In This Issue
FOA Looking Ahead to 2012
Free NECA/FOA-301 Installation Standard for FOA Members
FOA One Page Standards
2012-Year of the OTDR
Fiber=Energy savings in Premises/Data Centers
More Applications Use Composite Cables
YouTube: 10 New Premises Cabling Lectures as well as 25 Fiber Optic Lectures (plus 28 more hands-on videos)
Benchmarking Fusion Splicing and Choosing SM Fiber
Two FOA iPad Apps Now Available - Free Loss Budget Calculator

New @ FOA  
FOA Corporate Memberships  
Fiber U - two new free online self-study courses
Publications: NECA/FOA 301 Installation Revised, eBooks
videos: New FOA Lecture Series - 35 lessons online already!
Online Reference Guide: Many new pages 
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools
New schools and programs, Training in Hawaii

FOA Jobs Web Site  

Jobs Current openings. Also see FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
Events: Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
OFC Conference
AFL to Host "Traveling" Advanced Splicing Seminars

Free Corning "See the Light" Seminars
JDSU Testing Webinars

Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
Product News - New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world
Can You Tell Anything About The End Of A Fiber From An OTDR Trace?
Should You Use Dry Water-Blocked Cables Near Salt Water?

This Month there is no "Tech Puzzler

Want to be notified when the FOA Newsletter is updated? Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter. You can also sign up from your cell phone: text "FOA" to 22828 (usual text msg charges apply)

The Archives: Previous Issues:
1/11,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
1/08, 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08  
12/07, 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07, 2/07, 1/07
12/06, 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04, 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
12/03, 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02
Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

It's now CFOT®  and Fiber U® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are now a registered trademark. With over 33,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT and Fiber U required trademark protection. Now it's official!

Want to know more about fiber optics? Free Self-Study Program on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Study for FOA certifications? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

New FOA Reference Books 

(Available Printed or eBooks)
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Videos Now on videos

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  

Renew your FOA certification online - plus get a discount on the new FOA books and an extra month free. Details here.
Find us on Facebook            FOA on LinkedIn       videos

FOA: Looking Ahead to 2012
Many years ago, I attended a class on forecasting. The lecturer started out by saying that one should never forget that "all forecasts are wrong!" Be that as it may, each year we still review the past year’s happenings and then look ahead to the new year. In fiber optics as with most technology areas, the future is determined by a combination of technological development, developing markets, the economic climate and politics.
As we all know, the world economic climate is unstable. However, because of the rapid growth in Internet traffic, mainly video, communications seems to be healthy in spite of the economic uncertainty. Communications continues to build out into sparsely served areas - Africa is a major market right now - as well as expanding service in areas already well-connected.
That means that fiber optics, along with other communications technologies, is growing. As usual, communications growth is driven by both consumer and business use of the Internet. Telecommunications has become an obsolete word – voice traffic has been surpassed by digital traffic for more than a decade now and represents perhaps 0.1% of all communications traffic. Furthermore, more than half that entertainment is viewed on wireless devices, increasingly tablets, well, really the iPad which represents the vast majority of tablets in use.
What does this mean for fiber? The future is bright. To bring more capacity to the subscribers, FTTH continues to grow around the world with more government mandated systems being built as basic infrastructure. And wireless is not wireless. Cellular backhaul has been increasingly moved to fiber as smartphones – and now tablets – have overloaded the wireless systems. AT&T reported that the iPhone alone caused a 8000% increase (that's 80 times!) in data traffic on their wireless system in the first 3.5 years after its introduction and an iPad consumes a lot more bandwidth than any smartphone. (Tablet Markets)
Cellular systems are not just using fiber for backhaul from the tower, but the massive number of antennas sprouting on towers has become too much for the big coax cables that traditionally connected them. Fiber UP the tower to the antennas is now becoming the norm.
WiFi is also growing, not just for people with laptops in coffee shops, but for carrying lots of traffic from smartphones which can switch between the two networks. Super WiFi, using the “white space” spectrum left when TV went digital, is now in trial (the first commercial hardware has been approved by FCC) and could provide broadband to the suburban and rural areas where fiber to the home is still not economical. That means more fiber to the tower.
Wireless is also impacting premises cabling. The old 1980s model of premises cabling that led to structured cabling standards is obsolete – why build a network with two copper cables to the desktop when the user will have a cell phone and wireless laptop or tablet that does not interface with the wiring. Besides copper is ~$3.50 a pound and counterfeit cables are everywhere causing problems. The new standard for enterprise networks will probably be fiber backbone and maybe straight to the wireless AP. Maybe energy concerns will finally get users to consider that alternatives are better than vintage copper cabling – see http://www.cirrant.com/cirrantpdf1.pdf.
Speaking of standards, the committees are locked in their usual battles - “Cat 7” finally getting some attention, probably a waste of time - and manufacturers arguing over the compatibility of new technology.
This year will also see more work in “smart grid” which depends on fiber for communications also. Problems like the technician flipping the wrong switch and putting 5 million Southern Californians in the dark show the grid needs help. Alternative energy, big solar and wind farms, use a lot of fiber also and the plans for new builds are showing up in many states.
For the FOA, we continue growing in the US as more techs need fiber training and more trainers realize that our premises cabling certification represents the current reality – copper, fiber and wireless. Plus we now have recognition from the US Department of Labor for our certifications (see below). Overseas, we are being asked for our help in many countries who are expanding their communications networks and need advice, reliable technical information from our Online Reference Guide and training from our FOA-Approved schools and Certified Instructors.

FOA growth

In 2012, the FOA will continue expanding our technical reference materials, online study programs, YouTube Videos and apps that allow you to carry a full technical reference in your hand. We’re even adding apps like the free “loss budget” app and a "NECA/FOA-301 Standard" app for the iPhone/iPad that assist designers and installers of fiber optic systems to do their job easier. FOA and NECA have arranged to provide this important standard to FOA members free and are embarking on a new program to make standards available to everyone. We are also focusing on issues that our members say are important, for example, 2012 has been declared "The Year of The OTDR" in the FOA. We have also decided to write our own standards for fiber optic testing, but with a new viewpoint - the "1 page standard". Read more below.

Jim Hayes, President, FOA

Update: Another good snapshot of the fiber optic technology/industry is the paper "Optical Communications in 2012" paper from the organizers of the OFC conference to be held in LA in March.

Free For FOA Members: NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

NECA 301
Because of its importance to users, contractors and installers of fiber optic networks, The FOA and NECA have agreed to make the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard available free to FOA members.
Standards usually cover components and systems and how to test them, but rarely get into installation issues. This standard is derived from FOA educational material put in standards form and approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner."   FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.

FOA 1-Page Standards

Ever need a quick reference to a standard but can't find a copy? Have you tried to read some of the documents and given up because of the "standardese" language? Or have you ever tried to buy a standard and just about fainted when you found our what it cost? Well, we've heard all those complaints for years. And we're doing something about it.
FOA is embarking on a new program to make standards more accessible to the world of users, contractors, designers and installers. We will start creating "One Page Standards" - simple explanations of standards that you use all the time but don't need the originals; you just need to understand how to use them. We'll cut out all the fluff and give you the info you need.
But wait - can the FOA create standards? And what is a standard anyway? Here is the definition by the world's biggest standards organization:

ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996, definition 3.2 defines a standard as:
'A document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context'.

