Fiber Type vs. Speed and Distance

Is the fiber you select up to speed? Can it go the distance? Choosing the right Fiber Optic Cable Core Type for your present and future needs.

by Tony Casazza

As you can see from the chart below, different Fiber core types have vastly different limitations for speed and maximum distance.

The 62.5/125 µm (AKA: OM1) has been the most popular multimode fiber choice throughout the 80's, 90's and into the early 2000's and was the most common multimode fiber used and yet it has the lowest data carrying capacity and shortest distance limitations as compared with other Multimode fiber types. It is generally accepted that 62.5/125 Multimode will soon be obsolete for the purpose of new installations.

NOTE: If you currently have 62.5/125 µm fiber installed in your office, building or campus you need to continue to use 62.5/125 µm fiber patch cables to connect to it. Attempting to mate two different fiber core sizes can lead to high loss and is therefore strongly not recommended.

The 50/125 µm core size comes in three different classifications (OM2, OM3 and OM4). Please note that OM3 is usually just referred to as 10GIG since it is generally the best choice for 10 Gigabit Ethernet over Multimode fiber and was designed specifically for that purpose (unless you need the extra distance provided by OM4).


DesignationCore/Cladding
Diameter (µm)
Type Fast Ethernet 
100BASEFX
1Gigabit Ethernet 
1000BASE-SX
1 Gigabit Ethernet 
1000BASE-LX   
10 Gigabit Ethernet 
10GBASE
40 Gigabet Ethernet 
40GBASE
100 Gigabet Ethernet 
100GBASE
 40G-SWDM4    100G-SWDM4
OM1*62.5/125Multimode  2000 M275 Meters550 Meters
(mode conditioning
patch cable required)   
33 MetersNot supportedNot supportedNot supported  Not supported
OM2*50/125Multimode


 550 Meters


82 MetersNot SupportedNot supportedNot supported  Not supported
OM3 (Laser Optimized) 50/125Multimode  550 Meters 300 Meters100 Meters100 MetersNot supported  Not supported
OM4 (Laser Optimized)50/125Multimode400 Meters150 Meters 150 Meters  400 Meters 100 Meters
OM5 (Laser Optimized)50/125Multimode 550 Meters 550 Meters 400 Meters150 Meters  150 Meters  500 Meters 150 Meters 
Singlemode9/125Singlemode5 km at 1310 nm5 km at 1310 nm 10 km at 1310 nm    


* Please be sure to also check the performance specifications of the Network Equipment that you plan to use in order to be sure of speed and distance with a particular fiber optic cable type. This information can usually be found on the Equipment Manufacturer's website or by calling their Tech Support department.

Singlemode fiber, because of the more expensive electronics required for it is usually used for much greater distances. So for reasons of practicality, most Local Area Networks (LANs) will typically use one form or another of Multimode Cable.

Build your Custom Pre-Terminated Assembly:

Click on any jacket type or strand count below to build your custom preterminated fiber optic assembly.

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Indoor
Indoor
Indoor Interlocking Armor
Indoor Interlocking Armor
Indoor Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Indoor Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Indoor/Outdoor
Indoor/Outdoor
Indoor/Outdoor Interlocking Armor
Indoor/Outdoor Interlocking Armor
Indoor/Outdoor Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Indoor/Outdoor Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Outdoor Gel Filled
Outdoor Gel Filled
Outdoor Loose Tube
Outdoor Loose Tube
Outdoor Flat Drop
Outdoor Flat Drop
Outdoor Armored Direct Burial
Outdoor Armored Direct Burial
Outdoor Direct Burial Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Outdoor Direct Burial Ultra Thin Micro Armor
Outdoor Aerial with Messenger
Outdoor Aerial with Messenger
Rugged Tactical
Rugged Tactical
Tactical OpticalCON
Tactical OpticalCON
Extreme Mil-Tac
Extreme Mil-Tac

Build your Custom Pre-Terminated Assembly:

Click on any jacket type or strand count below to build your custom preterminated fiber optic assembly.

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Indoor/Outdoor Interlocking Armor
Indoor/Outdoor Interlocking Armor
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Outdoor Gel Filled
Outdoor Gel Filled
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Outdoor Loose Tube
Outdoor Loose Tube
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Outdoor Flat Drop
Outdoor Flat Drop
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Outdoor Armored Direct Burial
Outdoor Armored Direct Burial
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1
Multimode OM2
10G Multimode OM3
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5
Singlemode
Jacket Type
Outdoor Aerial with Messenger
Outdoor Aerial with Messenger
Multimode OM2
Multimode OM4
Multimode OM5

Jacket Type
Multimode OM1