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January 2015


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FOA ofrece libros de texto y guía en línea en español!

Le Guide de référence pour la fibre optique de la FOA est maintenant
disponible en français

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In This Issue - (INDEX)

Click on "RETURN TO INDEX " after each section to return you to this INDEX so you can find things easier.

Features

Looking Back at 2014 - The Industry
FOA in 2014
Zhone Passive OLAN at Washington State U
Cisco to Partner With Google Fiber in KC?
Obama Visits Iowa Touting Muni Broadband
TIA CEO Interviewed on Net Neutrality
How Fast Is DSL, Really?

More....

OLANs - Optical LANs
OTDRs - more info
More to read in Worth Reading and Q&A

Sections 

New @ FOA  
Fiber U - free online self-study courses
Publications: FOA Textbooks, NECA/FOA 301 Installation, eBooks
More "Quickstart Guides" - OTDRs
 videos: New FOA YouTube Videos
Online Reference Guide: Many new pages 
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools: New schools and programs
Events: Webinars, Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
Webinars: Online seminars on useful topics 
Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
Product News - New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world
FTTH
Download This - Good applications material online

DIG SAFE - Call 811 before you dig!

Jobs

JobsCurrent openings for Cable Techs, Fiber Splicers, etc.
Also see FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs Web Page has been updated and a new page added on Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field in this YouTube video.


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The Archives: Previous Issues.
Use these links to read previous issues or use FOA's Google Custom Search to look for specific topics on our website.
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1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, 6/14, 7/14, 8/14, 9/14, 10/14, 11/14, 12/14 
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/1312/13 
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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 CFOT®  and Fiber U® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA. With over 43,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs (July 2013) 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!

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


 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks

The fiber book is available in Spanish

All books were updated for 2014!

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book
  FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are available as free iBooks on iTunes.
Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print



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FOA Newsletter - Features


Looking Back At 2014

Every year technology moves forward, markets change, economies rise and fall, but we continue to make progress in fiber optic communications, although sometimes it seems we take 2 steps forward and one step back. Nothing really revolutionary surfaced last year, except perhaps the claim by the guru of VCSELs that he could build 100Gb/s links with a VCSEL if fiber manufacturers would make him a special 850nm SM fiber. Not likely - he doesn't have the clout of IBM or Cisco!

Let's look at some technologies and applications and see where the industry/markets moved forward last year.

LANs, Data Centers and Premises Cabling

The big news of the prior year - Cat 8 for 40G Ethernet - moved forward at the usual glacial speed of copper cabling standards. We've never doubted Cat 8's possibility but we have wondered about its marketability. From past experience, we know it will be done but with high power consumption transceivers that may not prove so popular.

The biggest deterrent to Cat 8 may be the new 850nm WDM MM links developed by Cisco, Finisar and Prysmian. Rather than the cumbersome parallel optics solution that uses a very expensive cable plant with somewhat problematic performance, this new solution uses wavelength-division multiplexing on a modified OM4 fiber with traditional single fiber connectors. This option allows MM fiber to go all the way to 100G on two fibers at what's expected to be a very reasonable cost. It is also being considered for a single-land 25Gb Ethernet standard link.Can Cat 8 compete with that - even in the rack in a data center?

Data centers continue to be the focus of networking. To date, Ethernet, the network of choice, has been specified at 1, 10, 40 and 100Gb/s. Now users are floating proposals for 2.5, 5, 25Gb/s and maybe more. Part of the incentive is data center architecture (more on that in a minute) for which 10Gb/s may be too slow and 100Gb/s may be too fast and part is that VCSEL manufacturers can now make VCSELs that work at 25Gb/s as are being used in the 100G WDM links mentioned above.

FOA investigated data center architecture in detail last year as we were asked to develop a training curriculum and certification for data center cabling. What we found was interesting. From data center users, installers and designers, we got a very different viewpoint than one would get from standards like TIA-942 or vendor "white papers." We found data centers built to "top of rack" or "end of row" architectures as defined by hardware suppliers using mainly the short-range coax (CX-4), UTP Cat 6A for 10G, MM fiber to 10G, and then everybody went singlemode for cabling. We did not find a lot of parallel optics being used as one would expect from reading cabling company white papers on data centers.

To us, this illustrates the fallacy of marketing, or perhaps believing your own marketing. Cabling people have always thought that they defined the networks, while their part of the network represents only a few percent of the total cost of a network and is often ignored by IT people. Users understand that cabling is a small fraction of the cost of a network, so the manufacturers' sales pitch that MM parallel is much more cost effective than SM because of the cheaper transceivers has been lost on data center owners who find the difference is a round-off error in the total cost of the data center. Besides, all the incoming fiber is singlemode, why use something different?


Fiber And Wireless

The last year seems to be the big year for adoption of fiber to the tower, fiber to the antenna (FTTA) and distributed antenna systems (DAS). Again. FOA became heavily involved in these areas as we were asked to develop training curriculum and certification. The extremely rapid rise of traffic on cellular networks (AT&T was quoted as saying that their system traffic had increased 50,000% - 500 times - since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007) required massive system upgrades. Fiber to the tower and fiber to the antenna were simple expansions of current technology, but "small cell" technology in metro areas began to see use also.

DAS applications expanded also, especially in areas of large numbers of users like convention centers and sports facilities. AT&T's claim that 70-89% of cell calls originate inside buildings seems credible and added to the need for providing emergency radio service indoors (fire, police, EMT, 911) has led to a rapid growth for DAS. One nice thing about DAS is the compatibility with regular structured cabling where SM backbones can support LANs and a DAS.

There is nothing groundbreaking in any of these applications, but since they are predominantly SM fiber, many installers need to upgrade their skills (especially in testing short SM cable plants), thus the requests for FOA to develop new training and certification programs.

Wireless became a big topic for schools in the US this year also. Last year, Tom Wheeler, head of the FCC, discovered that government grant money was available to “wire” classrooms but not install wireless or get schools connected on faster broadband. He changed that fast. Now that schools can be upgraded to good WiFi coverage and faster broadband connections using government grants, we can expect to see a large number of school projects in the near future.

OLANs

Schools are also discovering the economies of converting to passive optical LANs (OLANs) based on fiber to the home (FTTH) technology. Colleges are adopting it because they need many connections for classrooms, offices and dorms at high speed for wireless and wired connections (wired is better for video.) City school systems are adopting OLANs because they can run an entire school system from a single passive OLAN system instead of having separate systems at each school. The savings are really big, even when they have to run their own fiber between schools.

Passive OLANs have long been preferred by the government and military but enterprise networks are just getting started. Some corporate users have been reluctant to adopt a new network architecture, but the push for OLANs by IBM and recent market entry by network giant Cisco should help convince the skeptics. New hardware focused on smaller LANs, down to 50 users, will also broaden OLAN appeal. Even some industrial networks are adopting OLANs.

Broadband/Internet/FTTH

The markets keep growing, they continue to be battlegrounds for technology, economics and politics. The turmoil does not seem to slow the growth substantially, the technology is actually fairly stable and the economics continues to head toward lower costs. In the US, the political wrangling over "net neutrality" and "municipal-owned" broadband networks can be quite amusing/frustrating depending on your point of view.

CATV may already be mortally wounded by OTT ("over the top" - downloaded content) and their own self-destructive behavior as they fight with content providers and shut out viewers who often don't return. Telcos trying to survive with DSL tout the annual debut of yet another version of DSL as their savior. Here in the US, providers have been paying record fines for "throttling." Meanwhile, smart ISPs make deals with Netflix who will co-locate a Netflix data center at your ISP to reduce Internet backbone traffic.

Fiber Growth Worldwide

What can we say - fiber just keeps growing. Nothing works without fiber optics. Leading areas like the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan continue to grow. Google fiber is moving ahead in Austin, TX and has said they will expand to 34 more ciites. More utilities want to expand their smart grid systems to offer FTTH and the FCC has sworn to uphold their right to do so.

Africa has been strong for several years as submarine cable landings have been extended into the center of the continent. Now South and Central America are growing fast. FOA has translated it's reference materials and curriculum into Spanish for this market because we hear many stories of problems caused by poorly-trained personnel.

There have been setbacks, like the NBN in Australia that fell under the grip of politics. There are also threats by US service providers to cut back investment if the FCC and Obama Administration force net neutrality rules. But that's just the US, where we move technology forward a few steps then predatory lawyers try to drive it back to the dark ages with lawsuits. 


FOA 2014

50,000 Certifications and 1 MILLION YouTube Views!

