What do OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 mean?
There are different types of fiber optic cable. Some types are single mode, some types have multiple modes. Multi-mode wires can be found in the OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 variants. Each type has different properties.
The OM1 cable typically comes with an orange jacket and has a basic size of 62.5 () m) micrometers. It can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 33 meters. It is widely used in 100 Megabit Ethernet applications.
The OM2 also has a raised orange coat color. Its average size is 50µm instead of 62.5µm. It supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet with a maximum length of 82 meters but is widely used in 1 Gigabit Ethernet systems.
Both the OM1 and OM2 work well with LED-based devices that can send hundreds of light modes down to the cable.
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The OM3 has the color of the raised aqua jacket. Like the OM2, its basic size is 50µm, but the cable is designed for laser-based equipment using a few light modes. As a result of this efficiency, it is capable of using 10 Gigabit Ethernet at speeds up to 300 meters. Since its inception, production strategies have improved the overall capacity of the OM3 to allow for its use of 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters. Gigabit Ethernet is its most common use.
The OM4 also has the color of the raised aqua jacket. It is a continuous development of OM3. It also uses a 50µm core but supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet with a length of 550 meters and supports 100 Gigabit Ethernet with a length of up to 150 meters.
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Multi-mode fiber tends to cost effectively within corporate buildings or campuses while single mode is best suited for long distance running. Single-mode fiber can transmit large distances but generally requires more expensive equipment. Most modes cost good to install when the length does not exceed a few hundred meters.