OM5 fiber optics - The Next Multimode Standard?

OM5 Multimode fiber optic has arrived, but, what is OM5 Fiber? OM5, previously known as wide band multimode fiber or WB MMF.

The IEC/ISO standards bodies have recently agreed that WBMMF (Wide Band Multimode Fiber) is the nomenclature of OM5. This specifically relates to 50/125 laser-optimized multimode fiber or LOMFF that has been developed for use within the 850nm to 950nm range for either single or multi-wavelength transmission.

The effective modal bandwidth for OM5 fiber has been specified at the lower and upper wavelengths of 4700 at 850nm and 2470 at 953nm respectively.

This decision was made in October 2016 by the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1) Subcommittee 25 (SC 25) Interconnection of Information Technology Equipment.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) adopted the term OM5 in certain standards it produces. In June 2016, TIA’s TR-42.12 Optical Fibers and Cables Subcommittee approved the ANSI/TIA-492AAAE standard, which specifically relates to WBMMF.

Check out the Beyondtech's Fiber Optics Cabling Color Guide.


1. OM5 is designed to support at least four low-cost wavelengths in the 850-950 nm range, enabling optimal support of emerging Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing (SWDM) applications that reduce parallel fiber count by at least a factor of four to allow continued use of just two fibers (rather than eight) for transmitting 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s and reduced fiber counts for higher speeds.

2. OM5 cabling supports all legacy applications at least as well as OM4, and is fully compatible with OM3 and OM4 cabling.

3. The OM5 optical and mechanical attributes are compliant with OM4 50/125 μm specifications and include the additional specifications of effective modal bandwidth and attenuation at 953 nm. WB MMF is intended for operation using vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser (VCSEL) transceivers across the 846 to 953 nm wavelength range.

OM5 Color Code

4. TIA has specified lime green as the official cable jacket color for OM5.

5. OM5 EMB values are specified at both 850 and 953 nm.

6. There are no transmission standards that specify OM5. Transmission standards typically include only one multimode fiber variant that is selected based on economic, commercial, and technical criteria. Parallel transmission is the default multimode fiber variant for data rates ≥ 40G.

Wideband uses wavelengths to increase each fiber’s capacity by at least a factor of four, which allows at least a fourfold data-rate increase Instead of using four separate fibers to transmit four optical signals, the signals can be sent down one fiber over four separate operating windows.

In a OM5 multimode fiber link, data rate and maximum reach are limited by:

- Fiber cable attenuation (reduced signal strength) and connection loss.
- Chromatic dispersion in the fiber (spreading out of light pulses over time due to different wavelengths traveling at different speeds).
- Modal bandwidth of the fiber.

OM5 is especially life-changing for data centers where space is extremely important. Imagine being able to send the same data that would usually take 32 fiber cores – down just 8 cores.

The signals are spaced 30nm apart effectively making each transmission signal individual. Importantly, Signals can get from A to B with relatively low cross-talk. This means that you will be able to send 4 signals down 1 core at the wavelengths 850nm, 880nm, 910nm and 940nm.

om4 and om5 compatibility

The fiber is also 50 micron, which means all existing OM4 installations can stay in place and you can through patch directly to the new OM5 cable. However, the entire fiber length will have the characteristics of OM4.

It is expected that all new multimode installations will now be OM5. This wideband backbone cable will ensure all future network demands will be easier to meet!

Want to know more about it? Watch this video of Reichle & De-Massari AG


May 30, 2017 by
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