In the ever-expanding world of telecommunication and networking, fibre optic cables have become the backbone of data transmission. These high-speed, high-capacity cables consist of individual fibre cores enclosed within a protective sheath. One of the critical aspects of fibre optic cable deployment is the numbering and colour coding of these cores. However, a significant challenge arises due to the lack of a unified global standard. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different standards of individual fibre core numbering to colour mapping across various countries and providers, shedding light on the complexities and implications of this diversity.

  1. The Need for Color Coding

Fibre optic cables typically house numerous fibre cores, each responsible for transmitting data. To manage and troubleshoot these cables effectively, it’s essential to label and distinguish each core. This is where color coding comes into play. Colour-coded fibres simplify the installation process and help technicians quickly identify and trace specific connections when needed.

  1. The TIA/EIA-598 Standard (North America)

In North America, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) collaborated to create the TIA/EIA-598 standard. According to this standard, fibre cores are identified by a specific colour scheme. The first twelve fibre are usually coloured in a repeating sequence of blue, orange, green, and brown. The next twelve fibres follow the same sequence but have an added stripe. The colours continue to change throughout the cable, providing an efficient and consistent identification system.

  1. The IEC 60304 Standard (Europe)

In Europe, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) introduced the IEC 60304 standard, which differs from the TIA/EIA-598. The IEC standard employs a more straightforward approach with just four basic colours: blue, orange, green, and brown. Instead of a repeating sequence, the IEC standard assigns a unique colour to each fibre core throughout the cable.

  1. Asian and International Standards

In various Asian countries, diverse standards are prevalent, making it challenging for international telecommunication companies to deploy standardised systems across borders. Some countries follow a mix of TIA and IEC standards, while others adopt unique regional colour-coding schemes.

  1. Implications for Network Operators and Technicians

The lack of a unified global standard for fibre core numbering and colour mapping poses several challenges for network operators and technicians:

a. Interoperability: International companies may face compatibility issues when integrating networks operating on different colour-coding standards.

b. Training: Technicians need to be well-versed in multiple colour-coding systems, which can lead to confusion and potential errors during installation or maintenance.

c. Troubleshooting: Inconsistent colour coding complicates fault-finding and repair procedures, potentially leading to increased downtime.

  1. Efforts Towards Standardisation

Recognising the challenges posed by diverse colour-coding standards, industry bodies and standardisation organisations are working towards convergence. Collaboration between global telecommunication authorities to establish a unified color-coding standard could streamline fibre optic deployments, enhance cross-border compatibility, and reduce operational complexities.


Fiber optic networks have revolutionised modern communication, enabling rapid data transmission across the globe. However, the absence of a single, standardised approach to fibre core numbering and color mapping creates complexities for network operators, technicians, and international deployments. As the demand for high-speed connectivity continues to grow, it becomes imperative for industry stakeholders to work together towards global standardisation. Until then, understanding regional colour-coding practices remains crucial for ensuring seamless networking operations across countries and providers.