Most technical information on
fiber optics seems to be aimed at installers, but at the FOA
we get lots of phone calls from end users. Often they are confused
and want advice: Should they use fiber or copper? What components
should they choose (and why?) What does a fiber optic system
design require? Can they install fiber themselves or should they
hire a contractor? How do they find a contractor? What should
the contract with the contractor include? What are the requirements
for testing and documenting a network? And sometimes, we get
a fiber optic network user who asks "My system is down?
What can I do?"
Well the FOA has started addressing
the needs of the end user. A new section of the FOA website will
be devoted to the end user, trying to cover all these questions
and more - as the users call us to ask.
Don't assume the information
is just for users, not installers, contractors and consultants.
It's information you need to be familiar with also, and we'd
suggest you tell all your customers about it, as it will help
explain fiber optics in terms they will understand and help you
and them communicate about fiber optic projects.
The "Outside Plant Show"
was held in San Jose in August. It's oriented to OSP, and it
covers a lot of copper products (pressurized cable plant hardware,
anyone?) but there was plenty of new fiber products shown. Here's
a quick rundown of some of the interesting hardware we saw.
Teraspan: thin, flat conduit to install cables
in roadways, sidewalks, etc. by sawing a groove in the surface.
Great for traffic signals or any kind of roadway install.
fiber cable identifier, just taps on the fiber and listens. Can
you hear me now?
BeadMark: plastic, color coded beads to identify fibers
in splice trays.
Another Incredibly Useful
At the NJATC National Training
Institute this summer, we saw a really useful gadget displayed
by a company called "Rack-A-Tiers." The company sells
gadgets to make installing cable easier, whether it be communications
(fiber and copper) or electrical. What caught our eye was their
unique rack that holds spools of cable to pay it out neatly.
This can be a big issue for fiber, as you want to feed the cable
off the spool without twisting it. Using the Rack-A-Tier, you
can do this easily with any size spool up to about 3 feet diameter.
They also make a "E-Z Roll
Wire Rack" that allows you to easily roll around a big spool
of cable (up to 18") and a number of other useful cable
Rack-A-Tiers sent us a sample
to use with the spools of old cable we have been given to distribute
to FOA schools, so we can now spool off shorter lengths from
big spools easily. Thanks Rack-A-Tiers!
Progress Being Made On Silicon
Cheaper optoelectronic chips
are becoming more likely as Intel and USC make progress on developing
optical devices made on cheap silicon chips. Once these devices
become commercially available, they will simplify optical connections,
not just networks but on and between integrated circuits that
are the building blocks of all electronic devices. Read
The First Silicon-Optoelectronic
Product Hits The Market
Luxtera of Carlsbad, CA has introduced a 40
Gb/s link using conventional CMOS technology.
(These links take you to MIT's
Technology Review online. You may need to register to read some
TR articles, but it's worth it. In fact, we recommend you sign
up for thier daily email newsletter.)
Help Define Your Jobs
You can provide assistance with
an important program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor
(USDOL) known as the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).
The USDOL is gathering occupational information in an effort
to better define worker and work characteristics such as knowledge,
skills, abilities, activities, and work context for nearly 900
occupational categories in the U.S. economy. As the data is collected
and published, it will be used by millions of employers, workers,
educators, and students (http://online.onetcenter.org). Much
of the information already is in use by agencies and organizations
across the nation (http://www.doleta.gov/programs/onet/oina.cfm).
The O*NET program is seeking
experts in the Photonic Technician occupation. The last complete
update of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles was conducted
by USDOL in the late 1970s. Basic criteria includes that data
be provided by individuals who have performed the occupation
for at least one year, have five or more years of experience
in the noted occupation, and have performed in that same arena
during the past six months. This can be practicing, consulting,
teaching, instructing, supervising, etc. A short description
of the occupation currently being updated is listed below. Please
use the description, not the title, to decide if you may be a
Photonics Technicians:Build, install, test, and maintain
optical and fiber optic equipment such as lasers, lenses and
mirrors using spectrometers, interferometers, or related equipment.
