OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, OM5 fibers – What’s the difference?

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3 different fiber cables in orange, blue, and green

Difference between OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, OM5 fibers
Fiber optic cabling utilizes either single mode fiber or multimode fiber, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Multimode Fiber is an optical fiber cable that allows the light impulses emitted to travel in two separate paths known as “modes”. Singlemode fiber in contrast to multimode is an optical cable which only allows light to travel through a single path. Multimode fiber offers five different types of cabling which are OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, OM5 fibers.

Differences between single mode and multi-mode

OM1/ OM2

OM1 and OM2 are the two early forms of multimode cable that were offered. Both share an orange jacket color in accordance to industry standard. They both support a data rate of 1GB at 850nm. They’re also both used generally for short-distance transmissions such as short-haul networks, Local Area Networks (LANs) and private networks. OM1 has a core size of 62.5 um and is capable of distances up to 300 meters while OM2 has a core size of 50um and can travel up to 600 meters. Both OM1 and Om2 utilizes an LED light source for transmission, however OM1 is commonly used for 100Mbps applications which OM2 is generally used for 1000Mbps applications.

OM3 / OM4

OM3 and OM3 share many features including an aqua colored jacket, a core size of 50um, and a data rate of 10GB at 850nm. Unlike its predecessors both OM3 and OM4 utilizes lasers as a light source in order to support 10G, 40G, and 100G Ethernet. OM3 is capable of covering distances up to 300 meters. OM3 uses fewer modes of light thus enabling increased speeds, it is able to run 40GB or 100Gb up to 100 meters utilizing an MPO connector. OM3 is generally used in larger private networks. OM4 can cover distances up to 550 meters. OM4 can run 100Gb up to 150 meters using an MPO connector. It is commonly used in high-speed networks, data centers, financial centers, and corporate campuses.


OM5 is the newest type of multimode fiber cable and specifies a range of wavelengths between 850nm and 953nm. OM5 has a core size of 50um and comes in a lime green jacket. It was created in response to SWDM (short wavelength division multiplexing) technology which is now being used to transmit 40Gb and 100GB, SWDM allows OM5 to transmit multiple signals on a single fiber. By using a single fiber to transmit multiple signals OM5 is able to save fiber, especially when working with a 200G or 400G Ethernet network. OM5 is capable of carrying transmissions up to 150 meters.

Also, read Aqua or slate: what’s your flavor? The true meaning of fiber color codes

Contact Vitex product experts to help you choose the right fiber optic cable for your applications. With 20 years in the fiber optics industry and based out of New Jersey, you can count on us for all your fiber optic needs.

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