A question I am being asked more and more is, “what is the difference between OM3 & OM4 Fibre Optic Cable?”
Owing to the fact that we all just can’t get enough of the internet, love to watch films online and enjoy all other bandwidth-hungry applications, technology must evolve to keep up with our needs.
OM4 has the same characteristics as OM2 & OM3 being 50/125 however, OM4 is capable of delivering higher bandwidth over longer distances – see the following table:
As a side note, there is an important difference between OM2, OM3 & OM4 fibres in that the latter are optimised for VCSEL light source – that is why laser-optimised fibres are specified using Laser Bandwidth, or EMB.
Another question I am asked is, “Should I be using OM4 Patch Leads because they’re better than OM3?” Only if you have an OM4 infrastructure, otherwise it’s like putting Super Unleaded into a Reliant Robin in the hope that it will go as fast as a Ferrari. Any network will only run as fast as its weakest link.
In addition to this the real difference between OM4 & OM3 is only realised over longer distances, so with most patch leads typically being anywhere between 0.5M & 20M it is unlikely you will see any real benefit to OM4.
Where does OM4 make a real significance difference? If you run a data centre where your services rely on the highest possible speed then it is a must. However, you will have the full OM4 infrastructure so you will be giving your high-end devices the best possible chance to achieve the very highest level of bandwidth possible.