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April 2024

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Newsletter Sections Click on any link to jump to that section

April 1 - A Day For Jokes
AI To Write International Standards
Drone Guided By Fiber Optics
Technology Burnout
AI Generated Spam
Data Centers, AI, Crypto Overload Power Grid
FOA Support For STEM Education
All FOA Certification Credentials Are Online
Links To Resources On Broadband

FTTH Award Goes To FOA Instructor
   Ian Gordon Fudge
CFOTs Are Everywhere  - Even Mt. Fuji
Getting Trained & Certified In India
New FTTH Textbook in Serbian Language
Broadband Communities Summit

Introduction To Fiber Project Softwaare
Fiber To The Shore
Best Example Of Worst Install?
Spike Markers For Underground Cables
NECA/FOA Standard Withdrawn
Information From A Cable Scrap
Managing Projects - Gantt Charts
FOA Color Code Guides
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Interesting questions from our readers

Types Of Work Done By Fiber Techs
FOA-Approved School News
Fiber U MiniCourses

New FOA Technical Resources


About the FOA

FOA Certified Techs

CFOT Total

2024 At FOA - Heading For 100,000 

FOA certifications headed for 100K

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs
Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics
Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

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Trademarks: The FOA logo and name, CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online learning site) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.

 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks
The fiber book is available in Spanish and French

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
FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book
                        on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Fiber Broadband Guide

                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online

The FOA Newsletter is edited by Jim Hayes - send your stories, leads, ideas, comments to <jim @>
Jim Hayes

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications active, you need to renew them when they expire every 3 years. Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - an online store at Paypal - where you can quickly and conveniently use your PayPal account or your credit card to renew your certifications.

Renew online with a credit card or PayPal

Join FOA On  Social Media

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has 3 LinkedIn Groups
FOA - official page on LinkedIn - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace
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Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

April 1st Is A Day For Jokes -

But Can You Tell Which Are Jokes And Which Are Real?

It is traditional to use April 1st - April Fool's day - as a day to create jokes, the more outrageous but believable the better. One of the best for the fiber optic community was Google TISP - the first Google fiber to the home offering, where they mail you a package with a fiber optic cable that you install yourself by flushing it down your toilet! Amazing how many people believed that one was real!

Google TISP

So this month in the FOA Newsletter we're going to run some stories that might be true, might not. Read them and guess. We'll provide a link at the end for you to check your guess.

AI To Write International Standards

An Artificial Intelligence (AI) called ISObot that is capable of writing new industry standards has been introduced. Created by a consortium of standards groups, ISObot is designed to write industry standards on any subject. ISObot was trained first on the thousands of standards already in existence so it would first learn the structure, language of standards and the format. Then it was trained on relevant articles on the Internet and applications literature of companies involved with the topics of the standards being created and which would be expected to write the relevant standards.

A spokesperson for the creators said, "ISObot can write standards as well as any of the current standards committees. Even better it means no more debating in long committee meetings or backroom maneuvering to get standards for any topic. It also reduces the time to write a standard. ISObot can write a standard in a few minutes that might take a committee years to create, given the need for agreement among the committee members. The standards members who have seen the results of ISObot think the resulting standards are as good as the ones they create, but they are complaining that there is no longer any excuse to travel to exotic locations to have meetings."

ISObot's first fiber optic standard is the standard for OSP aerial cable plants. The development of the standard had a steep learning curve; one iteration confused pole location and service loops, leading to occasional curlicues in the layout of cables and service loops partially buried in the ground. Confusion over the word fiber also resulted in including a specification for the tension on yarn strung between poles. But all the bugs have now been worked out and the final standard will be released on April 1, 2024.

Soon ISObot will produce international standards that cover any and everything, from fiber optics to electrical vehicles to AI. Yes ISObot will write standards that cover itself.

Is ISObot real? Find out here.

Drone Guided By Fiber Optics

The Ukrainian Army recently captured a Russian drone which communicates via a fiber-optic link instead of radio, making it jam-proof.

fiber optic Guided Drone

Highlighted in red is the plastic egg and spool of fiber it holds.

Ukrainian military reported this strange new type of Russian drone, in addition to the usual warhead, was carrying a hollow plastic egg containing optical fiber that spooled out behind the drone and provided a communications link to its operator.

Kalashnikov subsidiary ZALA boasted that their new ‘Product 55’ quadcopter was proof against all forms of radio jamming. The Russian attack drone uses a very different and quite surprising technology to overcome radio interference and jamming: it has no radio but communicates with the operator via a fiber-optic cable spooled out as it flies.

This was the concept behind the U.S. Fiber Optic Guided Missile (FOG-M) program from the 1980s. Being able to see from the missile’s point of view meant the operator could engage targets beyond their line of sight; a light vehicle carrying racks of EFOG-Ms would be able to destroy enemy armor a long range.

Is this fiber optic guided drone real?  Find out here.

Technology Burnout

Internet Burnout

The technology industry felt like an island of bubbly optimism about its future and ours. Faith in the magic of technology was painfully earnest — and refreshing.

But we’ve changed and the technology industry has changed.

There has been a slow metamorphosis of America’s technology industry from David to Goliath. Along with it, the zesty confidence of the early 2010s has curdled. Our bubbly faith in technology is now tempered by mistrust and resentments.
That shift was spotlighted this week by a landmark European law trying to wrest power from Big Tech, fresh allegations that Meta repeatedly failed to help people whose social media accounts were hijacked by scammers and a fight between rich tech executives over artificial intelligence that’s more about their self interest than our needs.

Many of us are grateful for technology and hope it can help us solve thorny problems. We also fear that many technologies and tech companies are making us and the world worse. We’ve become more worried than hopeful about inventions like AI.

Our feelings about technology may not be facts. But they do influence how we view technology and the world around us. And there’s no turning back to the fresh optimism I felt years ago.

Is this column for real? Find out here.

AI Generated Spam

The following AI written email was received by FOA President Jim Hayes:

From: Chip Minto
Subject: Let's consider focused insights: B Generous

Hi Jim,

Your dedication to promoting fiber optics through education and certification at FOA is truly commendable. As Chip, Director of Lending and Partnerships at B Generous, I've seen organizations like OFS and Corning thrive by staying ahead with our market trends.

FOA's impact in the industry, particularly your recent initiatives, have caught our attention. The resilience highlighted in recent reviews showcases your commitment to excellence and innovation.

In our quest for futuristic solutions, we invite you to an exclusive strategy session tailored for FOA. Dive into a world of possibilities with us in a 20-30 minute chat using the FOA invitation deck. Join the ranks of the 221+ in this unique journey towards success.

Wishing you a week filled with inspiration and growth.

Chip Minto
Director of Lending and Partnerships
B Generous
United States.

Kalendar.AI sales agents have written & sent this email on behalf of B Generous as they've requested us to send this to you. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, simply unsubscribe to never hear from them again, respond to them here, or let us know if you find any errors in the AI content generation with your kind, big heart. We only process publicly available information limited to Name (first and last) and company information (location, the domain, website metadata such as technology, and any relevant keywords). We DO NOT track or store any of your personal information. Please visit our TLDR privacy if you want to understand more about how we process data. Our mission is to help businesses create opportunities, particularly helping small businesses to thrive with the help of AI-driven stories. We strictly comply with CCPA, GDPR, and CAN-SPAM laws. You can opt-out of our data processing anytime. We are Kalendar Inc, located at 450 Lexington Ave. New York, NY 10017.

Is this Email real? Find out here.

