Fiber optic cables are surrounded by a type of protective tube called a jacket. These jackets are color coded, mainly because it makes it very simple to tell the difference between different cables. Not all fiber optic cables do the same thing, or contain the same number of fibers. It’s important to know which is which, because each serves a different purpose. Connecting the wrong cable can lead to malfunction, which no one has time for. So, why are fiber optic cables color coded, and how are the colors decided? Read on to find out.
Industry Standard Classifications
There are actually many ways in which a jacket can indicate what kind of optical fiber is being used. First of all, the number of individual fibers are often shown through a color coded system. There are 12 colors in total, each of which has a specific number associated with it. This is how fiber optic professionals determine what they’re dealing with. Likewise, you can determine jacket color through the fiber type and class, as well as the diameter. For example, multimode OM2 cables with a 50 micron core diameter are colored orange, whereas single-mode OS2 cables are most commonly jacketed in yellow. A full understanding of this color coding system often requires extensive knowledge about fiber optics.
Government and Military Classifications
When it comes to government and military networks, you can forget everything you know about industry standard classifications. This is because the government end users color code their cabling to match specific network classifications. A few of the most common networks and their associated colors are SIPR (red), NIPR/UNCLASS (green), JWICS (yellow), and BICES (blue). To determine the optical fiber used, one must read the information that is imprinted on the jacket.
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