One of the best approaches for long-distance communication is fiber optics cable. When the need arises to transmit data over long distances with high bandwidth, these cables are the significant choices. When it comes to managing fiber optic cables, one of the important terms is fiber optic color code. Color coding of fiber optic cables is not used just for decorating fiber optic cable systems. Essentially, it comes with an important function i.e. to help users to easily and precisely identify which kinds of fiber optic cables are being used. So, it helps to better manage fiber cables.

Generally, in practical applications, we require diverse color jackets of cable, adapters, or connectors for proper cable management. However, the majority of the time, we must obey the fiber color code as well as the fiber connector color code standard for managing fiber optic cabling. Various color ties and markers are used for the same. Technicians can quickly know whether a specific cable is a single-mode or multimode.

What Is The Fiber Optic Color Code?

When it comes to precisely identify the type of fiber optics cable, it is better to use a fiber optic color code. Names of optical fiber color codes from fiber number 1 to 12 are orange, blue, green, slate, brown, violet, white, black, red, yellow, rose, and aqua.

Fiber Optic Color Code Chart

Fiber Number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Color

Blue

Orange

Green

Brown

Slate

White

Red

Black

Yellow

Violet

Rose

Aqua

An optical fiber cable is alienated into strands that represent the individual fibers inside the huge piece of cabling. Maximum 24 individual strands can be made loosely. Subsequently, they are positioned inside tubes that contain 12 each. Such tubes with 12 strands will then be color-coded.

For those cables that come with more than 12 strands, the corresponding color code ranges from 1 through 12 after which it repeats itself. In this way, it lets you identify each 12-strand group uniquely either by addition of a stripe to the second group (for a cable with 24 strands) or some other explicit mark to recognize the new group.

Fiber optic color codes are decided by the EIA/TIA-598 standards guide identification for fiber and fiber-related units. It is this standard that decides which color codes to be used in your applications.

Not just the fiber optic cables but the connectors are too coded for hassle-free identification. A few years back, it was quite easy to identify connectors.  Black or orange or gray colors were used to identify multimode cables whereas yellow was used to identify single-mode cables. In recent times, a broad array of cables is available to select from. This is why it becomes inevitable to extend the color horizon.

Whenever a technician opens a fiber optic cable for splicing, usually, they would find a colorful bunch of buffer tubes over the armored cable. Specifically, color codes are significant when making connections through splicing.

Since it can assist us to recognize individual fibers, fiber connectors, and fiber patch cables, it is vital to know how to distinguish a single-mode patch cable from a multimode patch one. This can be accomplished only by marking inside the cables and by using the color code.

Keep in mind that either colored outer jackets or print might be used on Premises Interconnect Cable, Premises Distribution Cable, or Interconnect Cord or Premises Breakout Cable for identifying the categorization and fiber sizes.

List of The Best Fiber Optic Cable

What Is The Benefits of Using Fiber Optic Color Code?

The use of fiber optic color code streamlines your tasks in various ways. Firstly, visual management is always proved to be more insightful for specialists for administering the data center. Essentially, the color code system has presented a perfect and simple way to resolve the cabling issues.  The fiber optic cable color codes let you recognize an optical fiber cable directly from its jacket, tube, buffer, connector, etc.

1. Makes splicing easy

Within the cables, the fiber buffers too are color-coded using standard colors so that splicing and making connections becomes easier. In case you are facing issues due to fiber patch cables then it is recommended to use the color coding system.

The process of splicing ribbon cables is simpler. The reason is the ribbons are organized in the standard manner so the user just needs to match up the ribbons.

2. Simplifies installation

Whenever a definite color is allocated to the fiber cable, technicians can efficiently install the cable. It prevents confusion and issues that may arise due to inappropriate connections. Moreover, cable jacket colors make it easy and faster to identify which kind of fiber is present within the cable you are using.

3. Decreases human errors

The extensive use of fiber optic color code in data centers aids technicians to manage cable more efficiently. Also, it assists to decrease human errors. No need to carry out a redundant checking process. The user can effortlessly attain the information of the device just by looking at the cable. Effectively using this color coding system saves you time and effort.

The use of color codes while labeling fiber patch cords can limit the chances of human error. To better understand this, for example, you can emphasize mission-critical patch cords in blue. After that, you can guide all technicians that a red patch cord must be shifted with appropriate authorization or only under supervision.  

Maintaining consistency of fiber connector color with fiber grade color standards makes it easy for technicians to use the appropriate connectors with the cables. Therefore, it lets them dedicate their time to other tasks.

4. Separation of different ports

Color-coded port icons can prove useful while identifying various network routings in accord with internal needs. After tagging every patch panel port, it becomes easy to manage the network.

5. For distinguishing connector boots

Color codes can be used on connector boots to simplify routine maintenance. It also simplifies changes because it lets technicians protect accurate parallel groupings for the switch ports. When you alter your connector color, make sure your fiber cable color signifies the fiber grade. Else, it may create confusion.

You can also modify the color of a connector boot to distinguish between various aspects of the network. Therefore, it lets technicians easily view the contrast inside a panel.

Fiber Optic Color Code: Knowledge Base-10TechPro

How To Use Fiber Optic Color Code

Though you may be aware of the benefits of fiber optic color code, it is inevitable to learn how to use it. For any fiber optic cable, the 3 main parts are the outer jacket, inner jacket, and connector. The following section discusses how to use color-coding for all these parts.