Every year we show this graph updated for the prior year. You already know the big story - FOA certifications passed 50,000 in November.! FOA schools and FOA Certifications continue to be the most accepted in the industry - worldwide!

Here is another interesting fact about the FOA and another cause for celebration this summer - In July, FOA will be 20 years old!

FOA 2014

In 2014, FOA added three new applications specialists certifications, Data Centers, DAS and FTTA.  We also added a Spanish version of the FOA Online Guide and printed textbook. We added a French version of the FOA Online Guide in 2014 and will print the textbook in French in 2015.

FOA added some new schools in 2014, mainly in newly developing areas for fiber like South and Central America. FOA is proud to say that our selection process has proven itself since we have long-term relationships with most of our schools - some have been with us since the very beginning of the FOA!

FOA continued expanding our "Fiber U" online training website to provide options for those you cannot attend classes or prefer using online resources to keep up to date. We added a certificate of completion option to the Basic Fiber Optics course and added a "virtual hands-om" Basic Skills Lab course. Soon we will offer online programs for all FOA applications specialists topics which will have certificates of completion available.



Time To Renew Your FOA Membership/Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications and membership active, you need to renew every year (or two or three, longer times save you money.) Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - Paypal - where you can use your PayPal account or your credit card.

You can now renew with PayPal
 
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Zhone Passive OLAN Chosen By Washington State University

Zhone working with Leidos Engineering installed a GPON OLAN deployment at Washington State University (WSU). WSU, a public university located in Pullman, Wash., needed a flexible and future-looking solution to upgrade the broadband infrastructure for its on-campus housing. With a student body of nearly 28,000, WSU selected Zhone's Passive Optical LAN (POL) solution, FiberLAN, to improve bandwidth availability and reliability for students living on campus. WSU is continuing to integrate POL into its own Information Technology building, and other campus administrative and housing facilities.

"Today's college students grew up in a connected world, and as more devices with Internet capabilities are continuously flooding the market, it's important for campuses like ours to provide the fast and reliable Internet that students demand," said Wallace A. Chase, Information Technology Services Network Manager, Washington State University. "The flood of broadband traffic places significant pressure on campus broadband infrastructures, potentially overloading networks. We decided Zhone's FiberLAN addressed our needs and provided growth opportunity, allowing us to affordably upgrade our on-campus housing to provide students with the bandwidth they desire."

"WSU has seen previous investments in copper cabling become antiquated and expensive to replace. Leidos Engineering worked with WSU to develop a vision for the future, and now WSU is installing single-mode fiber optic cable that will serve them with incredible access speeds today, as well as decades into the future," said Matt Miller, Principal Systems Engineer, Leidos. "Leidos delivered a turnkey POL solution that is well-suited for WSU's students and IT operations."

Read more.



Cisco May Partner With Google Fiber in Kansas City For "Smart City" Experiment

Smart City KC

Cisco Systems wants to do a “Smart City” project in Kansas City.  Cisco Managing Director Clifford Thomas said the company is interested in partnering with Google Fiber for the plan, which is expected to begin soon in Downtown. The public-private effort aims to transform Downtown into a lab of connectivity through Wi-Fi and telecom sensors transmitting data on everything from traffic and pedestrian flow to the city's infrastructure and public safety. Access to a gigabit network would offer the project significant speed and capacity for transferring massive amounts of data. Google Fiber already has an established presence in Downtown with residential customers and has started offering its small business product to a limited number of area businesses.

Read more in the KC Business Journal.


President Obama Visits Midwest, Touts Municipal Broadband, Gets Fiber Demo

Splicing

President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, in January where Cedar Falls Utiity has built a 1Gb/s broadband network for the local customers. Obama was showcasing the advantages of municipal/utility-owned broadband and vowing to overturn laws written by CATV and telecom companies that today prevent the building of such systems in 19 states. Those laws were written by the Comcast and Verizon after the success of cities like Chattanooga and Clarksville, TN. Both those cities are now pursuing legal means to overturn the law in Tennessee that prevents them from expanding their systems.

Read more from National Public Radio and The White House.


Watch TIA's New CEO Scott Belcher Dance Around Questions About Net Neutrality

TIA

President Obama's stand on net neutrality has prompted many negative reactions from industry which come from their aversion to any regulation at all. TIA sent new CEO Scott Belcher to Bloomberg TV to answer questions on net neutrality and broadband. Watch him dance around questions about whether the Internet is a utility or will net neutrality stop Internet investment (spoiler alert - he says it will!)

You must understand that Belcher is the spokesman for an industry trade association (not a non-profit, by the way, so they have no problems lobbying Congress or the Administration) and is tasked with publicly asserting the views of the association. Verizon, AT&T and Comcast do not seem to be TIA members but they are giant customers for most TIA members. (Full disclosure: FOA is a TIA member but only for the standards work; we often publicly disagree with the views of the organization itself.)

Since Belcher claims the Internet is not a utility, FOA would like him to answer these questions:

When you are traveling in rural US and the best you can do is really slow Internet, would you still say the Internet was not a utility?

Do you really think "cloud computing" can work everywhere in the US?

How much do you pay (and to whom) for your home Internet access? How much has it gone up/down in the last 20 years? Have you speed tested it? (see below) Are you being throttled?

Can we ask your kids if they think the Internet is a utility?

Watch the Bloomberg TV interview here.




How Fast Is DSL - Really?

Editorial/Opinion by Jim Hayes

AT&T was working on the DSL network near our (JH) office late in December. I talked to one of the techs on the street about the intermittent results we had been getting so he set up a service call. The tech showed up and installed a new DSL modem and wanted to run a speed test. When I started using my regular speed test (internetfrog.com) he suggested another (speedtest.net.) The results were so astounding that I tried several times again over the next few weeks to see if we got the same result. It was basically the same, every time.

The AT&T recommended speedtest.net always showed results like this - ~20Mb/s down and ~2Mb/s up.

DSL


But Internetfrog.com gave a startling difference - ~4-6Mb/s down and <2Mb/s up!

DS

I believe the AT&T test goes to San Diego and Internetfrog goes to LA, but we are almost exactly the same distance to each. We've tried this dozens of times and the different in speed varies from 2X to 6X!

We even had two other local users try the same tests and they got similar results.

When the AT&T tech was here, we jokingly suggested that AT&T has a "fast lane" for speed tests using their chosen provider - sort of the opposite of throttling - but he was a confused as we were at the results.

Anyone from the DSL side of AT&T want to comment on this? And maybe you can also tell us why I've gotten ping tests of over 10 seconds on occasion!

Followup - after this appeared, the next day we got a call from an AT&T rep asking how our service was doing after the recent service call. Coincidence? Maybe. But after asking them about what we had discovered, our access to the AT&T speedtest was blocked.

Anybody else want to try this with your ISP? Use their suggested speed test and a different one and see what you find out.



DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) Certification Released, Includes YouTube Video, Web Pages

FOA has developed a new training curriculum on DAS that shows how systems are designed and installed. In our training program, we pay particular attention to the overlay of DAS on premises cabling systems as they use similar cabling architectures and components. To complement the DAS curriculum, we have added a YouTube video, FOA Lecture 40, DAS - Distributed Antenna Systems. and a page on DAS on the FOA Online Guide.

DAS video

The FOA DAS YouTube video looks at the need for a DAS, how they are designed, focusing on how they fit into the standard premises cabling system. Several standards groups are working on DAS standards, but given their typical speed, one should probably not expect to see standards for 4-5 years and when available will probably be obsolete like the TIA standard for data centers.

In the meantime, you can get information and training from the FOA. The FOA CFOS/DAS curriculum will be available through FOA approved schools and will become a online self-study course on Fiber U soon.


FOA Lecture 40, DAS - Distributed Antenna Systems


Basic Skills Lab - A New Fiber U Online Self-Study Course

FOA just started a new course on Fiber U that is different and unique, called "Basic Skills Lab."

In the FOA Online Guide, there are dozens of tutorials that give instructions and hints on the basic processes used in fiber optic installation: preparing cables, splicing, termination and testing. Many of these use a format we call "Virtual Hands-On" (VHO) where we analyze the process, break it into small steps, describe each and give hints on how to make it easier/faster/better. We've used these in teaching these processes in the classroom for years. By combining them with YouTube lectures and hands-on videos, this Basic Skills Lab provides an online way for novices to learn the processes we use every day in our work and let experienced techs review them and learn new "tricks of the trade."

