A hot-off-the presses update to my blog from May regarding standards for the new WideBand Multimode Fiber (WBMMF) specifications:

In an international standards ballot that closed on October 5, OM5 was chosen by an overwhelming majority of nations as the official designation for cabling containing WideBand Multimode Fiber in the upcoming 3rd edition of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission standards, or ISO/IEC 11801. This is an important milestone in standards progress and for market acceptance of this new and revolutionary fiber cabling performance category. It extends the benefits of multimode fiber within connected and efficient buildings and within data centers worldwide.

To welcome the selection of the new designation, here are five reasons to select OM5 fiber:

5:   OM5 fiber specifications are already published by the Telecommunications Industry Association as TIA-492AAAE, and are in late-stage ballot within the IEC to be published as IEC 60793-2-10 edition 6.

4:   OM5 and TIA-492AAAE specifications will be recognized in the upcoming ISO/IEC 11801 Edition 3 and the American National Standards Institute cabling standard ANSI/TIA-568.3-D.

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

2:   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.

1:   OM5 is available globally from CommScope in field-terminated and pre-terminated versions for installations in multiple enterprise environments, from campuses to buildings to data centers.

Multimode Fiber has come a long way since its inception in the early 1980s.  As with most transmission technologies, it was first deployed in long-haul networks.  An early breakthrough project consisted of a blazing 45 Mb/s multimode fiber backbone running from Boston to Washington D.C. Fast forward 30 plus years (while 45 Mbs is a now typical Internet connection speed to the home), multimode fiber continues to deliver lowest total system cost for systems operating at 100 Gb/s and beyond in buildings and data centers.  

What have you seen change in standards over the years? How are you using multimode fiber in your networks?

About the Author

Matias Peluffo

Matias Peluffo is Asia/Pacific Director, Data Center and Inside Plant Fiber Solutions. He has more than 25 years of experience in the cabling industry, and since joining CommScope in 1993 has held senior roles in Technical Management, Standards Development, Product Management and Segment Strategy. Peluffo plays a leading role in CommScope’s contribution to the international organizations that develop standards for copper and optical fiber cabling systems, contributing strategic direction in the establishment of industry-governing standards as an expert member of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC25 WG3 since 1996. Peluffo is a regular presenter at industry conferences. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Eugene Lang College in New York and a certificate in telecommunications management from Columbia University. He is currently based in Singapore.

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22 comments for "The Future of Multimode Has a Name – OM5"
Natalie Noor-Drugan Thursday, October 13, 2016 12:18 PM

Thanks for posting this. Could you kindly point me to the press release or info for OM5 by the International Organization for Standardization?

Matias Peluffo Friday, October 14, 2016 9:45 AM

Hi Natalie. The name selection was the result of a Subcommittee ballot. There is no official press release. I would be happy to discuss with you further, but please make sure to copy at our Corporate Communications department with any inquiries

Paul Gorman Monday, October 17, 2016 4:03 AM

Thanks for this informative post. What are the technical differences between fibres classified as OM5 and fibres classified as OM3/4, is the fibre optimised an anyway to support wide bandwidth functionality?

Matias Peluffo Monday, October 17, 2016 9:57 PM

Hi Paul, OM3 and OM4 fibers have laser bandwidth specified only at a single 850 nm wavelength. OM5
expands the operating wavelength spectrum to a range of more than 100 nm that includes 850 nm through 950 nm. This allows support for at least 4 low cost multiplexed wavelengths, paving the way for duplex transmission for up to 100G (vs the four or ten pairs currently being used), and reduced fiber counts for higher speeds.

Glen Lance Monday, October 17, 2016 11:36 PM

I am seriously disappointed that any manufacturer still has a desire to develop further multimode fibre. Think about it, each time a new multimode fibre gets developed and released within a couple of years it is found that it is not capable of supporting a new technology or protocol. Therefore another multimode fibre is developed and touted as being a "new" multimode fibre capable of....
As a developer and designer of structured communications systems, I have never had an issue when using singlemode fibre. It has over the past 20 years and for the foreseeable future, supported all forms of optical fibre requirements, without the need for an update.

Roshanak Le Goic Tuesday, October 18, 2016 12:34 PM

Thank you for sharing the information Matias. Although the idea of OM5 is interesting, it still needs deployment of new cables; therefore leaving the old MMF behind and unused. May I interest you in our innovatory solution based on multi plane light conversion technology that drastically increases the bandwidth of MMF (all types)? With passive components, Aroona can increase the bandwidth of MMF 4*10 Gb/s upto 10 Kms.

