In This Issue
2013, Looking Back, Looking Forward
2012 Was A Good Year For FOA
Volcano' Damages Undersea Cable
"Rollable Ribbon" Allows Design Of Highest Density Cable
Corning and Sumitomo Introduce Active Optical Cables
Air-Blown Fiber Cabling Solution
More "Quickstart Guides"
OLANs - Optical LANs - How Big Can They Get?

Fiber Splicing Jobs - see below
FOA on YouTube: More New Videos: OLANs, Counterfeit Cables, Fiber Characterization, POF, more

New @ FOA  

Fiber U -
new free online self-study courses
Publications: NECA/FOA 301 Installation, eBooks
videos: New FOA Videos
Online Reference Guide: Many new pages 
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools
New schools and programs

Jobs Current openings for Fiber Splicers
Also see FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn

Events: Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
Product News - OTDRs, More New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  
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)

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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

Looking for information on a particular topic? Use the FOA's Google Custom Search to search our website and all back issues of the FOA Newsletter:

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

2013, Looking Back, Looking Forward

Every year when contemplating an article on the past and future of fiber optic technology, it is instructive to look at what was written last year and see how close (or far off) those predictions were. Certainly fiber optics continued to be a growth industry, led by increased consumer and business demands for data.
New submarine and land based cables continue to be installed. Underserved areas like Africa are finally becoming connected with fiber. FTTH growth seems to be accelerating, especially as costs continue to drop and governments (including the US) recognize that FTTH (and FTTB - business) is a major factor in economic growth. In the US, Chattanooga and Bristol, Tennessee, USA, assisted by their electrical utility supplier TVA, are proving that assumption. Seattle is getting GB FTTH as part of the university "Gig U" program. Speaking of Chattanooga, Bristol and TVA, Smart Grid is also starting to use more fiber and alternative energy, a major user of fiber, is continuing to make progress - in the US, it's wind in the Midwest and solar in the Southwest. CA just passed a milestone, 1GW of alternative energy production with about 7GW in construction. Everywhere around the world, FTTH is gaining better acceptance. Cellular (mobile) data is trying to keep up with smartphone data growth, and that's driving more fiber to the towers and up the towers to the antennas too.
Premises cabling is struggling to understand how to serve higher bandwidth needs. While many large users are discovering the capability and economies of "OLANs" using POL or P2P architectures, the TIA dug in its heels and decided to start working on "Cat 8." Can anyone guess how many tons of copper (not to mention tons of steel for racks and trays) it would take to build a 16,000 user LAN - the largest OLAN we know.
As you can see from the graph below, FOA continues to grow, especially with the acceptance of our certifications worldwide.
2013 looks to be another good year for fiber.

2012 Was A Good Year For FOA Too

FOA continued its worldwide growth with another record year for certifications and passed another milestone, 40,000 CFOTs®.


Visitors to the FOA website reached a new high too, just under 500,000 unique visitors came to the FOA website downloading 2.2million pages. We had over 300,000 views of our YouTube videos and about 20,000 online self-study sessions on Fiber U. We really like to see the educational materials FOA has created being used!

You Think You've Heard It ALL, Until This....Volcano' Damages Undersea Cable

The suspected eruption of a submerged volcano beneath the northern Black Sea is reported to have damaged a fiber-optic cable connecting the southern Russia city of Novorossiysk with the Georgian port of Poti. Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency reports owners of the cable said the break also affected communications at the upcoming site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Engineers said the cable’s polyethylene sheath was melted by lava from the unnamed underwater volcano.
Read more.

Bend-Insensitive Fiber And "Rollable Ribbon" Allows Design Of Highest Density Cable

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT, Tokyo) has developed the world’s highest-density multi-fiber optical fiber cable for outdoor optical fiber networks. NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories (NTT Labs.) succeeded in increasing to an ultimate fiber density of optical fiber cable by using bend-insensitive optical fiber  and a novel optical fiber ribbon. This cable is composed of rollable optical fiber ribbons in which standard 250 micron diameter coated optical fibers are intermittently bonded in a longitudinal direction. Unlike regular ribbons, these can be rolled up with harming the fibers. This cable has 30% smaller diameter and 60% lighter weight than conventional slotted core type optical fiber cable as shown below.

Rollable ribbon cable
Here is how the fiber ribbons are made to allow rolling into such a tight bundle:

rollable ribbon

Note this design would not work without bend-insensitive fibers and that once "unrolled" the fibers can be spliced with ribbon splicers.

Corning and Sumitomo Introduce Active Optical Cables

Recent MACs offer a high speed interface called "Thunderbolt" which when introduced many of us thought would be based on fiber. Instead, Thunderbolt was a 10Gb/s copper link that had limited length capability aimed at connecting displays and external hard drives. Now many users probably would like to have more distance capability, so Corning and Sumitomo are offering Thunderbolt AOCs - active optical cables - that reach up to 30m/100ft.

Corning AOC
An AOC uses an optical transceiver in the connector body that interfaces an electrical connector to an optical cable. It is powered through the electrical connection. Many AOCs use plastic optical fiber (POF) but we have no data on the construction of this particular one.