VHO Splicing
FOA's Splicing Virtual Hands-On Tutorial

At FOA, we have always adhered to the requirement of KSAs for technical training and certifications. KSA means knowledge, skills and abilities. Knowledge you can learn either in a classroom or online, skills you learn in a lab with an experienced teacher, abilities are innate - you have to have certain abilities to do skilled work. The Fiber U Basic Skills Lab is not a substitute for
a lab with an experienced teacher, but if you have your own equipment and supplies and like to learn on your own, the Fiber U Basic Skills Lab can guide you through the processes you need to know and then you can practice on your own.

There is an important point here. To use the
Fiber U Basic Skills Lab online training properly, you need to have your own equipment and supplies and like to learn on your own.

FOA sees the
Fiber U Basic Skills Lab as being best for those already working in the field who want to learn new skills or novices who have just started at a company that has equipment and some personnel who can provide advice and guidance as they learn these new skills.

Here is what the Basic Skills Lab covers

Lesson 1: Introduction, Safety in Working With Fiber Optics
Lesson 2: Fiber Optic Tools and Equipment   
Lesson 3: Fiber Optic Cables
Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Splicing
Lesson 5: Fiber Optic Termination
Lesson 6: Fiber Optic Testing

Each lesson has several sections to cover various processes and components. For example, termination covers epoxy/polish, anaerobic/polish, HotMelt, prepolished/splice connectors and a final section on singlemode splicing. Testing includes OLTS and OTDR testing, of course, but also fiber tracing and visual fault location, visual inspection of connectors, optical power and calculating loss budgets. In total there are 24 separate lessons so it would take a long time to complete them all! Most users will pick and choose the ones they need most, but we highly recommend you do every lesson in the testing lesson.

Typical lessons will instruct you to read some materials from the FOA Guide or textbook, watch a video and then use a
"Virtual Hands-On" (VHO) lesson to step you through the process while you actually use the equipment to teach yourself the process.

This Fiber U
Basic Skills Lab is quite different from most online courses but we've gotten a lot of input on the course and those who have tried it like the approach. We hope you find it helpful and will give us feedback on how we can improve and expand it.

The Fiber U Basic Skills Lab is one of the FOA Fiber U free online courses.



New Edition Of Eric Pearson's Fiber Optic "Cookbook"

EP book

Eric Pearson of Pearson Technologies Inc. announced the availability of Professional Fiber Optic Installation, v.9. This recently updated training, field, and reference text is a comprehensive presentation of the information essential to successful fiber optic installation.  This text assists the installer in achieving the three elements of success: low power loss, high reliability, and low installation cost. This text is the ideal tool for three types: those who wish to become professional fiber optic installers; for instructors who want to use the most comprehensive training manual available; and for those who want to pass the Fiber Optic Association CFOT and CFOS/C/S/T certification examinations. Continuously developed and tested over the last 24 years during both fieldwork and training presentations, this text includes both the information essential to understand the reasons for the installation rules and detailed procedures for installation, inspection, certification, and testing of cables, connectors, and splices.

The new edition, #9, is available on Amazon.com.








OTDRs - What Is The Problem Here?

FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley, the source of our almost monthly OTDR articles, sent us this trace with some comments.

Attached is a close up trace that indicates the end of the 3000 meter and the end of the 30 meter and the end of the 9 foot, 2 inch section indicated at about 3.1 meters.  Pretty accurate autotest software placing markers at events but the 9 ft, 2 inch length was not detected in the "Full Auto" mode at a preset pulse width of 100 ns which is what autotest chose. If this event was a break in the fiber the "Full Auto" mode at 100 ns would locate it at approximately 2886 meters at the end of the 30 meters not at the break 9 feet, 2 inches further.

This situation occurred in the field where an open fiber was located at a splice point (Full Auto) and the splicers re-spliced it several (maybe 4-5 times.)  They could not establish continuity.  Turns out that with a very short pulse width and very accurate cursor placement (at last sample point of backscatter before climbing the fresnel) the fiber under test was four feet shorter than the mean average of the rest of the fibers. That led to determining the fiber was nicked by a box cutter razor used to score the buffer tube.

How many times have we said something like this: "The use of "Full Auto" without training and a basic understanding can lead to a real mess in troubleshooting."

 
OTDR Trace


Safety On The Job

Safety is the most important part of any job. Installers need to understand the safety issues to be safe. An excellent guide to analyzing job hazards is from OSHA, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Here is a link to their guide for job hazard analysis.




Worth Reading: Fiber testing practices are constantly evolving


Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine, has written an excellent article on the challenges of fiber optic testing. The way Patrick states the problem is astute: "The medium has proven itself to be stable and reliable; verifying or certifying that reliability can be a challenge.

"Many a teacher or trainer in the cabling industry has countless stories about the frequency with which fiber testing is carried out incorrectly. In many cases, characterizing the performance capabilities of installed fiber involves far more than connecting and pushing the "auto" button on a test instrument. "

Patrick goes on to investigate some of the typical problems encountered in fiber optic testing and provides to references (including FOA) that can help you understand the issues and test properly.

Read more in CI&M.

More articles in "Worth Reading"   and on the FOA Pinterest Page "Worth Reading"      






FOA Certifies 50,000th Tech


The FOA passed a milestone in October, 2014 - our 50,000th certification!


50K

Bradley Salmon, FOA's 50,000th certified tech, with Camosum College Instructors Trevor Curtis (L) and Gurbinder Dhade (R) in the Camosun lab.

Congratulations to Bradley, Trevor and Gurbinder - and thanks for your contributions to the FOA!





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Clean Every Connector - A Lesson We Learned From Creating Lessons

In creating the fiber characterization curriculum, we got inputs from many experienced techs about the testing requirements. Everyone we talked to made a big point about cleaning and inspecting connectors before testing. Dirty connectors are a major problem with errors in testing. We've also seen that many installers think that if a connector, especially new connectors, has a "dust cap" on the connector, it does not need cleaning. WRONG!
The common name for the plastic caps on connector ferrules is "dust cap" and a friend says they are called "dust caps" because they are full of dust. Those plastic caps are made by the millions, popped out of plastic molding machines into barrels and stored until put into plastic bags. Whenever you remove one of them, clean the connector before testing or connecting it.
More on connector cleaning is here and here




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.

OTDR FAQs
Including more hints from FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley like 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  

"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.



FOA Now Offers Fiber Optic Textbook and Web Pages In Spanish (French Online Guide available, textbook coming soon)

Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica


FOA text in Spanish

Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA

Este libro es una guía de diseño e instalación para redes de cableado con fibra óptica. Fue escrito como un libro de referencia para los instructores y estudiantes en clases para certificación CFOT FOA, así como una referencia para cualquiera que trabaje en el campo. Este libro ofrece una cobertura amplia de los componentes y procesos de fibra óptica que se utilizan en todas las aplicaciones y prácticas de instalación.

Disponible desde CreateSpace, Amazon.com y muchos otros libreros

Available from CreateSpace, Amazon.com and many other booksellers


videos
Qué es la FOA (What Is The FOA, in Spanish )

Plus, FOA Now Offers Its Basic Fiber Optic Online Guide Website In Spanish

Guía de referencia sobre fibra óptica de la FOA Y Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA 

La guía básica de fibra óptica de la FOA ha sido traducida al español. Es la versión completa de la FOA Guía básica Online traducido por especialistas técnicos, incluyendo todos los dibujos. Por favor, lea o comprar una copia del libro impreso y nos dan su opinión sobre cómo podemos mejorarlo!

Léela aquí.

Si usted está enseñando a la fibra óptica, póngase en contacto con nosotros ya que estamos ahora traduciendo el programa de formación FOA CFOT también.

If you are teaching fiber optics, contact us as we are now translating the FOA CFOT training curriculum also.






OLANs - Optical LANs

Free Fiber U Optical LAN (OLAN) Self-Study Program

FOA has added a new Fiber U self-study program on Optical LANs (OLANs). As you know, this is a hot topic in the IT world, so FOA has created an online course that allows you to study about OLANs (FOA includes fiber to the desk, fiber to the office and passive optical LANs) on your own time and schedule. You will be guided to material to read, videos to watch and even have quizzes to check your comprehension.
All Free!
OLANs on Fiber U

FOA OLAN Certification Released

OLANs are probably the most important new technology for enterprise networks since the introduction of structured cabling standards 22 years ago. For the last few months, FOA has been working with companies and groups interested in OLANs to create a certification for techs designing and installing them.

With OLANs, FOA has worked with leaders in the field to create technical materials on our FOA Guide website, Fiber U self-study program and YouTube channel already. We now have a curriculum ready our FOA-Approved schools which will make OLAN training available for those interested. Read More.