The Fiber Optic Association,
FOA, is asking for volunteers from our membership to assist in
the collection of information about this occupation. Please be
assured that your decision regarding participation in O*NET will
not impact your standing as a member of the Fiber Optic Association,
RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research firm, is assisting
USDOL with the O*NET data collection effort. Please send an e-mail
indicating your interest to participate, including your experience,
title, last name, first name, address 1, address 2, City, State,
ZIP code, Phone number, FAX number, Cell Phone number, E-mail
address, Employer or "Self-employed," and Photonic
Technician area specialty to Ron Wandscher, RTI Business Liaison,
at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 877-233-7348.
By participating, you will contribute
to a key resource providing our nation with continuously updated
occupational information. Thank you for your time and effort.
FOA & President Jim Hayes
Recognized For Contributions To FTTx
FOA President Jim Hayes and
the FOA have been recognized for their efforts to promote FTTx,
particularly in the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market by Broadband
Properties magazine. The importance of our work promoting FTTx
education and recruitment through our certifications, online
programs and FTTx Summits was recognized by BBP. Read
Installing Fiber Optics? Have
You Seen These?
We get lots of calls here at
the FOA looking for advice. Many are from people unfamiliar with
fiber optics who are planning an installation, having an installation
done or testing and troubleshooting problems. To answer these
questions, we have created a standard on installation, NECA/FOA-301
and three Tech
Bulletins for users and installers. These, plus all the information
in our "Tech
Topics" section, will answer many of your questions.
It's where most of our callers are sent for detailed explanations
they can print and distribute to interested parties.
AT&T Rolling out U-verse.
Conversations with AT&T
personnel handing out U-verse literature at the OSP show said
that they were offering their U-verse digital TV systems in more
areas and indicated they were installing FTTH in greenfield applications
in Northern California. We're requesting more information. Now
their focus is no longer mainly on acquisitions, they can go
back to focusing on the telecom business, we guess.
Want To Learn More About
The FOA has created a special
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.
The old story (not a joke!) about
the most likely fiber optic communications system failure being
caused by "backhoe fade" reminds us that digging safely
is vitally important. The risk is not just interrupting communications,
but the life-threatening risk of digging up high voltage or gas
There is a website called "Common Ground Alliance"
that focuses directly on this issue. Here is how they describe
Damage Prevention is a
The Common Ground Alliance
(CGA) is a member-driven association dedicated to ensuring public
safety, environmental protection, and the integrity of services
by promoting effective damage prevention practices.
In recent years, the association has established itself as the
leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to all underground
facilities in North America through shared responsibility
among all stakeholders.
Of special interest is their
Practices" Manual, available for downloading. If you
do OSP installs, please get yourself a copy and read it.
Once a home has a broadband connection,
which we hope is fiber to the home, but could be DSL or Cable
Modem, the usage of all that bandwidth depends on distribution
within the home. The in-home connections can be UTP or Coax copper,
wireless or fiber. But architects and home builders must learn
how to build homes to take advantage of broadband connections.
The FOA, in conjunction with the Structured Cabling Association,
have started working with home builders to bring them up to speed.
You can see the first tutorial we have jointly developed at the SCA website.
There are tons of technical
application notes and videos on the web, and occasionally we
recommend some you should download. The JDSU fiber testing guide
is really worthwhile, as are the ADC FTTx book and Westover video
on fiber inspection and cleaning, linked below.
JDSU Testing Book
JDSU offers a free download of their
Testing Guide from the Lightwave website. This is one great book
which explains some basic fiber technology, but the real value
is the last half which deals with OTDR testing. Not only does
it give the usual info, but it covers important topics like measurement
uncertainties and anomolies like ghosts and gainers.
I was in the testing business
for 20+ years at Fotec and think this book is one of the best
fiber optic testing texts available. It's complete but comprehenisble!
