Multimode Fiber-Optic Cable

Multimode Fiber-Optic Cable - The Particulars

Multimode and single mode fibers are often the root of discussion because both are forms of fiber-optic cables, though multimode and single mode fiber differ in substantial ways. Some factors are more obvious than others; all specs are important in understanding the best ways in which these two types of fiber-cable should be applied. Multimode fiber will be the main emphasis with single mode fiber serving as a contrasting element for the sake of this analysis.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Multimode Fiber

First and foremost, multimode fiber cable is ideal for short distance applications; this is a notable distinction between single mode fiber because single mode is constructed and intended to run long distances. The inner structure of the fiber cable is what determines this function. Single mode fiber has a narrow core diameter, averaging 9 micrometers, while multimode fiber has a core diameter of 50 to 62.5 micrometers. This variance poses the question: why?

Multimode fiber has a wider diameter because multiple light sources are meant to travel through the cable at a given time, whereas single mode fiber allots for a lone light source as the sole means of transmission. The benefits of having multiple light sources is that an amplified amount of information is able to travel through the fiber at a given time. Conversely, the rate of attenuation becomes greater as the number of light sources rises and, therefore, the average attenuation of a single light source will remain significantly lower.

The Five Categorizations of Multimode

Another imperative aspect to grasp is that multimode fiber comes in 5 primary variations: OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, and OM5. These classifications are vital in defining the overall purpose and performance of the multimode fiber.

OM1 fiber has a core size of 62.5 micrometers that supports highspeed Ethernet connections of up to 10 gigabits for 33 meters, which makes OM1 optimal for the shortest of distances. OM1 is also identifiable by the orange jacket that is typically associated with the fiber. OM1 also utilizes both LED and laser light sources.

OM2 fiber has a core size of 50 micrometers, with the ability to sustain an Ethernet capacity of 10 gigabits for 82 meters. Similar to OM1, OM2 fiber is also recognizable in a fitted orange jacket, employing both LED and laser light sources.


standard fiber types


OM3 fiber has a core size of 50 micrometers, the same as OM2 fiber, only OM3 fiber comes in an aqua jacket. OM3 can carry up to 10 gigabit Ethernet for 300 meters. A significant facet to understand is that 40 to 100 gigabits is also obtainable, though only for a maximum length of 100 meters; OM3 functions best to achieve the previous specs through the use of a laser light source.

OM4 fiber has an aqua-colored jacket and a diameter of 50 micrometers, similar to OM3; OM4 also uses a laser light source and is backwards compatible with OM3 fiber. Moreover, OM4 differs from OM3 fiber with a rate of up to but not to exceed 10 gigabit Ethernet for an expanse of 400 meters.

OM3 and OM4 are the current industry standard.

OM5 fiber has a distinctive lime green jacket, differentiating this type of multimode from the ones listed beforehand. OM5 is backwards compatible with OM3 and OM4, utilizing a laser light source in order to reach spans measuring 500 meters at a capacity of 10 gigabit Ethernet.

What is the cost of multimode fiber?

The costs are subjective, when comparing single mode to multimode fiber. Multimode often costs more for the fiber itself; nonetheless, installation costs are much higher for single mode fiber. Both have distinguishing traits that should serve as the guide when considering which would provide the ideal mode of transmission in regard to a particular area.

To Conclude

Multimode fiber has numerous unique qualities that allow this type of cable to provide exceptional data speeds and transmission quality at a high capacity, covering short distances. The variations of multimode fiber offer a solution to suffice in individual circumstances that require an influx of information to be transmitted over a shorter distance. We at Fiber Savvy provide all that is quintessential when installing multimode fiber and we would be thrilled to help in any way that we can, in order to make the project at hand a pleasant and easy one to accomplish.

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