Data Centers, AI, Crypto To Cause Power Grid Overload

Amid explosive demand, America is running out of power - AI and the boom in clean-tech manufacturing are pushing America’s power grid to the brink. Utilities can’t keep up.

Data center growth

Vast swaths of the United States are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid. Data center growth is being driven by the increase in streaming video, but in addition the massive computing power needed for AI and Bitcoin mining.

The soaring demand is touching off a scramble to try to squeeze more juice out of an aging power grid while pushing commercial customers to go to extraordinary lengths to lock down energy sources, such as building their own power plants.

“When you look at the numbers, it is staggering,” said Jason Shaw, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, which regulates electricity. “It makes you scratch your head and wonder how we ended up in this situation. How were the projections that far off? This has created a challenge like we have never seen before.”

A major factor behind the skyrocketing demand is the rapid innovation in artificial intelligence, which is driving the construction of large warehouses of computing infrastructure that require exponentially more power than traditional data centers. AI is also part of a huge scale-up of cloud computing. Tech firms like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft are scouring the nation for sites for new data centers, and many lesser-known firms are also on the hunt.

The proliferation of crypto-mining, in which currencies like bitcoin are transacted and minted, is also driving data center growth. It is all putting new pressures on an overtaxed grid — the network of transmission lines and power stations that move electricity around the country. Bottlenecks are mounting, leaving both new generators of energy, particularly clean energy, and large consumers facing growing wait times for hookups.

Are the future problems of the power grid real or a joke? Find out here.

These stories might be true, might not. Read them and guess. Find out here.

The rest of the FOA April Newsletter is guaranteed to be legitimate news!

FOA Programs Support STEM Education

STEM teachers resourcesClassroom Resources For STEM Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools

Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For STEM Teachers.

FOA also has a YouTube Video on "Careers in Fiber Optics" and a "Careers In Fiber Optics" Website. See below.

All FOA Certification Credentials Are Now Online
All FOA Certified Fiber Optic Technicians now have their certification credentials online.
if your FOA certification has not expired you should have been notified you have an online credential. If you did not get notification it may be because FOA did not have a valid email for you. Contact FOA to inquire about your certification credential.

Whats New?

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband  Is A Hit With Broadband Planners Paperback ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

New In The FOA Guide - Introduction To Broadband  and Guidelines For Fiber Optic Project Planners 

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U    FOA Videos Guide.
FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

FOA Newsletter Sections

News     Technical    Worth Reading    Q&A    Training/FiberU    Resoures    Safety   About


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Quote of the month: "In today's digital world, access to technology and the Internet enables boundless opportunities.  Now more than ever, women and girls are seizing these opportunities to smash barriers and soar to new heights."

Maci Morin and Michell Morton, Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth, NTIA, celebrating Internatinal Women's Day.

FOA Instructor And Technical Advisor Ian Gordon Fudge of FiberDK

Chosen For FTTH Individual Award In Europe

Ian FGordon Fudge FTTH Man of Yea
Ian Gordon Fudge of FiberDK awarded FTTH Individual Award

The FTTH Council Europe recently announced the winners of the prestigious FTTH Awards and brand-new FTTH Innovation Awards, presented for the first time at the FTTH Conference 2024 in Berlin. Three awards in total were presented by Raf Meersman – President of the FTTH Council Europe, during the plenary session of the FTTH Conference on March 20th, rewarding the outstanding contributions to the growth of the industry and the acceleration of FTTH deployment in Europe:

• Prysmian is the winner of the Champion of Diversity Award, for their unwavering commitment to addressing diversity issues within the fibre industry

• Ian Gordon Fudge, Owner of Fiberdl is the winner of the FTTH Individual Award, for his remarkable efforts in championing the advancement of FTTH technology in Europe

• Open Fiber is the winner of the FTTH Operator Award, for its exceptional contribution to the development and widespread implementation of FTTH

"The FTTH Awards celebrate innovation, perseverance, and excellence in fibre optic. As we honor the pioneers shaping our digital future, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a connected Europe where opportunities abound and communities thrive thanks to full-fibre connectivity," commented Raf Meersman, President of the FTTH Council Europe."

FTTH Council Europe.

FOA CFOTs Are Everywhere

Climbing Mt. Fuji In Japan

Tom Collins in Japan

Recently, Tom Collins, a FOA Board Member and Donna Collins, a FOA instructor, took a fantastic vacation in Japan. On a tour to Mt. Fuji they met an interesting young man. They struck up a lively conversation.

We found out he had been a Network Engineer in the Philippines and recently left a job in Japan as a teacher. Currently, he is a travel blogger in Japan and also provides some tours. During our conversation, I mentioned to him I belonged to an incredible organization that proves Fiber Optic instructional materials. He informed us he received the Certified Fiber Optic Technician certification while in the Philippines. He showed us his credentials and our jaws dropped! We let him know Tom was on the FOA Board.

We continued to talk on and off throughout the tour about his career goals. He told us that Covid-19 put things on hold for him. His certification recently expired and wanted to know if we could do anything for him. We offered him a scholarship to complete the Certified Finer Optic Specialist Design certification and would be more than glad to help him out.

We were truly blessed to meet him as he helped us out at the train stations for the Bullet Train ride which concluded our Mt. Fuji tour. The last stop was at the Tokyo Train Station. We were like deer caught in the headlights! Luckily, he guided us all the way to the taxi stand.

Getting Trained And Certified In Hyderabad, India


FTTH AND SMART TECHNOLOGIES in Hyderabad, India recently conducted a class for CFOT. Ahmed Askar Jaffer Ali  completed the class for CFOT certification. Shaik Kareem, the instructor (right) , presents him with his CFOT Class Certificate.

New Technical Book On FTTx In Serbian

Vladimir Grozdanovic is a graduate electrical engineer for telecommunications with more than 10 years of experience in access networks (HFC and FTTH) in large cable operators in Serbia (SBB and Jotel). He has been writing technical articles for the FOA Newsletter based on his personal experiences. Now he has applied his writing talents to a textbook on FTTx in his native language, Serbian.

Vladimir Grozdanovic

Below is his description of the book (in English!)

The rapid expansion of the Internet, followed by the introduction of a greater number of various services, has led to the increased user demands, which resulted in continuous development of access networks.

Over the past decade, the demand for high bandwidth, high bit rates in both directions, low latency, and more reliable services have significantly pushed out old traditional telephone and cable networks and contributed to the development and widespread popularity of optical fixed access networks - particularly FTTH (Fiber To The Home).

This book will introduce you to modern FTTx optical networks and provide a range of practical tips on designing, building, and maintaining them.
The first part of the book covers the basics of optical communication systems, types and structure of optical fibres and cables, followed by fibre and cable labelling conventions, attenuation and dispersion calculations, and finally measurements performed on optical networks. The second part is dedicated to FTTx optical networks - various FTTx scenarios, principles of design and construction, FTTx testing, and troubleshooting typical problems on FTTx networks.

The book can be ordered through the publisher Infoelektronika website  Delivery is available to all countries worldwide via standard mail or international express mail EMS.

Broadband Communities Summit 2024

Broadband Communities Logo
Broadband Communities Summit 2024 is an event for those interested in delivering connectivity for communities in the US. This year’s event will bring together 1500 senior-level attendees from the US broadband sector, municipalities, property owners and government. May 6th – 8th 2024 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, Texas

Learn more about the
Broadband Communities Summit   

NEW: Broadband Communities and Total Telecom will also hold Broadband Communities Summit West which will take place at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA on October 30-31 2024.