I used to believe that premises techs did not need OTDR training,
but now OTDR manufacturers are pushing their use in premises
networks. Unfortunately, the limitations of OTDRs in premises
applications can cause extreme problems for those who are not
aware of their limitations. So knowing hows OTDRs work is essential
information to every tech.
Now In Spanish: FOA Textbook
& Text For FOA Advanced Certifications
The FOA's textbook, The
Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, is used by our approved
schools around the world to teach fiber optics. Book Details:
Manual Del Technico De Fibra Optica, Published by Thomson
Delmar Learning, ISBN 1-4180-6121-2
If you are getting started
in fiber optics and Spanish is your native language, you can
download an introduction to fiber optics in Spanish here.
Are there really 5 different
ways to test optical fiber cabling after installation? Why so
many? How do the measurements - and more importantly the measurement
results - differ? What are the advanteages and disadvantages
of each method?
How do you design and manufacture
fiber optic systems? Choose and install one to serve your communications
needs? Troubleshoot problems? The FOA Fiber Optic Technical Bulletins
will provide step-by-step guidelines to help you. All are
PDF files you can download, print and use.
Like Good Technical Videos?
Job Title: Product Manager,
Axsun Technologies currently
has an opening in our Billerica, MA location for a Product Marketing
Manager, for which we are seeking your help in filling. Below
is a job description for the opening.
Interested candidates should contact Julie Cincotti via email
The Product Manager is responsible for technical product management
activities in the area of Telecommunications components and modules.
This individual will provide a main point of contact between
external customers (customers and sales reps) and internal customers
(manufacturing, engineering and finance) for the products of
* Manage customer requirements for products, and ensure those
requirements are communicated clearly to engineering and manufacturing
* Manage input from customers, field and sales personnel to define
customer requirement for new products or new releases of current
* Refine and manage the product strategy with engineering, R&D,
sales, finance, and customer audiences
* Develop, deliver, and manage communications supporting key
messages and the positioning of Axsun's value proposition
* Provide business justification for new and derivative product
developments utilizing the Axsun Product Lifecyle Process
* Initiate customer contacts through pre-sales efforts and lead
communications, presentations, product demonstrations and technical
* Represent the company at trade shows and industry forums
* Manage the customer relationship, including post sales support
and support of customer's ongoing business with product changes
and communicating reliability and performance data
* Responsible for achieving target profit margins for assigned
* BS degree in engineering or science/ other advanced degree
* Minimum of 5 years professional experience with a high technology
company in product management, technical support or other customer
* Experience in telecom components and subsystems highly desired
* Demonstrated ability and thorough understanding of product
management requirements in taking hardware products through release,
including regulatory, documentation, supporting software and
* Strong understanding of OEM business models as they apply to
high technology products
* Demonstrated ability to work cross functionally, including
the ability to quickly understand and explain complex optoelectronic
technologies and products.
* Strong communication skills, excellent leadership and interpersonal
fiber-optic components and sub-systems
POSITION IS IN THE BOSTON
Support an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers
project assignments focused on the design, modeling, test and
manufacturing of fiber-optic components and sub-systems. Primary
responsibilities include supporting laboratory product integration
volume manufacturing, development of hardware for fiber optic
systems, implementing design methods and techniques for components
system testing of high-speed digital and optical modules and
development of mathematical models for performance analysis.
responsibilities include support of proposal teams, working with
on product definition and completing tasks according to schedule,
cost and design objectives.
MRI of Research Triangle Park
Durham, NC 27713
919-572-2292 - office
919-572-6556 - fax
Senior Draw Tower Engineer
, Phoenix, AZ
A worldwide, world-class leader
in advanced medical technologies seeks a Senior Draw Tower Engineer
to join their team. This opportunity is based in Phoenix, AZ
with a manufacturer of laser surgical fiber optic assemblies,
fused silica capillary columns and arrays, microfluidic devices
and micro-optics as well as bulk specialty fiber optics (silica
core, step index, multimode), and flexible fused silica capillary.