Well, that certainly sounds like what the FOA is doing! As you all know, FOA certification is now internationally accepted and our technical references the first choice for unbiased, technically correct information on fiber optics and premises cabling. It's certainly logical that we would next try to put some order in the chaos of current standards. FOA standards are developed by FOA members whose expertise is in the technical areas covered by the standards and whose experience in the industry contributes to FOA standards being accurate, relevant and current.

Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide. Watch the FOA Newsletter for FOA Standards Apps.

Download the FOA 1Page Standards to your tablet or smartphone!

FOA Standards on iPhone  FOA Standards on iPad

2012: The Year of The OTDR

Most of the technical and testing questions we get here at FOA involve misunderstanding of OTDR testing. A number of FOA master instructors have suggested we focus on OTDR training, both in our schools and online, to minimize the problems, so we have declared 2012 "The Year of The OTDR." Look for special articles, a new  "1pStandard" and other information that will make these instruments less enigmatic!

Start with the new Fiber U OTDR self study course, "Understanding OTDRs".  You can also download the Free FOA  OTDR Simulator to practice analyzing traces.

OTDR Tip Of The Month:
Why Do I Need A Launch Cable On The OTDR?

OTDR using launch cable

OTDRs are always used with a launch cable and may use a receive cable. The launch cable, sometimes also called a "pulse suppressor," has two major reasons for its use:
1. The launch cable allows the OTDR trace to settle down after the test pulse is sent into the fiber so you can analyze the cable near the OTDR. The large event you see right in front of the instrument on the OTDR trace is caused by crosstalk within the instrument and reflectance from the connector on the face of the OTDR. The long recovery time from this overload pulse means the OTDR cannot make any useful measurements near the instrument itself. The launch cable has also been called a "pulse suppressor" because it allows time for the OTDR to settle down from this initial overload. If possible, singlemode OTDRs should have APC connectors on the front panel to reduce reflectance. Also a short connection cable attached to the OTDR before the launch cable that never gets removed from the OTDR prevents excess wear on the panel connector.
2, The launch cable  provides a reference connector for the first connector on the cable under test to determine its loss. A receive cable may be used on the far end to allow measurements of the connector on the end of the cable under test also.

Why is there a reference cable at the far end? To let the OTDR measure the loss and reflectance of the connector on the far end of the cable under test.

FOA Certifications Recognized By US Department of Labor

DoL logo
All FOA Certifications have now been recognized by the US Department of Labor. The DoL reviews certifications and how they relate to job opportunities and training. The DoL Career OneStop website helps individuals explore career opportunities to make informed employment and education choices. The Web site features user-friendly occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, career exploration assistance, and other resources that support talent development in today's fast-paced global marketplace.

FOA Certifications Listed By US Department of Labor - Career OneStop

Fiber = Energy Savings In Premises Cabling

Fiber has always been a tough sell in the premises cabling business where over a century of copper wire has made its use as much a tradition as a technical choice. But what happens when you analyze the energy use of a centralized fiber network versus a traditional copper network? Cirrant Partners, a NY IT infrastructure consulting and engineering company has done just that and issued a report on their findings. Here is how it starts:

"The total IT energy consumption in the US in 2011 is estimated to be slightly more than 100 Billion kWh2. (This is based on the energy consumption being 80% of the 2007 projection.) The actual consumption may be lowerdue to the economic times. Energy costs vary per state and usage classification and contract agreements. At a commercial national average price of 10.77 cents per kWh,3 the total IT energy consumption cost is estimatedto be $10.77 Billion. Annually, Billions of kWh of IT energy go unmonitored and largely unmanaged. A large part of the consumption is inefficiently-used energy by local area networks and supporting infrastructure"

Read the complete Cirrant report here.

Free FOA iPad App Calculates Loss Budget

The FOA has just released its second APP for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, a free "loss budget calculator," FOA LossCalc.

FOA LossCalc
FOA Loss Calc App Screen

FOA LossCalc estimates the optical loss of a fiber optic link. This will save time for the installer of a fiber optic link needing to know whether test results are reasonable and/or make a "pass/fail" determination. It can also help the designer of a link to determine if communications equipment will operate over this link.

By choosing the type of link (singlemode or multimode) and specifying the length of the fiber and numbers of connections and splices, it will calculate the end to end loss of the link. The app has default specifications for singlemode and multimode links or the user may create custom setups with specifications appropriate for any application.
FOA Loss Calculator App  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-losscalc/id476262894?mt=8&ls=1

More Applications For Composite Cables

We have recently talked to several contractors doing "fiber to the antenna" installations for cellular towers. Some of their applications are using composite cables - cables with both fibers and copper power conductors in the same cable. This makes sense for cellular antennas which need both power and signal and a composite cable can be terminated in a factory, at least on the top end, and easily installed.
Another similar application was brought to our attention by a telco installer working on FTTC. He was installing new boxes nearer subscribers and the cable he was running to each box was a composite cable with 2 fibers to the box and copper conductors for powering the box. Thus the installation of the box was quite simple, plug and play for both fiber and signal, and the cable was spliced into the network at the other end.
Composite cables make lots of sense, even for premises work where a single cable can both power and communicate with many devices like CCTV cameras or wireless access points.

More New Lectures on videos
New Lecture Series on Premises Cabling - 10 Lectures Posted Already
New Fiber Optic Lectures (25 Total Now) Covering FTTx, Testing, Total Internal Reflection, Modes, VFLs And That Old Favorite "Fiber Or Copper" (With A New Twist: Wireless!)  

FOA YouTube Videos

10 new lectures on premises cabling have been added to the FOA YouTube channel along with a lecture on fiber to the home - FTTx, making 25 fiber optic lectures total.

Below is a list of the current lectures (plus there are 28 hands-on videos too!). We're looking for ideas for topics for future lectures. Send your ideas to <info@thefoa.org>.

Benchmarking Fusion Splicing And Selecting Singlemode Fiber

We've been asked many times "How long does it take to splice a cable?" It's not a simple answer as it varies with the number of fibers in the cable and the work setup, including whether one or two techs are working at a job site. FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha of Triple Play in South Africa did his own analysis based on decades of experience both splicing cables and teaching others how to do it properly. This is one of the best analyses we have seen because Joe includes prep times as well as splicing times and differentiates between one tech and two techs working together. He adds some other tips on fusion splicing too. This should be mandatory reading for every tech and given to every student! Here is Joe's splicing analysis. 

Joe also has an excellent writeup on how to choose singlemode fiber that helps understanding the different types of G.6xx fiber. Read it here.

Free - Mike Holt's Explanation Of The US National Electrical Code (NEC) For Communications Cables

Mike Holt is the acknowledged expert of the US National Electrical Code (NEC). His books and seminars are highly praised for their ability to make a very complicated standard (that is in fact Code - law - in most areas of the US) easily understood. Part of the appeal is Mike's great drawings that make understanding so much easier. Mike makes Chapter 8 of his book available free. It covers communications cables, telephones, LANs, CATV and CCTV, for premises applications. Even if you live in a region or country where the NEC is not the law, you may find this interesting.
Download Mike's Chapter Here

One Man's Opinion

Should competitors unite to provide broadband? Should utilities be brought into the mix too? Should the united organization get tax breaks for cooperating to get broadband to everybody? Steve Rivkin, Washington Telecom Lawyer, has some interesting ideas on this subject. Read his article here.