Quote Of The Month:

(several months ago actually, but this is worth repeating)

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference, AT&T’s CEO John Stankey said, “There’s a fallacy to say there’s fixed networks and wireless networks. There are only fiber networks with different access technologies on the end of them. That’s where this is all going.”

Fierce Wireless  


Fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

The FOA Update Page covers the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter recently. Now you can review all that new tech at once.


Cross Reference To FOA Technical Reference Materials

The FOA has almost 1,000 pages of technical information on the FOA Guide, 100+ videos and two dozen online courses at Fiber U, all this can make it difficult to find the right information.

Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
To help this, we have created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.
Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Videos
We have also rearranged the 100+ FOA videos in similar categories on the Contents Page of the Online Guide, making the videos, especially the lectures, much it much easier to find a video on a particular topic. 
FOA Videos Guide.

Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on Fiber U®

Sponsored Content

OptConn LogoOptConn is a value-add re-seller of optical connectivity products, services and solutions. With over 30 years of experience in the fiber optics industry we are here to serve your requirements from fiber optic training with FOA certification to products, materials and supplies.

We have partnerships with industry leading manufacturers to support your installation, splicing and testing needs. Our goal is to guide, support and recognized our client’s requirements.

Learn more about OptConn  

Introduction to GIS and Fiber Management Systems?

There is a rising demand for efficient fiber optic network solutions, and Jerry Morla has written an article offers an overview of digital management tools, including emerging options and traditional platforms. These tools are essential for planning, implementing, and maintaining networks, ensuring operational efficiency and customer satisfaction in the telecommunications and fiber optics sectors. If you need more information in this area, check out the following article:

While Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Fiber Network Management Systems (FNMS), and Operational Support Systems/Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) each serve distinct purposes, their integrated functionality enables efficient, reliable, and customer-focused fiber optic network deployment and operations. Understanding their roles, differences, and synergies provides a comprehensive view of the technological orchestration behind the scenes of our interconnected world.

Read the article here in the FOA Guide.   

Fiber To The Shore - Not All Submarine Cables Are Transoceanic

underwater cables

There are only a handful of companies that design, build and install transoceanic cables but they seem to get most of the attention. But smaller companies like Baylink Networks of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada also provide similar services but on a smaller scale. Here is how they describe their work:

Baylinks builds full turnkey undersea fiber networks connecting communities. Baylink Networks’ undersea fiber optic cable system is optimized for rugged undersea environments with minimal impact.

Building land-based fiber optic networks are extremely costly in comparison to building networks undersea. Unfortunately, traditional undersea cable methods are unable to offer these economical solutions.

Baylink Networks introduced practical innovations in the undersea telecommunication space.  The compact patented cable system is rapidly deployed using smaller vessels.  Baylink Networks’ patented cable designs offer unmatched performance in the undersea environment.

Baylink Networks’ product line and methodology are optimized for building economical regional undersea links connecting coastal urban centers, remote communities and offshore industry and research.

Learn more about Baylink Networks.

Another Candidate For Best Example Of Worst Install

Woodstock GA, corner of Jamerson Rd and Trickum Rd, NE corner

Contributed by Eric Pearson of Pearson Technologies. Eric is FOA School #101 - the second FOA Approved School.

Tempo Spike Markers For Underground Cables


Tempo's new Spike Markers simplify marking items up to 1 meter (3.3 ft) deep in soil. Their compact design make them ideal for cable TV drops, fiber, and power/gas lines, and they excel in narrow ducts. With durable polyethylene construction, they ensure longevity, while remaining compatible with all locators. The Spike Marker contains no batteries or active components, and is built using high reliability, long life materials ensuring these markers last as long as your buried plant. markers are available in colors to identify the type of underground utility it marks.

More about Tempo Spike Markers.

NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard withdrawn

NECA/FOA                        301 Fiber Optic Installation StandardThe NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard has been withdrawn. It's almost a quarter century old and a decade since the last update. It has been decided the standard needs to be replaced with a more modern document covering current technology and written in a format that allows easier updating.

In the meantime, there is lots of useful information in the standard and you can still download a free copy from FOA.

Download your free copy of
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 here (PDF)

FTTH Technical Papers

FOA contributor Vladimir Grozdanovic has created another technical paper on testing FTTH PON based on his field experiences.

Testing The FTTH PON Network (new) 

 Troubleshooting PON Installations.

 Installation of FTTH Active Equipment in the FOA Guide.

Optical Splitters in the FOA Guide.

Examples of poor installation of FTTH in the aerial outside plant and in the customer premises.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cables?  Contact LD4 Recycle  

Learning Important Information From A Found Cable Scrap

While walking down the street near the FOA office, we found this cable laying in the gutter. What a find! A short length of Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable left over from an installation by a contractor.

Corning RR Cable

We brought the cable back to our office with the intention of opening it up and creating a video about the construction of this modern high fiber count cable, but something got our attention first. The cable had a very long line of printing on it with lots of interesting and useful information. So before we started deconstructing it, we decided to photograph the printed information and interpret it. That turned out to be an important part of the information we learned from the cable. Then, as you will see below, we dissected the cable and learned even more.

Red more about what this cable marking tells you and what the cable looks like when you open it up to prepare for splicing.

Managing Fiber Optic Projects - The Gantt Chart

(With An Excel File To Make Your Own)

The most common way to track projects is the Gantt Chart, a chart of activities that tracks the progress of projects along a timeline. each activity is represented by a bar and the position and length of the bar represents the starting date and duration of the activity. This allows you to see what activities are needed for the project, when the activities start and end so it can be used to track the progress of the project visually. Here is what a Gantt Chart for a fiber project might look like:

Fiber Optic Gantt ChartYou might remember an article in the FOA Newsletter in April 2022 or the FOA Guide page on Project Management about the timing of a fiber optic project where we showed the progression of steps in a project like this:

The Gantt Chart is simply this list converted to a Gantt Chart using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can download a copy of the FOA Gantt Chart spreadsheet (xlsx file - 16kB) and use it to create your own Gantt Chart for any project. All you have to do is to input your own data and change the activity names as necessary. You can also follow the directions from Microsoft to create your own version.

Help On Color Codes (Including Copper Cabling And Fiber Optics)

The FOA has created a print-your-own pocket guide to fiber optic color codes. It has color codes for fibers and buffer tubes, connectors and premises cables inside and on the back, QR codes to take you directly to the FOA Guide and Fiber U. The FOA Guide page on Fiber Optic Color Codes is one of the most read pages on the FOA website and the Fiber Optic Color Codes minicourse on Fiber U very popular also.

  FOA Color Code Card  color code card UTP color codes

Here are the links to download your own FOA Guides to Fiber Optic Color Codes
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (electronic version for your smartphone, tablet or PC) PDF  

And Color Codes For UTP Cabling

FOA Guide to UTP Cabling Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to UTP Copper Cabling Color Codes (electronic version) PDF

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration

WarningFOA received an inquiry about whether techs working on restoring OSP links should be concerned about eye safety if the link used fiber amplifiers. To answer this question, we had to do some research on fiber amplifiers. The short answer is YES, you should be concerned. The long answer is more technical and includes details that every OSP tech needs to know.

See "Fiber Amps And Restoration" in the FOA Newsletter Archives..

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget CalculatorFOA                        Loss Budget Calculator

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We've created a online Loss Budget Calculator that does the work for you. Just input your cable plant data and it calculates the loss budget. It works on any device, especially smartphones and tablets for field use and even allows printing the results.

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online


Worth Reading

Each month we read hundreds of newsletters and online articles. These are the ones we think you will find "worth reading."

FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband networks and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

Cross Reference Guide to FOA Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optic History  and the new FOA video "The History Of Fiber Optics"

Fiber or copper?  AT&T PR photo from the mid 1970s

The FOA's History

Stories From The Past FOA Newsletters

Recent articles from The FOA Newsletter
Fake OTDR Traces Submitted For Testing Documentation  January 2023 Tech  
Using OTDRs To Test Transoceanic Cables And PONs February 2023 
POF - the Other Fiber March 2023 
What Do Employers Expect From A Fiber Optic Tech?  April 2023  
Are Standards Ignoring The OSP? May 2023 
FOA Has Proven Results In Fiber Optic Workforce Development June 2023 
BEAD Funding For States Announced And Analyzed  July 2023  
Wisdom From The Street (Analyzing the printing on a fiber optic cable) July 2023 
Focus On Disasters August 2023  
FOA's Role In Education and Work Done By Fiber Techs  September 2023  
The Workforce: New US DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics Telecom Tech Category  October 2023  
How Many Telecom Techs Do We Need and How Big Is The Fiber Optic Market  November 2023 
Guidelines For Fiber Optic Project Planners December 2023 
2023 Year In Review. Kentucky Shows The Value Of Fiber  January 2024.
What is Broadband? History of the Cable Modem  February 2024 
It's Just Economics. Things you need to know. March 2024.

Worth Reading (And Watching):

March 2024

Can Our Industry Develop Fiber Talent? ISE Magazine. Learn how states, schools and training organizations must work together to develop fiber field talent.

Landlines are dying out. But to some, they’re a lifeline. Washington Post Providers want to scale back landline service, but people with poor cell reception still rely on it for emergencies.

What’s Ahead for Fiber-Optic Markets and Technologies? CI&M Magazine Video. Interview with AFL’s vice president of market strategy and innovation Seán Adam talking about 2024 and the future. Hint - broadband is not the biggest driver of the fiber optic market!

Can Xerox’s PARC, a Silicon Valley Icon, Find New Life with SRI? NYTimes. Xerox's Palo ALto Research Lab was the innovative lab that created laser printers, the graphic user interface and mouse for PCs and Ethernet. Xerox just gave it to Stanford Research Insitute. What will happen?

Choice Broadband and Tarana Partner to Narrow Navajo Nation’s Digital Divide.  Tarana Wireless. Discusses new developments in wireless for rural areas.

February 2024

The Jan/Feb Issue of ISE Magazine is online. Includes a review of the telecom year and Is it Time to Update Your Gear for the New Year?

The State of the Network in 2024 from Telegeography.

Las Vegas residents will soon have a new option for internet service: Google Fiber from KTNV TV Las Vegas

Network resiliency for an open networking future from Infinera (the topic is network backups and restoration.

Recent Articles

Pre-Excavation Safety Checklist (PDF) - Excavation Safety Alliance - essential steps before breaking ground for underground construction.

Fiber vs Wireless - Are You Kidding?  ISE Magazine  Of course we need both!

Developing a Fiber Workforce Really Does Take A Village - ISE magazine looks at the role of manufacturers' training in developing the fiber workforce.

How Many More Fiber Techs Do We Really Need?  - ISE Magazine

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023  -  You can also buy copies - Telegeography

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023

serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

Do You Believe In Magic? Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  ISE Magazine.

The Secret to Future Proofing,  ISE Magazine

The 45 Year Old Overnight Sensation ISE Magazine
(Read the complete Nov/Dec issue of ISE Magazine here.

ESRI has created an ebook on GIS location technology for telecom. Use the link to download the book.

Conocimiento Esencial: ¿Por qué la fibra óptica?  creado por FiberWizards 

Recruiting And Training Today's Fiber Optic Workforce - Learn the fundamentals to recruit and train new fiber optics -ISE Magazine.

Google Video On Their Undersea Cables YouTube Slick but interesting video on how undersea cables are designed, built and used.

Construction Without Disruption ISE Magazine

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine

Building Broadband During Component and Worker Shortages - Broadband Communities - Completing broadband builds requires competent fiber optic techs, but training them requires understanding how they learn.

Worth Reading - Magazines, Websites and Newsletters

CABL® ( serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance weekly newsletter has lots of interesting articles and links.

Next Century Cities Newsletter - News from cities around the US including Detroit and New York plus small

Structured Cabling News - a website and weekly newsletter about cabling.

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

We do not know about the fate of Todo Fibra Optica following the passing of Jose.

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin America and South America. Jose Enriquez, editor of  Todo Fibra Optic magazine has many years experience in the fiber optic industry so he knows the industry well. FOA will be working with him to share our extensive technical materials in Spanish.

magazine Read their newsletter here. It is now available online in English and Spanish.

All issues and subscriptions.

José Manuel Enriquez Mora, Editor
Todo Fibra Optica LLC
+52 222 302 8224

RTI Telecom Magazine from  Brazil, in Portuguese
. A revista RTI do mês de abril já está disponível online e recomendo a leitura de alguns artigos: 

FOA was founded in 1995 - FOA's History

As part of celebrating 25 years of serving the fiber optic industry in 2020 as its primary source of technical information and independent certifying body, FOA thought it appropriate to create a short history of the organization and how it has developed  to help the fiber optic industry. We also wanted to recognize the contributions many people have made to the organization over the years that made FOA what it is today.

The FOA history is now archived on the FOA website where you can read it anytime or link to it.
Updated info - dB, total internal reflection and science projects,

Worth Reading - History & Technical

1983 Video of AT&T's First Test Of A Submarine Cable System From the AT&T Tech Channel archives (worth exploring!)

Richard Epworth's Optical Fiber History from his work at STL from 1966 with Charles Kao.

50th Anniversary of The Development of Low Loss Fibers A history of the development of low loss fiber, a fascinating story by Jeff Hecht on the OSA (Optical Society of America) website.

The First Transcontinental Telephone Line  began operation on  July 29th in 1915 - 3400 miles between New York and San Francisco - required over 100,000 telephone poles! Wonders of World Engineering

"Who Lost Lucent?: The Decline of America's Telecom Equipment Industry"
This is a MUST READ for managers in telecom or any industry!

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: Article 800 provides specific requirements  by Michael Johnston,  NECA Executive Director of Standards and Safety in EC Magazine

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History
In the August 2021 FOA Newsletter, we published a lengthy article on rural broadband and compared it to rural electrification in America in the last century. Much of the comparison was based on an article written in 1940 by a USDA economist, Robert Beall, called "Rural Electrification."  If you are interested in or involved in rural broadband, we recommend you read the article "How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History" in the August 2021 FOA Newsletter and read the Beall article also.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cable -
Steve Maginnis
LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling
(Visit website)

Sumitomo's Ribbon Splicing Guide - download from one of the leaders in splicing.

OFS also has an excellent website and blog of tech articles worth browsing.

IEC 60050 - International Electrotechnical Vocabulary - An extensive dictionary for fiber optics in English and French. Highly technical - this is one definition: "mode - one solution of Maxwell's equations, representing an electromagnetic field in a certain space domain and belonging to a family of independent solutions defined by specified boundary conditions"

Restoration: If you are interested in restoration - aren't we all? - you should also read this article in dpPro magazine by FOA President Jim Hayes: Damage Protection Requires Looking Overhead As Well As Underground - dpPRO Magazine - about the problems with aerial cables. His previous article for the magazine was New Techniques for Fiber Optic Installation.

Universal access to broadband is a cornerstone to a strong economy, Achieving universal access will require community partnerships. by
Alfreda B. Norman, Sr. VP,  Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

FIBER TO THE FARM: The co-ops that electrified Depression-era farms are now building rural internet. Be sure to check out the high-tech equine installation equipment.

