Data Center Cabling Solutions

OM3 and OM4 Fiber Cables


Today I’m gonna talk about OM3 and OM4 fiber.

The demand for higher speeds in the enterprise network is rapidly increasing. This is due to the massive amount of storage that’s needed for things such as videos like this. That means there needs to be quick access to this large amount of data - and that’s done by cabling.

We’re going to talk about the OM3 and OM4 fiber cabling today. The OM stands for optical multi-mode. Now OM3 and OM4 have been around for years but OM4 was just recently ratified in 2009. The difference between OM3 and OM4 fiber is bandwidth -  2,500 megahertz versus 4,700 megahertz.

What this translates to is longer transmission distances for the OM4 fiber. There are numerous factors at work here and your choice to figure out whether you need OM3 or OM4.

But the basis is the cost versus what distances you are running. In the perfect world, if you had all the money you wanted you’d just run single-mode fiber. It has all the bandwidth you need so you can go plenty of distance but it’s very, very expensive.

And that’s why with VCSEL technology - VCSEL stands for vertical cavity surface emitting laser - that brings down the cost and utilizes multi-mode fiber. An OM3, for example, can run 10 gigabit at 300 meters. An OM4 can run 10 gigabit at 550 meters.

Now when we go to 40 gig and 100 gig, OM3 will be able to go 100 meters but OM4 will be able to go 150 meters. 90 percent of all data centers have their runs under 100 meters so it really just comes down to a costing issue right there.

Be on the lookout in the future. We’re watching very closely. As the demand increases the cost will come down. So, at some point soon, OM4 might be the most viable product. However, there are no plans on any of the manufacturers' road maps to discontinue the OM3. It’s a very viable option for your infrastructure.