Comprehensive Tutorial of OM5 Optical Multimode Fiber – QSFPTEK

Comprehensive Tutorial of OM5 Optical Multimode Fiber

Data center bandwidth requirements and data transmission needs are expanding rapidly with the rapid development of new technologies.OM5 fiber is designed as a new multimode fiber (MMF), the data centers can get more bandwidth and higher speed through OM5 multimode fiber. It is typically used for high-speed transmission links. So do you know what features OM5 multimode fiber has and how it differs from OM4 cables? This post will introduce in detail what you must know about OM5 cables.

What is OM5 Optical Multimode Fiber?

The OM5 optical fiber is a new multimode fiber optic cable that is engineered for use in high bandwidth and in short to medium transmission distances. ISO and TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) standardization organizations published the newest cabling specifications ISO 11801 3rd and TIA-568.0-D, separately, in 2017, which established guidelines for a 50/125μm standard for wideband multimode fiber (WBMMF) in order to allow for short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM) transmission. The color of OM5 is lime green for the outer jacket, while the geometry of OM5 (50μm core, 125μm cladding) is common to OM3 and OM4, thus making OM5 fiber optic cable backward compatible with OM3 and OM4 optical fibers.

OM5 Multimode Fiber
Figure 1: OM5 Multimode Fiber


The OM5 cable was the first to be approved for WBMMF (Wide Band Multimode Fiber). The OM5 fiber optic cable is driven by shortwave wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM), which uses a couple of fibers to carry data rates from 40Gbps to 100Gbps. The multiplexing design of OM5 cable allows it to significantly reduce the number of parallel fibers.

OM5 cable transmits data in the wavelength range from 850nm to 950nm, and it requires only one pair of parallel fibers to increase the data rate up to 100Gb/s. The feature of requiring only one pair of parallel fibers allows OM5 cable to have less crosstalk and less overall loss during data transmission. This is a significant improvement over the 3.5dB/km attenuation of OM3 and OM4 cables which are 3.0dB/km. What's more, OM5 optical cables can utilize 4 separate wavelengths within their range, and each channel has the same channel loss. The following table shows the OM5 multimode fiber distance:



Bandwidth (MHZ*KM)


Distance Limitation



Fiber Type

Core/Cladding (μm)

Overfilled Launch (LED Source), 850nm

Effective Modal Bandwidth(LASER Source), 850 nm

10GBASE-SR Distance

40GBASE-SR4 Distance

100GBASE-SR10 Distance





300m / 1000ft

100m / 330ft

100m / 330ft





400m / 1300ft

150m / 500ft

150m / 500ft





400m / 1300ft

150m / 500ft

150m / 500ft

What is The WBMMF and SWDM Technology?


The wideband multi-mode fiber is the preferred option for building network cabling systems in high-performance data centers. Multi-mode optical fiber enables transmission rates of up to 100 GB/s through the use of pairs of fibers to transmit the light signals simultaneously in the data center. Combining pairs of fibers up to 16 strands per cable can increase the whole performance by adding just one pair of fibers.

Multimode fiber utilizes a wideband characteristic that enables each fiber strand to transmit data simultaneously, making the fiber pair operate virtually for multi-pair transmission. The designed wideband has increased the transmission speed by a factor of 4 in the current application. Future applications are expected to use additional synchronous bands to further increase data rates.

Total Bandwidth Comparison

Figure 2: Total Bandwidth Comparison


A new technology that simultaneously transmits and receives light at four separate wavelengths across a wideband multi-mode optical fiber, shortwave wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM) is fed by vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) and transmits the signals over one pair of fibers. SWDM modules are designed to operate at 850nm, 880nm, 910nm, and 940nm, and SWDM optical devices are configured to transmit data through the use of 2 SWDM optics that are compatible with OM3/OM4/OM5 cabling systems, but SWDM transceivers cannot be utilized with your current fiber infrastructure except when they use broadband multimode fiber.

100GbE(4x25GbE/Wavelength 2-Fiber SWDM)

Figure 3: 100GbE(4x25GbE/Wavelength 2-Fiber SWDM)

The Differences Between OM5 and OM4 Optical Fiber


Based on most of the current market, OM5 cabling systems are approximately 50% more expensive than OM4 fiber. The increasing lower cost of single-mode optical modules as a result of silicon photonic technology and massive popular demand in the telecom industry has made single-mode transceivers significantly inexpensive with most data centers preferring single-mode optical modules. For example, a single-mode MTP trunk cable running over 100GBASE-PSM4, supporting up to 500 meters, costs only $750.

Transmission Distance

The maximum transmission distances of OM4 and OM5 fiber optic cables are different in multimode IEEE applications and non-multimode IEEE applications. When in a multimode IEEE application, the maximum transmission distance that both can achieve is the same. When a 40G-SWDM4 transceiver is running on OM4, the link can support a maximum transmission distance of 400m, and when this optical module is connected to OM5 optical fiber, the maximum transmission distance is 500m. And when an engineer is deploying a non-IEEE compliant application, such as a 100G-SWDM4 optical module, the maximum transmission distance of the OM5 link is 150m, while the maximum transmission distance is only 100m when operating on the OM4 optical fiber.

Fiber Count

The use of OM5 multimode fiber allows for a reduction in the number of fibers. The OM5 fiber is the most recent release compared to OM3 and OM4 optical fibers, and it can be backward compatible with OM3 and OM4 fiber cabling. SWDM technology allows OM5 optical fiber to be used in 40G and 100G SWDM4 cabling using only two pieces of OM5 optical fiber and 40/100G SWDM4 transceivers.


Management & Installation

In most 40G and 100G applications, multimode fiber is typically used in data centers and building and campus backbones. OM5 multimode fiber gives these systems the added convenience of installing and troubleshooting systems that single-mode fiber can't. Use the latest OM5 optical fiber to ensure adequate convenience.


Through the introduction of this article, I believe you have more understanding of OM5 multimode fiber. The advantage of OM5 multimode fiber is that it saves engineers more time in installation, troubleshooting, and cleaning, while in choosing OM5 optical modules you should pay attention to the required transmission distance of the fiber link, when it is above 500m you should choose the single-mode fiber, If you still have questions, please contact QSFPTEK via Welcome to get a quote!

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