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April 2022

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

Note we have changed the format to place articles in sections on one topic and all articles are dated so you know if we repeat one - which we often do when we think it's very important!


FOA References in BOOKS
We Wish This Was An April Fool's Joke
Fiber  Helps Find Another Famous Shipwreck
Thinking About A Fiber Project?
Broadband Funding From The Source - NTIA
US Guidebook on IIJA Implementation
Pew Trust Initiative To Help States

More About FTTH & Rural Broadband

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Quote of the Month
Report From OFC Conference
AT&T Says Goodbye To Copper
Fiber Optics In The Movies (Star Wars!)
Solar Storm Destroys Space X Satellites
Got An Idea For A New Fiber Tool?

Another Strange Artifact of Pole Replacement
Measuring Loss - dB Again
Connector Mix-Up Produces Unexpected Loss

Warning For Techs About Fiber Amplifiers
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Questions from our readers

Training/FiberU Beware Of Fake FOA School,  New FOA-Approved Schools, Fiber U MiniCourses, making training classroom safe, onine training, materials, more
Resources New FOA YouTube Videos.  Safety  


FOA Certifications: 

CFOT Total

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?
Special offer - 1/3 Off Renewal

See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs Web Page has been updated and a new page added on Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics

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

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Trademarks: The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
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.

 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
                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are now also available as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        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

FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online
FTTH Council

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

Search the FOA Website With DuckDuckGo

Top Stories From The 2021 FOA Newsletters

The Archives: Past Issues.
Use these links to read past issues or use FOA's  Custom Search to look for specific topics on our website.
1/22, 2/22, 3/22,4/22,   
1/21, 2/21. 3/21, 4/21, 5/21, 6/21, 7/21, 8/21, 9/21, 10/21, 11-12/21,      
1/20, 2/20, 3/20. 4/205/20, 6/20, 7/20, 8/20, 9/2010/20, 11/20, 12/20
1/19, 2/19, 3/19, 4/19, 5/19, 6/19, 7/19, 8/19, 9/19, 10/19, 11/1912/19
1/18, 2/18, 3/18, 4/18, 5/18, 6/18, 7/18, 8/18, 9/18, 10/18, 12/18
1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17, 6/17, 7/17, 8/17, 9/17, 10/17, 11/17, 12/17 
1/16, 2/16, 3/16,  4/16, 5/166/167-8/16, 9/16, 10/16, 11/16, 12/16     
1/15, 2/15, 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15, 9/15 , 10/1511/15 , 12/15
1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, 6/14, 7/14, 8/14, 9/14, 10/14, 11/14, 12/14 
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/1312/13 
1/12 , 2/12, 3/12, 4/12, 6/12, 7/12, 8/12, 9/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12   
1/11 ,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10 ,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09 ,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
1/08 , 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08 
12/07 , 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07, 2/07, 1/07
12/06 , 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05 ,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04 , 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
12/03 , 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02

Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications active, you need to renew them when they expire. 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.

You can now renew with PayPal or a credit card
PayPal is available worldwide

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

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

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

FOA Newsletter - Special Features For April 1st

This month the FOA Newsletter celebrates the month of April and the renowned holiday of April 1st, "April Fools Day" by beginning our features section with a "tongue-in-cheek" article appropriate for the day, but still totally true. (Perhaps the best April Fool's joke was Google TISP from 2011. Be sure to click on the blue button "Getting Started With Google TISP.")

FOA Provides Technical Reference Material In Radical Format - PAPER BOOKS!

Everybody's discussing how hard it is to get good broadband coverage so people have access to remote learning. Universal broadband is going to be expensive to implement and costly, Not everybody has the devices needed to access the Internet. And what do you do when power goes out?

FOA Books
FOA President Jim Hayes examines FOA technical reference material about fiber optics in a book printed on paper. Behind is his collection of other technical materials about fiber optics in this special format.

To solve this problem, FOA provides you with technical materials in the unique form of BOOKS printed on a high tech material called PAPER! This radical format, pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century was an essential factor in ending the Dark Ages and ushering the Renaissance movement. FOA has been using it as a way to disseminate information on fiber optics because of the inherent advantages of paper books.

Paper books offer many advantages to electronic information on the Internet.
  • No power needed
  • No electronic device needed to to access information
  • No broadband required
  • Just as mobile as electronic media
  • Looks great on bookshelf
  • Books are an ideal way to learn while you are waiting for reliable, high speed broadband.

FOA offers 9 books on paper:
Fiber Optics (English, Spanish, French) -  Premises Cabling -  Outside Plant - OSP Construction - Network Design - Fiber Optic Testing - FTTH Handbook and more are coming.

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                          book   FOA                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction                        book  FOA                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing                        book  FOA                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction                        book

The latest FOA book on paper, The FOA FTTH Handbook, is an ideal book to be reading if you don't have adequate broadband because it can help you understand how fiber optics is required for broadband and how to create your own network if nobody else will.

FTTH                    Handbook
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in paperback book format for $19.95.

FOA also offers a special anniversary edition of Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics printed on paper. Lennie is where many fiber optic techs tell us they first learned about fiber optics.
Lennie Lightwave
"Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special printed edition.

Article We Wished Were An April Fool Joke

fake From NPR website

AI (artificial intelligence) is scary more often than not. Remember Norman, the psychotic MIT AI we wrote about in the October FOA Newsletter? National Public Radio reports that LinkedIn may be harboring deep-fake members created by AI being used to solicit connections or business from real LinkedIn members. In a recent article "That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake" they report that a researcher at Stamford U got a message purportedly from a LinkeIn member that ended up being a pitch for software.

The researcher at Stamford was not interested, but the photo caught her attention. It looked a bit off; the woman in the photo wore only one earring, her hair kept changing and, the giveaway, her eyes were aligned right in the middle of her face.

"The face jumped out at me as being fake," said DiResta, a veteran researcher who has studied Russian disinformation campaigns and anti-vaccine conspiracies. To her trained eye, these anomalies were red flags that Ramsey's photo had likely been created by artificial intelligence.