Events of Interest

OFC 2012
Technical Conference March 4-8, 2012 • Exposition March 6-8, 2012
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

OFC/NFOEC is the #1 fiber optic conference and show in the USA if not the world, with more than 500 companies displaying the cutting-edge products and technology that will define next generation networks. The ONLY place you can see and meet with all the major players in one location. Where is the optical communications market going? Attend Market Watch sessions and gain insight into the latest system and component drivers and uptake, and roadmaps for this market. FREE Admission to the exhibits and extensive business programming in three show floor theaters. More information.
A good snapshot of the fiber optic technology/industry is the paper "Optical Communications in 2012" paper from the organizers of the OFC conference.

AFL to Host "Traveling" Advanced Splicing Seminars
AFL has launched advanced splicing seminars intended for engineers and professionals, as well as university students, engaged in fiber optic activities involving non-standard and specialty fusion splicing activities. Typical applications for these advanced splicing needs are often in the Medical, Oil and Gas, Fiber Lasers, Optical Manufacturing, and Aerospace markets. These seminars will cover a wide range of applications and solutions for difficult and challenging applications using advanced fusion splicing platforms.
Seminars will be held in around the US and Canada.
There is no charge for attending; however AFL will be conducting pre-registration in order to ensure availability of a proper facility depending upon the number of attendees. 
Details on the seminar, a current schedule and signup form are at http://www.stateofthearc.com/seminars/signup.html

Free Corning "See the Light" Seminars
Corning Cable Systems' See the Light team is coming to a city near you!  Receive Free fiber optic training on a variety of topics including Termination Technology, Testing and Trouble Shooting, Fusion Splicing, and Preterminated Solutions. These interactive three-hour sessions provide students with a comprehensive overview of the latest technology. Fiber optic BICSI (CEC) credits apply (3). 
Here is the current information and schedule.

JDSU Testing Webinars
You are invited to join JDSU for a complimentary series of educational webinars in early 2012. Each webinar, presented by a JDSU subject matter expert, occurs on the same day and time of the week and will last approximately one hour, including Q&A.
Go here to see the seminars offered and dates.  IMPORTANT: use registration password: FONA1.

Don't forget to download your copies of the JDSU Testing Textbooks.

FOA LogoWhat's New @ FOA

FOA Corporate MemberNew Corporate Memberships
FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Read more. Among other benefits, Corporate Membership gives companies access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees.

Fiber U
Two New Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs on Outside Plant Fiber Optics and OTDRs
There are two new free online self-study programs on Fiber U. "Outside Plant Fiber Optics" uses the new FOA textbook and online reference guide to OSP to help you learn about OSP fiber networks. The "Understanding OTDRs" self-study program will help you learn how to properly use these complicated instruments and there is a free OTDR simulator you can download to use for practice.

FOA Certification On Outside Plant Fiber Optics
The FOA CFospT outside plant certification focuses on OSP fiber optic network design, installation and maintentance. A CFospT certified tech must know the ways that fiber is used in the OSP, how it is installed, tested and maintained. While a CFOT might only have a basic knowlede of fusion splicing and OTDR testing, for example, a CFospT will be knowledgeable and skillful in those areas - and more. Reference materials for the new CFospT are the printed textbook, the FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics (right) as well as eBooks from Amazon for the Kindle or Apple for the iPad/iPod/iPhone and the OSP reference section of the FOA Online Reference Guide which now includes a self-study guide to the CFospT exam.
More information on the FOA 
Outside Plant Fiber Optic Technician (CFospT) certification.

Reference Books for FOA Certifications are now available on Kindle and iPad/iPhone
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

We have created three new FOA books to be used in training for FOA certifications and as reference books for contractors, installers and end users of fiber optics. These books have full curriculum support, including free curriculum materials for teaching FOA certification courses. Because we are self-publishing these books using more modern "publish on demand" technology, they are easier to keep up to date, easier to buy and much, MUCH cheaper!
All are now available in print and electronically in Kindle and Apple iBook versions. The basic fiber optic book is also available as a self-study program in an Apple APP for iPad/iPhone/iPod.
Details on the new book each of the new books are at the book pages linked to the photos above.

FOA iPad Apps
The FOA has just released its second APP for the iPad, a free "loss budget calculator," FOA LossCalc.

FOA LossCalc
FOA Loss Calculator AppFOA LossCalc estimates the optical loss of a fiber optic link. This will save time for the installer of a fiber optic link needing to know whether test results are reasonable and/or make a "pass/fail" determination. It can also help the designer of a link to determine if communications equipment will operate over this link.
By choosing the type of link (singlemode or multimode) and specifying the length of the fiber and numbers of connections and splices, it will calculate the end to end loss of the link. The app has default specifications for singlemode and multimode links or the user may create custom setups with specifications appropriate for any application. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-losscalc/id476262894?mt=8&ls=1

Self -Study in Fiber Optics

FOA iPad AppOur first app is a self-study version of the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics. The FOA APP builds on the FOA basic fiber optic textbook to create an interactive learning environment that builds on the iBook electronic version of the book to add a guide to use for self-study and real-time testing that provides feedback on what you have learned and correct answers to questions answered incorrectly.
The FOA APP is priced at only $9.99, same as the iBook, so the self-study program is free. Download it from the Apple APP Store with your iPad or iTunes.

NECA/FOA 301 Installation Updated
NECA 301
Standards cover components and systems and how to test them, but rarely get into installation issues. The FOA NECA 301 standard which covers installation of optical fiber systems has been revised for the second time, adding considerable new materials. This standard is derived from FOA educational material put in standards form and approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner." The standard is available from NECA

New Lectures: 25 Fiber Optic Lectures, 10 Premises Cabling Lectures Plus 28 More Hands-On Videos

FOA YouTube Lecture 11 - Fiber Optic Network Design

Below is a list of the current lectures (plus there are 28 hands-on videos too!). We're looking for ideas for topics for future lectures. Send your ideas to <info@thefoa.org>.

FOA Lecture 1: Fiber Optics & Communications 
FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics 
FOA Lecture 3: Optical Fiber 
FOA Lecture 4: Fiber Optic Cables 
FOA Lecture 5: Splices and Connectors 
FOA Lecture 6: Fiber Optic Splices 
FOA Lecture 7: Fiber Optic Connectors 
FOA Lecture 8: Fiber Optic Installation 
FOA Lecture 9: Fiber Optic Network Design, Part 1
FOA Lecture 10: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 2 
FOA Lecture 11: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 3 
FOA Lecture 12: Fiber Optic Testing Overview 
FOA Lecture 13: Testing Fiber Visually 
FOA Lecture 14: Testing Optical Power 
FOA Lecture 15: Five Ways To Test Fiber Optic Cable Plants 
FOA Lecture 16: Insertion Loss Testing 
FOA Lecture 17: OTDR Testing 
FOA Lecture 18: OTDR Setup 
FOA Lecture 19: OTDR Measurement Uncertainty 
FOA Lecture 20: Other Fiber Optic Tests 
FOA Lecture 21 Visual Fault Locator Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 22 Mode Power Distribution in Multimode Fibers Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 23 Total Internal Reflection in Optical Fiber Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 24 Copper, Fiber or Wireless? 
FOA Lecture 25 FTTx 
FOA Lecture 26: Loss Budgets  

New: Ten More YouTube Videos – Lectures On Premises Cabling
The FOA has added 10 more videos to our YouTube Channel, thefoainc. These are an introduction to premises cabling, covering applications, types of cabling, standards and installation practices for copper (UTP and coax), fiber and wireless. Like our lecture series on fiber optics, these provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in short videos, typically 5-10 minutes in length, on each subject. Watch for more.

Here is a list of the Lectures now on YouTube.

View the FOA YouTube video Lectures.  

