What Do All The Colors Mean? Fiber Optic Color Code Explained

What Do All The Colors Mean? Fiber Optic Color Code Explained

Written by Ben Hamlitsch, trueCABLE Technical and Product Innovation Manager RCDD, FOI

We are surrounded by colors. Everything we look at has or is a specific color. We use those colors to identify things or even take certain actions. Colors are even used in enforcing laws. Think of a traffic light; you have red, yellow, and green. Each of these colors signify something very specific and we know based on these colors what they mean and what we are supposed to do.

There are six fundamental colors in the visible spectrum – These are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. When we see a rainbow, we are seeing these principal spectral colors and from these colors come all other colors that we see with our eyes. The Visible Spectrum of Colors

In this blog post, we're going to dive into how these color concepts translate to the world of fiber optics. Fiber optic color coding is an essential part of managing and working with fiber optic cables and components. The TIA-598-D standard defines a standardized color-coding system that engineers and technicians rely on to identify different types of fiber optic cables, connectors, and individual fibers.

To help illustrate these fiber optic color coding principles, we've also created a complementary video that covers the same information. So if you'd prefer to watch rather than read, feel free to check out the video below. Otherwise, let's continue exploring the ins and outs of the fiber optic color code system.


Benefits to Fiber Optic Color Coding

Fiber color codes are used to help identify fiber cables (including patch cables, premises cables, and outdoor cables), fiber connectors, and individual fibers. There are multiple benefits of using a fiber optic color coding system in both indoor and outdoor applications including when fiber optic cables are correctly color-coded, it is much easier for installers to identify which cable goes where. This can save a lot of time and resources during the installation process, ultimately making for a more cost-effective project.

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

When fiber optic cables are color coded, it is much easier to select the strands to be spliced together. A splice tray may carry up to 72 fibers, meaning it would be chaos without a color tracking system. Put simply, tracking the different colors of the fibers, means engineers can ensure continuity throughout a cable run.

One of the biggest benefits of fiber optic color coding is that it can help to reduce human errors. This is because fiber technicians will be able to quickly and easily identify which fiber goes where, thus minimizing the risk of mistakes. Without color coding, it’s relatively easy for an engineer to mix up a 50/125 with a 62.5/125 multimode fiber. And of course, multi-fiber cables typically contain tens if not hundreds of individual strands.

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

How Are Fiber Optic Cables Typically Color Coded?

The TIA-598 fiber optic cable color code standard is the most used method for color-coding fiber optic cables. This standard was developed by the Electronics Industries Alliance (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The EIA has since been dropped and we now only use the TIA standards alliance.

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

  1. The outer cable jacket of the fiber optic cable
  2. The fiber optic connector

There is no specific fiber splicing color code; however, the individual fiber strand color code would follow TIA-598. Cable jacket colors, such as multimode fiber color and singlemode fiber color, will be explained in the following section.

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 Optic Cable Jacket Color Breakdown

Inner Cable Organizational 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 TIA-598, inner fibers are color coded in a group of 12 fibers and they are counted in a clockwise direction.

For cables that consist of multiple buffer tubes each with 12 or less strands, each tube will be numbered or colored following the same fiber color code, e.g., 1st tube is blue, 2nd is orange, etc.

For cables that consist of more than 12 strands, like a 24 strand fiber color code, the fiber optic cable color repeats itself. Each group of 12 fibers is identified by some other means. For example, 24 strand groups have the fiber color code repeating with some variation, e.g., the 1st group of 12 strands are solid colors, and the 2nd group is a solid color with a stripe or some other identifying marks. In the image below, you can see the fiber colors in order, with positions 1–12 being the base colors.


Fiber Optic Connector Color Code

Are fiber connectors color coded? Yes, they are! Connectors are also 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. Fiber optic cable jackets also have a distinct color, for instance, single mode fiber color is yellow. However, the advent of metallic connectors like the FC and ST made connector color coding difficult, so colored strain relief boots are also used. The boot color may vary among manufacturers. These colors can be found on various types of connectors. What are the 4 most common fiber optic connectors? In today’s fiber applications, you will most commonly see LC, SC, ST, and FC connectors. However, there are many other popular connectors, including multifiber connectors such as MTP/MPO.

Fiber Optic Color Coding Blog Chart

Quick tip: How do you remember fiber optic color codes? Struggling to remember which color goes where? Here is a simple way to break down the fiber color code 12 fiber colors to easily remember them.


Fiber Optic Color Coding Group Breakdown for Memorization


Fiber optic cable color code is a system that helps us distinguish fiber types visually from the colored fiber jacket, fiber connector, fiber boot, etc. The optical fiber color coding is also practical for fiber optic engineers during splicing because the colorful fibers also help ensure the continuity of color codes throughout a cable run. Thus, fiber optic cable colors are essential to fiber optic communications, like the twisted pair color code for copper wiring systems.