She and a colleague started an investigation that uncovered more than 1,000 likely fake AI-created linkedIn profiles. Unlike the politically motivated AI fakes spreading disinformation, these appear to have been created to sell products.

What we have here is a new, more sophisticated version of SPAM.

And read the article - researchers have found that computer generated faces are considered more trustworthy!

Read moreon NPR's website: "That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake

OK, Now Lets Get Serious!

Lots of things to cover this month.

Fiber Optics Again Helps Find A Famous Shipwreck

ROVs - remote operated vehicles - tethered on fiber optics for control and video of the ROVs environment have been an indispensable part of undersea exploration, surveying the deepest parts of the ocean and helping find shipwrecks like the Titanic. A recent expedition just found another famous shipwreck using fiber optic tethered ROVs.

This ship, the Endeavor, was part of the Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic in 1915. The ship was trapped in the ice, crushed and sank in the Weddell Sea where the ocean depth was around 3 kilometers or 10,000 feet.  The areas of the shipwreck is shown by the arrow in the photo below. Note the Weddell Sea is in the far South of the Atlantic Ocean below the tips of South America and Africa. Really remote, really cold, really deep.

Endeavor shipwreck location

The Endeavor 22 Expedition was run by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust led by famous marine explorers Mensun Bound and Dr. John Shears. The story of the expedition and its finding make interesting reading and we suggest these links to read the stories about it:

Endurance 22 - endurance Is Found  - by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust (Photos)
At the Bottom of an Icy Sea, One of History’s Great Wrecks Is Found   (NYTimes)
106 Years, 4 Weeks, 1 Wreck: How Shackleton’s Ship Was Found    (NYTimes) - Our favorite for the photos!

But this great story was all made possiible by some very state-of-the art tools - ROVs with fiber optic tethers provided by Linden Photonics. The extreme depth the ROVs were searching(10Kft - 3km)  and the large search area  (150 sq mi - almost 400 sq km) required extremely long cables. Linden was able to provide a 25km continuous length of their high strength underwater cable - perhaps a record length.

Here's some photos of the expedition courtesy of Linden Photonics. Many more are in the links above.


Thinking About A Fiber Optic Project?  Better Get Started Soon

FOA has mainly dealt with technical topics regarding fiber optic projects, but in most of our applications sections like FTTH we also look at project management. Recently in discussing a project with the owners, we started sketching out a timeline for the project, adding topics and subtopics as they flow in the project itself. The graphic below is what we created.

Note: The timeline is not to scale. Parts of the project can take days or weeks, others may take years!

A fiber optic project can be broken down into stages - planning, design, installation and operation - with various subtopics like the ones shown below. These stages operate in overlapping time frames and will have different timing depending on the size and complexity of the project plus a number of issues that can occur at various stages.


For some projects, planning is the hardest part. It all begins with the need for communications services, but sometimes even that may not be clear to all interested parties. Then the responsibility for the project needs to be assigned, easier on private projects, harder on public projects and even more difficult on public/private partnerships. Approvals and funding can be real bottlenecks. Bidding and contracting sounds simple, but FOA is now getting calls for help where projects are finding it hard to get bidders because contractors are already so busy.

Compared to planning, the design, installation and operation stages can be easy. They generally start when the hard part has already been done.

Four Important Things To Consider Early In The Project
Below the Time Line, we have added 4 topics in red that should begin early in the planning stage and will continue the whole project. Planning includes project management which continues throughout the project which everyone realizes. The other 3 may not get as much attention as they deserve.

We have seen many projects sidelined by bad public relations, especially those by the public sector like municipal broadband networks. To support the project, the public needs to understand the project, including the features and benefits of the proposed network,  especially when incumbent service providers begin well-funded campaigns opposing them. That has been the fate of many proposed networks over the years.

Planning and managing fiber optic projects requires competent staff who must be recruited early in the project. Experience with this kind of project is really important to anticipate issues before they become problems.

One of the biggest problems today is finding workers and contractors to do the actual installation. Fiber optics is in need of a lot more competent workers and it takes time to find them and get them trained. The focus should be on recruitment, setting up training programs and working with potential contractors where these newly-trained recruits can get hired to work under experienced supervisors to continue learning by OJT - on the job training.

With the structure of the IIJA
(Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) broadband funding in the US putting the responsibility on the states, these broadband organizations need to start thinking about workforce development now. FOA is getting calls already because the demand for workers already exceeds the supply of workers.

FOA is already working with some states to expand their community and technical colleges to include fiber optic certification programs, both as continuing education "boot camps" and as as part of IT and telecom degree programs. It's easy for FOA; we done it many times, providing free curriculum, instructor training and certification, even helping acquire the tools and instruments needed for hands-on labs.

If this sounds like your situation, give FOA a call.

Broadband Funding Information From The Source

Andy Berke, new Special Representative for Broadband at NTIA and former Mayor of the first Gig City, Chattanooga, Tennessee spoke recently at a meeting sponsored by Next Century Cities, an organization whose name explains its focus well. Mr. Berke's presentation provides an extremely concise, comprehensive and clear explanation of the broadband parts of the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) that every interested party should read.

For example, many know the program will provide funds to state agencies for investment, but did you know that there are requirements for 25% matching funds or that networks  must offer 100/20 Mb/s service and gig service to anchor institutions?


Read Mr. Berke's presentation here on the Next Century Cities website.

How Federal Funding Can Help Accelerate Local Broadband Goal

Biden Administration Releases Guidebook on Infrastructure Law Implementation (3/22)


The US is allocating lots of money for infrastructure projects including $45billion for broadband infrastructure, especially underserved areas like rural. The Biden Administration has released a Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in an effort to help interested parties understand the law. This guidebook will show the funding and programs available and how to utilize the information. States and local governments will be using this information to determine what is applicable to them. The Administration will be updating this guidebook regularly when new information becomes available.

Here is a link to the Broadband section of the

Here is a link to the entire Guidebook.

Pew Charitable Trusts' Broadband Education and Training Initiative Helps States Increase High-Speed Internet Access (3/22)

Pew Charitable Trust's peer-to-peer learning network offers research and guidance for state government leaders.

