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What Is Special About OM5 Fiber, and What Are Its Uses?

As fiber optic cables continue to advance, it can be challenging to distinguish between the latest versions. The topic of this article, OM5 fiber, is a multimode fiber cable designed for high bandwidth and short to medium-range applications. It’s the first approved wideband multimode fiber (WBMMF) for applications that use two fibers to transmit from 40 GBs to 100 GBs using shortwave wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM).

This article compares the different types of OM fiber cables, highlights the advantages of OM5 fiber, and discusses the full range of applications.  

Callout 1: OM5 cable on black spool- OM5 fiber cable definition

OM Fiber Comparison

Before we examine OM5 fiber further, here are the other OM versions for comparison.

Multimode Fiber Color Typical Data Rate Bandwidth Distance
OM1 Orange 100 MB at 850 nm 200 MHz Up to 33 meters
OM2 Orange 1 GB at 850 nm 500 MHz Up to 82 meters
OM3 Aqua 10 GB at 850 nm 2000 MHz Up to 300 meters
OM4 Aqua 40 GB at 850 nm 4700 MHz Up to 550 meters
OM5 Lime 100 GB at 850 to 950 nm 28000 MHz Up to 500 meters

The big difference for OM5 is that it can handle at least four WDM channels across the range of 850 to 950 nm. The OM1 to OM4 fibers can handle only one channel. Another difference is the fiber diameter with OM1 at 62.5 µm and OM2 through OM5 at 50 µm.  

Callout 2: Detailed close-up of OM5 fiber cable- OM5 fiber comparisons- four listed

Note that OM1 and OM2 are designed for LED transmitters that provide lower costs but also limit their bandwidth. OM3, OM4, and OM5 use laser-optimized multimode (LOMMF) transmission. That comes with a higher price tag but offers higher bandwidth. 

OS2 fiber is the best option for long distances, with transmission rates over 10 GB and distances of up to 200 km. OS1 can only reach 2 km distances. OS fibers are single-mode, while OM fibers are multimode.

OM5 Fiber Advantages

OM5 fiber can use four separate wavelengths with consistent and lower channel loss plus reduced crosstalk due to fewer fibers. This multiplexing reduces the required parallel fiber counts as one OM5 pair can provide four data streams. This reduces cable count and cost. In that way, it also helps with cable management and space challenges.

OM5 fiber is also compatible with OM3 and OM4 systems, allowing incremental upgrades without replacing the existing infrastructure.  

Callout 3: OM5 fiber advantages- 5 listed

OM5 Fiber Applications

OM5 fiber is ideal for high-speed data environments. That primarily includes data centers in their never-ending drive toward greater bandwidth, higher speeds, and higher density. With OM5’s capability of reducing the number of cables by a factor of four, it can help significantly in increasing capacity while maintaining or even reducing the required footprint. 

In addition, all multimode fibers are very cost-effective for installation inside buildings. Single-mode fibers are best for long-distance outside runs. 

OM5 fiber is installed in a wide range of cable assemblies, including trunk cables and fiber optic backbones. They are also used in cell phone and Internet infrastructure build-outs. That includes small cell cables and fiber optic patch cables.  

Read more in our blog: Custom Indoor Network Patch Cables: Everything You Need to Know

Callout 4: OM5 fiber applications- 3 listed

We Can Help with Your Fiber Cable Selection

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If your requirements are already specified and ready for a quote for your current projects, we are prepared to meet your deadlines and pricing targets. Our extensive in-house services and advanced manufacturing capabilities are in place to meet your requirements.

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