AFL and Dura-Line Launch the eABF™ Air-Blown Fiber Cabling Solution

AFL and Dura-Line have joined together to develop a high-performance air-blown fiber optic cabling system - eABF™ (Enterprise Air-Blown Fiber). Engineered to offer a reliable, easy-to-integrate optical fiber network communications infrastructure, eABF has one of the highest fiber density solutions in the air-blown fiber market.
“The eABF approach to structured cabling technology has the potential to change the industry by eliminating the initial high cost typically associated with traditional air-blown fiber systems,” commented Stephen Martin, AFL product manager. “By removing this initial installation cost barrier, network designers will realize that the eABF solution can be their primary network pathway infrastructure.”
The core of the eABF solution is the cable and duct. One of the unique features of the cable is the patent-pending low-friction high-drag jacketing system that enables the cable to move along the duct at a faster rate of speed. In addition, the eABF cable is Telcordia GR-409 compliant and flame-rated for OFNR and OFNP environments. As a result, the cable can be deployed within the cable raceway and management system once exiting the pathway without the need for additional costly furcation tubing. The cable geometry makes it ideal for installation in the Dura-Line 8.5 mm x 6 mm Enterprise FuturePath® system and is available in fiber counts up to 48 fibers. Fiber types include single-mode, OM2, OM3 and OM4 employing bend insensitive fiber technology.

More Information Here 

OLANs - Optical LANs - How Big Can They Get?

Over the last couple of years, we've written a lot about all-optical LANs, either based on FTTH passive optical network (PON) or point-to-point (P2P) Ethernet architecture. The more we see of these types of networks, the more we appreciate their design and economy. But how about scale - how big can they get?
In November, we ran a picture story about the new San Diego Central Library which is using a Tellabs optical LAN using PON technology that was using about 1000 4 port drops. Now we hear another Tellabs customer has over 16,000 users. That must make it one of the biggest LANs in the world.

Here are more sources of information on optical LANs - BTW, they need a name - let's start calling them OLANs!

FOA Guide Page on OLANs and FOA YouTube Video



Cliff Walker's FTTO paper

3M on POLs 

And the new FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs

More "Quickstart Guides"

In our continuing quest to help people understand how to test fiber optic cable plants and communications systems, we've created two more "QuickStart Guides to Fiber Optic Testing." They are simple, step-by-step guides on how to test fiber optic cable plants, patchcords or single cables using insertion loss or OTDR techniques and optical power from transceivers. It's as straightforward as it can get - what equipment do you need, what are the procedures for testing, options in implementing the test, measurement errors and documenting the results.
It can't get much simpler.
Send anybody you know who needs to know about fiber optic testing here to learn how it's done in a few minutes.

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants And Patchcords  

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR  

Measuring Optical Power In Communications Systems  


New FOA Lectures

We've added lectures on new topics, the characterization of optical fibers for CD, PMD and spectral attenuation, important issues for long haul systems and DWDM, POF and OLANs..

FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  

FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)

FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs

We also added a Premises Cabling lecture on counterfeit Cat 5 cable, with a demonstration of its flammability.

Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling

2 New "Hands-On Hints" Videos:

We've added two "hands-on" videos with hints on using OTDRs and microscopes for visual inspection. Watch for more hands-on videos.

Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 

Lectures On Instructor Training
A new section of the FOA YouTube channel is all about teaching fiber optics and premises cabling. It's designed to help instructors working toward FOA CFOS/I instructor certification but is also useful to anyone teaching fiber or premises cabling. See below.

Followup: 2012: The Year of The OTDR

Last year we ran monthly features on OTDRs to try to increase user awareness of the proper way to use these instruments. We hope we made some progress. What we did add to our Online Guide is a new "Quickstart Guide" on using OTDRs which we hope will help users operate them properly:

Quickstart Guide: Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR  

Fiberizer OTDR App Available Free as "Cloud Service"

fiberizer cloud

Fiberizer Cloud – fiber optic testing data management solution in the cloud.  
OptiXsoft and Agizer are glad to introduce Fiberizer Cloud for fiber optic data management and analysis. On the one hand being tiny companies OptiXsoft and Agizer have solid experience in fiber optic test equipment and software development and now offer the Fiberizer App for iPhones and iPads.
The new web service Fiberizer Cloud was developed from the view point of ordinary fiber optic engineers and their businesses. Now engineers have no need to store multiple copies of their OTDR traces on different PCs in tremendous number of nested folders; or to order expensive custom software. Fiberizer Cloud allows to store and analyze fiber optic testing data directly from the browser opened on desktop PC or notebook (iOS and Android mobile clients are coming soon too) connected to the internet wherever they are.