What's New  in the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
We have been updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information.

Including FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley's tests on what the end of a fiber trace looks like with broken and cleaved fibers.
Frequently Asked Questions On OTDRS And Hints On Their Use  

Testing FTTH
Basic guidelines for testing FTTH PON networks  

Measuring Reflectance or Return Loss
It can be important but it's not so easy to test.

Frequently Asked Questions About OTDRs
When do you use them, how to find distance to fault, what effect does end preparation have on traces, more.

Encircled Flux
What does this new method of measuring mode power distribution in MM fiber mean to testing standards?

Fiber Optic and Premises Cabling Project Paperwork
Covering what are SOW, RFPs and RFQs and how they are created for a project.

Effects of Alignment and Fiber Geometry on Fiber Optic Connector Loss
With all the controversy about connector loss due to modal distribution, we sometimes forget the effects of component variations.

Fiber Optics For Wireless Networks
How wireless is not wireless - it needs fiber.

Premises Cabling Installation
Installing copper/fiber/wireless for premises networks.

Web Page on Bend Insensitive Fiber
Bend-insensitive fiber is a "hot topic" now - we try to explain how it works and what it means for installation and test. 

Basic Fiber Design Section Updated
Lots of new materials added to this introduction to fiber optic network design.

Web Page on Data Centers
Data centers are the heart of the Internet, storing and supplying data for user requests. Needless to say, high performance cabling is needed to move the data between storage, servers and routers. We've created a new pagein our Online Reference Guide on 
data centers - how fiber and cabling are vital to their performance.

Learn More About OTDRs - Download a Free OTDR Simulator
More and more installers are being asked for OTDR testing but using these instruments is not easy. They are hard to set up properly and complicated to interpret the traces. Using the autotest function can lead to disastrous results! The FOA has a good tutorial on OTDRs on our Online Reference Guide and w
e added a free download of an OTDR simulator to the OTDR section so you can learn how to use an OTDR on your PC.

More New Info:

Links to manufacturers and distributors of fiber optic lighting products.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide has become very popular - perhaps the most popular technical website ever, typically with over 360,000 users downloading about 1.75 million pages in 2011! We continue updating materials regularly, keeping it as up to date as possible.

Find What You Want Using "Google Custom Search
custom searchThere's so much information on the FOA 
Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide that even a well-organized Table of Contents isn't enough and when the material is always changing, an index is impossible to maintain. So the FOA is using the latest technology in search, Google Custom Search, which will allow you to search just the FOA Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide for any topic you want to find more about. Try it!  

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

School News

New Schools
The FOA welcomes the newest additions to our listing of FOA-Approved Training Organizations:

#325- The Urban League of the Central Carolinas
#636- IBEW Local 117

Find a listing of all the FOA-Approved schools here.

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training OrganizationFOA-Approved School Map Zoom to CA

Most phone calls we get regarding finding a FOA-Approved training organization want to know two things: what school is closest to me or what school offers the certifications I need. That can be difficult, since the FOA has almost 200 training organizations we have approved worldwide!
We've been looking at ways to make it easier, and we think we've got a good solution. In fact we have two solutions.
First we have added a sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools.
ou can also use our FOA Google Map Application to find FOA-Approved schools.

Here are links to the
sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools and  FOA Google Map.

What Should A Fiber Optics or Cabling Tech Know and What Skills Do They Need?
The FOA has been updating its lists of KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) for fiber and cabling techs. The updated list is now on the website for your information and comments - as fiber and cabling KSAs evolve as new technologies develop.
KSAs for fiber and cabling techs.

Good Question! Tech Questions/Comments Worth Repeating

Tech Hint: Did You Know You Have A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?
Yes! The camera in your cell phone is sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter.  Chris Hillyer,
CFOT/CFOS/I, Master Instructor, Northern California Sound & Communication JATC sent us some photos showing how this works. See below or the video now on YouTube.

Higher Loss At Long Wavelengths? 1/12
Q: I have a tech in the field that has installed a piece of single mode fiber approx. 650’ long. He is testing it with a source and meter. The fiber is passing the 1310 loss test but failing the 1550 test. What could be causing this? He has put new ends on the fiber already and is getting the same results.
A: This sounds like a classic problem of cable stress. Singlemode fiber is much more sensitive to bending stress losses at 1550nm than 1310nm. If there is a stressed area in the cable installation, it's easy to get >3dB loss from a tight bend or kink, even near the connectors. There should be no difference with the connectors themselves. Telcos test links at 1625nm for stress testing.
Followup: The tech went back to the job site with an OTDR and found there was a spike in the reading about 120’ from one end which is where there is a pull box up in the ceiling.

Which Adhesive For Termination? 12/11
Epoxy, Hotmelt, and Anerobic
Adhesives - why each is used in in what situations. 
A: Epoxy/polish are used where highest yield, lowest cost and max reliability are needed. They are used for all factory made patchcords and a reasonable percentage of field terminations. The downside is they require an oven to cure the epoxy quickly. I actually invented a AC/battery-powered oven for use in the field that is still available - http://www.afsi.us/product.php?product=CURING to simplify the field use of epoxy.
Anaerobic adhesive is used when you are looking for low cost and fast field termination. You can use it with an "accelerator" solution that gives practically an instant set to the adhesive but with some loss of strength/reliability. We developed a method with no accelerator that the Navy uses because it's more reliable. The big difference with epoxy is the cured adhesive does not have a drop (epoxy bead) on the end of the ferrule that makes polishing virtually foolproof.
HotMelt (a 3M product) has the adhesive already inserted in the connector, so you just heat the connector up, take it out of the oven and insert the fiber. As soon as it cools, it's ready to polish. It has the adhesive bead on the end of the ferrule so polishing is easy. Against it is cost ($5/conn vs $1/conn for epoxy and anaerobic connectors) with essentially the same labor cost, a very hot oven (twice as hot as epoxy) and the need for AC power on site.

Some years ago, we did a study of termination times and here are the results: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/termination/TerminationTimes.pdf

More On "Encircled Flux" - Maybe The Mandrel Wrap is "Good Enough" 12/11
IEC 86C/1004/DTR is our for comments and due to be be voted on next Spring, which by standards time is pretty quick! Here is the official description:
"IEC/TR 61282-11 Ed. 1.0   Fibre optic communication system design guides - Part 11: Multimode launch conditions
This technical report is intended to show the background of encircled flux for the characterisation of multimode launch conditions. This includes the selection of the encircled flux and the definition of the encircled flux requirements in conjunction with the implied variation in attenuation measurements."

Lines 490-492 from the draft document say it matches VCSEL launch conditions considered in 10 GbE. Lines 493-395 say it is close to the mandrel wrap mode conditioner used in TIA standards for many years.

That is a very useful conclusion.

ISO Mandrel Wrap OK

That's Why They Call Them "Dust Caps"
Q: We clean a connector, inspect it to ensure it is clean then put the dust cap on. If we inspect it after we remove that dust cap, it's dusty again, we assume from dust in the cap. I have tested different types and makes of dustcaps for the LC and clean ones are rare. If you only push them on half way it helps.....sometimes, but not always.  Does any company make clean (guaranteed) ones?
A: I've been saying for years that the reason they call them "dust caps" is they contain lots of dust. I know of no clean ones. Think about how they are made in millions and dumped in big bins in a factory! You just have to clean connectors when you remove them. Have you tried some of the dry cleaners? They seem to work well.