Design, develop, troubleshoot and manage the activities of the
draw tower manufacturing department. This position is responsible
for practicing all quality procedures and complying with all
PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. Directs the design, selection and installation of new equipment
2. Establishes equipment specifications and manufacturing techniques
to enhance productivity *
3. Directs tower activities to meet production, quality and cost
4. Prioritizes production schedules based on delivery dates,
equipment efficiencies and material supplies *
5. Develops and administers schedules, procedures and manpower
requirements for the area *
6. Maintains production equipment to minimize downtime
7. Oversees operators to insure proper equipment operation, maintenance
Education: B.S. in Engineering preferred
· Minimum 5 years industrial experience in optical fiber
· Functional knowledge of draw tower components
· Familiar with automation and verification techniques
· Strong troubleshooting methodology to determine root
cause of problems
· Evaluate personnel to ensure efficient operation
· Communicate effectively with all levels of manufacturing
and senior management
The Network Technician reports
to the Director of Technical Services and is a member of both
the Enterprise Services Team within the Information Technology
department and the Telecommunications Team.
This highly skilled seasoned technician applies a broad and in-depth
working knowledge of IT network infrastructure to a wide variety
of assignments through the application of technical concepts,
practices, and procedures. This position works in the field to
support the campus data, voice, and video infrastructure systems.
Under general direction, serves as the on-site technician to
install, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain network equipment.
Completes requests for new service, determines methodology for
installing network equipment, determines appropriateness of moderate
equipment changes or modifications, installs and terminates fiber
optic cable, terminates copper cabling, test links, and installs
other computer equipment as required. Use current industry standards
and operating procedures to establish work methods incorporating
innovative approaches to complete work assignments.
Green River Community College
is located on a 168-acre wooded site near Auburn, Washington,
about 30 miles from both Seattle and Tacoma. The college opened
in 1965 and enrolls over 9,000 students, includes 11 instructional
divisions and 50 vocational programs, and employs over 1000 full
and part-time staff. Green River Community College recognizes
that embracing diversity maximizes faculty and staff contribution
to our goals and provides the best opportunity for student achievement.
An application packet can be
requested by email (email@example.com) or by phone at (253) 288-3320.
12401 SE 320th Street
Auburn, Washington 98092
DC Power Installers and Equipment
Installer Level III Candidates. We are looking for individuals
who have proven success working in a Central Office environment.
Candidates should have the ability to lead others and to travel
We are currently looking for
a Central Office Equipment Installer, level III for Newark,
N.J and surrounding areas.
Equipment Installers are responsible
for the installation of equipment used in voice, video, fiber
optics and data telecommunications networks. Level III Installers
also, analyze, plan, layout and assign installation activity
to other installation personnel. Act as subject matter expert
on provisioning, activating and testing ADC and OEM electronic
We are currently looking for DC Power Equipment Installers,
Level IV to cover installation projects in the Northeastern part
of the country. DC Power Equipment Installers are responsible
for the installation of equipment such as batteries, rectifiers,
PBD's, BDFB's and associated infrastructure used in telecommunications
networks. Analyze, plan, layout and assign installation activity
to other installation personnel. Act as subject matter expert
on provisioning, activating and testing 24 and 48 volt DC electronic
equipment. Candidates should have experience programming DGU(s),
LMS(s), Milleniums, Galaxy(s)s, etc.
Candidates are invited to post
their resumes on our web site, www.adc.com.
Once there, Candidates can view open jobs and apply to them by
clicking on the "careers" link.
Sr. Staffing Specialist
1-800-833-8843 x 6317
Verizon: Fiber Network Field
Technician (Outside Field Technician)
Openings in the following areas:
CA, TX, WA, OR, VA, MA, NJ, RI
Take your career to new heights
at a company that's a leader in global communications: Verizon.
We offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance your career while
contributing in an enthusiastic, team-oriented environment.
Primary duties include, but
are not limited to:
Install, remove, rearrange,
program, test, troubleshoot and maintain fiber network services.