OLAN Resources

Over the last couple of years, we've written a lot about 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

APOLAN, trade association for Optical LANs website  http://www.apolanglobal.org/





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Events of Interest

OFC
OFC Coming Back To LA
The long-running OFC (Optical Fiber Communication) Conference co-sponsored by OSA and IEEE ComSoc is coming back to LA March 22-26, 2105 at the LA Convention Center. OFC is one of the world's top conferences for fiber optics. It's an interesting place to meet manufacturers (about half are now from the Far East) and unless you have at least a Ph.D. and are working on next-generation communications, the conference sessions are not very interesting. But it's a good place to visit for a day and see what's available on the market.
More on OFC.


Don't Miss These Seminars and Webinars: 

CIM

Free Webcast: Best Practices for Deploying Preterminated Fiber-Optic Systems - Presented by FOA's Jim Hayes

Available anytime


Sign up here.

The popularity of preterminated fiber-optic systems continues to rise, as network owners realize the multidimensional benefits of these cablingsystems in several environments. Whether it is between servers inside a data center or between wireless towers outdoors, a preterminated fiber-optic cablingsystem offers efficiency in the fiber-connectivity process. These systems, however, do require careful forethought, planning, acceptance and, yes,installation. This webcast seminar, produced by Cabling Installation & Maintenance and delivered by Fiber Optic Association president Jim Hayes, describes the requirements and best practicesof deploying preterminated or “prefabricated” fiber-optic cabling. It covers the necessities of acceptance inspection, cleaning and testing, as well asproper design and installation techniques.


Sign up here.
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TIA

Design & Deployment Best Practices for Reliable Industrial Fiber Optic Networks
Presented by   Robert Reid, Panduit

Available anytime (https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/727/137229)
 
Avoid EMI while achieving longer distances and higher performance utilizing fiber optics for EtherNet/IP networks across manufacturing zones and devices. In this webinar, you'll hear about physical layer best practices and understand proper fiber media selection for each physical layer in the EtherNet/IP network. We will review design recommendations and considerations to help you successfully deploy a robust and secure plant-wide implementation of EtherNet/IP

TIA FOTC offers regular webinars and archives them here so you can watch anytime.

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LogoNew local programs for fiber installation training

See the Light® Fiber Optic Training Program
Webinars, seminars and certification training classes.


Corning offers a library of more than 200 hundred videos that help our customers with everything from product preparation and installation to proper testing procedures. Our free Video Library Tool provides direct links to individual Corning videos, and allows you to filter by topic or area of interest. Register to download the Video Library Tool.


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FOA LogoWhat's Happening @ FOA





FOA on LinkedIn


FOA has three LinkedIn Groups

FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics

FOA School Instructors - a closed group for instructors and administrators at FOA-approved schools


Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)



FOA Corporate MemberCorporate Memberships


FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Corporate Membership gives companies discounts on memberships and direct certifications and access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees. Read more.


FOA Standards:


FOA now offers free standards for datalinks and testing the installed fiber optic cable plant, patchcords and cable, optical power from transmitters or at receivers and OTDR testing.


What Is A Fiber Optic Cable Plant?

In a recent standards meeting, that issue was discussed with some disagreement as to what constituted a "cable plant." It seemed to be a perfect topic for another FOA "1Page Standard," so a draft version is now uploaded for review (FOA Standard FOA-6, Fiber Optic Cable Plant). Feel free to review it and comment to the FOA at info@thefoa.org.

Available also is a new standard for Datalinks.

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

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.





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Fiber U

Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs


FOA's "Fiber U" free online self-study programs help you learn about fiber optics, study for FOA certifications or use them to help create "blended learning" classes. 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 to 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.

FIber U "Basic Fiber Optics" and "Premises Cabling" Online Self-Study Programs Offer Option Of Certificate of Completion

FOA has been offering quite a few free online self-study programs on Fiber U, our online learning site. We are always getting questions about getting a certificate for completing the course online, so we have setup an option to take a test online and get a certificate of completion for these two online courses.



Fiber U certificate

While it's not FOA certification, FOA will recognize a
Fiber U Certificate of Completion as background experience to qualify for applying for FOA certifications. We also intend to expand the program to more specialized topics as preparation for FOA specialist certifications.

If you have associates that want to get started in fiber, have them take this course online to get started. Go to  Fiber U and get started.


Lennie & Uncle Ted Now Available As Free Books on iTunes

Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling

Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Premises Cabling are now available free to iPad users who can download them from the Apple iTunes store.
Lennie's Guide has always been the world's favorite introduction to fiber optics. It was first published in the mid-1990s by Fotec, the fiber optic test equipment company famous for its "Fiber U" training conferences and more than 60,000 printed copies were distributed. Lennie was one of the earliest commercial webpages and is still online today (and as popular as ever) at http://lennielightwave.com. Uncle Ted's Guide was created at the request of Lennie readers who wanted a similar simple introduction to "Cat 5" wiring. This latest version of Uncle Ted's Guide covers the all premises cabling topics - wiring, fiber and wireless.
You can find these free guides on Apple's iTunes Store: Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Premises Cabling  

FOA Now Offers Fiber Optic Textbook In Spanish (French coming soon)

Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica

FOA text in Spanish
Reference Books for FOA Certifications available on Kindle and iPad/iPhone as well as printed
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.



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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.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-guide/id434354283?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4





FOA "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 



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videos


The FOA has many videos on videos, including two Lecture Series (Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling), Hands-On lectures on both and some other informational and instructional videos. For all the videos, go to the FOA Channel "thefoainc" or use the direct links below.

Two New Applications Videos

To accompany new FOA certifications in FTTA and Data Centers

FOA Lecture 37: FTTA (Fiber To The Antenna) and Data Center Cabling

FOA Lecture 38: Data Center Cabling

FOA Product Demonstrations

In the June FOA Newsletter, we talked about the new #M "disposable" cleaver, the Easy Cleaver, which is provided free with 3M connectors and mechanical splices that need cleavers. We got samples of the Easy Cleaver from 3M and tested them ourselves, and they work great. You can see for yourself how they work in this FOA YouTube Video about the Easy Cleaver.

We also tested the new Ripley/Miller FO-CF Center Feed Fiber Stripper and used it as an opportunity to show the other three common types of strippers, the Miller, MicroStrip and NoNik and how they are used. So you get a review of how to strip fiber and a product review of the new stripper in this FOA YouTube video about fiber strippers.

New FOA Lectures And Hands-On Videos

How to Talk Fiber Optics - an introduction to fiber optic jargon - the perfect place to start learning about fiber optics. 

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field.


What's A "Network"

That's a common question from fiber and cabling people. Even though they may be installing the cable plants for networks, often the nature of networks is not something they have been exposed to, other than perhaps the catch-all "star network" description. But what is a network? What does it connect? How does it connect users and how does it allocate the bandwidth to them? How do various network types vary?

We've been working on some new YouTube videos on networks, starting as we usually do on a new subject with the basics. We have these three videos online now, but watch for more.


Fiber Optics - Live!  A series of videos that use lab demonstrations to show how optical fiber works. 
Fiber Optics LIVE!


Prepolished/Splice Connector Termination (Panduit OptiCam) 


Cabling Project Management - what's involved in a copper/fiber/wireless project -advice for the customer and the contractor

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




View a complete list of FOA Videos with links to each video on YouTube.



View all the FOA Channel  on YouTube.  






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FOA Guide


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.

Fiber Supports Wireless: FTTA and DAS

FOA Guide page on Metrology- the accuracy of measurements
 

Updated page on Data Centers

Le Guide de référence pour la fibre optique de la FOA est maintenant disponible en français

Guía de referencia sobre fibra óptica de la FOA Y Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA 

Updates for new FOA certifications in FTTA and Data Centers

What do you do when you need to test fiber or cable on a reel? Here is a new page on
Bare Fiber Testing  

Couplers or splitters are used in FTTH and OLANs. How do you Test Splitters? 

Tapping fiber has been a big topic in the news. How do you tap fiber?   
 
The page on Optical LANs (OLANs) has been expanded with new material and links.

What's A Network? A simple explanation of network types and operation has been added to the FOA Online Guide.


We have updated the "Datalinks" page.


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



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 we 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.



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

IBEW 648
Jeff Moser, Instructor  and Charles Headington, Training Director
San Luis Obispo Electrical Workers JATC
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

CFOT, FOA Approved School #
648


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


Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization

Most inqiries 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. The FOA has about 200 training organizations we have approved worldwide so finding the right one can be difficult! 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.