Infrastructure Get Some Respect, NY TImes "On Tech"   "The magic of the internet requires a lot of very boring stuff behind the scenes. "

DIRT Report On Damage To Utilities Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual DIRT report provides a summary and analysis of the events submitted into CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) for the year 2018. The complete report is available for download here. In addition, there is an interactive dashboard that allows users to filter the data more  by factors contributing to damages.

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

VIAVI Books On Fiber Optic Testing (2 volumes) - They're back!

books  book 2

Besides the FOA reference materials, two JDSU/VIAVI textbooks, Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing, Volumes 1 and 2,  were used as references for some of the FOA courses and are recommended for instructors and students. The books are available from VIAVI as eBooks and the everyone should download them and recommend them to others.Download yours now. Volume 1. Volume 2. Viavi Books

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

How OFS Makes Fiber
Interesting YouTube video on how fiber is made. Perhaps a little too much "show biz" but fascinating. If you have ever seen fiber manufacture, look at this video. You will be amazed at how big preforms have become!

The True Cost of Telco Damages (what backhoe fade or target practice can cost)

Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pole Attachment Policies and Issues, June 2019.


When readers ask us questions, we genrally refer them to FOA resources where they can find the answer to their question and many more. We first send them to the FOA Guide which is the table of contents for the FOA technical resources. There they can find pages indexed by topic and a search engine for the FOA website. It also links them to FOA videos and courses on our free online learning site Fiber U.

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQs = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us (which first ran in this newsletter) and adds tech topics of general interest.

Good Question!

Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers 

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  

Color Code Guides
Q: Is it possible for you to please send me a fiber optic color code bundle pocket size?
FOA has color code guides you can print yourself or download to your smartphone or tablet.

What's included in a government grant?
Q: When a companyb is awarded a 'government grant' to install fiber in a given area, does the 'grant' money also include the splicing, testing, etc; is it dark or lit?How about providing the transmission of actual broadband services to a home or business?
A: What is included in grants depends on the project submission. A "middle mile" project could include the fiber optic cable plant with drops for users to connect to dark fibers or be a complete communication system with carrier Ethernet service points to users to connect. In either case, it includes all the construction, cable plant installation and testing. 
A communications system proposal could also include connecting users if the originator of the proposal knew the number of users to be connected -each one of which adds costs. Same for a FTTH network. It could just be the cable plant, a functioning PON system with drops available to all users passed or include connecting users. One could do an educated guess on the percentage of homes passed that would connect, or include a user paid connection fee to cover the costs.
It depends on the proposal that was submitted and approved.

How to handle results from OTDR measurements
Q: The discussion evolves around how to handle results from OTDR measurements.
The cable manufacturer wants to average the results of a splice event from a set of bi-directional OTDR measurements.  Essentially, the cable manufacturer wants to average the loss measurements from the bi-directional measurements.  In specific, we have an event (that we think is a splice) that has a loss in one direction and a reflection in the other direction
A: The issue of bidirectional OTDR measurements is covered in the FOA Guide:

Q: What is different between 1310 nm and 1550nm
A: Those are the two wavelengths used with singlemode fiber. They are used because they were two wavelengths that the fiber would be singlemode (>1270nm) and wavelengths that it was easy to make solid state  lasers 40 years ago when they were introduced. Longer wavelengths like 1550nm  have lower loss in the fibers so the fibers for very long distance links are optimized for 1550nm

Mating Mismatched Connectors
Q: I have a question during OTDR Testing... The interface port of the OTDR is SC-APC so i have also a launch cable with SC-APC connectors, end to end. the fiber cable plant that i need to test has a patch panel connector of LC-UPC.. can i use a hybrid adapter to connect my launch cable to the patch panel? if this is allowed, what will be the formula for calculating the connector loss.. note: the adapter has an insertion loss of <0.3dB
A: You need to use a hybrid adapter cable with a LC/UPC connector on one end to connect to the cable plant under test and a connector to connect to your usual launch cable - and that cable needs to be longer than the dead zone of the OTDR so the connection to the cable plant can be separated and not affected by the connection on the other end to your normal launch cable. Alternatively, you can have a hybrid launch cable with SC/APC on the OTDR end and LC/UPC on the cable plant end.
You cannot use a hybrid mating adapter. The angled SC/APC connector cannot be mated to a UPC connector. Anyway th ehybrid SCLC mating adapters are not a good idea becasue of the difference in the diameter of the ferrules.

A client is requesting a certification according to ISO/IEC 11801, ISO/IEC 14763-3, TIA- 526.7-A, TIA-568.3-D, ANSI/TIA 568 C.3 or later. I own a single-mode OTDR and a power meter with a Microscope. If I take measurements with all three units and calculate the maximum allowable drop according to length and given connectors or splicing to give results on a pass or fail will be adequate or we have to measure with an OLTS?
There is a task force in TIA TR42.11 trying to rationalize these standards. Today most standards require testing with a light source and power meter (LSPM) or optical loss test set (OLTS) which are the same thing as the accepted method for testing an installed cable plant. Several international standards now allow OTDR testing for acceptance, but not in any TIA or US standards. So one should assume OTDR tests are not acceptable, only OLTS testing.

FTTH Network Loss
What are the causes of high loss in FTTH
The loss can be connections, including dirty connections, bad splices, damaged cables, even a bad splitter. Have you tested with a high resolution OTDR?

GIS Programs
Have you done any reviews on OSP fiber route-structure mapping systems and the associated GIS, or do you have opinions on the best ones/combinations (Esri, 3GIS, Bentley, Graphical Networks, Vetro, etc.)? Or can you point me somewhere to go read, search doesn't come up with a lot of details.
Among the most established ones here in US are ArcGIS, IQGeo, 3-GIS, Vetro and OZmap. All seem to have proponents but we do not have much practical experience except one of the FOA Tech Advisors uses OZ map.

Older Questions:

Fiber Loss Budget
For a fibre of total distance of 160km, what should be the standard total loss per kilometre?
A: The typical loss for SM fiber is ~0.35-0.4 dB/km at 1310 nm or ~0.15-0.2 dB/km at 1550. We assume a system like this will be using 1550 nm. You can use the FOA online Loss budget Calculator to estimate the total link loss

Reuse Of Cable Being Removed From Service
Is there ever a feasible reuse for used/older fiber optic cable? Would some one be in the market for the FOC that is removed from service? Lets say 20year old aerial cable ADSS?
We have been asked that question a lot. It often involves cheap fiber on eBay or from surplus dealers. With the advances in fiber technology and manufacturing, 20 or even 10-year old fiber is essentially obsolete. Lots of service providers are replacing that fiber with today’s higher performance fibers because networks are going from the ~2 gigabit speeds then to terabit speeds today. We would never recommend reusing fiber removed from service. You have no knowledge of how it was installed originally and environmental conditions can be hard on some types of cables. Besides, the cost of the cable is only 5-15% of the project cost. Most of the cost is in the labor of installation so the savings would be minimal and the risk high.
We have been telling people who have leftover cable from projects to offer it to FOA schools. They are always in need of OSP cables.

Minimizing Latency
Q:  L
atency a term that is widely used today. If we manage to make the light travel without interruption we will achieve that the speed is perfect, but the equipment (router, OLT, firewall, etc) generates a processing that takes some time, do you think that LATENCY 0 will be achieved?
The work on achieving minimal latency has been gong on for decades, primarily driven by the computerized stock traders who rely on microsecond trading. One recent project used an experimental fiber with a hollow core becasue light travels 50% faster in the air than glass. Most low latency networks try to use the longest fiber links possible using submarine cable technology because the electronic switching takes too much time. But most electronics require digital signal processing in the transceivers which takes time, switches to the trading computers takes time and while you can minimize it all, it can never reach “0”.