Matias Peluffo Wednesday, October 19, 2016 10:08 PM

Hi Glen and thank you for your opinion on this. For the record, the multimode fiber we know now as and OM3 was introduced close to 20 years ago now (1999) and has enabled enterprise customers worldwide to take advantage of lowest total system cost for applications up to 10 Gb/s, and even 40 or 100 Gb/s today. OM4 was introduced a few years later to allow extended distances, and once again enterprise customers worldwide were able to take advantage of the benefits of multimode for their applications. Singlemode is certainly a viable option when considering the various tradeoffs (distance, power consumption, density, cost, and others), and has also been recognized in standards as OS1 (legacy singlemode) and OS2 (low water peak singlemode) for enterprise applications.

Louie Gatchallan Thursday, October 27, 2016 4:28 AM

Thanks matias for this informative topic, what I want to know is what is guaranteed required distance in order to achieve 100G. In addition with, are the accessories also OM5? Does it cover also all type of fiber connectors. Thank you in advance.

Robert Wickstead Thursday, November 10, 2016 6:04 PM

There is a continuing 'discussion' happening in Australia over the roll of MM vs SM, especially in the data centre. To compound this problem, Standards Australia throw in their recommendations when testing fiber cables, and then suggest colours for the different patch cords and connectors!
Industry is tending to go with the "Heather Violet" (or "Erica Violet") colour for OM4, which I think is a good move.
What will be the recommended sheath colour for the new OM5? Your photo (above) show a twin 12-core fiber with a Chartreuse-coloured sheath. Is this the recommendation?
If so, this will further confuse installers as the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout here is using a Chartreuse sheath for their cable (granted, it is underground) with OS1 fibers.
Can you please comment on this for me? We want to keep out students as current as we possibly can.

Greg Gesin Sunday, November 20, 2016 2:26 PM

The Federal Govt. team showed the OM5 2fiber in our booth Nov 15-17th running 40Gig (10G per lane) with Zero Bit Errors with the Finisar Transceiver over longer distances. The DoD is extremely interested in this new Fiber allowing FOUR lanes of data traffic using four wavelengths that match up to the transceivers. Our OM5 Fiber is CommScope LazrSPEED 550 WBMMF and is identified by the Spring Green Color. If you are a Data Center Network Engineer Designer/Specifier and would like more information please contact me at
SWDM has many applications in DoD Data Centers and other applications.

Elissa Tuesday, December 13, 2016 7:14 PM

Hi, I'm interested to find out the difference in maximum cable length for different applications of OM5. I am always questioned on the comparison of cable length with different fibre cables verses application. Do you know what these lengths would be? Or how I could find them?
e.g. OM3 - 10Gb/s - 300m at 850,
OM4 - 10Gb/s - 550m at 850,

David Dyer Monday, January 09, 2017 4:27 PM

Hello -
I'm interested to find out when OM5 fiber will be included as a full kit for the Rapid Fiber Panel Series with fiber termination panels with RapidReel fiber cable spools? As an example CommScope offers a kit part number RCPB-3CAPUM03100 where this is a 3RU with multimode 50/125um laser optimized to 500 meteres (OM4) chassis: black loaded with (2) dual 12-fiber 3.0 mm plenum-rated cable per spool with LC to MPO connector types.

Matias Peluffo Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:15 PM

Hi Elissa, thank you for your question about supported distances. For 850 nm applications, OM5 will support essentially the same distances as OM4. The benefit is in the support of SWDM applications in the wavelength range 850-953 nm, which is not specified for OM3 or OM4. Hope this clarifies. Matias

Matias Peluffo Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:21 PM

Hi David, thank you for your interest in OM5 and our Rapid Fiber Panels. May I suggest that you contact your local CommScope sales representative for planned availability of specific products. If you need contact information feel free to drop me a note at

