Multimode Fiber-Optic Cable

Multimode Fiber-Optic Cable - The Particulars

Multimode and Single Mode are both forms of fiber-optic cables but they differ in substantial ways. They each offer unique advantages over the other, some of which are obvious, but each specification plays an important role in how the cable should be applied. This blog will focus on the details of Multimode fiber and will refer to Single Mode fiber as a comparison. 

Understanding the Fundamentals of Multimode Fiber

Due to the inner structure of the fiber cable, Multimode Fiber Optic 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. 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 to accommodate for the multiple light sources that travel through the cable at a given time, compared to Single Mode fiber which allows for the transmission of a single light source at a time. The benefits of having multiple light sources is that an amplified amount of information is able to travel through the fiber at once. Consequently, 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 high speed Ethernet connections of up to 10 gigabits for 33 meters, which makes OM1 optimal for the shortest of distances. OM1 is identifiable by an orange outer jacket and 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 Sizes and Jacketing for Multimode Fiber


OM3 Fiber has a fiber core diameter of 50 micrometers, the same as OM2 fiber, and comes in an aqua jacket. OM3 can carry up to 10 gigabit Ethernet for 300 meters. A notable detail 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 previously mentioned 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 differs from OM3 fiber with a rate of up to but not exceeding 10 gigabit Ethernet for an expanse of 400 meters.

OM3 and OM4 are the current industry standard. In networks using OM3, OM4 can be substituted in when updating or growing the network. However, OM3 can not substitute in for OM4 because it has a lower clarity and does not have the specs needed to run a network at OM4 speeds. 

OM5 fiber has a distinctive lime green jacket, differentiating this type of multimode from the ones listed previously. 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, but installation costs are much higher for single mode fiber. Both have specific traits which should help guide a user towards which one they should use for a project.

To Conclude

Multimode fiber has unique qualities that allow this 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 any project that requires an influx of information to be transmitted over a short distance. We at Fiber Savvy provide all the essentials when installing Multimode fiber and would be thrilled to help make your project come together, so if you have any questions call us today!

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