Q: What is microtrenching?
A:  Microtrenching is a technique for installing underground fiber. It is done by sawing a groove in the road or sidewalk and dropping a small (~1/2 inch or 13mm) plastic tube (duct)  into the groove and filling it up with material like the surface so it almost disappears. The cable is “blown” into the duct with high pressure air - actually the air floats the cable in the duct to reduce friction and the cable is pushed into the duct.
Here are photos of a microtrenching installation in Toronto.  Here is the explanation of microtrenching in the FOA Guide section on OSP Construction (about 3/4 down the page.)
We don’t think any of our schools teach this in the US but Triple Play does in South Africa.
In the US we recommend going to one of the companies that makes the construction equipment, primarily Ditch Witch.

Degraded Underground Fiber Optic Cable
Q: How can you handle a degraded buried underground fiber link, which has degraded due to multiple joints introduced during maintenance?
A: If it has reached a point where the loss or dispersion limits its use, it probably should be replaced.

Maintaining Fusion Splicers
Q: What are the best practices for the preventative maintenance of splicers, cleavers, and thermal strippers.
A: Because of the large number of manufacturers and variety of models and applications, The FOA generally tells people to follow the manufacturer’s directions for use and be especially careful about keeping the splicer unit, cleaver and stripping tools clean, then having it serviced regularly by the manufacturer or an authorized service facility.

Rural FTTH
Q: What does A Rural FTTH Connection Cost?
A: That's a very complicated question, because "rural" has a lot of meanings. Is it a small town where building a FTTH Network is easy or remote users in Alaska? An interesting set of data was made available this month from the US Department of Agriculture, announcing $700 million in grants and loans in the 4th round of the ReConnect Program

Splicing Dissimilar FIbers
Q: Recently I came across a new problem while splicing optical fiber cable.  Splicing of 2 Fujikura fibers was done but loss was observed. Initially, we felt that it is due to splicing but upon resplicing the loss was still the same i.e. 0.3db at the splice point. Both the cables were checked again and observed that both cables were from different manufacturers. My question is that if different manufacturer's cables are spliced, will it give loss? Note: Both fibers were Fujikura but had different IOR.
A: The difference in IOR tells the reason. The loss at the joint between the two fibers when measured by an OTDR depends on the optical characteristics of the fibers. A difference in the fibers IOR and backscatter coefficient will cause the loss measurement to be affected. In one direction it measures too high, in the other direction too low or even shows a gain. That’s why some measwurements are called gainers. If you measure it in the opposite direction you should see low loss or a gain. It’s explained here in the OTDR page on the FOA Guide in the section “OTDR Measurement Uncertainty.”

Testing FTTH Networks
I work on FTTH projects that utilize 1x32 and 1x64 splitters that do not have any active light on the fibers. Is there a mobile source that can be used in the field to simulate active light through splitters and still provide enough power to travel 20km?
A: Any 1310/1490/1550 test source should have adequate power to test them with a regular power meter. A 64 port splitter has only 18dB+any excess loss- so 20dB or so - and any power meter can measure that with a ~0dBm to -6dBm source.
More on testing FTTH Networks 

OTDR Dead Zone
Q: What is dead zone when using OTDR?
A: The "dead zone" is the length of fiber near the OTDR that is blanked out by the overload from the test pules. See this page on OTDRs in the FOA Online Guide:

Using A Visual fault lOcator
What are the best practices for using a VFL to locate fiber faults?
See in the FOA Online Guide

Fiber Splicing Cost
What is the standard of costing for fiber splicing and terminations? Is it per core / per splice or per each cable end irrespective of the number of cores?
That is a very hard question to answer, other than to say ”it depends. ” The number of fibers is definitely a factor because each fiber must be stripped, cleaned, cleaved and spliced then placed in the splice tray.
It also depends on:
  • Single fiber or ribbon splicing?
  • Type of splice closure
  • Type of cable (loose tube, ribbon, flexible ribbon, high density, armored, ADSS, etc.)
  • Installation: aerial or underground
  • Location: urban or rural
  • Set up time (same for low fiber count cable as high fiber count cable)
Most contracts will be considering the number of fibers but also these factors, and probably they want to price by the number of fibers, but the price per splice will vary accordingly. We've seen quotes in the US for prices varying over a 10X range.

Markers Required For Underground Fiber Optic Cables?
Q: Are signs required for underground cables like fiber optic cables? Are they required to have signage so people don’t dig them up or damage them?
A: In the US the answer is NO. There is no Federal or State law which requires marking anything other than hazardous liquids and gases. It is purely a business decision or a moral decision to invest in signs/markers to protect buried fiber. If a fiber gets cut it can disrupt 911 service and all kinds of vital communication related to hospitals, air traffic control, etc.

Fiber Optic Color Codes Reference Chart
Q: Has anyone made a fiber optic pocket reference chart that has cable color orders, frequencies, or other commonly used info on it?
A: The FOA has a page on its Online Guide that covers color codes ( It is the most popular page in the FOA Guide! It works great with a smartphone.

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  



The word on the "Dig Once" program is getting out - FOA is getting calls from cities asking us for information and advice. Here are some links:

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order:

And the one to download and hand out:
A “How To” Guide from The Global Connect Initiative:

/ FiberU

News and resources to help you learn more and stay updated.

Learn about the fiber optic/ broadband workforce 

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

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.
Free online training at Fiber U

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

The Types of Work Done By Fiber Techs And How It Affects Training

FOA install banner

 What is a fiber optic technician? What kinds of work do they do? Those topics were the center of FOA discussions with the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics that led to the new job category of "Telecommunications Technician" on the BLS website. The focus of this job category is primarily the installation and operation of the fiber optic cable plant, but one should not forget the cable plant must be designed also as part of a more extensive communications network.

In our discussion with the BLS analysts, we pointed out the various stages of a fiber optic communications network project and how techs with various knowledge and skill sets are needed and involved in every step. Here is how FOA defines these stages of a project and the skills of the techs. This is not unique to FOA; it's what has been traditional at telecom companies forever.

Planning and Design: Once needs for a communications network is established, project managers will be responsible for all the details of the project while experienced fiber techs trained and experienced in fiber optic network design (CFOS/D) will design the cable plant itself. (FOA Guide - Design)

Construction: Aerial cable plants may require installing new poles or doing make-ready on existing poles and messengers. Underground construction requires trenching and installation of ducts. In many cases the actual construction is done by general construction workers, as the construction work in many cases is not unique to fiber optics. Heavy machinery is required for much of the construction work and training is focused on safety as well as operating the machinery. (FOA Guide - Construction)

Fiber Optic Cable Installers: Once the route is prepared, the fiber optic cable can be installed. Aerial cable installation depends on the type of cable. Regular OSP cable, figure 8 cable and ADSS cable requires special hardware and installation techniques so the techs must understand the process appropriate for each cable. (FOA Guide - Installation)

Splicers: Since the beginning, fiber techs have been called "splicers" because that was the original job unique to fiber optics. Construction and cable installation was not very different from earlier copper cables, but splicing was very different. Even today, fiber techs are often called splicers and splicing is a core skill for any fiber tech whether they are joining cables or terminating them. (FOA Guide - Splicing)

Testers: After the fiber optic cable is installed and spliced, it must be tested. Testing goes together with splicing since every splice will be tested, often as soon as it is made so if it needs redoing, it should be done before the splice closure is sealed. (FOA Guide - Testing)

Network Operators: Once the cable plant is built and the communications equipment installed, it needs techs who know how to operate the comms but may only know how to connect new gear or change connections on current gear. These techs should also know how to troubleshoot systems in an outage and either do the restoration themselves or call a tech who can. (FOA Guide - Operation)

These categories merely define the stages of installation of a fiber optic project. Of course there are subsets of these categories and most fiber techs are expected to have skills and jobs that cross into multiple groups, as FOA has defined in the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) for a CFOT.