Florian Wirth Monday, February 27, 2017 6:01 AM

Hallo Matias, ehrlich gesagt bin ich, als Inhaber einer LWL-Installations- und Konfektionsfirma, sehr irritiert über die neue Codefarbe für OM5. Zum einen wird dieses "Spring green/Frühlingsgrün" im Bereich der Steckergehäusefarben, unserer Meinung nach, unweigerlich zu Verwechslungen mit APC-Anwendungen (SM) führen und zum anderen hat damals, zu OM2-Zeiten, dieser Grünton bei Patchkabelmänteln (von uns und anderen Konfektionären und Installateuren seiner Zeit forciert) bereits tausendfach in bundesdeutsche Unternehmen als OM2-Codierung (parallel zur Farbe Orange) Einzug gehalten und Akzeptanz gefunden. Es stehen genug Farben für die Codierung zur Verfügung. Warum ausgerechnet dieses "unglückliche" Grün? Das sollte innerhalb der Kommission noch einmal überdacht werden... Dieses ist die Meinung und der Einwand eines Praktikers, der als Bindeglied zum Kunden genau diese Fragen in kürze wird hundertfach beantworten müssen und sich schon jetzt mit Marktbegleitern und irritierten Kunden kopfschüttelnd über die offensichtliche Gedankenlosigkeit dieser Codefarbenwahl ärgert. Bitte erklären Sie mir, was sich die Kommission dabei gedacht hat. Wir raten jedenfalls dringend dazu, die Farbwahl zu ändern und sich eine der vielen unverfänglichen Farben als OM5-Codierung auszusuchen. Mit wohlgemeinten Grüßen

Matias Peluffo Monday, March 06, 2017 7:08 PM

Hello Florian and thank you for your comment regarding the selection of lime green as the color choice for indoor OM5 cable jackets. I do understand that color selections can be controversial and that there can be many “colorful” opinions on this topic. The color choice has been debated at length in standards bodies, and particularly in TIA TR42.12, where a motion to include Lime Green for OM5 in the next addendum of ANSI/TIA-598-D (last updated in 2014) recently passed without objection. The color selection was made based on a process of elimination between 12 existing colors (Blue, Orange, Slate, Green, Yellow, Aqua, Brown, Violet, Rose, Brown, White, Red and Black) as well as 4 proposed new colors (Magenta, Lime, Tan and Olive).

Through the process of elimination detailed below, TIA TR-42.12 concluded that lime was a good choice for wideband MMF cabling jacket.

• Of the twelve existing colors, the following six are associated already:
– Blue, Orange, Slate, Green, Yellow, Aqua
• And these two are problematic due to prior use confusion:
– Violet, Rose
• Of the four new proposed colors, the following is problematic also due to prior use confusion:
– Magenta
• This leaves the following four defined colors available:
– Brown, White, Red, Black
• And leaves the following three proposed colors available:
– Lime, Tan, Olive
• Four are considered drab or of low contrast to black cabinetry:
– Brown, Tan, Olive, Black
• One is sometimes associated with fire alarm systems:
– Red
• Lime and White remain
– Lime was chosen.

I note your comment about the color Green already being in use in Germany for some OM2 cables, as a parallel to the Orange color defined in ANSI/TIA-598-D. Green is also specified in ANSI/TIA-598-D for 100/140 micron fibers in military applications, also in parallel to Orange. However, the Lime Green color selected is very distinct from both Green and Yellow, and it is not expected to cause confusion. I would be happy to send you color charts and pictures that show the differences if you like.

Once again, thank you for your comment and your interest in OM5, and I trust that as OM5 gains market share in new installations the Lime Green color will become firmly established. CommScope’s LazrSPEED OM5 WideBand fiber cables are already available in Lime, and given the color selection in TIA TR42.12, other manufacturers are offering or have announced that they intend to offer this color as they introduce OM5 cables.

Axel Baumgarten Tuesday, March 07, 2017 6:20 AM

Hallo Herr Peluffo,
Vielen Dank für Ihren Beitrag.
Wie steht es denn mit der Entwicklung der Messtechnik?
Man braucht da doch andere Lichtquellen und auch Empfänger, um ein solches Wellenlängenspektrum abdecken zu können?!

Marcus Friday, March 17, 2017 9:20 AM

what difference in 40G/100G distance support for OM4 and OM5 ? Seem no different but OM5 may priced higher.

Matias Peluffo Sunday, March 19, 2017 6:52 PM

Hi Marcus and thank you for your question about supported distances. For 850 nm applications, OM5 will support essentially the same distances as OM4. The benefit is in the support of SWDM applications in the wavelength range 850-953 nm, which is not specified for OM3 or OM4. Hope this clarifies. Matias

Matias Peluffo Sunday, March 19, 2017 6:56 PM

Hello Mr Baumgarten, and thank you for your question regarding measurement technology. I understand you question to refer to field testing of installed cabling, and there are no planned changes to the measurement methods for installed cabling for attenuation. Bandwidth is not tested in the field..

amanda zhang Monday, July 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Hello Matias , Thank you for your reply questions regarding the OM5 indoor cable color lime green , Do you have the RAL color NO or Pantone color NO ?

Matias Peluffo Monday, August 14, 2017 7:58 AM

Hi Amanda, please check with your optical fiber supplier. Thanks for your interest.

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