As $billions of broadband funding flows to states as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, delivering high-speed internet access to all Americans has never been more achievable. But the opportunity before state leaders comes with significant challenges. Policymakers in each of the states must establish or expand broadband programs, train staff, and navigate local priorities, all while adhering to federal requirements.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ broadband education and training initiative (BETI), launched in August 2021, provides no-cost support to help states make the most of historic increases in state and federal funding. BETI is built on a foundation of Pew research highlighting a set of effective strategies and provides staff training, facilitated expert and peer-to-peer engagement, and technical assistance on a wide range of topics, from state broadband program design to data collection.

The resources and guidance collected here will help states identify and adopt evidence-based strategies to effectively administer federal funds, accelerating the nation’s progress toward universal, affordable broadband connectivity. More than 2 dozen states are already working with Pew's BETI program.

To join or learn more about BETI, please email Jake Varn at

Read more about the BETI Program.     BETI Project home page

The PEW Charitable Trusts also tracks the availability of state grants available for broadband expansion. Read more here and look at the links to state programs

More Resources For FTTH And  Broadband From FOA

The Fiber U FTTH/Broadband self-study course is free and you can get your certificate of completion free too. This is a good way to learn about FTTH technology for broadband.

By researching a similar problem from the early 20th century, rural electrification, we learned that the same problems existed then, and, not surprisingly, the same solutions developed then are applicable today in the 21st century. (See the FOA Newsletter August 2021 for the story about rural electrification.)

As FOA continues to be involved with discussions about rural broadband, we decided to compile the information we had gathered into a short video lecture and a web page of links to relevant information on our website.

Video Lecture:  FOA Lecture 70 Rural Broadband, Obstacles And Opportunities,

FOA Reference Page On Rural Broadband is intended to be a reference guide for those looking for more information on rural broadband and FTTH. It includes some basic information about rural broadband and gathers up links to the many articles FOA has done on the topic, the FOA Guide pages on broadband and FTTH.

Both the video lecture and the reference page are also intended for those trying to get a project started to have a link for others interested in the project to learn more about what is involved.

Read more about the FOA's FTTH technical information updates

FTTH                    Handbook
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print ($19.95) and Kindle ($9.95) editions.

More about FTTH from the FOA Newsletter

June 2021 - FTTH Special Issue  (FTTH Tech Update covering new equipment and network architectures for rural FTTH.

August, 2021   - Rural FTTH Special Issue

March 2022 Is Rural Only Farms?

February 2022 Helping Make Rural Broadband Possible -
New FOA Technical/Educational Materials For Those Planning Rural Broadband

January 2022 - California Announces 18 Middle Mile Projects To Bridge Digital Divide (mostly rural)

November/December 2021 - Fiber To The Village in Nepal, $Billions For Broadband In US (But don't hold your breath!)

July 2021 - Broadband Internet in California, California Broadband Council report

March 2021 - Can Tapping Fiber Reduce Cost?  How Many Fibers? Optimal cable Size.

Fiber U Adds More Free Online Self-Study Programs

Fiber U MiniCourses: 
Fiber Optic Attenuators For Managing Data Link Power 
Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing

Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 
It is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U Now Offers Two DIY Fiber Optic Link Demos
Build Your Own Duplex Link Or FTTH PON Demos With Directions on Fiber U and YouTube.
DIY Duplex Fiber Link: Go To Fiber U DIY Link Demo Course or the FOA YouTube DIY Duplex Link video
DIY PON: Go to
Fiber U DIY PON Demo course and a FOA YouTube PON Demo video that describes it.

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español
Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

Offer Extended: Take the updated Fiber U FTTH course and the Certificate of Completion Test FREE

FTTH Updates In The FOA Guide And YouTube

FTTH has always been the most popular application for FOA's knowledge base. We've been working overtime to update FOA materials covering FTTH adding and updating information important for network owners and managers, designers, installers and operators to be familiar with, as they can help build FTTH networks that are better, cheaper and easier to design, build and operate.

Read more about the FOA's FTTH information updates

FTTH                    Handbook
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print ($19.95) and Kindle ($9.95) editions.

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

"I worry that some communities will be so anxious to get internet service that they will contract with entities that don’t have a track record of service quality. Some of this has happened with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Some entities get funding and can’t fulfill their obligations because they don’t know what to do."

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, an organization that supports 850 independent telecom providers driving broadband service opportunities in the rural and small-town U.S.
Interview by Broadband Properties.   

Report From OFC Conference

OFC (Optical Fiber Communications) was held as a in-person conference in San Diego March 6-10, 2022. Ian Gordon Fudge of FiberDK attended and reported back to us on the most interesting things he saw.
  • Smaller fiber - 180µ coatings now now being reduced to 163µ for smaller, high density cables.
  • One vendor touting a 80µ cladding fiber with a 125µ coating you don't remove.
  • Hollow core fiber able to transmit several watts of power
  • Lots of 400G testers - moving up from 100G is happening
  • XGSPON testers - 10G PONs are here

It will be interesting to see how much smaller or denser cable can get.

AT&T Says Good-bye To Copper

On October 1, 2020, AT&T announced it would no longer offer DSL services, relying on fiber and 5G wireless instead.(FOA Newsletter)  That was understandable, not just because of the limitations of DSL, but the company had fewer than 500,000 DSL customers, down almost 40% for two years before.

At the company's Analyst and Investor Day Webcast on March 11, 2022, the focus was on fiber and 5G, with plans to expand the fiber to more than 30 million locations, including 5 million business locations, by 2025, double the number in 2021. As more network traffic moves to fiber and 5G, AT&T expects to drive significant savings by reducing the company’s legacy copper footprint. By 2025, AT&T expects that 75% of its network footprint will be served via fiber and 5G and that it will have reduced its copper services footprint by 50%.

AT&T has created a FAQs page (frequently asked questions) about the phase out of copper called appropriately enough  "AT&T copper network retirement  We’re replacing our traditional copper-wire network with fiber optic technology."