The color coding of fiber optic cables plays a crucial role in the organization, installation, and maintenance of complex network infrastructures. By adhering to a standardized color code for fiber, technicians can swiftly identify and differentiate between various types of fiber optic cables, such as single-mode and multimode, as well as their specific functions within a network. This systematic approach to fiber optic cable colors eliminates confusion, reduces installation time, and minimizes the risk of errors during setup and troubleshooting.

Utilizing a fiber chart color as a reference, professionals can easily decode color codes, ensuring that the correct cables are connected to the appropriate terminals or devices. The fiber colors in order, as defined by industry standards, aid in the quick identification of cable types and their respective bandwidth capabilities, enhancing efficiency during both initial installation and future network expansions or repairs.

Knowing how to decode color codes is essential for network technicians, as it allows for the precise management of the physical layer of the network. The standardized color-coding scheme not only streamlines the installation process but also simplifies the task of network documentation and updates. When cables are easily identifiable, the likelihood of accidental disconnections or improper connections is significantly reduced, thereby maintaining the integrity and performance of the network.

In conclusion, the use of color code fiber in the design and implementation of fiber optic networks offers substantial benefits. It enhances operational efficiency, reduces the potential for error, and supports the effective management and maintenance of network infrastructure. This color-coding system is an indispensable tool for ensuring the reliability and high performance of fiber optic communications.

FAQ For Fiber Color Code Understanding

 What are the most common fiber optic color codes?

The most common fiber optic color codes are established by the TIA-598 standard. This standard ensures consistency and reliability in identifying and managing fiber optic cables across the industry.

Can I create my own color code system?

While it is technically possible to create your own color code system, it is highly recommended to follow industry standards like TIA-598. Adhering to these standards helps prevent confusion and errors, particularly when working with other professionals or integrating with existing systems.

What are the best tools for learning fiber optic color codes?

Learning fiber optic color codes can be made easier with various tools and techniques:

  • Mnemonics: Memory aids that help you recall the sequence of colors.
  • Visualization Techniques: Creating mental images or diagrams to remember the color order.
  • Specialized Tools: Tools like color code wheels and charts can provide quick reference and reinforce learning.

How can I make sure to follow safety guidelines while dealing with fiber optic cables?

To ensure safety while working with fiber optic cables, always:

  • Adhere to your workplace's prescribed safety guidelines.
  • Participate in regular training sessions to stay updated on best practices.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as required.

Is there any technology specifically designed to help remember these color codes?

Yes, there are several mobile apps and online platforms designed to help you memorize fiber optic color codes. These tools often include interactive features, quizzes, and visual aids to enhance learning and retention.

What Are the 12 Colors of Fiber in Order?

The 12 standard colors for fiber optic cables, as per the TIA-598 standard, are:

  1. Blue
  2. Orange
  3. Green
  4. Brown
  5. Slate (Gray)
  6. White
  7. Red
  8. Black
  9. Yellow
  10. Violet
  11. Rose (Pink)
  12. Aqua

What Do the Colors of Fiber Optic Cables Mean?

The colors of fiber optic cables serve as a standardized method for identifying the type of fiber and/or the function of the cable. This color-coding system aids in the organization, installation, and maintenance of fiber optic networks, ensuring that cables are easily identifiable and correctly connected.

What Color Is Fiber 9?

Fiber 9 is Yellow. In the TIA-598 color coding standard, each fiber within a cable is assigned a specific color to help with identification and organization. Yellow is used for Fiber 9, making it easier to locate and manage during installation and maintenance.

What Color Is Fiber 12?

Fiber 12 is Aqua. Aqua is typically used for identifying the twelfth fiber in a bundle, according to the TIA-598 standard. This color coding helps technicians quickly and accurately identify and work with the specific fiber, reducing the risk of errors in complex installations.

What Color Is Fiber 11?

Fiber 11 is Rose (Pink). The use of Rose (Pink) for Fiber 11 is part of the standardized color coding system that ensures consistency and clarity in fiber optic networks. This standardization is crucial for efficient network management, troubleshooting, and repairs.


Understanding and utilizing the fiber optic color code is an essential skill for anyone involved in the installation, maintenance, or management of fiber optic networks. By adhering to the TIA-598 standard, technicians can ensure consistency, reduce errors, and streamline the often complex processes involved in handling fiber optic cables.


trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the “Cable Academy” blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website subject to our website terms and conditions. While the information on this website is about data networking and electrical issues, it is not professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.

    1 out of ...