You can also use our FOA Google Map to find FOA-Approved schools.

FOA Map

What Should A Fiber Optics or Cabling Tech Know and What Skills Do They Need?
FOA certifications are based on our KSAs - the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities that techs need to succeed. Read the FOA KSAs for fiber and cabling techs.



School News


Feedback

We always enjoy feedback, especially when it shows how great some FOA instructors are. These came from students of Tom Rauch, an instructor at BDI Datalynk:


"I took your fiber optics certification courses this past March. I just wanted to let you know that in two weeks I start working as a fiber optic technician with ___ up in ___. You mentioned on the first day of the course that there is always one guy in class who had rubbed his last two nickels together to be there and, in that instance, I was that guy. Now I'm going to be able to provide for my family like never before and I owe it to the certification that I received from you and BDI Datalynk. I just wanted to thank you again."

"Thanks to our tremendously knowledgeable and patient instructor Thomas Rauch, who was not only generous in sharing his wealth of information, but he did so with ease, humor and in a way that invited curiosity and participation. He was encouraging and proud of our accomplishments and helped us learn from our mistakes in a way that did not break our confidence, rather it pushed us to better results the next go around. The hands on labs were just AWESOME!" Just thought you should know what a class act you have representing you in his travels..... but then again you probably already knew that! : )

In almost 19 years at Verizon and having held numerous positions, I have gone through many training sessions. I cannot remember ever having been actually looking forward to coming back to class quickly after lunch, to get back to the hands on activities, and walking away with the sense of empowerment that the information presented was not only relevant but dead on point accurate! I will be signing up for the Outside Plant class on March! I can't say enough good things about Tom and his impact! Feel free to quote me, I can only imagine that he will open so many doors and change so many lives in the years to come, with his style of teaching! Great experience, awesome job!
"

IBEW and FOA Partner on Fiber Optic Training

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association(NECA) through the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) in a partnership with the FOA has published a new textbook for training IBEW apprentices and journeymen in fiber optics. The new textbook uses the material from the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics with new material and photos from other NJATC training partners.

NJATC FOA Textbook

FOA is pleased to have been able to assist the NJATC in the development of this new text. FOA has been a NJATC training partner for many years, including offering instructor training at more than 16 of the NJATC's summer National Training Institutes. A majority of IBEW NECA contractors do fiber optics and low voltage, especially for applications that combine electrical and communications cabling like smart grid, alternative energy, traffic controls, data centers, etc.


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.



Great Video About An FOA School And Their Training 
BDI Datalynk trains at the Unversity of Central Florida. UCF created this incredible video on the BDI Datalynk program.  It shows the power of what they offer on campuses around the US.
Watch the video here: http://www.ce.ucf.edu/Program/2583/Fiber-Optics-Network-Certification-Courses-Non-credit/
For more information, contact Bob Ballard, CFOS/I, BDI DataLynk, LLC, A Vietnam Veteran-Owned Company
www.bdidatalynk.com, Ph: 512-785-9024 



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Good Question! Tech Questions/Comments Worth Repeating

Real Questions From FOA Newsletter Readers

Span Length For Aerial Cable
Q: Can the spacing between poles be 400m for installing light optical fiber cable?
A: There is no general answer to that question. We are aware of aerial cables going at least twice that far but it requires coordination with the cable manufacturer and choice of the proper cable. So the tentative answer is "probably" but you need to consult a cable manufacturer.

Storage of Optical Cale
Q:
I would like to know that the procedure for long time storage and preservation of fiber optic cables.
A: The preferred guidelines are fairly simple - store the cable on the reel in a indoor dry location where the temperature is moderate - say 10-40deg C- and humidity is also moderate. Have the spools sitting on the edges or on a spindle (see Nexans guidelines here).

Multimode Fiber at 1550nm
Q:
Is there a reason why wavelength 1550 would not work on M.M optical fibre?
A: 1550nm will work on MM fiber. It has not been used very much because 1550 is mostly used for it's low loss that allows longer distances which is more appropriate for SM fiber. Many years ago (late 1980s) NASA used 50/125 MM fiber at Cape Canaveral with 1550nm sources to go relatively long distances (~15km) over MM fiber because they had shorter links that were patched together.


OTDR Loopbacks
Q:
We are looking at running a OTDR test across a pair of fibre’s but instead of running a OTDR test from A-B and then B-A, we are looping the fibres at exchange B and doing the OTDR test at on F1 &2 at Site A. We have launch cords and trail leads on Fibres one and two but I’m wondering what length of fibre should the loop be, would 50m be acceptable. Typically the sites are 10-20km apart.
A: Loopback tests are a good way to simplify OTDR testing. On a 10-20km run, the loopback needs to be long enough to allow both connections on the far end to be seen, so it depends on the pulse width of the OTDR. I suspect 50m is too short - I’d say use 500-1000m to ensure all the data is valid.



OTDRs On Live Networks
Q:
  I want ask you about OTDR measurment on live network. Is it mandatory to disconnect the far end patch cord before taking OTDR measurment . On our back bone network will an OTDR power is afect or damage line cards?
A: It depends on the network equipment - we would not recommend testing with equipment connected as OTDR pulses are very high power and will overload receivers. Do not take a chance!

Manufacturing Guide?
Q:
Is there a guide published by FOA that provides insight as to the process of fiber optic manufacturing? It's my understanding that the guide stresses quality and controls to ensure performance and reduce product loss?
A: We do have a guide for manufacturers. It is mostly aimed at communications systems and components manufacture. Here is a link to download it.


How Long Does Termination Take?

term
FOA received a request from a consultant recently wondering if we had information on the termination times for fiber optic cables. After some looking in our archives, we realized we had a document online that compared times for various fiber optic termination processes. The paper was written after several FOA instructors did a comprehensive time and motion study on termination processes. The document is about 15 years old but still relevant.

You can read it here in the FOA Online Guide.


Q: I would like to ask a question about GPON security...is it possible to eavesdropping of the shared broadcast traffic from the OLT
A: GPON signals downstream are encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.

Connectors
Q:
I have a 62.5 micron fiber and 50 micron connectors. We only need 62.5 capability. I have the tools to put the connector on the cable but will this cable work?
A: There are several ways to interpret your question.
1) If you are talking about adhesive/polish connectors, the hole in the connector is the same for 50/125 and 62.5/125 micron fibers, so the connector itself is the same.
2) If you are talking about prepolished/splice connectors where you cleave a fiber and insert it into the connector without polishing, you must have connectors with the proper size fiber or you can incur 2-4dB loss going from 62.5 to 50 micron fiber. See this page in the FOA Guide: http://thefoa.org/tech/fib62-50.htm
More info on termination can be found on the FOA Guide:
Fiber optic connectors: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/OSP/term.html
And you can search the FOA Guide with our Google Custom Search: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/contents.html#Test


Testing Connectors (From A Patchcord Maker)
Q:
What are the chief defining standard(s) that specifies connector and assembly IL (insertion loss) and RL (return loss or reflectance) for both SM and MM fiber?
A: The description on our Guide is here: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/conntest.html  
FOTP-34 covers connector testing as a qualification test for the type of connector - basically a "destructive" test for connector manufacturers.
Reflectance is described on that page and here also: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/reflectance.html
Testing an assembly like a patchcord is covered under FOTP-107  http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/FOTP-171.html


Basic Tests For Fiber Optic Cable Plants
Q: I
did some research and I noticed that there is a bunch of tests that can be done to fiber optics and I was wondering if there is a list of primary tests that can be done as a basic test.
A: Fiber optic testing does have a hierarchy of tests.
  • At the top of the list is "insertion loss" testing which uses a light source and power  meter to test the fibers in the same way that a communications system transmits over the fiber. It is a simple test and the equipment needed is inexpensive.
  • Techs will also use a microscope to inspect the fiber optic connectors for dirt and damage, a big issue for fiber.
  • The instrument called an "OTDR" takes a snapshot of the fiber using a technique like radar. Most outside plant cables are tested with an OTDR and the data ( the snapshots are called "traces") stored for future reference. OTDRs are more expensive and require more training to use properly.
Here is a link to a page on the FOA Guide site that explains the technical,details: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/OFSTP-14.html
FOA also has information just for users of fiber optic networks, see http://thefoa.org/tech/guides/UG3.pdf




Relative vs. Absolute Power Measurements
Q: I am thinking how to minimize uncertainty when doing relative measurements. I am mostly interested not in absolute power but rather a relative one, that is measuring loss not absolute power.  Will any source of error be smaller or maybe vanish as a result of ratio? What can I do to reduce the uncertainty of the ratio of powers?
A: When measuring relative power, e.g. when measuring loss, the issue is relative power and depends on the linearity of the meter. The linearity of the meter can be affected by two issues - the slope of the calibration curve and the offset where the meter autoranges. Most meters read power over a large dynamic range, 1,000,000 to 1 (60dB) is not uncommon, and that is beyond the range of the electronics in the meter. To get this kind of range, the meters have a range switch controlled by the microprocessor that changes the gain in the amplifier attached to the detector. The amplifiers are linear and dB is calculated by the microprocessor so it does not matter if you measure in dB or W and calculate dB yourself. Calibration of the meter should include looking at the autoranging points to ensure minimal nonlinearity. Look at this graph:
Power meter linearity

When the meter measures two power levels away from the autorange point, the error is simply the error in the calibration slope, which will be proportional to the range measured. For reading of a few dB, the error is usually very small, ~0.0x dB. If the measurement includes the autorange point, the error can be higher, depending on the amount of error in the autoranging.
This argues for having your meters calibrated by a factory-approved facility who knows where the autorange points are and can carefully calibrate around them. If you just check calibration at low and high points, you may miss autorange problems.