Perhaps the best news is buried in this quote from the webcast: “Now that the close of the WarnerMedia deal is approaching, we are near the starting line of a new era for AT&T,” said John Stankey, AT&T chief executive officer. “The transformation we’ve undergone over the past 18 months while delivering outstanding operational results has brought us to this point. We will be a simpler, more focused company with the intent to become America’s best broadband provider. We plan to ramp up investment in our key areas of growth — 5G and fiber.

Investment in the network at AT&T will be more than $20 billion per year!

Welcome back to telecom, AT&T. Hollywood ain't what it's cracked up to be, eh?

Read the entire AT&T Analyst and Investor Day Webcast 

Fiber Optics In The Movies (3/2022)

With most movies being shot in digital format today, the movement of large amounts of data between locations or sound stages and the studios requires fiber optics. But sometimes fiber finds its way into other aspects of moviemaking, like the models used in some scenes.

In the Disney+ series, Star Wars, The Mandalorian, there is some really fascinating technology used to make the story more realistic. Disney+ has a series, Disney Gallery, on how the series was created that discusses the story, direction, actors, etc. but the episodes that interested us the most were about the technology used, some of which was developed just for that series.The big item was the LED screen walls in the studio that create the realistic backgrounds for most of the shots.

But what we noticed in the Gallery episode about season 2 was the description of how they built a 5-foot long model of the Imperial Light Cruiser shown in some of the later episodes. We did a double take and rewound the video and shot photos of the model under construction to take photos of our TV screen showing how they used fiber optic lighting to create lighted windows on the model. Below you can see the fiber that is used. In this link you can see the lights: Imperial Light Cruiser    If you subscribe to Disney+, you can stream the Gallery here.


5-foot model of an Imperial Light Cruiser (on our home TV screen)

Got An Idea For A New Fiber Optic Tool?

Jonard Tools is looking for ideas.

Calling all inventors, creators, or individuals with a tool idea! Partner with Jonard Tools to make those ideas a reality. Since 1958, Jonard Tools has been working closely with customers and technicians to create innovative solutions for industry needs. Through quality and innovation, Jonard tools are designed to help all technicians in the field work easier, safer, and more comfortable.

If you have an idea or if you’ve invented something, our Inventors Lab has the necessary means to bring your idea and product to the market.

Jonard Inventors Lab  

FOA Had A BUSY 2021

Below is a summary of some of the FOA accomplishments from 2021:

Top Stories From 2021 FOA Newsletters
Last Gasp For Multimode Fiber?  
Who Lost Lucent? The Decline of America's Telecom Industry. 
Things To Learn From A Town That Voted Down Fiber
Can Tapping Fiber Reduce Cost? 
How Many Fibers? Optimal cable Size. 
Women Installers In Alaska. 
FOA OJT To Cert Program
FTTH Month - June FOA Newsletter.
Building Rural FTTH - Learning From The History Of Rural Electrification
New FOA Guidelines For Training And Certification
Warning For Techs Doing Restoration (Fiber Amplification).

New Pages In The FOA Guide
Fiber Optic Sources For Transmitters
Midspan Access
Loss Budget Calculator - Online
FTTH Network Design. (plus updated pages in the FTTH section)

New Fiber U Courses
Fiber Characterization.
Basic Fiber Optics in Spanish
FTTH Update (Get the Certificate of Completion Free!)
Loss Budgets
How Fiber Works
Fiber Optic Color Codes
Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing
Basic Skills Labs - Link Demos

New FOA Publications
FOA FTTH Handbook.

New YouTube Lectures
FOA Lecture 61 Fiber Optic Color Codes    
FTTH Series
Lecture 63 FTTH Network Architectures  


On fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

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


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.

Another Strange Artifact Of Utility Pole Replacement

St Louis

Another photo from FOA Instructor Milt Murry, taken in his neighborhood in St. Louis.

Measuring Loss - Displaying dB As A Positive Number - Update

After noting the way the fiber optic meter in a photo sent by a reader displayed loss, we thought it would be interesting to check some more meters to see if they worked the same way. So here is a test we conducted:

power meter dB test

1: Meter and source set up for test. Meter reads -4.44 dBm and 359.6 microwatts in dBm mode
2: Meter changed to dB mode and zeroed
3: 3dB attenuator inserted in connection (arrow). Meter shows -3.07dB
4. Meter changed to dBm mode, shows -7.62 dBm and 172.3 microwatts.

So not all fiber optic power meter makers change loss to be a positive number, which can be confusing.

Measuring Loss - Displaying dB As A Positive Number- March 2022


A tech called us looking for troubleshooting help on a cable plant where it turned out there was damage to the cable. During our discussions, he sent along this photograph of his setup. We found the photo of the power meter display interesting in how it displayed loss.

dB loss

The display clearly says that the measurement is of "Loss" (#1). It also shows the loss as a positive number (2). Then below the loss it shows the reference power level "Ref" (3).

Knowing how many techs are confused by dB in measurements, we wonder how many could figure out the actual power level being measured. Is it -19.95 dBm + 9.72 dB =  -10.23 dBm or -19.95 dBm - 9.72 dB = 29.67 dBm ?

The manual for the instrument says a negative dB loss measurement is incorrect and offers possible reasons, so what do you do if you want to measure gain in a fiber amplifier?

What happens when a MM splice-on connector is used to terminate SM fiber?

Not What We Expected (3/2022)

Recently we posted this technical question in our Q&A section:

What happens when you use a MM splice-on connector on SM cable?
I encountered a situation where a MM mechanical connector was used on a SM fiber and passed on an OTDR test. The client and I are interested in understanding how these connectors could have passed?
The joint between a multimode and singlemode fiber should have very high loss, ~17-20 dB, depending on the mode fill of the MM fiber. However the short length of the MM fiber, ~10mm, might not be enough to cause the modes to fill in the short fiber in the connector, resulting in relatively low loss.

MM fiber optic connector on SM fiber

Eric Pearson, one of the most knowledgeable people on connectors expressed this idea then tested it with a 100m singlemode fiber cable connected to a second singlemode cable. The second singlemode cable was terminated with an OM3 LC Unicam connector, An EXFO ftb-400 OTDR indicates a 2.09 dB drop.