Fiberizer Cloud:
•    supports OTDR traces in universal Telcordia GR-196 & SR-4731 *.sor format allowing to work with most of modern OTDRs;
•    has OTDR trace analysis instruments like measurement of loss, reflection, attenuation, event table;
•    has bidirectional and batch analysis features;
•    can generate of PDF reports (with embedded traces);
•    work with PON schemes;
•    has web client based on Microsoft Silverlight technology;

Currently Fiberizer Cloud registration is free and available here: http://fiberizer.com

Youtube video on Fibrizer: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRiTVDSEaug)

Three Good Practice Tools For OTDRs, All Free

FOA OTDR Simulator
You may already know that the FOA has a free OTDR Simulator you can download from our website (go here for directions) that allows you to practice using an OTDR on your PC, seeing the effects of changing setup parameters and analyzing dozens of real world traces. But here are two more tools that can be good for practice.

AFS OTDR Online Demo
AFS OTDR Simulator

AFS has an online interactive demo of their new OTDR that allows you to see how an OTDR makes measurements. You use the yellow buttons in the center of the OTDR to set the markers to make measurements. Very well done. Go to http://www.afsi.us/otdr/otdr_mode.php for the demo.

"Fiberizer" APP Reads, Analyzes OTDR Traces


Fiberizer is a iPhone/iPad APP that reads industry-standard ".sor" format files and allows trace analysis on your iPhone or iPad. An android version is in the works too. Read more about Fiberizer. And here are more directions on its use.

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  

Events of Interest

OFC 2013
OFC, perhaps the best show for fiber optics moves from LA to Anaheim this year, next door to Disneyland on March 17-21, 2013. Go here for more information and to register.
If you are involved in the management or marketing for a fiber optic company, you should consider attending the "Executive Forum" preceding OFC. It's a good time to get an update on the fiber optic market and meet some of the people making it happen.

FOA presented a special webinar with Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine on November 29 on "5 Ways To Test Installed Fiber Optic Cabling."

This webcast seminar, produced by Cabling Installation & Maintenance and presented by FOA President Jim Hayes, takes a hands-on look at each of these five standard test methods. Attendees will see the physical setup of each method and gain a thorough understanding of each method’s application as well as measurement uncertainty.
You can watch this seminar on your PC or Apple iPad or iPhone.
The seminar is archived on the Cabling Installation & Maintenance Website

FOA Presented a Webinar on Cabling Project Planning And Installation For CI&M Magazine

Topic: Cabling Project Planning - The Customer's Point of View
This webcast seminar was presented by FOA President Jim Hayes. In the seminar, Hayes will explain what is involved in a cabling-installation project (fiber, copper and/or wireless), from concept to acceptance. He will describe the step-by-step procedures, referencing which responsibilities fall on the end user,  which fall on the contractor, and the critical points of cooperation between the two.
You can watch this seminar on your PC or Apple iPad or iPhone.
The seminar is archived on the Cabling Installation & Maintenance Website.

Free PC polish inspection webinar by Norland

Norland Products will be launching the first of a series of webinars on Tuesday, January 29th at 2:00 EST. This webinar will focus on how interferometry is used to help control the polishing process for single fiber connectors. If you have ever wondered why you are performing an interferometric test procedure, this webinar will provide you with the answers. The webinar will last 30 minutes and there will be time for Q&As. The host of this webinar will be the President of Norland Products, Eric Norland.
Tuesday, January 29th at 2:00 EST.
For more information and/or to register,GO HERE.


 FOLS Webinar

Testing for Data Centers 
Presented by Michelle Collier, AFL  

Today's high speed networks require more stringent performance than typical LANs. To be sure the networks will support today's networking applications it is important to properly clean, inspect and test optical fiber networks. This webinar will address which tests are required and recommended and how to perform them.

  Available on demand.

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. Each webinar, presented by a JDSU subject matter expert, lasts approximately one hour, including Q&A.
Go here to see the seminars offered.  Search for "fiber" IMPORTANT: use registration password: FONA1.

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

FOA LogoWhat's New @ FOA

FOA Standards For Contractors, Designers, Installers and Users

Read more about them here. And above.

View the YouTube Video On FOA Standards 

Go to the FOA "1 Page Standards"

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

US Department of Labor Recognizes FOA In New "Occupational Outlook Handbook"

FOA is listed in the new US Department of Labor  "Occupational Outlook Handbook" in the section "How to Become a Line Installer or Repairer."

This website lists all sorts of interesting information, including what these workers do in their jobs, how they get trained and certified (where the FOA is referenced) and something everybody is interested in - sections on "Pay" and "Job Outlook" - see the red arrow above.

FOA  LinkedIn Group On Fiber Optic Training

Linked In Training Group
FOA has started a new LinkedIn group called "Fiber Optic Training" dedicated to discussions on fiber optic training. Anyone can join our new Linked In fiber optic training group. We're experimenting on teaching instructor-led online courses on LinkedIn - watch for announcements on the FOA LinkedIn group and Fiber Optic Training Group. Take a look and join the group.
FOA Corporate MemberCorporate Memberships
FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Among other benefits, Corporate Membership gives companies access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees. Read more.

FOA Standards:

FOA has joined the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to be able to keep up to date on more standards activities.

FOA now offers free standards for testing the installed fiber optic cable plant, patchcords and cable, optical power from transmitters or at receivers and OTDR testing. Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide.