Fiber Cleaning
This is a topic we keep reminding everybody about, and here is why:

From a contrator in the Middle East: Here some samples of the connectors for SM fiber already installed in the system we were testing.
dirty connector   dirty connector
As you can see, the dirt is large compared to the size of the fiber (dark gray), and the core (not visible here) is only 9/125 of the overall diameter of the fiber! More on cleaningSee Product News below for links to vendors of fiber cleaning products.

See news about
Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube by ITW Chemtronics below.

Measurement Uncertainty: Everyone testing fiber optics should understand that every measurement has some uncertainty - whether you are measuring loss, length, wavelength, power, etc. Knowing that uncertainty is very important to interpreting the measurement. It's worthwhile to read and understand the issue of measurement accuracy covered in this page of the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Worth Reading or Watching:

The FOA Visits To New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia
You can download the FOA PowerPoint presentation and view it here:
What's New in Fiber Optics: http://www.thefoa.org/ZIP/FO2011.zip

FOA President Speaks At NZ "Rural Broadband Symposium"
You can download the FOA PowerPoint presentation and view it here:
Rural Broadband In A Changing World: http://www.thefoa.org/ZIP/TUANZ.zip

More photos from the FOA trip here.

New Eric Pearson Books

EP Book  EP Connector book  EP OTDR Book

Pearson Technologies Inc. announces the release of three new books, Professional Fiber Optic Installation, The Essentials For Success, Mastering Fiber Optic Connector Installation and Mastering The OTDR.
Based on 31 years of experience, laboratory testing, development, and training of more than 8000 installers, these books is suitable for training, installation, personnel certification, and reference. Eric's books are perhaps best described as fiber optic "cookbooks," full of detailed directions that reflect many years of tesing in his courses. They are valuable references for the fiber optic tech.

For additional information. contact Pearson Technologies Inc., www.ptnowire.com, fiberguru@ptnowire.com, 770-490-9991

Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube
ITW Chemtronics has three fiber optic cleaning videos on 
videos covering Dry CleaningWet-Dry Method, FiberWash and Combination Cleaning. They are good explanations of cleaning processes - the Wet-Dry is especially interesting.

Should You Use Dry Water-Blocked Cables Near Salt Water?
Here's another controversy in the fiber optic business. It seems that some dry water-blocked cables have problems with salt water affecting the speed and amount of water absorption by the super absorbent powder (SAP seems to be a new industry TLA - that's "three letter acronym" - for super absorbent powder) used in these dry water-blocked cables (DWB?). It seems that salt water performance has caused some users to not use this cable anywhere that it may encounter salt water. But according to an article by Ryan Chappell of Coats, a manufacturer of the yarns used in fiber optic cable manufacture as well as SAP, there are big differences between the absorbency of materials from different suppliers. We suggest you 1) read the article in Lightwave, 2) check out the Coats website and 3) ask your fiber optic cable manufacturer about their cable before installing it in a salt-water environment.

We're Part of A $trillion Industry in the US
A TIA commissioned report on “The Contributions of Information and Communication Technologies to American Growth, Productivity, Jobs and Prosperity,” (written by Robert J. Shapiro and Aparna Mathur, August 2011) finds that “ICT companies accounted for 3,535,000 jobs in 2009.” The report states that “in 2009, ICT firms contributed about $1 trillion to U.S. GDP, or 7.1 percent of GDP.  This total includes nearly $600 billion in direct contributions from their own operations and more than $400 billion in indirect contributions through the benefits other sectors derived from the use of ICT.”
Other highlights from the report include:
“The President’s proposal to fund the development and initial deployment of a nationwide wireless broadband data and communications network for public safety agencies would lead to the creation of an estimated 100,000 new jobs in ICT industries and, over time, produce indirect or spillover benefits of an estimated $4 billion to $8 billion per year.”
“Investments of $3.4 billion in a “Smart Electricity Grid” under the 2009 Recovery Act should directly produce nearly 30,000 new jobs.  If the funding becomes seed money and an ICT-based Smart Grid is developed and deployed, analysts estimate the net economic benefits could range from $48 billion to $76 billion per year.”

From the TIA PR. You can download the entire report at TIAonline.

Wire & Cable Asia
A new newsletter about the wire and cable (and fiber optic) industry in Asia is available online. See http://www.read-wca.com/ for more information.

Fiber Optics In WindPower
Fiber is an important communications tool for wind farms. In this webinar, you will learn some of the driving forces behind the evolution of wind power systems as well as the design challenges, specifically in the area of data communications. Solutions for high-reliability communications links using optical fiber technology will be presented. These solutions offer the galvanic isolation and electrical noise immunity required to address wind power system needs. Avago Technologies products meeting the needs of wind power system designers will be profiled.
Download it for viewing.

IGI Consulting Plans New Series of Government Telecom, Fiber Optics and ICT Marketing Guides
IGI Consulting has initiated a project to develop a series of ten Marketing Guides to assist companies in accessing the military and government telecommunications, fiber optics, and information technologies markets. The government represents a major large and stable market. Despite pressure to reduce the government budget, there will still be a need for government to use technology to improve productivity and provide services and security. IGI Consulting has analyzed all the major government agencies responsible for buying, specifying, and investing in telecommunications, fiber optics, and information technologies. This provides the marketing manager with an independent view of the government market and saves time searching the web for the information. Here are the ten volumes:
More Information.

Corning Has Translated Training Documents and Videos Into Spanish
Check with Corning for availability.

Smart Grid
The National Association of Electrical Distributors has created a nice overview of "smart grid." It covers a brief overview of the US electric power system, an understanding of why the smart grid has become a national priority, a snapshot of the various electrical components and concepts that are part of the smart grid, advice on how your business can get involved and a look at some key players who should be on your radar if they aren't already.
Go to the NAEC Smart Grid website and download their Quick Start Guide.

A Documentary Treasure on the History of the Internet
15 minutes of a rarely-seen BBC documentary demolish the myth that ARPAnet was inspired by nuclear war, and explain the far more intriguing truth.

Searchable IGI Publication Archives Now Available as Google eBooks
Information Gatekeepers Inc. (IGI), a leading international supplier of information on fiber optics and telecommunications markets and technology, has entered into an arrangement with Google to make its archives available as Google eBook.
Since 1977, IGI has been publishing newsletters, conference proceedings, market research reports, and other publications focused on worldwide markets in telecommunications and fiber optics. With Google eBooks , all of these publications and studies — including previously unavailable earlier works — are now available in searchable, electronic format to market researchers, financial analysts, lawyers, governments, university researchers, libraries, and all other interested parties. Please search our new archive by visiting igigroup.com or entering search terms in the box below.
The new Google eBooks of IGI publications are also the best available for reading on mobile devices. Google eBooks can be read on the Web, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and supported eReaders. Learn more about our supported devices.
For more information on the new Google eBooks of IGI publications please visit igigroup.com. You can search Google Books for IGI publications directly - Go here.

Ensuring Distance Accuracy On OTDR Measurements

Broadband Properties Webinar Archives
Broadband Properties Magazine
Lots of interesting webinars, mostly on FTTH. Go here.

FTTX Networks
An ADC white paper on how they work and how networks are upgraded to FTTH. http://connectedplanetonline.com/images/CP-ADC3-WhitePaper-v4.pdf.

JDSU Application Note On "Qualifying FTTH Network before Equipment Installation"
Another great paper from JDSU covering FTTH PON networks is available for downloading. It gives an overview of FTTH architecture, cleaning connectors then testing the cable plant with OTDRs and OLTSs. This paper will help you understand why OTDRs can be confusing on PONs! 