What an individual worker does differs according to their job. An independent fiber contractor may cover every job except operation and a FTTH subscriber installation tech may only understand installing cables, testing and connecting equipment within the scope of FTTH systems. A construction company may handle the trenching and even pole setting as well as parts of the traditional fiber work.

The FOA defined its role early on to focus on educating and certifying techs in the fiber specific skills: cable installation, splicing, testing and restoration. FOA would like to see more schools get into the construction phase, especially for newer techniques like microtrenching and blowing cable, but these require large outdoor areas for training and large investments in equipment. Most techs who learn these processes now do it with OJT - on-the-job-training - and hopefully get OSHA training for safety.

New In Spanish - Nuevo en español

FOA Spanish Textbook And Online Guide Updated

FOA Fiber Optic Textbook in Spanish

The FOA Spanish textbook and Online Guide on basic fiber optics has just been updated. The new version includes all the latest updates and is intended for use with FOA CFOT certification classes presented in Spanish. Both paperback and Kindle versions are available. The textbook  and the updated CFOT class curriculum are available now.

Libro de texto en español y guía en línea de FOA actualizados

Se acaba de actualizar el libro de texto en español y la Guía Online de FOA sobre fibra óptica básica. La nueva versión incluye las últimas actualizaciones y está diseñada para usarse con las clases de certificación FOA CFOT presentadas en español. Están disponibles versiones de bolsillo y Kindle. El libro de texto y el plan de estudios actualizado de la clase CFOT ya están disponibles.

FOA Adds Fiber Optic Network Design in Spanish

Design Textnook in Spanish

The FOA Design textbook and course curriculum are available in Spanish also. The FOA CFOS/D curriculum in Spanish includes the necessary materials for an instructor to present the course in Spanish and give thCFOS/D certification exam in Spanish. The material is available to any FOA-approved school. For more infirmation on becoming a FOA approved school, go here.

El libro de texto de FOA Design y el plan de estudios del curso también están disponibles en español. El plan de estudios de FOA CFOS/D en español incluye los materiales necesarios para que un instructor presente el curso en español y dé el examen de certificación CFOS/D en español. El material está disponible para cualquier escuela aprobada por la FOA. Para obtener más confirmación sobre cómo convertirse en una escuela aprobada por la FOA, vaya aquí.

FOA School News

 FOA's roster of approved schools is growing as more organizations recognize our expertise in workforce development and our comprehensive support for getting new schools started. FOA has over 25 years experience and nearly 100,000 certified fiber techs (with ~130,000 certifications). As a non-profit organization founded by the industry specifically to develop a competent workforce, FOA provides the consultation, curriculum and contacts to get schools started as a free service to new schools.

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations 

Need A Fiber Optic Course Onsite? Invite an FOA School To Come To You

FOA often gets inquiries from an organization that has personnel that needs training in fiber optics. Recent inquiries have included contractors, a manufacturer of high-reliability products using fiber optics and a cable manufacturer. In many cases, where there are several people needing training, FOA can recommend a FOA Approved School and Certified Instructor who will come to their location to teach a class. The advantage  is of course the savings in travel costs if the class comes to you, but it also offers the opportunity to customize the course to fit your needs, even use your equipment or work on your components, so the training is more relevant to those taking the class.

Contact FOA to discuss the idea of a custom, on-site class to see if it will better meet your needs.

Fiber U On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program

The FOA Fiber U OJT program for novices combines online study at Fiber U with OJT with mentoring by experienced co-workers and their supervisor to help new employees develop into experienced FOA-certified technicians. 

The FOA Fiber U “OJT-To-Cert” program  includes both fiber optics and premises cabling (copper, fiber & wireless), so it covers techs working in both outside plant and premises jobs. 

Like other FOA programs, the OJT-To-Cert program is free. If you and/or your company is interested in the FOA OJT-To-Cert program, contact FOA.

To explain how OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short video: Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA Direct Certification Program For Experienced Fiber Optic Techs

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

Experienced fiber optic technicians can become FOA Certified using their experience in fiber optics and study for the FOA certification exams online at Fiber U. Thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Since FOA certifications are based on KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), current techs can show the skills and abilities required through their field experience. FOA provides free online self-study courses at Fiber U for the knowledge part to prepare you for FOA certification exams which you can also take online.

If you are an experienced field tech interested in certification, and FOA is the internationally recognized certifying body for fiber optics, you can find out more about the FOA Direct Certification Program here.

If you are already a CFOT, FOA also offers many specialist certifications you can obtain based on your experience as a field tech. See what's available at
Fiber U.

Fiber U "Basic Fiber Optics" Online Self-Study Course Now In Spanish

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español

El sitio de aprendizaje en línea de FOA, Fiber U, tiene más de dos docenas de cursos de autoaprendizaje gratuitos sobre fibra óptica y cableado de instalaciones. Como era de esperar, el tema más popular es el curso "Fibra óptica básica", que se utiliza para iniciarse en la fibra óptica y como curso de preparación para realizar el examen de certificación FOA CFOT.

Ahora el curso básico de fibra óptica está disponible en español, utilizando el libro de texto FOA en español, la sección de la Guía en línea en español y la capacidad de YouTube para traducir subtítulos de video al español. El curso funciona exactamente como la versión en inglés con 10 lecciones, cada una con cuestionarios y una opción para tomar un examen de Certificado de finalización.

Para presentar el nuevo curso de español Fiber U, el examen Certificate of Completion es gratuito, así que dígaselo a sus contactos.

Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

New Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 

FOA has added a new course at Fiber U on Fiber Characterization. Fiber characterization is the process for testing long fiber cable plants for its ability for carrying high speed communications. With so many networks now operating at 100, 200, 400 or even 800 Gb/s, fiber characterization is important, especially on older fiber optic cable plants.The free Fiber U Fiber Characterization course is available in two forms, as a standalone Fiber U fiber Characterization Course with its own Fiber U Certificate of Completion and as a separate Lesson in the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing course. This course is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U MiniCourses: Got An Hour Or Less? Learn Something New About Fiber Optics.

FOA has introduced a new type of Fiber U course, the MiniCourse, a free online course you could take in a short time, perhaps as you ate lunch at your desk or took a coffee break. The topics of these courses should explain what they are about, and these are all very important topics to fiber optic techs.

New Fiber U MiniCourse - Fiber Optic Jargon
There is a new MiniCourse at Fiber U - Fiber Optic Jargon. Jargon is the most important thing you need to learn when you learn about a new technology. This short Fiber U MiniCourse is intended to introduce you to fiber optic jargon and make learning about fiber much easier. It's aimed at novices but is a good refresher for even experienced techs.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

Fiber Optic Jargon

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

The courses have two components, video lectures and readings, that are complementary. As usual there is a self-test to allow you to check your comprehension. As with other Fiber U courses if you desire, you can take a short test for a Fiber U Certificate of Completion that costs
only $10.

All these free courses and many more are available at Fiber U.