View the  FOA YouTube Video On FOA Standards 

Go to the FOA "1 Page Standards"

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

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. 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 is a member of:

Fiber U
Three New Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs on Testing, Design and FTTx

There are two new free online self-study programs on Fiber U. Fiber Optic Network Design is for those interested in learning more about how ot design fiber optic networks or studying for the CFOS/D certification. FTTx is for those wanting to know more about fiber to the "x" - curb, home, wireless, etc. - or studying for the CFOS/H certification.
Got to Fiber U for more information.

We are considering using these self-study courses as part of online instructor-led courses using Linked-In. We have a new LinkedIn group, "Fiber Optic Training" (see below) which will be used for this. Join now for these courses.

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
  FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.


New FOA Lectures

We've added lectures on new topics, the characterization of optical fibers for CD, PMD and spectral attenuation, important issues for long haul systems and DWDM, POF and OLANs.

FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  

FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)

FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs

We also added a Premises Cabling lecture on counterfeit Cat 5 cable, with a demonstration of its flammability.

Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling

Hazards Of Counterfeit Cable

You may have read the stories we have written about the counterfeit "Cat 5" cable made from copper-clad aluminum rather than pure copper. Recently we tried an unscientific burn test on the cable compared to a known good UL tested cable and posted a video on YouTube. You can see the results below.

Counterfeit cable flame test

Counterfeit Cable     Real UL-rated cable

The difference is obvious and the danger is real. Watch the video on YouTube: Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling

2 New "Hands-On Hints" Videos:

Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 

Below is a list of all 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  
FOA Lecture 27, Fiber Optic Datalinks 
FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  
FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)  
FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs

Hands-On Fiber Optic Videos show how it's actually done
Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 
Fiber Optic Connector Polishing Technique 
The Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket (Cell Phone)
Insertion Loss Testing
Fusion Splicing
Mechanical Splicing
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 1, Setup & Tools
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 2, Jacketed Cable Prep
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 3, Adhesive Prep
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 4, Stripping Fiber
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 5, Connector Attachment
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 6, Polishing
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 7, Inspection
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 8, Distribution Cable Termination
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 1 Introduction
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 2, Zipcord

Fiber Optic Cable, Part 3 Distribution Cable

Fiber Optic Cable, Part 4 Breakout Cable

Fiber Optic Cable, Part 5 Loose Tube Cable

Fiber Optic Cable, Part 6, Armored Cable

Lectures On Premises Cabling
The FOA has added 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.

Premises Cabling Lectures  on YouTube

"Hands-On" UTP Cabling Videos show how it's actually done
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 1, Tools
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 2, The Training Board
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 3, UTP Cable
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 4, 66 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 5, 110 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 6, Jacks
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 7, Testing
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 8, Plugs and Patchcords 
Lectures On Instructor Training
A new section of the FOA YouTube channel is all about teaching fiber optics and premises cabling. It's designed to help instructors working toward FOA CFOS/I instructor certification but is also useful to anyone teaching fiber or premises cabling.

FOA Instructor Training and Certification Playlist (all videos)  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 1 -Introduction   
FOA Instructor Training - Part 2 - About The FOA  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 3 - FOA Approved Schools  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 4 - Instructors  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 5 - Curriculum  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 6 - Teaching A Course 
FOA Instructor Training - Part 7 - Hands-On Labs  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 8 - FOA Resources  

View all 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.

Three new "Quickstart Guides" for fiber optic testing: cable plant & patchcord loss, power and OTDR

New: OLans: Optical LANs 

FTTx and Design Pages Updated
As we developed the new Fiber U self-study courses, we updated the FTTx and Design pages and added a FTTx installation section.

Testing FTTH
Basic guidelines for testing FTTH PON networks  

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

Quote from one of our certified instructors: I want to thank you and your organization for all the resources you provide for the students and the opportunity to offer the certification to the students. The fact that you published the book yourself to get the cost down and the unlimited free resources on your website shows a commitment to the public that is second to none. I let it be known to the students that the FOA is the best in the industry at supplying knowledge and resources related to the communication industry. I look forward to passing on the information that you provide for the industry.

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

3C Dynamics,  FOA-Approved School #331

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

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization
FOA-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! That old mobile phone has a camera which may be 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. Update: You should check out your old cell phones before you recycle them. We've found older models use sensors which are better at infrared than the newer ones which take better pictures. This is a good use for your old cell phones hiding in the drawer!

Cable Colors (1/13)
We have a customer building a Data Center. The customer will be using OM3 Fiber optic for backbone an there will be 2 diverse paths. Now the customer is asking to provide 2 different colors of OM3 cable and same 2 colors of patch cord on OM3. Is it correct to use different colored cables other than the standard aqua for OM3 fiber?
Yes, it is OK to use different colors of cables to identify cables in diverse paths. The "standard" color for OM3/OM4 cables, aqua, is a recommendation but it's not uncommon in large enterprise networks and data centers to see lots of different cable colors.

