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Fiber Optic Cable & Connector Color Codes

Users have been installing hybrid (MM+SM) cables in the backbone for years. With the premises fiber optic cabling now including two varieties of 50/125 fiber, 62.5/125 and singlemode fibers, managing the cable plant is more difficult. We have already seen instances of users and installers being confused and getting bad test results, as well as having problems with networks operating when connected over the wrong fiber type.

There is a color code standard in process, TIA-598C that addresses this issue, which we could adopt and reference. Here is what it recommends:

Colored outer jackets or print may be used on Premises Distribution Cable, Premises Interconnect Cable or Interconnect Cord, or Premises Breakout Cable to identify the classification and fiber sizes of the fiber.

When colored jackets are used to identify the type of fiber in cable containing only one fiber type, the colors shall be as indicated in Table 3. Other colors may be used providing that the print on the outer jacket identifies fiber classifications in accordance with subclause 4.3.3. Such colors should be as agreed upon between manufacturer and user.

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. Table 3 shows the preferred nomenclature for the various fiber types, for example "12 Fiber 8 x 50/125, 4 x 62.5/125."

When the print on the outer jacket of premises cable is used to identify the types and classifications of the fiber, the nomenclature of Table 3 is preferred for the various fiber types. Distinctive print characters for other fiber types may be considered for addition to Table 3 at some future date.

 Fiber Type  Color Code
.  Non-military Applications(3)  Military Applications  Suggested Print Nomenclature
  Multimode (50/125) (TIA-492AAAB) (OM2)  Orange  Orange  50/125
 Multimode (50/125) (850 nm Laser-optimized) 
(TIA-492AAAC) (OM3, OM4)
 Aqua  Undefined   850 LO 50 /125
 Multimode (62.5/125) 
(TIA-492AAAA) (OM1)
 Orange  Slate  62.5/125
 Multimode (100/140)  Orange  Green  100/140
(TIA-492C000 / TIA-492E000) (OS1, OS2)
 Yellow  Yellow  SM/NZDS, SM
 Polarization Maintaining Single-mode  Blue  Undefined  Undefined (2)

1) Natural jackets with colored tracers may be used instead of solid-color jackets. 
2) Because of the limited number of applications for these fibers, print nomenclature are to be agreed upon between manufacturer and enduser 
3) Other colors may be used providing that the print on the outer 
jacket identifies fiber classifications per subclause 4.3.3. 
4) For some Premises Cable functional types (e.g., plenum cables), colored jacketing material may not be available. Distinctive jacket colors for other fiber types may be considered for addition to Table 3 at some future date.

Fiber Color Codes

Inside the cable or inside each tube in a loose tube cable, individual fibers will be color coded for identification. Fibers follow the convention created for telephone wires except fibers are identified individually, not in pairs. For splicing, like color fibers are spliced to ensure continuity of color codes throughout a cable run. 

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

Connector Color Codes:Since the earliest days of fiber optics, orange, black or gray was multimode and yellow singlemode. However, the advent of metallic connectors like the FC and ST made connector color coding difficult, so colored strain relief boots were often used. 

Fiber type
Connector Body
Strain Relief/
Mating Adapter
50/125 laser optimized
Singlemode APC 

Note: The article is from The Fiber Optic Association www.thefoa.org, edited by Elena. 

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