February went by much too fast
for us, as your editor was travelling over half the month, including
visiting the OSA/IEEE Optical Fiber Communications Show (OFC)
in Los Angeles in late February. OFC had lots of exhibitors -
maybe more exhibitor personnel than actual visitors when we were
there. About half the exhibitors, and certainly the majority
of passive component vendors, were from the Far East.
For those of us in fiber optics
for a long time, OFC is a chance to catch up with old friends
and see how the tecchnology is developing, or in the case of
multimode fiber, making a revival and having the same problems
it had with bandwidth 20 years ago.
Here are some highlights from
Picolight showed production
transceivers using the devices, Infineon had prototypes and Honeywell
said they are in reliability testing. We've been anticipating
these devices for thier lower cost, perhaps enought to drive
many links to SM fiber with its practically infiinte bandwidth.
However, Picolight pointed out another big - BIG - advantage:
the narrower spectral width of the VCSEL, much narrower than
Fabry-Perot devices and even DFBs, allows longer links in long
distance networks because it suffers less chromatic dispersion.
These devices have some really big potential.
Tools & Test Equipment
Test equipment seems to be getting
more and more integrated, with more functions and capability.
Circadiant showed a network tester for up to 10G Ethernet that
was not much larger than a mini OTDR. All the tester companies
had OTDRs with modules to allow adaptation to test for performance
issues you probably didn't know existed. AFS (Noyes) had new
fiber cleaning packs for connectors and alignment sleeves that
uses an optical cleaning fluid that is non-hazardous and shippable,
a big improvement over isopropyl alcohol. Even LOCTITE, the adhesive
people, showed up to pitch their anaerobic adhesives for fiber
optics, including some packages of smaller amounts, more in line
with the miniscule amounts you use in termination.
Otherwise, the hall was filled
with companies showing lasers, couplers, DWDM parts and systems,
and dozens - maybe hundreds - of gadgets that you probably never
knew existed or what they might be used for. That's OFC, the
top of the tech heap in fiber optics.
10 Gigabit Ethernet On FDDI
The IEEE is working on several
new versions of 10G Ethernet , including one to work over legacy
multimode fiber, the so-called "FDDI" fiber with 160
MHz-km bandwidth at 850 nm and 500 MHz-km at 1300 nm. The idea
is to have a version that will run over the most common fiber
in networks today, albeit at shorter distances. Work continues
on copper versions too, with a 15 meter link running on shielded
4-pair cable approved, intended for use between devices in a
data center. A structured cabling version running on a high bandwidth
UTP cable with 625 MHz bandwidth is also in process, that effectively
kills off today's Cat 6. Since 10GbE will have to have a new,
very different UTP cable, fiber may be a more viable alternative
for many users.
Fiber Costs Vs Copper Costs
Is fiber to the home viable?
The TIA Fiber Optic LAN Sections (FOLS) has developed a cost
model that helps users understand the real cost issues. It's
done by FOA board member Eric Pearson and is quite detailed.
Take a look at http://fols.org/
and note the dates of some of their web conferences on fiber
Train The Trainer Programs
The next FOA TTT program will
be in Cincinnati this June. A full week of training is planned
- 3 days of basic fiber optics and 2 days on teaching it. Attendees
who complete the program successfully get their Instructor Certification
Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with
some tests on connectors.
New sections of "Lennie Lightwave's
Guide To Fiber Optics" covers loss
testing of fiber optic cables and OTDRs.
Interested In Advanced Certification?
If you think you might, download
and print yourself a FOA Logbook
to keep track of your experience and traning. It will help you
qualify for the CFOS
Your Name, CFOT - It pays to
The FOA encourages CFOTs to use
the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc.
and provides logo
files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked
about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can
refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your
Name, CFOS/T" for example.
Feel free to use the logo and
designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!
Remember To Renew Your Certification
Remember to renew your FOA certification.
All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data
and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding
your qualifications if needed. If you forgot to renew, use the
form or the FOA
online store to renew NOW!
Want To Get FOA Email?
We have been asked if we could send the FOA newsletter by email
or post it on the website. We are looking into that and will definitely
get one started soon. When you renew your certification, you will
be asked if you are interested in email newsletters and if so,
you will be asked to give your email address for us to use in
a mailing list. If you want to get started now, send an email
to email@example.com with the
subject "eMail List" Note that The FOA never releases its mailing lists for any
use! Your data is always safe with us.
The FOA is managed under contract by:
VDV Works LLC
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, CA 92028
FOA Board of Advisors
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
F. Douglas Elliot, Past President
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
John Highhouse, Past President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Paul Rosenberg, Past President
Richard James Smith
Want to write for the FOA
Newsletter? Send us articles,
news, anything you think might be interesting to the rest of the