Flashlight Test? (1/13)
We are trying to troubleshoot a fiber cable by using a flashlight pointed in one end and seeing if it comes out the other end...(I know a bit low tech but..)  The distance seems to be too great to get the light of the flashlight to come through.
What tool out there can help with this issue?
A: A "flashlight test" is often used for a continuity or polarity check. The problem is getting the flashlight aligned with the fiber and coupling sufficient light to be able to see anything. For multimode fiber going short distances (a few hundred meters), a flashlight with a alignment fixture can be sued, like this http://www.afsi.us/product.php?product=CONTINUITY
For singlemode fibers you need a more powerful source that is carefully focused for the small core of the fiber, like this http://www.afsi.us/product.php?product=AF-OS405
But in reality, all installations should be tested for loss with a light source and power meter. See here for an overview: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/test.html

Online Discussions (12/12)
Q: I was wondering if the FOA might think about adding a feature to the FOA website… Like a technical discussion forum… or other member forums for discussion.
A: We use LinkedIn for those kinds of technical conversations. We have a CFOT group and a Fiber Optic Training group that are pretty active. Anyone can join the FOA Fiber Optic Training Group or join the FOA Group if you are a CFOT.

MM to SM Adapter (12/12)
Is there a coupler on the market to hybrid SM and MM to avoid high dB loss in that even?
A: No! Several people have tried to make tapered fibers to mate different fiber sizes but none successfully. You need electronics to do it.

Matching MM Fiber For Launch/Receive Reference Cables (12/12)
These days fiber cable is not simply 62.5um or 50um - we now have 3 different grades of 50um fiber......ie. OM2, OM3, OM4. How important for cables to be matched for this?
A: The difference between OM2/3/4 fiber is the structure of the core used to increase the bandwidth. Since all these fibers are designed to have the same core diameter and NA, doing insertion loss tests with mixed types is not a problem. However, many of these laser-optimized fibers are not made as "bend-insensitive fibers and mixing those fibers with regular fibers can be a problem.

Testing Cables With Expanded-Beam Connectors (12/12)
How do I test cables with expanded-beam connectors?
Since most meters have smaller detectors they may not capture all the light from these connectors, so a 3-cable reference with a known good cable of the type under test is probably the best method to use. See here and here in the FOA Guide.

Removing Obsolete (And Valuable) Copper Telephone Cables (11/12)

Q: In our FTTH build-out we have changed a large number of customers from copper to fiber.  There is a huge amount of copper underground lying free.  (Inside ducts)   The issue is that in the access network most are together with new fiber cables (no sub-ducts).  In the primary routes there are large count copper, say 2000 pairs and above too. So pulling out wont be easy and need to be done by a specialized party.  There is a large amount of money down below!  I hope you can give me some guidance and refer me to the right company or the right person to get an idea.
A: Yes at the current price of copper this is indeed a very profitable "mining" venture! A web search for "removing copper cables from underground ducts" gives lots of leads, but the company I remember talking to is "Cable-X" http://cable-x.net/what-is.htm which is based in the Netherlands.  

Would FTTO Work? (11/12)
We have a project we are working on and I had a few questions: The project is a large indoor mall.  The mall wants to add public WiFi.  Would FTTO work for this application?
A: This is an ideal application for FTTO. You would use singlemode fiber and would need to add power at the antenna locations for the wireless access point and a media converter or switch. One advantage is flexibility of placement of APs in a large facility with direct connections to just one equipment room. I would look at prefab cable assemblies too- you might be able to avoid field termination or splicing.

Mode Conditioning Patch Cables (11/12)
Something new came up in a discussion with a network engineer.  He told me about “mode conditioning patch cables”. What are they?
A: They were originally used for Gigabit Ethernet at 1300 nm using laser sources. 1000Base-LX sources were lasers with singlemode pigtails. Multimode fibers of the era were notorious for having incomplete fusion of the glass in the center of the core which caused bandwidth problems. Mating a SM pigtail laser to one of these fibers caused big bandwidth problems since they launched right into the center dip. The immediate solution was to set up an offset launch to avoid the center of the fiber with LX sources. VCSELS had problems with these fibers too, even though they launched a much larger spot, so the laser-optimized 50/125 OM3 fibers were developed to not have the center dip and OM4 followed soon thereafter. 10GBASE-LX4 had the same problem, of course, only worse, with OM1/2 fibers and SM lasers. The patchcords are usually made by splicing SM to MM fibers with an offset of ~10 microns. I cannot say I know anyone who has actually used them! 1300 nm has no advantage with MM fiber as the bandwidth has been optimized for 850nm. And they are much more expensive than 850nm VCSELs. It is unlikely you need them with OM3/4 fiber and I would not recommend running 10G over OM1/2 without some field trials.