Best Practices For Wireless Backhaul Network Upgrades
Joan Engebretson, Contributing Editor of Connected Planet has written a very good overview of how fiber is essential to the operation of cellular wireless systems. Everybody probably knows that fiber is used to connect towers into the telecom network - they call it backhaul - but her article also covers the new appliations to replace bulky, heavy, lossy coax up the  tower to the antennas. http://connectedplanetonline.com/images/CP_ADC2_WhitePaper.pdf.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster
We've had numerous requests to reprint our guidelines on safety when working with fiber optics, so we have created a "Safety Poster" for you to print and post in your classroom, worksite, etc. We suggest giving a copy to every student and installer.

Corning now offers videos on Corning on YouTube. Lots of interesting videos, some technical, some sales, but all good information.

US Conec's videos on cleaning fibers - show's the results of proper cleaning.

Webinars of Interest

Broadcast Engineering Magazine - Fiber Optic Testing
FOA President Jim Hayes presents an overview of fiber optic testing for all applications. Available on Demand. Sign up here.

Multimode Fiber Trends from TIA's Fiber Optics LAN Section
Ryan Chappell, Draka Communications, looks at the evolution of multimode fiber, examines its current usage and shares predictionson its future
Available on-demand at: http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/7182/play

OSP Magazine Webinars

OSP Magazine (OSP as in outside plant telco) is now offering a number of interesting webinars that cover fiber topics, including network design and specialized components.  http://www.ospmag.com/events/web/

Multimode Fiber Characterization Launch Condition Considerations - new ap note from JDSU  

JDSU Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing – Volume 2 PublishedJDSU Fiber Optic Testing Volume 2
The second volume of the JDSU series on fiber optic testing has been published.  Volume 1 focused on Basic Fiber testing and Volume 2 is geared toward fiber optic installers, project managers, telecom technicians and engineers who need to understand fiber networks. Volume 2 also covers Chromatic Dispersion, Polarization Mode Dispersion, Attenuation Profile and Fiber Link and Network Characterization. A 3rd volume, a glossary of fiber optic terms, is also available for download.
This is a "MUST HAVE" for all fiber optic techs. Download your free copies here.
We used this book as one of our references in creating a new page in the FOA Online Reference Guide on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD).

Careers in Fiber Optics:
Brian Smith. A 1998 book on fiber optic jobs is a bit dated, but a free overview is on Google Books and worth a look at it online.

As much as 70% of the problems associated with deploying fiber to the home result from something as simple as dirty connectors according to JDSU. Telephony Online.

US Conec's videos on cleaning fibers - show's the results of proper cleaning.

Good Technical Websites

American Polywater (http://www.polywater.com/) has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Here is a rundown on some new material on their site.

Cable Installation using "Push" or "Push/Pull"
Polywater's new Pull-Planner™ 3000 Software allows a "pushing force" variable in pulling tension calculations.  Read a White Paper that quantifies the push contribution and compares calculation results to field experience. --

Pulling Cable Through Water?
Read a Product Spotlight on Polywater® + Silicone™, Polywater's new generation underground lubricant.  Continued reduction of friction when pulling through water is only one of the unique features of this lubricant. --

Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and  “Calculators.” http://www.polywater.com/NNNBSL.pdf


" Heard on the Street" is a monthly online newsletter from Frank Bisbee of Communications Planning Corporation  that covers the telecommunications and cabling businesses. Each month includes news from manufacturers, trade associations and professional societies like the FOA. You can read the current issue and back issues online.

JDSU Webinar series
JDSU has announced the See the Light webinar series, a four-part program designed for anyone involved in the installation, maintenance, and repair of fiber optic systems. It begins with fiber inspection and cleaning and then covers the basics of fiber testing. The webinar series then continues with the more advanced optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) and fiber local area network (LAN) testing challenges. More information on the series.

IGI is offering a series of webinars on topics of interest to those in the communications industry.
You can join them live ir download from the archives. 
IGI, a major market research and technology reporting company (the "Active Optical Cables" below)  is offering a a free one year subscription to one of our fiber optics newsletters to FOA members.  All they have to do is to send IGI an e-mail stating which newsletter they would like to get. See http://www.igigroup.com/nl.html for a listing of IGI Newsletters.

FOA Tech Topics - 
A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?  (See the video on Corning on YouTube )
Yes! The camera in your cell phone is sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter.  Chris Hillyer,CFOT/CFOS/I, Master Instructor, Northern California Sound & Communication JATC sent us some photos showing how this works and the following description.
IR Viewer 850 nm  IR Viewer 1300 nm
"Your cell phone camera's image sensor can read IR light. It uses this technology to help take pictures at night.
In the advanced audio and CCTV field they have been using the smart phone camera to trouble shoot problems in IR communications. The human eye cannot see the IR light emitted by let’s say a remote control.  Well up until now we would always say that the remote is out of batteries, or either the IR transmitter or IR receiver was not working properly. Now we can use your smart phone camera to see the IR light emitted by the IR transmitter. All you have to do is turn on your camera function on your smart phone and hold it up the remote control and push any button. The cameras screen will show the IR light.
Now back to Fiber Optics. If you follow the same principals of the last paragraph, let’s say you wanted to check if a fiber port was energized. You can either use the card that is supposed to show you in a few seconds that the port was hot. Or you could plug in your meter, in this case it takes some time to find the card or if you don’t have your meter handy.  Just pull out your smart phone turn on the camera and hold it over the port. If it is hot you will see a bluish white dot in the fiber bulk head (see attached pictures)."
We tried this ourselves and found our camera phone very sensitive at 850 nm but as expected less so at 1300 nm, like all semiconductor detectors. Our phone could still see 1300 nm sources at around -20 dBm, making it very useful even for LED sources, and of course, perfect for lasers.

FOA Technical Bulletins
How do you design and manufacture fiber optic systems? Choose and install one to serve your communications needs? Troubleshoot problems? The FOA Fiber Optic Technical Bulletins will provide step-by-step guidelines to help you. All are PDF files you can download, print and use.
Testing Update
Are there really 5 different ways to test optical fiber cabling after installation? Why so many? How do the measurements - and more importantly the measurement results - differ? What are the advanteages and disadvantages of each method?
Why are there 4 ways (maybe 5) to test fiber optic cables?
Do OTDRs and OLTS tests give the same results?
New Tech Topics
Industry standards updated to include international standards
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10/40/100G Ethernet.

Product News

Handheld OTDR
Advanced Fiber Solutions has introduced a new compact portable OTDR that offers high resolution (to 1m) and light weight (1.6 pounds, 0.72 kg) plus numerous wavelength and range options. Here is more information.

Protecting Pedestals From Rodents
Pedestals and underground vaults can be damaged by rodents who come up through the base and damage cables. Uraseal "Drain N'Seal" foam deters mice from taking up residence in your pedestals. They have some good videos on using their product.

A Cable Tie That's Fiber Friendly
We're always warning installers not to tighten cable ties too tightly around fiber optic cable (or UTP copper cable either!) A better choice is the hook and loop fastener ties (Velcro is one trade name), but there is another type, the Mille-Tie. It's an open tie that can be used at any length, then cut off and the remainder used also. Take a look a the video to see how it works.
Mille-Tie Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPVTQGKmcvE  

Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

More links on cleaning:

  • Westover 
  • AFL

    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads



    FTTH Notes:
    Testing FTTH
    JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR: http://www.jdsu.com/other-literature/PON-OTDR_fop_an_ae.pdf

    Want To Learn More About FTTx?
    The FOA has created a special FTTx resources section of our website with a FTTx links page with lots of links to news, market reports, technical articles and vendor technical and product information. Here is a great place to start learning more about FTTx.
    FOA's CFxT FTTx Certification Program Explained
    Read the Broadband Properties article about the FOA FTTx certification program. Read the article about FOA President Jim Hayes being honored for his work promoting FTTH.