Install and configure routers, set top boxes. May assist
with installation of PC software as needed and ensure proper
configuration of the customer's PC. Interact with the Fiber
Solution Center as needed. May install appropriate inside
Install, maintain and repair outside and inside fiber equipment/facilities
including inside wiring and fiber jumpers at the distribution
Interface with customer to negotiate the placement of equipment;
may assist with account registration, e-mail, and web access,
and training the customer on how to use the new equipment. Ensure
customer satisfaction. Respond to inquiries and provide
follow-up, as necessary.
Interpret schematic work order drawings to determine job specifications
and installation needs. Order and/or obtain required equipment.
Effect problem solving where appropriate.
Utilize various test equipment to analyze equipment trouble and
take appropriate maintenance action.
Requires high level of customer
contact to ensure customer satisfaction.
Climbing poles and ladders; lifting 75-100 pounds on a regular
basis; pushing, reaching, bending and stooping; manual dexterity;
good sense of balance; and good color vision.
Must have a current/valid California Drivers License and a clean
Qualified candidates must pass all company required tests, a
pre-employment drug screen and a background check. In addition,
candidates will be required to successfully pass a legally required
DOJ Criminal Records Check/screening process (fingerprinting).
Candidates must be able to work any shift given, including days,
weekends, holidays and overtime as required.
Hourly rate for this position
is $12.87-28.55. Wage credit may be granted for related
work experience and/or college degree.
Benefits include medical, dental, life insurance, 401(k) with
Company match and paid vacation
Reading these will help you
understand what each FOA certification covers and how to prepare
New Professional Society
for Structured Cabling Recognizes Importance of Fiber Optics
The new Structured Cabling Association,
is a professional society aimed at installers of "structured
cabling" or premises cabling. Structured cabling has been
focused on so-called "Cat 5" or UTP cabling for years,
while network speeds have left UTP behind. Now most backbones
for LANs are fiber optics and every network seems to have wireless.
The SCA, founded in part by FOA activists Tom Collins and Jim
Hayes, intends to make structured cabling training and certification
more relevant to today's world.
FOA Logo Merchandise
FOA has arranged with EmbroidMe
to provide FOA logo merchandies. Identify yourself as a FOA-certified
tech or instructor. The lab coats are super impressive for either
cabling techs and instructors. Check
out the selection.
FOA CFOT Renewals Get Free
Copy of NECA/FOA Installation Standard
Every CFOT renewal will now
receive a free copy of NECA 301-2004,
Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by
The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors
Association). This is an important reference document for defining
the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants in a
"neat and workmanlike manner."
The FOA feels this is such an
important document that we are giving a free copy (normally priced
at $15) to every active CFOT when they renew their active status.
The FOA has also sent free copies
to all FOA-Approved schools. The new FOA CFOT exam to be used
after August, 2005, will include questions from the standard.
Schools should be including information from the standard in
their classes already.
FOA Certification Top Choice
The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber
optics. Over 20,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 160 schools
as the FOA enters its 12th year. 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
at 160+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint
Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers, Corning
Cable Systems and AFL
for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone
Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is
Your Name, CFOT - It pays
The FOA encourages CFOTs to use
the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc.
and provides logo
files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked
about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can
refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your
Name, CFOS/T" for example.
Feel free to use the logo and
designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!
There are three ways
to set a "0 dB" reference for insertion loss testing
in order to accomodate the different connectors on cables, patchcords
and test equipment. For example, if all connectors are SCs, a
single cable reference (OFSTP-14, Method B) works. If you are
testing a plug and jack connector like a MT-RJ or FiberJack,
you probably will have to use a 3 cable reference (OFSTP-14,
Method C). Test sets with different connectors from the cable
plant, say LCs in the cable plant, can use a 2 cable refrerence.
(OFSTP-14, Method A). All three methods are generally acceptable
as long as the method is documented, as the results differ. See
this for more