That is way too much connection loss to pass a loss test but nowhere near the loss that could be expected from the MM/SM joint.

Interesting - thanks to Eric for this work!

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration


FOA recently received an inquiry that was a new one; 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 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.

                        Loss Budget Calculator

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."

Worth Reading (And Watching):

FOA Creates Timeline of Fiber Optic History 

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

April 2022

CENIC Technology Roundtables - Videos of past webcasts on wIreless and CATV broadband with fiber coming soon. Some of the best reviews of state of the art technology from California's state of the art R&D and education network.

Construction Without Disruption - FOA President Jim Hayes' column in ISE Magazine

State of California Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative - California ALL program

Bandwidth Hawk: Big Federal Money Ahead … But Proceed with Caution - Steven S. Ross  |  Broadband Communities - Early movers already see unexpected hurdles as a result of labor shortages, backordered fiber and electronics, inflation and unforeseen financing issues. Many are not meeting cash flow projections because they can’t finish projects on time.

Illinois (and Possibly New York) Poised to Fumble Federal Broadband Funds ILSR Remember the history of incombents getting state laws passed to prevent competition? Well, history repeats itself.

LA County Moves Closer to Municipal Broadband - ILSR Community Networks - WiFi on street lights

March 2022

Every State Has a Chance to Deliver a “Fiber for All” Broadband Future: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electrical utilities in Dickson and Johnson City, Tennessee to offer FTTH: ILSR

CI&M Magazine has a slideshow of bad aerial cable installs in their home area (New Hampshire) and in California (provided by FOA)

New York City: The Case for a Carrier-Neutral Infrastructure - Broadband Communities - "there is growing momentum for open-access infrastructure, which allows multiple providers to compete for customers"

Pew Charitable Trusts has released a couple of new tools for state broadband offices preparing for the influx of federal funding. ILSR

PEW Charitable Trusts has a broadband initiative that aims to help local networks get started.

Lightwave 2-22

Read the latest issue of Lightwave   Covering the OFC Conference, highlights: coherent and 10G PON.

February 2022

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

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 - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

Imagine a fiber optic cable that can sense it's about to be dug up and send a warning
Forget wiring cities with IoT devices – this could be how wide-scale sensing gets done - The Register

Avoiding Underground Utilities during Horizontal Directional Drilling Operations - OSHA (bookmark this!)

  dpPro Magazine

The latest Issue of dP-PRO, the "call before you dig" magazine, is online. It's the 2022 Special Locate issue. 

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin 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.


Latest Issue November 2021.

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

Lightwave Magazine Is Back! 

                      Magazine is back!

Lightwave Magazine is back after many years as only a online newsletter. Lightwave was started in 1984 by Howard Rausch, a veteran newsman, a gentleman and a scholar! (JH) We reported on the demise of the printed version of Lightwave in the FOA Newsletter of March 2009. Lightwave is back as a digital magazine, perfect for the times, and still headed by Editorial Director Stephen Hardy, a veteran of the fiber optic community with great in-dept knowledge of the technology, companies and people who make fiber optics what it is today. Lightwave's comprehensive website continues too. All very worthwhile reading.

TeleGeography's New Submarine Cable Map

cable map

TeleGeography's new 2021 Submarine Cable Map is packed with new cables and stats. Not to mention the new graphics and FAQs! This edition is loaded with trivia on cable suppliers, content providers, deployments, fiber, and more.

The 2021 Submarine Cable Map depicts 464 cables and 1,245 landing stations; 428 cables are active and 36 are planned.
Of the planned cables, 19 were not depicted in our 2020 edition. (The combined length of those 19 new planned cables is 103,348 km!)

Statistics on US Labor In Telecom

Eric Pearson sent us some links to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the US Workforce. Granted it was updated in May 2019, but has lots of useful and interesting information on where the work is and what workers are paid.


Read the reports here:

Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers   (Install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics.

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers  (Install,
set up, rearrange, or remove switching, distribution, routing, and dialing equipment used in central offices or headends. Service or repair telephone, cable television, Internet, and other communications equipment on customers’ property. May install communications equipment or communications wiring in buildings.

How Much Does A Cable Installer Earn?

1995-2020 - FOA's 25th Anniversary!

As part of celebrating 25 years of serving the fiber optic industry 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 - News Summary - Past Links Worth Repeating

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.

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.

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

This long and well-researched and annotated article in American Affairs Journal should be mandatory reading for every high level manager in a telecom company - or any other company for that matter. To summarize the article, today, America has no major telecom equipment company and fears the major suppliers of equipment who are all foreign, especially the Huawei from China. This article explains how America got into this deplorable state.

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"

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 Requies Looking Overheas 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.

How much fiber optic cable is manufactured each year? CRU Reports - unsurprisingly China is by far the largest market today

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

The Open Technology Institute at New America just published “The Cost of Connectivity 2020,”

US Ignite and Altman Solon issued “Broadband Models for Unserved and Underserved Communities

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.

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

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.

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

The Internet Master Plan for New York City. The New York City Internet Master Plan is a comprehensive framework for the infrastructure and services that provide connectivity to New York City residents and businesses. This Master Plan will guide City actions and public-private partnerships to transform New Yorkers’ access to this essential infrastructure for generations to come.

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

The Future Of Work Is Skills - So Stop Worrying About Degrees - The reality is the future of work is about skills, not just degrees. (FOA Newsletter Feb 2020)

The job market is hot. So why are half of U.S. grads missing out?  

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)

Guidebook To MPO Testing OptoTest offers this complete guide to MTP®/MPO testing. In this guide, you will learn all there is to know about the different test methods, equipment options, troubleshooting, and best maintenance practices to ensure that you have the best testing experience. Go here to download the book.

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.

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!

How Nexans Makes Copper Cables - compare the process to fiber - don't most of the machines look similar?

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

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

Clearfield-FOA Certification Training Clearfield is now offering their customers an FOA CERTIFICATION course. This course provides a basic understanding of fiber optic technology, as well as Clearfield product knowledge and how Clearfield’s integrated product systems work together in a fiber network.