    What Is The FOA?

    Hear FOA President Jim Hayes tell the FOA Story in a 2-part interview by Sound & Video Contractor Contributing Editor Bennett Liles. It tells about the FOA history, goals and achievements.
    Part 1: http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/fiber_optic_association_part1/index.html.  
    Part 2 http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/inside-fiber-optic-association2-0924/index.html.

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

    There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811

    See www.call811.com for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit: By the "811" group. March, 2008 in Vegas.


    Download This!
    There are tons of technical application notes and videos on the web, and occasionally we recommend some you should download. The JDSU fiber testing guide is really worthwhile, as are the ADC FTTx book and Westover video on fiber inspection and cleaning, linked below.
    JDSU Testing Book
    JDSU offers a free download of their Testing Guide from the Lightwave website. This is one great book which explains some basic fiber technology, but the real value is the last half which deals with OTDR testing. Not only does it give the usual info, but it covers important topics like measurement uncertainties and anomolies like ghosts and gainers.
    I was in the testing business for 20+ years at Fotec and think this book is one of the best fiber optic testing texts available. It's complete but comprehenisble! I used to believe that premises techs did not need OTDR training, but now OTDR manufacturers are pushing their use in premises networks. Unfortunately, the limitations of OTDRs in premises applications can cause extreme problems for those who are not aware of their limitations. So knowing hows OTDRs work is essential information to every tech. 
    Download yourself a copy and read it! http://lw.pennnet.com/whitepapers/wp.cfm?id=665
    Westover Application Notes And Cleaning Video
    Westover has several application notes on inspecting and cleaning fiber optic connectors. The video is a big file (50+MB) but a good tutorial.
    Download page: http://www.westoverfiber.com/Support/downloads.php


    New FOA Jobs Website

    We get many questions from CFOTs, students at FOA-Approved schools and others contemplating getting into the fiber optic business regarding jobs in fiber optics - and
    how to find them - so we’ve created a new web page to share some information we've gathered about jobs in our industry. The information is designed to help you understand what jobs are available in fiber optics, how to find them and apply for them.
    While the overall economy is pretty bad - you've probably heard that there are 5 times as many people unemployed in the US as there are jobs available, telecom is a bright spot - broadband is a major focus of stimulus spending in the US and countries around the world are building fiber networks as fast as possible. Even wireless companies have to build fiber for their backhaul. Cities are installing fiber linked surveillance cameras and smart traffic lights. Fiber is the link making Smart Grid possible. Companies like Allied Fiber are building large private networks. Telecom is one of the fastest growing businesses worldwide.

    If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs.

    The FOA has created a group on
    FOA on LinkedIn  expressly to help our CFOTs find employment and contracting opportunities. If you are a CFOT and are interested in participating, join us on FOA on LinkedIn. If you have job openings, let us post them on FOA on LinkedIn.

    A list of 10 ways to get your resume noticed from Marketplace on NPR   

    Jobs Created As Part of Stimulus-Funded Projects
    The federal government is spending 7.2 billion dollars on the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.  This money is working it's way into the economy and hopefully will provide jobs.  You can track recovery dollars and look for job opportunities on this website:
    www.recovery.gov  Go to "opportinities" link then "jobs".  You will see a section “find recovery jobs” – enter “fiber optic jobs California” or wherever you are and review what comes up.

    One of the projects funded by stimulus money is the 1100 mile network of
    Maine Fiber Company Inc. which has selected nextGen Telecom Services Group Inc. as the installation contractor. CFOTs: NextGen has a link on their website for applying for jobs

    Job Openings

    Fiber Optics Engineer/Technician (Feb 2012) 

    Are you crazy about new technology and how the communications space is changing to meet the expanding bandwidth requirements in the communication age? Have you spent five plus years in the field working directly with fiber and service providers and want to move into a product development role that solves problems up front? If working with a dynamic team and some of North America’s top triple play service providers is a direction you want to take your career, please email a covering letter stating your experience and your resume to dhammersley@vplenterprises.com.

    A little About Us:
    Primex Telecom is a division of VPL Enterprises Ltd, a plastic injection-molding company that specializes in the manufacture and distribution of telecommunication and building products. Primex specializes in developing, producing and distributing flexible enclosure solutions for the cable and
    telecom industries. We offer turn-key and OEM solutions for CATv, Copper and Fiber termination boxes in a series of off-the-shelf products as well as ready-to-install customized enclosures. At Primex, we makeeverything fit – so you don’t have to.

    You will work collaboratively with internal teams and customers to build on product offerings using existing ideas, and will use your industry experience to prioritize and develop new features and designs. You possess a unique blend of business and technical acumen and have the ability to see the ‘big’ picture. You have the determination to make the company’s vision a reality and enjoy spending time in the market to understand customer issues and develop innovative solutions.

    General Duties and Responsibilities:
    To work in close collaboration with Telecom sales, engineering, customers and prospective clients to design and build market ready optical fiber, copper, wireless and OEM network termination, demarcationand connection enclosures. Assist in strategically sourcing specified components and alternates and follow through to completion all relevant certification processes and requirements for the Telecommarketplace. The Fiber Optics Engineer/Technician is the technical sales support resource responsible for working with front line sales teams, marketing, customers and engineering teams to conceptualize,design and execute the development and market acceptance of Primex solutions.

    Responsibilities: Capturing detailed requirements and ensuring that our internal mechanical engineering team understands all requirements & develop products that are consistent with our brand and appropriate for the marketplace.
    Direct relationship management with external customer engineering teams to develop solution- focused products.
    Building and maintaining business relationships with any partners and suppliers necessary to ensure the success of the products, including vendor selection.
    Research and analyze customer design proposals, specifications and other data to evaluate the feasibility, cost, and maintenance requirements of designs or applications.
    Assess customer network specifications and assist in procuring specified components and work towards value engineering part substitutions where possible to increase value.

    Specify system components or direct modification of products to ensure conformance with engineering design and performance specifications.
    Perform research and report on competitive products; assist Marketing and Sales with developing differentiating product positioning strategies.

    Provide technical customer service in coordination with Sales as required.
    Train internal staff on market trends, new technologies and specifically the expanding role of fiber optics in the communications space.

    Required Skills and Qualifications

    This role will require someone with extraordinary technical abilities gained through on site field experience. An academic background in Electrical Engineering would be highly relevant. Direct multi-year, OSP experience in the telecommunications, fiber optics and cable television market space.

    Solid understanding of the telecommunications market and specifically the role of fiber optics in relation to FTTx market.
    Direct experience with the last mile equipment, termination and technologies – Fiber and Copper. Thorough understanding of role and evolution of both active Ethernet and PON networking systems as well as working familiarity with RFoG systems and new triple play technology developments.

    Familiarity with compliance engineering, UL, CSA and/or Bellcore/Telecordia.
    The ability to research and anticipate technology trends is essential in addition to understanding competitors and their ‘roadmaps’.
    Strong problem solving skills along with excellent verbal and written communication skills. Intellectual curiosity, creativity and a passion for technology would be advantageous.
    Project management skills demonstrated through a PMP designation or work experience. Demonstrated ability to understand and develop plans and strategies to clearly communicate complex business issues and technological solutions.
    Fluent communication skills in English both written and oral.
    Ability to effectively work with cross-functional teams and various geographical locations. Willingness and ability to travel within North America to support Sales and Marketing efforts.