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

As FOA moves more testing over to our digital online testing system at ClassMarker, we have access to more data about our testing, including what questions and topics on the tests are answered incorrectly most often. Having this data gives us an opportunity to evaluate the questions and how they are stated, but more importantly it allow us to help our instructors teach the subjects and us to change our curriculum and online courses to emphasize these particular topics. These are some of the topics that we have noticed are answered incorrectly more often in FOA and Fiber U tests.

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

1. OTDRs - particularly what information is in the OTDR trace.

2. The difference between dB and dBm

3. Loss budgets - both the concepts and doing the math

4. Insertion loss testing - single-ended or double ended for testing patchcords or cable plants, how to set 0dB references

5. Units of measure - fiber is measured in microns, wavelengths in nanometers, etc.

At FOA, we're working to add Fiber U MiniCourses on these topics and working with our schools to emphasize these topics in their classes.

If you are going to be taking a FOA certification course or test in the near future, these topics should be on your final exam study list.

What We Learn From Hands On Labs
We learn about students performance in hands-on labs from the feedback of our instructors and our own experiences too. One big problem is the use of hand tools. Growing up today, you learn how to use keyboards, mouses and touch screens, but decades ago, you also learned how to use basic hand tools. This is big enough of a problem that we're considering adding some video lessons on basic hand tools to prepare students for cable prep, termination and splicing that require the use of hand tools.

FOA offers free online self-study programs at Fiber U. Many users are preparing for FOA certification programs - taking courses at our schools or using the Direct Certification program. Some of our schools are requiring Fiber U programs as prerequisites for their classroom courses so they can spend more time on hands-on activities.

/ Resources


Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
FOA has so much technical reference material, we created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development

To help those new to fiber optic workforce development, FOA has created a web page we call  "Fiber Optic Workforce Development."  In this page, we share what we have learned about the fiber optic workforce, who they are and how they learn their trade. We discuss what defines a fiber optic tech and how they should be certified.

Read the FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development online.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

FOA Guide To Fiber BroadbandIn less than half a century, fiber optics has revolutionized communications and to a large extent, society in general. Broadband, what many today call high speed Internet access, has become a necessity for everyone, not a luxury. The technology that makes broadband possible is fiber optics, connecting the continents, cities, and just about everybody. Even fiber to the home (FTTH) brings broadband to hundreds of millions worldwide.

How did we get from an era when communications was making a telephone call or sending a telegram to today’s world where every piece of information – and misinformation – is available at the click of a mouse or touch on a screen? How did we get from a time when a phone was connected on copper wires to being able to connect practically anywhere on a handheld device with more computing power than was available to scientists and engineers only decades ago?

How does broadband work? Without fiber optics it would not work.

This book is not the typical FOA technical textbook - it is written for anyone who wants to understand fiber broadband or fiber optics or the Internet. It's also aimed at STEM teachers who want to include communications technology in their classes. This book will try to explain not only how fiber broadband works, but how it was developed. It is intended to be an introduction to communications technology appropriate for a communications course at almost any level (junior high, high school or college,) for managers involved with broadband projects, or for anyone who just wonders how all this stuff works.

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband  

Paperback ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

More Translations of FOA Textbooks

Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOAFOA is a very international organization and it works hard to accommodate the language needs of everyone. We have been translating our books and website into the languages most requested, and this month, we add two more textbook translations. We also want to thank Jerry Morla, FOA CFOS/I instructor and Director who has been doing the recent translations into Spanish, his native language.

Here is a listing of all the FOA textbook Translations

Spanish Editions:

Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica: Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA  Amazon
La Referencia de Cableado para Predios de la FOA: Guía para Certificación de la FOA   Amazon
La Asociación de Fibra Óptica Manual de Fibra Hasta el Hogar : Para Planificadores, Gestores, Diseñadores, Instaladores y Operadores De FTTH  Amazon
Guía de Referencia de la FOA sobre Diseño de la red de fibra óptica: Guía de Estudio para la Certificación de la FOA Amazon

And the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics:
French Edition: Le Guide de référence de la FOA pour la fibre optique et et guide d'étude pour la certification FOA: Guide d'étude pour la certification FOA  Amazon
Portuguese Edition: Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOA : Guia de Estudo para a Certificação da FOA  Amazon

The subject matter of these books is also translated in the FOA Guide online.

Planning A Fiber Optic Project?

The FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Projects includes this timeline and comments on project planning and implementation.

FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages?

Sign in with Google to get translations for closed captioning. Click on the settings icon (red arrow.) Choose "Subtitles".  English is the default language. Click on the arrow after "English (auto-generated) >". In the new window click on "Auto-translate" and choose the language you want. 

FOA Loss Budget Calculator On A Web Page 5/2020

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We recently discovered how to get a spreadsheet ported to a Web page, so we created this web page that calculates loss budgets. We have an iOS loss budget app, but with this web page, you can calculate loss budgets from any device, smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer that has web browsing capability.

FOA Loss Budget Calculator 

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

                      Guide We are continually updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information. When you go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA                        text in Spanish FOA Text in French FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng
                          book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction

FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband

Fiber Optics (4 languages), Premises Cabling, OSP fiber and construction, Network Design, Testing, FTTH Handbook and our latest - FIber Broadband

   The FOA has it's own reference books for everyone working in fiber optics - contractors, installers and end users as well as for use as textbooks in classes at educational institutions. They are available as printed books or Kindle at much lower prices than most textbooks since we self-publish and sell online, cutting out the middlemen. Click on the book images for more information. The Reference Guide To Fiber Optics is also available in Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Design book is available in English and Spanish.

Click on any book for more information about it.

FOA has reprinted

Lennie Lightwave
Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.
Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online.
                        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

Resources For Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools
Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.



On Safety

The FOA is concerned about safety!
FOA considers safety an integral part of all our programs, curriculum materials and technical materials. We start all our textbooks and their online versions with a section on safety in the first chapter, like this: Before we get started - Safety First!
There are pages on the FOA Guide on Safety procedures Including Eye Safety  and. Digging Safely 

And a YouTube lecture: FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics
In our OSP Construction Section, these pages cover many safety issues including those related to the construction of the cable plant: Project Preparation And Guidelines, Underground Cable Construction, Underground Cable Installation and Aerial Cable Installation.
There is even a safety poster for the fiber activities: PDF Safety Rules For Fiber Optics
Other Safety Resources:

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: Dial 811. See for more information in the US. Here is their map of resources by states.

In Canada, it's "Click Before You" They also have a page of resources by US states and Canadian provinces.

The Common Ground Alliance has an excellent "Best Practices Guide" online

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

Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards

fiber in
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

FOA Corporate Program - Products & Services

Search for products and services offered by hundreds of fiber optic companies worldwide.

List of corporate information  on the FOA website.

FOA Corporate Program is available to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc.  Read more.


About The FOA

Contact Us: or email <>

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has a company page and four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
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

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

What is The FOA? 

The FOA is a, international non-profit educational association chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. 

Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and  leaders from education, 
industry and government as a professional society for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world's fiber optic networks.

Read More  

FOA History  

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optics  

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <> or email <>
Telephone/text: 760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

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.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.


Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc.
The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2023, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on 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.

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 to get logos in file format for your use.

Privacy Policy (for the EU GDPR): The FOA does not use cookies or any other web tricks to gather information on visitors to our website, nor do we allow commercial advertising. Our website hosts may gather traffic statistics for the visitors to our website and our online testing service, ClassMarker, maintains statistics of test results. We do not release or misuse any information on any of our members except we will confirm FOA certifications and Fiber U certificates of completion when requested by appropriate persons such as employers or personnel services.
Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.