How to Clean POF (plastic optical fiber)
Q: I heard that plastic fibres such as PMMA can suffer damage from cleaning from an alcohol solution. Are there alternate cleaning solutions available for these types of fibres."
A: You can use a 10/90 mix of  isopropyl alcohol/water. Typically use with a lint free swab. (from out POF consultants)

Testing Bare Fibers With OTDR
Q:
We are starting to test some OPGW cables. We have an OTDR but we don’t find some reusable connectors. If we have to test an OPGW with 48 fibres, we can’t set up 48 SC connectors!
Are there some reusable connectors in the commerce?
A: I assume you mean you need to test with a bare fiber on the OPGW. For testing bare fiber, use a splice, not a connector. Have a long pigtail on the OTDR as a launch cable, long enough for the test pulse to settle, say 100-500m, then use a splice for a temporary connection. You can fusion splice the fibers then cut the splice out or use a removable splice like the Corning Camsplice (http://catalog.corning.com/opcomm/en-US/catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?cid=&pid=17929&vid=18219)
If you use a mechanical splice, you need a high quality cleaver just like with fusion splicing and after several uses, you need to add more index matching gel or liquid - mineral oil works OK.
See the FOA page on Testing Bare Fiber.

Is A Flashlight Test Adequate?

Q: I contracted a firm to install an OM3 of 200 meters. On one  end I have an SFP 1000SX ,on the other a 1000SX converter from optical to UTP. We made pings but they never reached, and I didn’t see the laser at the extreme of the fiber. They promised me to send me the certification they supposely made ,though they assured me the fiber is ok, because  WITH A FLASHLIGHT THEY SENT WHITE LIGHT FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER AND IT WAS VISIBLE. I saw the light too, and I thought the culprit was my switch or my SFP. I want to know: is this a good demonstration that the fiber is ok?
A: A visual continuity test is not adequate - your eye is not calibrated! The power of the lamp is unimportant as each eye’s sensitivity is different. And your eye probably cannot see the light from a 850nm VCSEL source - most people’s eyes are not sensitive at that infrared wavelength. The installer should have tested the link with a light source and power meter (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/OFSTP-14.html) and given you the loss in dB. The connectors should also be inspected with a microscope to ensure proper polishing and cleanliness (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/scope.html). If the SFP output is -6dBm, what is the power at the receiver? 1000base-SX is supposed to work with 4.5dB loss (see http://www.thefoa.org/tech/Linkspec.htm). The fiber loss should be ~0.6 dB, so you must have >4dB connector losses! That says bad installation! The 1000SX link should work over 200m if the fiber has been properly installed.



Older Fiber?
Q:
I have some 62.5 mm and sm inside fiber plant over 20 years old.  When is a good time to upgrade?
A: When you need to or have to. If it's working OK, there is no need to upgrade!

"Connector Loss" or "Connection Loss"

Q: I have always counted the loss of a connector as .75 dB (568B-3) and 1.5 for a mated pair. Is that correct?
A: While the industry always says "connector" loss, it is actually "connection" loss. As we explain in the page on termination and splicing (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/term.html) When we say "connector" loss, we really mean "connection" loss - the loss of a mated pair of connectors, expressed in "dB." Thus, testing connectors requires mating them to reference connectors which must be high quality connectors themselves to not adversely affect the measured loss when mated to an unknown connector. This is an important point often not fully explained.  In order to measure the loss of the connectors you must mate them to a similar, known good, connector. When a connector being tested is mated to several different connectors, it may have different losses, because those losses are dependent on the reference connector it is mated to."
The TIA spec of 0.75dB is for a mated pair of connectors. If you have been passing connectors tested @ 1.5dB loss....you may have some very bad connectors in your cabling!

Changing From OM2 to OM3/4 Fiber
Q:
We have a system currently that is comprised of OM2 fibre with LED transceivers. There is a proposal to change the fibre to OM3 and I have been asked to look at how the change will affect the transceivers currently fitted which will remain the same until a later upgrade.  From looking around on various forums I can see that OM3 is optimised for lasers, however the existing hardware will remain as LED. My understanding is that OM3 is simply fibre manufactured to a better standard than OM2 with significantly less internal defects. This leads me to think that switching from OM2 to OM3 fibre would not have any negative effect on the existing hardware and would probably reduce the overall link loss.  I am also looking at whether we can use the same connectors, again looking on the internet I can see that the physical dimensions are the same, however are some connectors only certified to OM2?
A: The difference between OM2, OM3 and OM4 fiber is the "modal" bandwidth potential of the fiber at 850nm. OM2 and OM3 fiber is optimized for bandwidth with 850nm VCSELs and has no bandwidth advantage with 1300nm LEDs. The optimization is done by more careful manufacture of the graded index profile of the core of the fiber, nothing else. There is no reason to use OM3 or OM4 fiber with an LED transceiver as the LED cannot be modulated at high speed and the LED bandwidth in any of these fiber is limited by chromatic dispersion which is not significantly different in any of the higher grade fibers. The attenuation coefficient of these fibers is not enough different to justify replacement either. See http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/fiber.html for more info on fiber. They all use the same connectors. Fiber optic connectors are not a factor in the bandwidth of the fiber.

Microscope Magnification (11/13)
Q:
I am doing a lot of fiber optic jumpers for control systems,  either single mode or multimode. I want to get a scope to inspect the ends after I clean them would you recommend a 200X,  400X handheld or one similar to a Noyes OFS 300 200C?
A: We prefer to use lower magnification and have a wider view so I can see more of the ferrule to determine its condition. You can see the fiber effectively at 100X but 200X may be better. 400X may be too much for most tasks like inspecting for cleanliness, but may be good if you are polishing SM for good reflectance. We've used the Westover units for years because they offer two different methods of illumination - direct and at an angle. If you are doing a lot of patchcords, I recommend a video microscope. I've used the Noyes unit that interfaces to a PC to create the FOA Microscope Inspection YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyumH8CiUPQ&feature=youtu.be and it works well.



Recycling Cabling
Q:
Who can I contact regarding recycling cable I am removing from a building?
A: Here are some people who say they recycle fiber optic cable or at least know how to do it:

http://www.scottrecycling.com/complete.html

http://www.scrapmonster.com/selloffer/fiber-optic-cable/10400

http://www.dnvkema.com/services/ces/hse/recycling/recycling-cables.aspx

http://tmscrapmetals.com/Recycling.html


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!


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.

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

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
 

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.



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Worth Reading or Watching:

We are moving most of the articles in this section to the FOA's Pinterest Page "Worth Reading" - Go there for the latest links


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.

New Textbook On Cleaning Fiber Optic Connectors

Cleaning Book EF

As fiber optic networks become faster and link margins lower, cleaning fiber optic connectors has become more critical. Now there is a book that gives really good information on cleaning from a real expert.

Ed Forrest retired from ITW Chemtronics recently after many years of being their expert on cleaning fiber optic connectors. Ed has been one of our best contacts on the subject because his knowledge is both broad and deep. When he retired, we suggested he write a book on fiber optic cleaning and he took our advice.

Ed's book is like a cookbook, looking at specific cleaning recipes, plus evaluating the tools commonly used for cleaning. It's also in color which makes it easier to see what is being done, although it makes the book a bit more expensive.

