Differences Between OM3 and OM4 Fiber

Differences Between OM3 and OM4 Fiber

When deciding between OM3 and OM4, here are a few considerations for you to take into account.

OM - Optical Multimode

Used for short distances, Optical Multimode (OM) is a type of optical fiber with a large core diameter that allows multiple modes of light to propagate inside the core. This allows more data to pass through, however due to the amount of light being reflected and the attenuation that accompanies it, this type of fiber is mainly used for short distances when compared to single mode fiber.

OM3 vs OM4

In terms of OM3 when compared to OM4, all other things being the same (connectors, termination, transceivers, fiber core size (50/125), Laser Optimized Multimode Fiber), the only difference is in the construction of the cable. This difference makes OM4 fiber produce less attenuation, which results in greater signal transmission due to less power loss. The higher modal bandwidth (4700 MHz*km OM4 vs 2000 MHz*km OM3) offered by OM4 allows speeds of 10Gb/s, 40Gb/s, and 100Gb/s over longer lengths when compared to OM3.

Distance Chart OM4 vs OM3

IEEE Standards Port Type Fiber Type Number of Fibers Maximum Link Length
10 Gbit Ethernet 802.3ae 10GBASE-SR OM3 2 300 meters
10 Gbit Ethernet 802.3ae 10GBASE-SR OM4 2 400 meters
40 Gbit Ethernet P802.3ba 40GBASE-SR4 OM3 8 100 meters
40 Gbit Ethernet P802.3ba 40GBASE-SR4 OM4 8 150 meters
100 Gbit Ethernet P802.3ba 100GBASE-SR10 OM3 20 100 meters
100 Gbit Ethernet P802.3ba 100GBASE-SR10 OM4 20 150 meters

Aqua or Violet

To make cable identification easier for OM3 and OM4, the violet color was adopted (first in Europe before proceeding to North America) to designate OM4. This encompasses the cables, connectors, and adapters.

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