Do you have any data on Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) statistics available for fiber cable outages?
We break the MTTR into two stages - finding the break and fixing it.
Finding a break is often much simpler than you think - somebody sees it happen! Although I do know of an instance in Chicago where a cut was located by OTDR and when the crew drove to the site found a sign company pushing broken ends of the fiber cable back into the hole they were digging with a big auger to hide it!
The textbook response talks about using an OTDR to find the break, but that is probably a less likely solution for many dig-ups or accidents bringing down utility poles, more likely for rodent penetration or damage during directional boring in underground cables or, as one guy I know from Bonneville Power succinctly described it, "target practice" on aerial cables. Needles to say, you need to know how to use an OTDR and how to estimate the actual cable length as the OTDR measures fiber length not cable length. Here is info on OTDRs OTDR testing
Once you find it and are at the site with the proper tools and components, fixing it can be estimated as the usual splicing or termination time. We have articles on our website that discusses estimating installation time that covers restoration as well.  Estimating Fiber Optic Installations and Estimates of Splicing Times for Various Cable Configurations
The FOA has created a guide to restoration for network users and contractors that you may find helpful. Feel free to share it and reprint it as needed. Planning For Restoration (PDF, 0.1 MB)  We also cover it in our OSP Guide.

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:

Recap: Recent FOA Newsletter Articles You Might Have Missed

Installing Fiber Optics
FOA President Jim Hayes is interviewed by Howard Baldwin for the CISCO BLOG on the issues of installing fiber optic cable and how to "think creatively." Read the blog.

Polishing Fiber Connectors
FOA Director Bill Graham makes the case for epoxy/polish connectors in this article in Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine.

How Is Fiber Manufactured?

Manufacturing fiber at OFS

OFS invites you on a tour of their multimode fiber manufacturing facilities in this new 5-minute video. You will see their highly automated manufacturing operation in Sturbridge, Mass., including their patented MCVD preform fabrication process to fiber draw and final product testing. With a technological heritage dating back to AT&T and Bell Labs, OFS has been manufacturing high-quality multimode fiber since 1981.
Watch the video here.

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

The August, 2012 FOA Newsletter presented a review of where we see the most active areas in fiber optics now and where the jobs seem to be most available. You can read this article hereIf you are looking for a job, the FOA also has a web page on looking for jobs and a LinkedIn group for CFOTs where jobs can be posted,plus a jobs section in this newsletter.

FTTO: Fiber To The Office

At our seminars in the UAE with eSharp Consultancy, Cliff Walker presented information on his work designing "fiber to the office (FTTO) networks. The concept is based on using fiber to connect large switches in the equipment room to smaller switches with 4 ports at the outlet. You can read Cliff's paper on the airport system to see estimates of the cost savings using FTTO.
Read Cliff Walkers paper on FTTO.

More On Fiber Use In Wind And Solar Power

Craig Bowden, FOA Master Instructor at FiberNexxt in NH, presented a program at the New England Fiberoptic Council recently on fiber in wind power. His presentation is available for downloading here. It's full of good illustrations and photos that tell the story.

Jonard FOD 2000 Fiber Optic Drop Cable Slitter

The FOD-2000 Fiber Optic Drop Cable Slitter is a patent pending tool that simplifies the slitting of drop cable jackets at the end of the cable or mid-span. For Flat Cables. Wathc their YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1H2zrW3k34

Making Sense of The G.657 Standard (OFS)

The G.657 standard was developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to provide consistency in the evolving requirements for bend-insensitive single-mode fiber.This OFS paper sums up the standard and what it means. Read more

What's ahead for multimode fiber communication systems?

By Gastón E. Tudury, Ph.D., and Al Brunsting, Ph.D., Panduit
With networks like Ethernet moving to 40 and 100 Gb/s, current multimode fiber has been forced to a parallel optics solution, not considered acceptable by some users like Google, due to the masses of fiber needed for data centers. Rather than go to a singlemode WDM solution, these two suggest we should look at redesigning MM fiber, cutting the NA for higher bandwidth and maybe tweaking the VCSELs too. Lightwave.

In Pictures: The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant

BrightSource’s 370-megawatt facility near Las Vegas is taking shape, with lots of fiber optics being installed by FOA-certified techs..

Want To Know Where Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Run?

There is a good map online by TeleGeography you can access here.

Choosing the right connector: APC vs. UPC

An interesting article from ADC on the differences in APC and UPC connectors makes the choice easier. Read more.

Confused By Standards?

You are not the only one! As Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, once said at a conference "The wonderful thing about standards is we have so many to choose from!" But the Siemon Company, an active participant in standards activities for decades, has tried to give some order to this chaos with a new website Standards Informant where they cover the TIA, ISO /IEC and IEEE standards that affect cabling and networks. If you need to keep up with standards, sign up for their email newsletter too.

Patchcords: You Get What You Pay For Says Siemon

Siemon is a global manufacturer of cabling products that has been a big contributor to international standards. Recently they tested patchcords procured from several sources and found out what you might expect - quality suppliers produced quality products but cheap suppliers supplied, well, you can read it here: http://www.siemon.com/go/fiberjumper

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.
And you will want to read Joe's report on splicing different types of SM fiber, including bend-insensitive (G.657) fiber. Read it here.

Videos on Firestopping: These free videos from UL and the International Firestop Council are good tutorials on firestopping. Go here to view the videos.

