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OM4 vs. OM5: What’s the Difference?

As the demand for bandwidth, new transmission media must be developed to meet the requirements of users. The latest in optical transmission media is called OM5 fiber. To help you use this advanced fiber to its greatest advantage, this paper describes the basis of OM5 fiber, and highlights the key differences with OM4.

What Is OM5 Fiber?

According to the ISO/IEC 11801, OM5 fiber specifies a wider range of wavelengths between 850nm and 953nm. It was created to support short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM), which is one of the many new technologies being developed for transmitting 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s.

In June 2016, ANSI/TIA-492AAAE, the new wideband multimode fiber standard, was approved for publication. And in October of 2016, OM5 was announced as the official designation for cabling containing WBMMF (Wide Band Multimode Fiber) by ISO/IEC 11801. From then on, OM5 may be a potential new option for data centers that require greater link distances and higher speeds.

OM4 vs. OM5: What’s the Difference?

Until recently, OM1 and OM2 fiber can no longer support 25 Gbps and 40 Gbps data transmission speeds, so OM3 and OM4 were the main choices for multimode fiber to support 25G, 40G and 100G Ethernet. However, it’s becoming more costly for optical fiber cable to support next-generation Ethernet speed migration as bandwidth requirements increase. At this time, the present OM5 extends the benefits of this multimode fiber in data centers. Here is the comparison between OM4 and OM5:

OM4 fiber has been on the market since 2005, which is completely backward compatible with OM3 fiber and shares the same aqua jacket. OM4 fiber is a 50µm laser-optimized multimode fiber with extended bandwidth. It allows 10G link distances of up to 550 meters and offers an Effective Modal Bandwidth (EMB) of 4700 MHz-km.


By comparison, OM5 is also a 50µm laser-optimized multimode fiber and uses VCSEL lasers, which enable optimal support of emerging SWDM applications. But the key difference is that EMB is specified only at 850 nm for OM4 at 4700 MHz-km, while OM5 EMB values are specified at both 850 nm and 953 nm and the value at 850 nm is greater than that of OM4. Therefore, OM5 fiber offers users longer length distances and more choices in optical fiber. In addition, TIA has specified lime green as the official cable jacket color for OM5, while OM4 is aqua jacket. And OM4 is designed for 10Gb/s, 40Gb/s, and 100Gb/s transmission, but OM5 is designed for 40Gb/s, and 100Gb/s transmission which reduces the fiber counts for high speed transmissions.

What’ more, OM5 can support four SWDM channels, each carrying 25G of data to deliver 100G Ethernet using a single pair of multimode fibers. Besides, it is fully compatible with OM3 and OM4 fiber. OM5 is available globally for installations in multiple enterprise environments, from campuses to buildings to data centers. In a word, OM5 is a better choice than OM4 on transmission distance, speed and cost.


OM5 fiber provides next-generation multimode fiber performance for today and tomorrow’s high speed applications. With its significantly higher bandwidth, it can be assured that multimode fiber will continue to provide the most cost effective solutions for short reach applications in data centers and LANs. OM5 precisely meets the demands, and it will be your preferable choice for your data centers.

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