Substandard Contractors - Fiber Optic Knowledge Doesn't Always Trickle Down  (EC Mag)

Another Source Of Articles On Fiber

FOA President and editor of this newsletter Jim Hayes has also been writing a column in Electrical Contractor Magazine for almost 20 years now. Electrical contractors do lots of fiber work and this column has covered some topics they are interested in including installation processes, network design, fiber applications and a lengthy series on dark fiber - what it is, how's its used and how it benefits the growth of communication. A recent web site redesign makes it easier to browse all these articles - just go to and you can see all of them.


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 

April 2022

850 LED Test Source
Q: I need to test multimode fiber at 850 nm but sources are hard to find and expensive. Can I use a laser?
A: Multimode fibers should be tested with an LED. Lasers have several problems in multimode fiber that may cause untrustworthy readings. The problem is that LEDs are no longer used for transmission systems; every MM system now uses VCSEL transmitters, a surface emitting laser. As a result most LEDs at 850nm for MM have gone out of production. Two engineers I know who have been looking for them say there is now only a few sources and the price is much higher that of a few years ago. We've been buying used test sources on eBay for training.

105 Micron Fiber?
Q: I have a customer asking about 105um fiber. Does it exist? What is it basically used for? After FOA suggested a clarifying question to the customer: The fiber is for Power over Fiber(PoF). The construction is 105um fiber with 125um cladding. The question or assumption would be – The termination would be the same as 50,62.5 or 8.3um with a 125um cladding?
A: The people who do laser surgery and power over fiber use special step index fibers and SMA connectors. The power density can be very high so the heat can build up in the cable. SMA connectors or the metal ferrule swaged-on connectors are often used for their all-metal construction with the ability to withstand heat and sometimes the need to be drilled for special fiber diameters. Because of the high power, the polish needs to be low reflectance, so we’d recommend using a wet polish and end with a very fine polishing film - 0.3 microns or so. Like polishing SM for DWDM.
Cleanliness is very important for these applications. I remember a call from a doctor doing laser surgery who kept ruining cables because they were dirty and the high power literally exploded the dirt and pitted the ends. When that happens, sometimes they can be polished out but often they are ruined. The same thing happened to the 120 inch telescope at Lick Observatory when Joe Wampler tried using it to laser range to the retroreflector Apollo 11 left on the moon. Exploding dust pitted the aluminization on the mirror.

Gel Leaking From cables
Q: We have several instances where gel from inside the fiber optic cable has leaked into the splice closure. I have seen some information about sealing the ends of cables so that this doesn’t happen but cannot find a specific method or procedure for this or what to use for a sealant. Is this something that is common practice for outside plant cables? The gel creates a mess and definitely makes reentry for additional splicing more difficult. If there is a way to prevent or minimize this I would like our technicians to start implementing it.
A: When you install the cable, after inserting the cable in the splice closure and/or the budder tubes in the splice trays, seal the end with silicone RTV adhesive. It needs some time to cure but that should prevent the gel leakage. Or next time, order dry water blocked cable which will not have this problem.

Single Fiber DWDM
Q: Can you do bidirectional links on a single fiber with DWDM? (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing)?
A: A company Called Edge Optical Solutions sells multiplexers for bi-directional DWDM on one fiber  by using adjacent wavelength channels for each direction. It is good to ~400km with coherent transceivers but cannot use fiber amplifiers for repeaters.

March 2022

Maximum Fusion Splice Loss
Q: We have set 0.4 dB as our max for all losses per splice and my counterparts argue that customer quality will not suffer with a 1.0db-1.5db loss at a splice. What do you think?
A: We would argue that the issue with high loss splices is more one of reliability. Most fusion splices of singlemode fiber are 0.05 to 0.1 dB A splice that has more than ~0.2dB loss probably has some inclusion (dirt that got on the fiber after cleaving) or an air bubble with means the splice is deficient in strength and may fail over time. If the network is operating at high power with WDM and fiber amplifiers, the inclusions or bubbles may produce heat which can cause failures. At very high speeds or using coherent communications over long lengths, it might affect dispersion.

Another Way Of Expressing dB?
Q: Just wondering what to think about presenting dBm as a percentage of power, using either a linear measurement or quadratic equation ?
I recently came across this article : []  I realise it's Wi-Fi signals here, but can you compare this to anything concerning optical loss or gain , given we're still using dB and dBm ?
A: I had to read this 3 or 4 times to get the idea. Basically he suggests converting dB, a nonlinear log scale, to a linear scale expressed in %. Following his steps (assuming I understand his system) , 100% = 0 dBm (1mw), 90% = -10dBm = 1/10mw  = 10% of the original signal, 80% = -20 dBm = 1/100 mW = 1% of the original signal.. So 80% = 1% of the original signal. And that’s where it seems a bit nonsensical. 70% would be 0.1% of the original signal,,,
We fail to see what this “new math” accomplishes.

OTDR AutoTest
Q: Would we say that OTDR 'Smart' test capabilities are commonplace on newer models or only on some manufacturers meters ?
Maybe it's additional software that can be thought of as an upgrade ?
A: Some form of “auto test” has been available on most OTDRs for 20 years or more. Early versions were not very good; they usually just made a test under some average test conditions and reported the results. Modern OTDRs use more powerful computing power to make several tests and determine which conditions are best for the fiber being tested. By optimizing the range, pulse width, number of averages, etc. it can usually produce fairly good results. We don’t think the cost of the OTDR is an issue for new ones because users expect all of them to have a good auto test function. As to whether an older unit could be upgraded, that would depend on the manufacturer and if they still support that product. An OTDR less than 5 years old should probably be able to be upgraded.

February 2022

MM Splice-on Connector On Singlemode Cable
I encountered a situation where a MM mechanical connector was used on a SM fiber and passed on an OTDR test. The client and I are interested in understanding how these connectors could have passed?
The joint between a multimode and singlemode fiber should have vrey high loss, ~17-20 dB, depending on the mode fill of the MM fiber. However the short length of the MM fiber, ~10mm, might not be enough to cause the modes to fill in the short fiber in the connector, resulting in relatively low loss.
Eric Pearson, one of the most knowledgeable people on connectors expressed this idea then tested it with 100m singlemode connected to a second singlemode cable. The second singlemode cable has an OM3 LC unicam connector, An EXFO ftb-400 OTDR indicates a 2.09 dB drop. That is way too much to pass a test but nowhere near the loss that could be expected from the MM/SM joint. See the OTDR trace above.