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

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

Fiber Optic Crossword Puzzles For Entertainment And As A CFOT Certification Study Aid (2/12)

Pearson Technologies Inc., a 32-year fiber optic training, technical and marketing consulting firm, announces availability of a free training and certification tool. This tool is a free set of crossword puzzles on the terms of fiber optic installation and products. This set assists those studying fiber optic installation or planning to take the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) certification examination. The four puzzles are for: light and fiber terms, cable terms, connector and splice terms, optoelectronics and testing terms.

The puzzles can be viewed and printed from: http://www.ptnowire.com/resources.htm or http://www.ptnowire.com/CFOT-Puzzles-vb.pdf. Individuals can receive the answers by email request.

For additional information, contact Pearson Technologies Inc. at: 4671 Hickory Bend Drive, Acworth, GA 30102, at (770) 490-991, or via e-mail at fiberguru@ptnowire.com.

New Eric Pearson Books

A new book from Eric Pearson, Mastering Fiber Optic Network Design, has just been introduced (9/12).

EP Book  EP Connector book  EP OTDR Book

Pearson Technologies Inc. announces the release of four new books, Mastering Fiber Optic Network Design, Professional Fiber Optic Installation, The Essentials For Success, Mastering Fiber Optic Connector Installation and Mastering The OTDR.
Based on 32 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.

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.

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 brought this to our attention.
IR Viewer 850 nm  IR Viewer 1300 nm

If you have an old cell phone, try it too. Our experience is that older cell phone cameras have better sensitivity at IR wavelengths than newer phones, so you may want to toss that old phone into the toolbox.

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

AFL Add More Cleaning Products
AFL enhanced its NOYES fiber optic connector cleaning product line with the addition of these new products:
   AFL CleanConnect 500, a refillable cassette-type cleaner
   NTT-AT NEOCLEAN-E series, refillable push-type cleaners
   OPTIPOP-C,  refillable card-type cleaners
   Fujikura One-Click D-LC, a revolutionary push-type cleaner
   KimWipes, optical grade cleaning wipes
   CleanWipes™ optical grade cleaning wipes
AFL’s broad selection of cleaning products enables engineers and technicians to choose the products that match their current and future needs, and also comply with established cleaning procedures. These products are designed for ease-of-use in a wide variety of environments. More.

Cleerline "Non-Strip" Fiber Strips With Fingernails, Not Tools (12/12)
Cleerline Technology Group, an offshoot of D’Addario & Company, Inc. (yes, the people who make guitar strings, among other things), is offering a new type of fiber. They have a proprietary, patented coating technology that allows the tech to strip off the buffer coating with a fingernail when connectorizing in the field. 
Watch their YouTube Video to see how it works.

Illuminated Fishtape: Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Klein Tools, (http://www.kleintools.com/) for professionals since 1857, introduces a new illuminated fish rod tip (Cat. No. 56119). The bright white, omni-directional light illuminates when fishing above ceilings, in attics, through walls, in crawl spaces and under raised floors.  The hook or bullet nose attachments (sold separately) fit smoothly into the threaded top and the ends are tapered for easier pushing and pulling.

POF Link Transceivers
Enhancements to Versatile Link Plastic Optical Fiber Product Family include integrated digital driver and receiver logic. Avago POF products offer infinite voltage isolation and EMI immunity performance that far exceeds what can be achieved with traditional copper cable standards. POF cable solutions can weigh up to 75% less than copper cables, while providing similar or greater performance with a 50% tighter bend radius at comparable cost.Read More 

Senko Connectors for Harsh Environments
Rugged connector

SENKO has introduced the  IP-SERIES, an effective and low cost connector for harsh environmental applications. It withstands water immersion, dust and temperature ranges of -40 to +70C while providing low insertion loss. Available in LC, SC and MPO versions. Read More.

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.

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

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.

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:

    Broadband Properties: Latest Issue has lots of FTTx News.

    Google Map Shows Worldwide FTTx Projects

    One of the better sites to track FTTx projects is this Google maps application that shows projects on a world map with details on the project.

    FTTx Map of the world

    Click on the map above or here to view the interactive web map.

    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


    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.

    Job Openings

    Fiber Optic Splicers - 10 Permanent Positions Available in the Greater Toronto, Canada Area (1/13)

    Experience Required
    •    Must have experience and knowledge in building new cable plant;
    •    Placing strand and hardware, lashing single and multiple fiber cables;
    •    Over-lashing single and multiple fiber cables, de-lash and re-lash pole transfers;
    •    Must be able to read blueprints, splice, activate and balance forward and return paths;
    •    Bucket work and climbing experience is required
    All positions require the following:
    •    Current valid driver’s license
    •    Background check
    Positions include the following benefits:
    •    Health/Dental Insurance
    •    Life Insurance
    •    Disability Insurance
    •    Paid Holidays and Vacations
    •    Advancement Opportunities

    Please email resume to: jobs@itandwirelessstaffing.com

    Web: www.itandwirelessstaffing.com

    Toll Free: 888.399.6710

    Fiber Splicers (12/12)

