Currently, multimode fibre optic cables of various types are available on the market: OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 – cables that are in stock (FOOM). In 2016, the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) released a new standard TIA-492AAE fibre optic cable called OM5.
Cables and strands with OM5 fibre are still rare from a commercial point of view, however, it is expected that by the end of the year it will be possible to supply the market.
What characterizes OM5 Fiber?
Basically, it is an OM4 fibre with slight manufacturing changes that allows it to have a better response at wavelengths 850-950nm. This makes it especially useful in applications for 40Gbps, 100Gbps or 400Gbps when using SWDM (Short Wave Division Multiplexing) systems.
What is the SWDM System?
The SWDM (Short Wave Division Multiplexing) system uses 4 different wavelengths (called lambda λ1, λ2, λ3, λ4) that are multiplexed onto a physical medium (the optical fibre) and will then be extracted from that medium (from multiplexed). The binary throughput of information is 4x (the throughput in each lambda), if each lambda supports 25Gbps, you get a final result of 100Gbps.
What are the advantages of OM5 Fiber?
OM5 fibre allows you to increase the maximum communication speed or reduce the number of fibres by a factor of 4 when using SWDM systems. For example, if we want to achieve a speed of 100Gbit using OM3 or OM4 cable, 8 fibres are needed. If we use a cable with OM5 fibres, only 2 fibres are needed.
Is OM5 fibre the future of multimode fibre and will it replace OM3 and OM4 fibre?
In most applications OM5 will have no advantage, its use is only justified in data centres where SWDM systems are used. For a corporate or industrial customer that only wants to deploy fibre circuits up to 10Gbps, there will be no advantage in deploying an OM5 infrastructure.
In terms of cost, OM5 fibre is expected to be 2x the value of OM4 fibre. Below is the table with the maximum distances achieved considering the desired speeds:
Is the OM5 fibre compatible with OM3 and OM4 fibers?
Yes, the OM5 Fiber is fully compatible with any existing OM3 and OM4 fibers.