November/December 2021

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.

Underground Utilities Location
Q: From an OSP engineer: Is there a resource for underground utilities that we could use on our engineering designs? I know some counties offer this info but is there a single resource for all?
A: If you are in the US, the Common Ground Alliance (  , is a resource for designers and contractors looking for information on underground utilities. Their “CGA Best Practices” ( is the best reference for damage prevention.
Otherwise, the local authorities and utilities are the best source. The department that issues permits is usually the place to start.
Even with that information, it is recommended that the contractor do their own search using underground locating equipment before digging.
You may find this page in the FOA Guide on underground cable construction useful. ( )

Q: What is the importance of reflectance and all the other numbers in installing and trouble shooting a fiber circuit?
A: Reflectance has always been a secondary issue to connection loss but has some important issues that need consideration. There are two basic issues with reflectance, affecting with the output of laser transmitters and creating background “noise” in a fiber link.
Reflectance can interact with the laser chip itself, causing laser transmitters nonlinearities or random fluctuations in the output. The background noise is a secondary issue, but can be seen in ghosts in an OTDR trace. The light bouncing back and forth in the fiber that causes ghosts will be added to the signal at the receiver end, adding noise to the actual signal. Both these effects are more significant on shorter links, for example FTTH or LANs using PONs (passive optical networks). We always recommend using APC (angled physical contact) connectors on short SM links. And most short SM networks do use APC connectors.
FOA tries to stick to the definition that reflectance is the light reflected from a connection but some others call it “return loss.” Return loss has been defined generally as the combination of reflectance and backscatter from the fiber, and that’s how OTDRs measure return loss. Standards vary in the definition sometimes.
Here is a FOA Guide page on reflectance that gives the basics and explains how it is tested.

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:
From the Council of State governments:
From the city of San Francisco:
An article about Dakota County, MN:

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

Is There A Standard For Fiber Optic Installation?

Another question we get often is "Is there a standard for fiber optic installation." The answer is yes, but not from the usual standards groups you might expect. Over 20 years ago, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) asked FOA to help create a standard for installation. That standard, ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 has been updated three times already and is about ready for another update.

Unlike most of those groups who charge you a fortune for standards, FOA covers the cost so
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 is available free from FOA.

                        301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

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

Older questions are now available here.

/ FiberU

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

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 

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.

FOA Network Of Approved Schools Continues To Grow

The need for more fiber optic networks to support broadband and wireless/5G networks has led to a strong demand for more trained and FOA-certified techs, and that has led to a demand for more training organizations. FOA has been adding new schools and certifying new instructors to meet the demand. Here are two new schools this month and more added recently.

New Schools

FOA School 400: STL - Sterlite Technologies. Columbia, South Carolina

Schools added recently:
School 398, Telecom Tech, Colorado
School 396 Optconn, Boston, MA
School 395 Fiber Wizards (Knowledge on Demand LLC)
School 393, Carolina's Solution Group
School 394, Tri-County Career Center, Nelsonville, Ohio
School 388:  Global Com of Sterling, Virginia, USA
School 389. CWA-JATC Telecom Training Center, San Jose, CA
School 390  Northern Allied Communications, Nespelem, WA
School 391  Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, ID
School 392  Wallace Community College, Dothan, AL
Arrow For Engineering #774, Amman, Jordan
Team Fishel #399, Virginia

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations

New Guidelines For Fiber Optic Training And Certification

When FOA was founded in 1995, fiber optics had already been in commercial use for about 15 years, long distance OSP networks were still being replaced by fiber optics, metro networks were just beginning to be converted to fiber optics and fiber-to-the-home was a distant dream. Premises applications were limited to a multimode LAN backbones where speeds or distances were too much for Cat 5 as well as some video links to remote security cameras.


FOA founders meet to create the CFOT certification, circa 1997

Over its first two years, a group of FOA advisors met to create the requirements for technician certification that became the CFOT, Certified Fiber Optic Technician. Those requirements became the KSAs, the knowledge, skills and abilities required to be a certified fiber optic technician. The KSAs in turn became the basis of developing curriculum for training and CFOT certification testing.

In 1995, a technician was expected to be able to work with both singlemode and multimode fiber. They needed to be familiar with loose tube and armored OSP cables as well as zipcord and distribution indoor cables. Splicing skills in both mechanical and fusion splicing were needed. Termination of singlemode fibers was done by splicing singlemode fibers to factory-made pigtails. Multimode termination was mostly done using adhesives and polishing, using heat-cured epoxy, anaerobic adhesives or the 3M Hot Melt connectors. Testing involved connector inspection and cleaning, power measurements and optical insertion loss with a light source and power meter. Long distance networks would also be tested with OTDRs.

At that time, some tools and instruments like visual fault locators, fusion splicers and OTDRs were less common and quite expensive, often too expensive to be included in a school’s training equipment inventory, so they were often described in class, maybe with a video, and demonstrated by the instructor or a salesperson.

Class                      2021 Class                      2021
Classroom training in 2021 with pandemic rules

Over the last 25 years much has changed in fiber optics. Network speed, driven by the growth in Internet traffic, has become thousands of times faster, wavelength-division multiplexing has become mainstream, FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) enabled by PON (passive optical network) technology has become one of top applications for fiber optics, along with connecting wireless cell sites. The expansion of wireless networks, traffic control systems, utility grid management, data centers, etc. has led to lots more fiber applications.

Virtually all this growth is in singlemode fiber. Ribbon cables, microcables and high-fiber count cables are being used extensively. Even data centers which utilize some of the fastest networks and have changed to singlemode to avoid replacing cables frequently when equipment speeds are upgraded. LANs are adopting PONs, joining DAS (cellular networks inside buildings) to convert many premises cabling systems to singlemode. Multimode fiber is not extinct, but certainly an endangered species.

