiber cables. For cables with less than 12 strands of fibers, each fiber will be identified with 12 colors. For cables with over 12 strands of fibers, the color code runs from 1 through 12 and then repeats itself with slight variations. For example, by adding a stripe to the second group (if it’s a 24-strand cable) or using another distinctive mark to distinguish the 1st group.

Connector Color Code

Fiber optic connector color coding is a specific color used to identify different types of connectors. It helps technicians quickly identify and match connectors, ensuring accurate connections within fiber optic networks. In addition, fiber optic patch cords use color coding to identify connectors and the mating adapters. However, since the advent of metal connectors such as FC and ST has made connector color coding difficult, colored strain relief shields are also used.

The standard multimode OM1/OM2 fiber patch cords are typically colored in beige or black, while OM3 and OM4 are aqua and magenta, respectively. For single-mode UPC, the standard is blue, while for single-mode APC terminations, green fiber connectors are used. It is crucial to distinguish UPC and APC connectors. Details are as follows:

Fiber TypesPolish StyleConnector Color
OM1 62.5/125UPCBeige/Grey
OM2 50/125UPCBlack
OM3/OM4 50/125 laser optimizedUPCAqua
Single ModeUPCBlue
Single ModeAPCGreen

The Importance of Fiber Color Code

Fiber color code can help technicians efficiently manage, maintain, and troubleshoot fiber optic cables. It offers multiple benefits in indoor and outdoor applications.

Easy to Identification

Fiber color codes help distinguish between individual fibers within a cable. In fiber optic cables, multiple individual fibers are bundled within an outer protective jacket. The color codes ensure that technicians can identify specific fibers without confusion.

Easy to Install

During installation, technicians can quickly identify fibers and connect them to the appropriate devices. This saves time and resources.

Easy to Maintain

Color coding enables easy identification of fibers. The technicians rapidly locate and replace the problematic fiber. This reduces downtime to ensure uninterrupted communication services.

Fiber Tracing

Color coding allows for efficient fiber tracing, simplifying the process of tracking a fiber’s path from start to end.

Safety Compliance

The use of color codes can indicate different safety levels or precautions required, assisting in the prevention of accidents or mishandling.

In Conclusion

Fiber color code helps us distinguish fiber types visually from the colored fiber optic jacket, inner fiber, and fiber connector. So, this color code is essential to fiber optic communications.