Fiber optic cable can be divided into several types. Usually, we see single-mode and multimode fiber types available on the market. Multimode fibers are described by their core and cladding diameters. The diameter of the multi-mode fiber is either 50/125 µm or 62.5/125 µm. At present, there are five commonly used OM (multimode) fibers: OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 and OM5. Each type of them has different characteristics.

Multimode-Fiber-Types-1

OM Multimode Fiber Standard

  • OM1 cable typically comes with an orange jacket and has a core size of 62.5 micrometers (µm). It can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up 33 meters. It is most commonly used for 100 Megabit Ethernet applications
  • OM2 also has a suggested jacket color of orange. Its core size is 50µm instead of 62.5µm. It supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 82 meters but is more commonly used for 1 Gigabit Ethernet applications.
  • OM3 has a suggested jacket color of aqua. Like OM2, its core size is 50µm. OM3 supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 300 meters. Besides OM3 is able to support 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters. 10 Gigabit Ethernet is its most common use.
  • OM4 also has a suggested jacket color of aqua. It is a further improvement to OM3. It also uses a 50µm core but it supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up 550 meters and it supports 100 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 150 meters.
  • OM5 also known as WBMMF (wideband multimode fiber), has a suggested jacket color of lime green. It is the newest type of multimode fiber, and it is backwards compatible with OM4. It has the same core size as OM2, OM3, and OM4.

What’s the Difference?

Bandwidth and attenuation comparison between different OM fiber optic cables

 

Multimode Fiber Overfilled launch bandwidth (MHz.km) Laser Launch Attenuations (dB/km)
Fiber Type TIA Fiber Standard Core diameter (um) 850 nm 1300 nm 850 nm 850nm 1300nm
OM1 492-AAAA 62.5 200 500 Not specified 3.5 1.5
OM2 492-AAAB 50 500 500 Not specified 3.5 1.5
OM3 492-AAAC 50 1500 500 2,000 2.3 0.6
OM4 492-AAAD 50 3500 500 4,700 2.3 0.6
OM5 492-AAAE 50 3500 500 4,700 2.4 0.6

 

Maximum channel length comparison between different OM fiber optic cables

 Fiber Mode 100BASE 1000BASE 10GBASE 40GBASE 100GBASE
850nm 1300nm 850nm 1300nm
OM1 up to 2000m 275m 550m 33m up to 300m Not specified Not specified
OM2 up to 2000m 550m 550m 82m up to 300m Not specified Not specified
OM3 up to 2000m 550m 550m 300m up to 300m 100m 100m
OM4 up to 2000m 1000m 550m 550m 400m* 150m 150m
OM5 up to 2000m Not specified Not specified Not specified 400m* 150m 150m

Multimode fibers are able to transmit different distance ranges at various data rate. You can choose the most suited one according to your actual application.