1. Color coding for the outer jacket

Generally, prints or colored outer jackets can be used on fiber cables existing in premises and outside plants. For example, they are useful in fiber optic patch cords, fiber distribution cables, etc. When you go through EIA/TIA-598, you can know how the fiber color code describes the jacket color codes for various types of fiber.

For those optical fiber cables that include just one type of fiber, it is easy to identify it through its jacket color. On the other hand, the outer jacket in premises cable which contains multiple fiber types can use a printed legend for identifying the types and number of fibers inside the cable.

The following table highlights jacket color codes for various fiber types:

Fiber Type

Color Code

Military applications

Non-military applications

OM1 62.5/125µm Multimode

Slate

Orange

OM2 50/125µm Multimode

Orange

Orange

OM3 50/125 µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) Multimode

Undefined

Aqua

OM4 50/125µm (850 nm Laser-Optimized) Multimode

Undefined

Aqua/Violet

100/140µm Multimode

Green

Orange

OS1/OS2 Single Mode

Yellow

Yellow

Polarization Maintaining Single Mode

Undefined

Blue

Apart from the jacket colors mentioned in the fiber color code standard, some other colors might be used. This happens if the print on the exterior jacket describes the fiber classifications. In such cases, these colors must be agreed upon between the user and manufacturer.

Usually, the jacket color is black polyethylene for burial and outdoor aerial-type cables. This holds true for both single-mode and multi-mode cables. On the other hand, for indoor cables, the outermost cable jacket can have any color. However, as per the de facto industry standard, orange is for multimode fibers and yellow is for single-mode fibers. The same also holds true for the fiber optic patch cords.

2. Color coding for inner cable

Within a fiber cable with multiple strands, individual fibers are amenable to fiber color code. Frequently, they are differentiated from each other based on color-coded jackets, tubes, or buffers on each fiber. As per EIA/TIA-598, color coding for internal fibers takes place in a group of 12 fibers. Furthermore, counting of these fibers is to be done in a clockwise direction.

When it comes to multi-fiber cables, there are two situations as discussed below:

For those cables consisting of multiple buffer tubes each with up to 12 strands, each tube will be colored or marked according to the same fiber code. For example, the first tube is blue, the second is orange, and so on.

For those cables consisting of more than 12 strands, color coding repeats itself. Every group of 12 fibers is recognized uniquely. To understand this, for example, 24 strand groups can be with the fiber color code that repeats with a certain variation. It can be like the first group of 12 strands is solid colors whereas the second group is a solid color along with a strip or some other marks.

Those loose tube cables containing up to 36 fibers are made up of a maximum of 6 color-coded fibers in distinct color-coded tubes. If the fiber count is higher, it will contain maximum12 fibers in distinct color-coded buffer tubes. On the other hand, for those cables that have more than 144 fibers, there will be an addition of a black stripe on the replica color-coded tubes. Consequently, it makes groups more recognizable.

3. Color coding for connectors

Along with the outer jacket and interior, it is vital to know the color coding for connectors. There are various polish methods of fiber end-face. Therefore, the connectors of the mating adapters and fiber jumpers are color-coded for easy identification. With the introduction of metallic connectors like ST and FC made the connector, the color coding became challenging. Hence, colored strain relief boots are used too.  Depending on the manufacturers, the boot color may differ.

Fiber Optic Color Code: Knowledge Base-10TechPro

Frequently Asked Questions About Fiber Optic Color Code

1. What are the important steps for cable identification?

If you find difficulty identifying a cable, follow the below steps:

Step-1: Check the jacket color.

Step-2: Read the print legend in the following ways:

  • Search for OM1 (62.5/125), OM2 (50/125), OM3 (50/125), OM4 (50/125), or OS2 (9/125).
  • Look for a rating like OFNP or OFNR
  • Check out any notes related to the construction like tactical or duplex, etc.

2. Are multimode and single-mode connectors interchangeable?

No, they are not interchangeable. The use of fiber optic color code lets you determine that a single-mode connector can never be installed over a multimode cable.

3. What are the standard colors for an outer jacket in a fiber optics cable?

Premise cables equipped with multimode fibers are orange and those with single-mode fibers are yellow. Those premise cables with hybrid fibers have black color. Indoor/outdoor cables of any type of fiber have black color.

4. Does the use of fiber optics color coding reduce errors?

Yes, with the use of fiber optic color coding, there is no need for redundant checking. An individual can conveniently get enough details of the cable simply by looking at it. Based on visual observation, one can determine the fiber type and carry out further processes quickly.

5. How does fiber optic color code saves installation time?

In fiber optic color coding, specific color is assigned to the fiber cable. So, technicians can precisely install the cable. Consequently, it makes sure the connections will be proper.

Fiber Optic Color Code: Knowledge Base-10TechPro

Final Thoughts

The fiber optic color code is a system that lets you visually differentiate fiber types from the colored fiber jacket, fiber boot, fiber connector, and more. Since it lets you quickly and easily identify the appropriate colors for relevant cable, it significantly saves you time. For fiber optic engineers, optical fiber color coding proves to be greatly beneficial during splicing. This is because colored fibers guarantee the stability of color codes all through a cable run.

Enjoyed this? Then be sure to check out this guide of the best fiber optic cable.