Now you can buy The Need to Precision Clean Fiber All Optic Connections, A study of the 'sciences of cleaning', contemporary cleaning products, methods and procedures by Edward J Forrest Jr. The book is available online from CreateSpace, the same publisher FOA uses. Go here for more information on the book: https://www.createspace.com/5120367

What Happens To Old Fibers?
In a recent web search, we found this article from Corning, reprinted from a IWCS presentation in 1995. It discusses extensive tests on a 1984 cable installed in the northern US to see how it had degraded in almost 10 years. It is interesting to see how the fiber survived OSP exposure. Read it here.

Australia's Standard Is Comprehensive Guide To Customer Cabling (Get your copy free)
In answering a recent technical questino, Trevor Conquest in Australia pointed to the Australian Standard  "Installation Requirements For Customer Cabling." When we checked, it is on the web and can be downloaded. It's a big book - 220 pages - full of details for fiber and copper installations. We recommend you download yourself a copy - go here.

AU Std


Demystify fiber inspection probe technical specifications - From EXFO
The intent of this application note is to promote a better understanding of video inspection probe specifications and features. Properly understanding the key specifications and features will greatly facilitate the decision process involved in acquiring such devices. Understanding the key aspects of fiber inspection probes will also help users understand how fiber inspection probes operate, thus enabling them to maximize the full potential of these devices. Read more.

Where In The US Do Contractors Need Licenses For Fiber Optics?

We often get asked where in the US do contractors doing fiber optic installations need licenses. We found a good website for that information, the NECA -NEIS website. You might remember NECA-EIS, as they are the partner with the FOA in the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard. NECA is the National Electrical Contractors Association and NEIS stands for National Electrical Installation Standards. They have a very easy to use map and table that gives you data on every state in the US, so mark these pages for future reference.

NECA/NEIS
http://www.neca-neis.org (See “State Regulations”)
http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=state_regs (all electrical licensing)
Low Voltage: http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=specialty_licensing


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.

Want To Know Where Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Run?

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


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.

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 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.

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
 

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.
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/26719/?nlid=4433

Ensuring Distance Accuracy On OTDR Measurements
By JDSU.


JDSU Reference Guide to Fiber Optic TestingJDSU Fiber Optic Testing Volume 2
Volume 1 focuses 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).


 
Download yourself a copy and read it
 

Good Technical Website For Installers
American Polywater (http://www.polywater.com/) has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and  “Calculators.” http://www.polywater.com/NNNBSL.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.




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HOTS



" 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.






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.





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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.


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Product News

YOKOGAWA OTDR Has Extended range, High Resolution And Multitasking

Yokogawa OTDR

One OTDR manufacturer you don't hear as much about is YOKOGAWA (formerly ANDO) which is too bad - they make some of the best OTDRs, exemplified by this new model AQ7280. Need long range - how about 50dB. High resolution - 0.6m dead zone. Like touch screens, but for some functions want hard buttons, it's got that. Options for VFL, microscope, light source and power meter, etc. - it has that too.
But the unique aspect of the YOKOGAWA AQ7280 is it offers multitasking - you can let do a trace with long averages while you inspect connectors, make power readings, use the VFL or other functions.
More info on the YOKOGAWA AQ7280.


Need A Fiber Optic Cable That's Waterproof And Floats?

fiber that floats

Linden Photonics can help you. The specialize in special underwater cables for towed vehicles or ROVs. Read more.


How To Make Space For More Cables In Full Conduits


Traditionally, underground fiber has been placed in plastic innerducts in conduit. About a decade ago, MaxCell "fabric" innerducts were introduced. They provided the protection needed during installation and greatly increased the availabe space in conduit. Recently, the company has introduced an interesting technique to remove plastic innerduct in place to make more space for cables in current ducts.

Here are photos from a MaxCell YouTube video showing what we are describing.

Before, with innerduct in place:

MC2

After, with the MaxCell innerduct and more cables:

MC!



We suggest you watch the overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf726tPAvt8&list=PLDfVYzTi8g93zg1ZYWE-bINEeADVgEMsC&index=1

Then watch some actual examples of the innerduct removal process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs0bfd79AYM&feature=youtu.be&list=PLDfVYzTi8g93zg1ZYWE-bINEeADVgEMsC


A Really Bright Visual Fault Locator

VFL

SKY Technologies recently sent us a VFL to evaluate. With a VFL, you need quite a bit of power to see splices and through some cable jackets, even MM orange (the cable in the photo) but especially other colors, so high power is an advantage. This VFL is the brightest we have seen - bright enough that you want to ensure it's aimed away from your eyes when you turn it on! It has CE and RoHS approval. Model FT650H-50B. Contact SKY for more information.

SKY Technologies Inc.
http://skytechlasers.com
http://visualfaultlocator.net
1.888.878.2374


 


Switch For Testing MTP/MPO Cables - Now Available for 12 or 24 fiber MPOs

Fibernext has introduced a portable switch for testing multifiber MTP/MPO connectors. You can also watch the YouTube video here.

Fibernext



Recycling Communications Cable

FOA was contacted by a company that recycles electronics communications equipment and cabling. CommuniCom recycles cable/metals/e-waste for Telcos and CATVs. They also recycle Fiber Optic Cable and associated Materials (the fiber scrap). And, they reclaim OSP abandoned copper cables (abandoned from road moves or FTTx growth). This is a huge part of our business. They do the work (permitting/locates/labor) for free and we revenue share back with our clients (telcos).

Contact Steve Maginnis
smaginnis@communicominc.com
www.communicominc.com
803.371.5436 (cell)
 
CC

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
http://www.testequipmentconnection.com/


Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

As much as 70% of the problems associated with deploying fiber 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.

  • Westover 
  • AFL
    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads

    MicroCare 

     Seiko-Giken

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    FTTH Notes:

    Many States In the US Restrict Municipal Networks

    As reported in the website "Community Broadband Networks," many municipalities are creating their own networks, including FTTH like Chattanooga and Clarksville, TN, etc. But in 19 of the US states, there are laws that handicap municipalities or outright ban their offering "telecom" services. (See the list of laws compiled by Optica here.) Obviously, these laws were passed to protect the (usually monopoly) telecom and CATV providers who do not want competition. But they also make it difficult or impossible for many areas to get broadband.

    Does anybody know if these laws prohibit a municipality from building a fiber network and then leasing it to an Internet service provider? Obviously, FTTH needs good lawyers too.

    FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units)

    When we talk about FTTH, we often assume we are installing the fiber to a “home” where it terminates in a optical line terminal (OLT) and services (voice, data and video) are delivered inside the subscriber’s "home." But since we may have detached single-family homes, row houses or living units in a large building, the situations can be quite different, requiring different architectures and installation practices. To clarify the options for fiber in MDUs, FOA has created a new page in our FTTx section of the FOA Guide to explain the options.

    FTTH in MDUs

    FOA Guide: FTTH in MDUs  
    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.



     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

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

    See www.call811.com for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit by the "811" group.

    The US Department of Transportation has a website called "National Pipeline Mapping System" that allows one to search for buried pipelines.   




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    Employment/Job Listings



    Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

    Fiber Optic Installation Banner

    The FOA was chartered to "promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards." Our focus on creating a professional workforce to properly design, install, maintain and repair communications network infrastructure has led us to work with groups in many different areas of technology that use fiber optics, way beyond the basic telecom applications that most of us think of first. FOA has probably worked with most of the potential applications of fiber optics, but we're always learning about new ones!
    In addition, we get lots of calls and emails from our members looking for information about where the jobs are and how to train for them. FOA has created three ways to help you find jobs, train for them and apply for them.

    Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
    FOA has created a 20 minute YouTube video that talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs are involved and the qualifications for the workers in the field. Besides telecom and the Internet, we cover wireless, cable TV, energy, LANs, security, etc. etc. etc. It's a quick way to get an overview of the fiber optic marketplace and we give you an idea of where the opportunities are today.

    Watch the new FOA YouTube Video: Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

    What Training Is Needed For The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
    As you will learn from the video described above, the jobs in fiber optics are quite diverse. FOA has investigated these jobs to understand the needs of workers for those jobs and, when necessary, create curriculum and certifications to properly train workers. For example, the FOA FTTx certification was developed at the request of Verizon who needed specialized installers for their FiOS program. Now we are working with the industry on the OLAN (Optical LAN) program (see below).
    We have summarized the jobs and required training in a new web page that has two uses - 1) If you have FOA certifications, what jobs are you specifically qualified for? - 2) If you are working in a specialized field or want to get a job in that area, what training and certifications will qualify you for those jobs?
    What Training And Certifications Are Needed For Jobs In Fiber Optics? 