    This position will be based at our Primex Headquarters in Vancouver/Langley, BC, Canada. Check out our website at http://www.primextelecom.com/ to learn more about our company and our flexible enclosure solutions for the communications space. Interested and qualified candidates should email Donovan Hammersley, VP of Sales and Marketing, at dhammersley@vplenterprises.com. Only qualified candidates will be contacted for future follow up.

    Communications Installation Technician in Alaska (Feb 2012) 

    We have an immediate opening for a Communications Installation Technician in the Alaska market.  We are also expanding our installation crew in the PNW market and would like to interview candidates for open positions.
    Jay Lewandowski
    Install Project Manager
    Steelhead Communications Inc.
    (206) 384-5960 Cell

    28120 State Route 410 East
    Buckley, WA 98321
    (360) 829-1330 Office
    (360) 829-1320 Fax

    700 West 58th Avenue
    Unit J
    Anchorage, AK 99518
    (907) 569-0003 Office
    (907) 569-0013 Fax

    Position:  Fiber Optic Engineering Specialist (Dec 2011)

    Location:  VA
    Experience:  3+ years
    Education:  BS

    Growing company in VA has an opening for a Fiber Optic Engineering Specialist who will support company's existing fiber optic products as well as participate in R&D projects. 

    Qualifications and Requirements:

    -  experience with fiber optic devices
    - packaging experience
    - optical connectors
    - EE degree or Physics degree
    - lasers, spectrometer, matlab, labview
    - hands on fiber optics experience
    - high precision packaging is a plus

    - test, design, RD, development experience
    - MS Access experience a plus
    - experience with production and assembly of fiber components

    - IR knowledge a plus
    - 3+ years industry experience or appropriate post doc or University RD experience
    - Must be a US Citizen


    Brian Murray
    The Photonics Group
    Durham, NC 27713
    Office 919-572-2292
    Fax 919-572-6556

    Fiber Optic Instructor (Nov 2011)
    We are currently seeking applications for additional instructors in our area to enhance our teaching capabilities.  If you know of any instructors in Central and Southeast Florida seeking Part Time assignments, please have them fax their resume to me at (954) 979-0456. 
    Terry L Mrakovich
    Termark Technical Institute
    Web: http://www.termark-tech.org
    Toll Free: 855-4TERMARK
    Main Phone: (954) 979-4480

    Senior Electrical Engineer “da Vinci” Surgical Equipment, www.intuitivesurgical.com      
    (October, 2011)
    Job Location:  Sunnyvale, CA 
    Please email me directly at maryjane.dow@intusurg.com
    Primary Function:
    The successful Senior Electrical Engineer will lead the identification, sourcing, development, and integration of novel electro-optical sensing systems for surgical robots. The candidate must be able to identify and evaluate new candidate technologies, work with vendors to customize hardware and software to meet specific requirements, and drive robust technical solutions into production. He or she must excel in a high-energy team environment and be capable of making sound decisions when faced with the time pressures and incomplete information typical of new product development. The successful candidate must have outstanding technical depth in relevant areas, but be as comfortable leading and specifying as designing.
    Roles and Responsibilities
    This position has responsibility and authority for:
    ·         Comparing and evaluating available sensing technologies
    ·         Determining requirements for next generation sensing technologies
    ·         Developing vendor technical relationships and project managing vendors
    ·         Specifying and leading the development of additional hardware and software components as needed
    ·         Integrating, calibrating, and bench testing newly developed sensing systems
    ·         Supporting productization of integrated sensing systems on new and existing robot platforms
    ·         Documenting, preparing and reviewing patent submissions
    Competency Requirements
    Competency is based on: education, training, skills and experience. In order to adequately perform the responsibilities of this position the individual must:
    ·         Masters’ degree in EE, Physics, or related field required
    ·         Minimum of five (5) years of experience taking successful products to production
    ·         At least eight (8) years of experience with:
    ·         Electro-optical and bench instrumentation design/development
    ·         Electronic and optical test & measurement instruments
    ·         Analog and digital signal processing hardware and algorithms
    ·         Lasers, optical fibers and connectors, integrated optical devices and optical materials
    ·         Familiarity with telecom technologies and standards, particularly relating to fiber optics
    ·         Background in analytical physics/optics
    ·         Comfortable with scripting/programming in common engineering environments
    ·         Experience managing vendors and projects
    ·         A passion for creating robust and reliable products

    FOA lists jobs and contracting opportunities on our LinkedIn group. CFOTs are invited to join.

     Do listings in the FOA Newsletter Work? Here's feedback:

    "We did great!  We have over 15 interviews next week."

    "Your newsletter generated a significant number of applicants and we have filled the position."


    Tech Puzzler:
    No Tech puzzler this month.

    Go here to answer the question. Be sure to enter the month of the quiz!
    Answer to past questions below

     FOA Logo Merchandise

    New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
    FOA T Shirt
    The FOA has created a store on Zazzle.com offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.

    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 36,000 CFOTs (December 2011) have been certified by over 250 schools. Since our founding in July, 1995, we have dedicated ourselves to promoting fiber optics and professionalism in fiber optics personnel, focusing on education and certification. We are continuing to add new schools and more CFOTs as users of fiber optics learn that a CFOT is the indication of a professional, well-trained fiber optic technician. Now with FTTH (fiber to the home) finally taking off, demand for CFOTs is rising and schools are responding by expanding programs rapidly.
    The FOA now has approved programs in place at 200+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems and AFL (and their new acquisition "The Light Brigade" for their installation training programs) and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at http://www.thefoa.org/foa_aprv.htm.


    Understanding FOA Certifications
    To answer questions on FOA certifications, we have several web pages:
    Overview of FOA certifications
    Training Requirements - What Schools Are Teaching
    Reading these will help you understand what each FOA certification covers and how to prepare for them.

    Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

    The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

    Feel free to use the logo and designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!


    Remember To Renew Your Certification !

    Remember to renew your FOA certification. All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding your qualifications if needed. You must be a current FOA member and CFOT to participate in our online database of installers, contractors, technicians and consultants. If you forgot to renew, use the online application form to renew NOW!

    You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.



    To Contact The FOA:
    The Fiber Optic Association
    1119 S Mission Road, # 355
    Fallbrook, California 92028 USA
    Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time, Monday to Friday
    Telephone: 760-451-3655
    Fax: 781-207-2421

    You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.

    Want to write for the FOA Newsletter? Send us articles, news, anything you think might be interesting to the rest of the membership!

    Return to The FOA Home Page

    Answer to Tech Puzzler:
    Check here next month for the answer to previous tech puzzlers.

    September 2011

    The article above covered the different OTDR traces you get with cleaved or broken fibers. What would the  end of the trace look like if the far end connector was an APC type?

    A. About the same as a cleaved fiber
    B. About the same as a broken fiber

    C. No reflectance at all - the angle of the endface of an APC connector stops reflectance
    D. None of the above

    August 2011

    What was the first application for which VCSELs were used?

    A. Video over MM fiber
    B. Gigabit Ethernet was the correct answer.

    C. Fibre Channel
    D. SANs

     See the FOA Reference Guide for more info.


    (C)1999-2011, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

      Go to the special answer form to enter the FOA Tech Puzzler monthly contest.