    KLM TELCOM INC. is a telecommunication company dedicated to providing superior professional solutions.  We are looking for experienced fiber splicers to join our close knit team.
    We are seeking candidates that possess these key qualities:
    ·       Open minded, can think outside the box
    ·       Can work independently and with a team
    ·       Desire to learn
    ·       Trainable, Reliable & Organized
    ·       Pays attention to detail
    ·       Great communication skills
    ·       Preparation of fiber cable and splice tray before splicing
    ·       Mass fusion of 12 strands in each ribbon
    ·       Ribbonizing single strand fibers
    ·       Fiber testing of all distribution cables (downstream of an FDH using 1550 wavelength)
    ·       Fiber testing of all transport or feeder cables (upstream of an FDH using 1310 & 1550 wavelength in both directions
    ·       Power meter test of all distribution cables
    ·       Fiber testing by using light meter
    ·       Clean driving record required
    ·       Criminal record check required
    ·       On job training (immediate opening)
    ·       Monday to Friday 8:00 – 4:30pm with some flexibility
    ·       Great opportunity to get into booming telecommunication field in Alberta
    ·       Career advancement available
    ·       Base hourly wage of $25 - $35(based on experience) plus bonuses
    ·       Sub-contractors welcomed
    Email Resumes to careers@klmtelcom.com, we thank all applicants for their interest, but only those selected will be contacted. Check out our web site for company information  http://www.klmtelcom.com 

    Project Manager(10/2012)

    Project Manager with Fiber design experience. It would be helpful if this candidate had experience with Bently / Microstation CAD, LOAD Data. Alvin Emmett. Call  770-547-9523.

    Fiber Optics Technicians, FTTH Experience, AR, NC (9/2012)


    George L. Smith
    Recruiter II
    Goodman Networks
    6400 International Parkway Suite 1000
    Plano, TX 75093

    Office: 972-421-5121
    Cell: 469-343-9071
    Fax: 972-590-1058

    Fiber Optics Technicians, Afghanistan (9/12)

    I am looking for Fiber Optics Technicians with a current security clearance for a role in Afghanistan. Previous experience in this region of the world is preferred. If interested in this overseas opportunity, contact me at the number or email listed below to find out more information about the position.

    Georgia Renner
    Kazi Investment Group
    1530 Wilson Blvd. Suite 670
    Arlington, VA 22209


    Product Managers (9/12)

    Position: Product Manager- Fiber Optic Cable      Reporting to: VP of Product Development

    Situational Analysis:

    This company is dedicated to offering high quality goods and is ISO 9001:2008 certified. As a Product Manager in the dynamic Fiber Optic Cable product business unit, you will manage all fiber product opportunities - current and new. In addition, you will have full accountability for evaluating product opportunities. You will decide whether or not vendors strategically fit the company’s overall operation, and manage communications.
    Experience in marketing, product management or project management
    Minimum 5 years experience in fiber optic required
    Wireless industry experience preferred

    Position: Product Manager- Enclosures & Towers      Reporting to: VP of Product Development

    The Product Manager for Enclosures and Towers will be responsible for developing and expanding our current product offering, identify new opportunities to grow buyers and Gross Profit by leveraging current relationships and establishing new ones. You will manage and grow the business unit to meet forecasted gross profit and buyer goals. Working in a team environment, you will partner with our sales team to create and develop marketing programs, optimizing product offerings and developing new opportunities.
    5+ years of marketing / product management experience
    Experience with wireless infrastructure is preferred, but not required

    *If you are interested in these opportunities, please contact Jessie Fanning at 757-345-2494 ext. 30106 or via email at Jessie.fanning@tyges.com

    Executive Recruiter: Jessie Fanning   
    5400 Discovery Blvd. – Suite 201   
    Williamsburg, VA 23188   
    (757) 345-2494 x 30106

    Assistant Project Manager Position (7/12)

    Providing Technical Field Services, Training & Consulting
    FiberNext is now accepting resumes for a qualified Assistant Project Manager. This position is full time salary and includes overnight ground travel obligations throughout the Northeast including New England, NY, NJ and PA, as well as intermittent national travel as needed.
    The preferred candidate will possess a thorough working knowledge of fiber optic telecommunications transport systems and have a minimum of three years of direct experience involving the design, installation and maintenance of fiber optic systems and installation and/or a minimum of five years of experience in a closely related field or industry involving communications networking that incorporate fiber optics as a medium.

    FiberNexxt, 41 Locke Rd., Concord, NH 03301 Phone: 603-226-2400 / Fax: 603-226-2410 www.fibernext.com

    Paid Internships With Pakistan Telecom Co.

    Pakistan Telecommunications offers paid internships to young people with educational backgrounds in engineering, electronics, IT and business. For more information see http://www.nts.org.pk/NTSWeb/ptcl/ptcl.htm

    Fiber Process Research Scientist, Corning (7/12)

    Scope of Position:
    Scientist responsible for identifying and developing new processes and/or process conditions for improved product attributes or reduced cost of optical fiber manufacturing processes (laydown, consolidation, draw, …).  Scope includes identification and development of new fiber making processes and new fiber products.  Expectation of developing novel experiments and either developing new analytical techniques or utilizing existing techniques to gain fundamental understanding of underlying principles.

    Pat Harper
    Talent Acquisition

    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."


     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

    (C)1999-2012, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.