What Is OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 Fiber?

There are different types of fiber optic cables available for fiber optic communication, the fiber modes include single-mode and multi-mode. In ANSI/TIA-568.3-D, the TIA adopted the nomenclature for fiber outlined in the international standard ISO/IEC 11801. The multimode fiber is prefixed with “OM” (optical mode) and the single mode mode “OS”. Multi-mode cables are classified OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 types. Each type has different optical properties.

OM1 fiber has a core size of 62.5 micrometers (µm). With 200/500 MHz*km overfilled launch (OFL) bandwidth at 850/1300nm, it is commonly used for 100 Megabit Ethernet applications, and it can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up 33 meters. The cables in OM1 fiber typically comes with orange jacket.

OM2 fiber has 50µm core size, and with 200/500 MHz*km overfilled launch (OFL) bandwidth at 850/1300nm. It is more commonly used for 1 Gigabit Ethernet applications, but for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, the maximum transmission distance could reach up to 82 meters. Same as cables in the OM1 fiber, the recommended jacket color is orange too.

Both OM1 and OM2 work well with LED based equipment that can send hundreds of modes of light down the cable.

OM3 fiber has core size is 50µm, same as OM2 fiber, but having 2000 MHz*km effective modal bandwidth (EMB, also known as laser bandwidth), 5 times wider than OM2 fiber. As an laser-optimized fiber, it is designed for 10 Gb/s transmission, running 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 300 meters.  Since its inception, production techniques have improved the overall capabilities of OM3 to enable its use with 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters. 10 Gigabit Ethernet is its most common use. The cables in OM3 fiber typically comes with aqua jacket.

OM4 fiber is a further laser-optimized 50um fiber having 4700 MHz*km EMB bandwidth designed for 10 Gb/s, 40 Gb/s, and 100 Gb/s transmission. Same as OM2, OM3 fiber, OM4 fiber has 50um core size, but supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up 550 meters and it supports 100 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 150 meters. The suggested jacket color of fiber cable in OM4 fiber is aqua.  

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