    How To Find And Apply For Jobs In Fiber Optics
    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.
    If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs. 

    We hope you find this useful. FOA tries to find new to increase the professionalism in our industry and helping qualified people find jobs is our highest priority - read the article below to see why! If you have feedback on how we can help you and our industry, contact us at info@thefoa.org.

    Join FOA on 
    FOA on LinkedIn

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



    Job Openings


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Optical Splicer Technicians who have FOA certifications, for a project in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


    These Technicians will be working on of of the largest National Broadband Rollout project in the Kingdom.
     
     
    Position Objectives:
    A Fiber Splicer is responsible for splicing, terminating and testing aerial and underground fiber optic systems, updating and maintaining project tracking information such as production sheets, red-line as-built and customer required paperwork.  Additional responsibilities include performing all aspects of the assigned project in accordance with the clients’ standards and guidelines in the required timeframe.

    JOB DESCRIPTION & RESPONSIBILITIES:

    ·         Prepping and splicing of fiber optic cables in manholes and handholes
    ·         Central Office fiber termination on distribution frames
    ·         Fiber splicing at customer locations such as telecom rooms, risers, communication rooms…etc
    ·         Read and interpret OSP design drawings and fiber assignment documents (GIS drawings, Fiber jointing schematics, GRANITE tables…etc)
    ·         Update Fiber Jointing schematics with red-line as-buit information regarding fiber splicing
    ·         Conduct complete fiber testing activities with OTDR, Power meter and fiber detection equipment
    ·         Installation of optical splitters as part of a GPON network
    ·         Coordination with clients OSP design teams
    ·         Coordinating with clients customers for premises access, fiber termination activities, MDT, equipment re-location…etc
    ·         Ensuring timely completion of projects as assigned.
    ·         Performing other related activities as assigned including, but not limited to, telecom equipment installation, indoor and outdoor cable installation, etc.
    Qualifications & Experience:
    ·    Minimum of 3 years experience in Optical fiber splicing
    ·    FOA/CFOT certification or equivalent
    ·    Proficient in use of all fibre optic test equipment including OTDR, Power Meter, live fibre tester, etc.
    ·    Good knowledge of the GPON network architecture and its related network components
    ·    Experience with Optical fiber components manipulation of different types such as, but not limited to, Single and Multimode, ribbon fiber, micro cables, mechanical splicing, optical splitters, termination equipment, OTDR’s
    ·    Able to work unsupervised and under restrained deadlines
    ·    FOA/CPCT, FOA/CFOS or equivalent certification an asset
    KEYWORDS:

    Splicing, FTTH, OTDR, OSP
     
     
    Best regards
     
    Kiran G Madhav
    Talent Acquisition Specialist
    Norconsult Telematics
     
    +966 (0)503659600
    kgm@norconsult.com.sa
     


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Senior OSP-  "Materials, Standards & Guidelines Expert"  in Saudi Arabia (11/2014)

    We are hiring Senior OSP-  "Materials, Standards & Guidelines Expert" for our OSP project in Saudi Arabia. The candidate must have 15+ years of experience and profound knowledge of all aspects of the OSP network (Standards, Guidelines, procedures, technologies, equipment, tools) for planning, design and implementation in OSP and Fiber.
     

    Job Title:    OSP Materials, Standards and Guidelines Expert
    Project/Department    OSP
    Position objectives    Responsible for all OSP Materials standardization, Standards, guidelines and their related work procedures
     
    Job Description and Responsibilities                        
    •         Conduct market analysis of OSP Design and implementation materials to find the best suitable for CUSTOMER’S framework
    •         With the support of CUSTOMER’S Management, Create and drive the functions of the OSP Test LAB to R&D purposes
    •         Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses optimal international materials
    •         Evaluate availability of materials with suppliers to best fit CUSTOMER’S deployment plan
    •         Update and maintain the standardized materials documentation and include the installation procedures
    •         Evaluate financial benefits of new standardized materials to reduce CAPEX and OPEX spending
    •         Provide training and support to all Regions to apply approved CUSTOMER’S materials and their guidelines.
    •         Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses international OSP Design best practices
    •         Continuously evaluate, review and update the OSP Design Standards and Guidelines to meet international best practices that meet CUSTOMER’S framework and optimize cost and quality of the network deployment
    •         Leverage a strong knowledge of technology trends for the selection of the most cost effective and best practice access network solutions.
    •         Provide continuous support and training for all OSP Design Standards and Guidelines
    •         Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses international implementation best practices
    •         Continuously evaluate, review and update the OSP implementation Standards and Guidelines to meet international best practices that meet CUSTOMER’S framework and optimize cost and quality of the network deployment.
    •         Provide continuous support and training for all design Standards and Guidelines
    •         Create and apply necessary processes and procedures to maintain and improve the work efficiency/performance

    Qualifications   
    -          MSc in Electrical/Civil Engineering or Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering with 15 + years’ experience
    -          Profound knowledge of all aspects of the OSP network (Standards, Guidelines, procedures, technologies, equipment, tools...etc) for planning, design and implementation
    -          Experience in a senior technical area of the OSP network
    -          Good Presentation, Time Management and English Language skills.
    -          Extraordinary technical writing skills
    -          Good knowledge on General GSM/UMTS PSTN Network.
    -          In depth knowledge of FTTx solutions and architecture, GPON as well as PtP
    -          6-10 Year of experience with network planning/design for access networks
    -          Profound experience with access networks civil works planning / design
    -          Broad experience in working with OSP sub-contractors, design reviews and quality control.
     
    Contact

    Kiran G Madhav
    Talent Acquisition Specialist
     
    +966 (0)540401285
    kgm@norconsult.com.sa
     
    Norconsult Telematics


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Technician (10/14)
     
    POSITION DESCRIPTION

    TITLE:  Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Technician II
    DEPARTMENT:  Outside Plant Fiber Splicing
    SUPERVISOR: Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Supervisor
    _____________________________________________________________________________
                                                                          
    SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES:   Perform various duties as instructed within the network with regards to outside plant construction, restoration, preventive maintenance, facility locating, customer service drops and record keeping.

    ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:
    1.    Must be able to read splicing records and splice fiber as directed by supervisor.
    2.    Must have a functioning knowledge of testing and troubleshooting fiber optics.
    3.    Must be able to make as needed changes and document test results.
    4.    Must be able to read engineering drawings and correlate them to physical plant.
    5.    Must be able to assist in physical cable placement.
    6.    Must assist in the coordination OSP extensions and coordinate with other departments.
    7.    Perform detailed visual inspection of OSP construction to determine quality of work being performed and that it meets the company’s standards.
    8.    Other tasks or duties as assigned.

    ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES:
    1.    Responsible for maintaining existing fiber routes and facility locates as directed.
    2.    Responsible for maintaining all OSP equipment, i.e. fusion splicer, trailers, vehicles.
    3.    Will complete no less than 2 trainings classes per year as and when required.

    EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:
    High School diploma or equivalent required.  US Dept of Labor approved technical certification in fiber optics preferred.    Must have at least 2 years work experience related to the telecommunications industry with a focus on fiber optic splicing and testing.  Must have a working knowledge of all types of outside plant construction.  Must possess a high degree of interpersonal skills.  Travel required.

    PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS/WORKING CONDITIONS:
    Must be able to perform all physical and mental job requirements with or without reasonable accommodation, including driving, moving heavy weights (up to 50 lbs.), distinguishing the fiber optic color code, bending, crawling, working in confined spaces, climbing, working on overhead equipment, use hand tools and specialized equipment, walking , standing, working in hot or cold and wet conditions.

    Note:  This is a brief description of the Outside Plant Technician’s responsibilities and is not limited to those described herein.  Management retains the right to add, delete or modify any of these responsibilities at any time during employment.                                                             
                                                                                                                                               Revised 7/3/14 MT

    Those interested can apply at their website  www.cspire.com/careers or can send their resumes  to John Nordan jnordan@cspire.com



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Splicing Techs Needed In Western Canada

    Technicians needed, Western Canada (BC /AB). This is primarily FTTH however any and all experience is welcome. Rate of pay is 30-35/hr on rotational shifts which means 2 weeks on 1 week off. We travel throughout Alberta and British Columbia so accommodations, and per diem are paid.
    Candidates can contact us directly at: jane@dcltelecom.ca

    Please contact the contractor directly at the email listed - not FOA!




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    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 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!

    Contact FOA at info@thefoa.org to get logos in file format for your use.

     


    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.  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.



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    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
    info@thefoa.org

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



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