A fusion splice-on connector

Installation techniques and components have changed too. Few techs terminate multimode with adhesive/polish connectors in the field anymore. First it was replaced by mechanical splice connectors in the field, what we called prepolished/splice connectors, but now it’s fusion SOCs – splice-on connectors – that are becoming the termination method of choice. They were first seen in data centers where it’s not unusual to have 100,000+ terminations in the cable plant. Now we have low-cost fusion splicers and SOCs that make it the logical – and often lowest cost – termination choice.

For testing, instruments like visual fault locators (VFLs) have become really cheap so everyone can have one for troubleshooting. Power meters are more automated and lower cost, as are laser test sources. Interestingly, multimode test sources with LEDs are in short supply as the 850 and 1300 nm LEDs they need are become harder to get because the market for them in fiber optics has disappeared; they have been replaced by VCSELs which are not good as test sources.

When FOA started, OTDRs were very expensive and primarily limited in use to long distance OSP networks. Now OTDRs are not only less expensive and capable of testing most networks, but they are highly automated. Manufacturers tout the ability of their OTDRs to use AI (artificial intelligence) to set up the instrument and interpret traces. That’s a logical approach, since the instruments are highly complex and hard to understand, therefore few techs ever learn how to properly use one.

remote OTDR
Remote automated OTDR classroom setup with student access by smartphones

FOA believes that fiber optic technician training courses need to reflect the real world, and as technology and applications change, training must change also. Today’s CFOT needs to be competent in working with singlemode fiber, fusion splicing, SOCs and the equipment used today for installation and testing. Hands-on labs should focus on this current technology to ensure competent techs.

FOA is creating new course guidelines for approved schools to follow to ensure their training fits current technician needs. These new guidelines will be ready for use in 2022.

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

The FOA Fiber U OJT program combines online study at Fiber U with OJT with mentoring by experienced co-workers and their supervisor to help new employees develop into FOA-certified technicians in only one year.  Upon completion of this program, the trainee will be prepared to take the exam for the FOA CFOT (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and/or CPCT (Certified Premises Cabling Technician), the most widely recognized fiber optic and premises cabling certifications in the industry.


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 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too. Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA "Work-To-Cert" Program

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

More techs have become comfortable with online conferences, webinars and training. Many have discovered that they 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 already 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 "Work to Cert" 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.

FTTH Updates In The FOA Guide And YouTube

FTTH has always been the most popular application for FOA's knowledge base. The subject is a major topic in the FOA Guide and the Fiber U FTTH course has been very popular. Many of our FOA approved schools use the FOA curriculum and teach combination courses for CFOT/CFOS/H for techs and CFOS/D (design) and CFOS/H for designers.

As with all topics in the FOA knowledgebase, we try to keep up to date, incorporating the latest developments and trends to ensure our materials are most useful to the industry.

Here's what we've created and updated recently:

Rural Broadband
The new reference page on rural broadband is intended to be a reference guide for those looking for more information on rural broadband and FTTH. It includes some basic information about rural broadband and gathers up links to the many articles FOA has done on the topic, the FOA Guide pages on broadband and FTTH.


FOA Guide: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated sections on Architecture and PONs (including 10G)
FOA's YouTube Channel: Added 4 new FTTH videos on Network Architecture, PONs, Network Design and Installation/Test.
FOA Lecture 70 Rural Broadband
How Can These New Materials Benefit You?
  • Update your knowledge: Even if you already have your CFOS/H or have completed the FTTx self-study course on Fiber U, we recommend you go back to the Fiber U course on FTTH Network Design and take the architecture, PON and Design lesson again.
  • Getting Started in FTTH:  We recommend buying a copy of FOA's FTTH Handbook or going straight to the Fiber U FTTx self-study course which will get you started right most quickly.  
  • Learning More About Special Topics in FTTH: Read the new/updated pages on the FOA Guide and watch the new videos.
  • Designing FTTH Networks: If you are involved in the design of FTTH networks but new to fiber optics, start with the Fiber U Fiber Optic Network Design course then take the Fiber U FTTx self-study course.
  • Teaching FTTH Courses: If you are already an FOA-approved school, download the new updated curriculum. Not an FOA School? Contact FOA.
  • Employee OJT

What's Next?
Our next project is to use these new/updated training materials to help train more techs.
  • Training at FOA approved schools:  We will of course work through the FOA network of approved schools, many of which already teach FTTH courses.
  • OJT (On the job training): We will also be reaching out to network owners and managers and their contractors who can use all these free materials for OJT - on the job training - for their workers.

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.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

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 Guide "Basics Of Fiber Optics" Now Available Online in Portuguese (6/2020)

                            Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

FOA has now translated the Basics of Fiber Optics textbook in our Online Guide into Portuguese, joining Spanish and French translations. For those speaking Portuguese, we have the technical information and for schools we also have curriculum available.

Here is the FOA Guide in Portuguese, Spanish and French translations.

Time To Learn - Online

Some schools have been closed during the pandemic, so FOA has been working with them to create new online learning experiences that can in some cases lead to certification online. FOA certifications are still based on the KSAs - knowledge from the classroom, skills from the labs and abilities judged by instructors or proven by actual experience.

Much of what we're doing benefits from the capabilities of "Zoom." Others have created videoconferencing apps, but none work so well, especially with limited bandwidth. We've seen remote labs that have an instructor showing students how to use the tools they were sent then watching them duplicate their actions. We have worked out methods to use Zoom to proctor FOA's online certification exams.

Blended Learning
While most FOA schools have suspended in-person training during this period, some are offering a "blended learning" option. That means that students sign up for a FOA certification course, take the classroom sessions on Fiber U with the assistance of a FOA certified instructor. Now online instruction can include reviewing the labs using the
Fiber U Basic Skills Labs, then when it's possible to attend classes at the school, complete the hands-on labs and take the FOA certification exam.

Offline Fiber U
FOA has also created offline Fiber U modules to allow students with poor or limited Internet access to use the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling programs without Internet access. Contact FOA for information on using this option.

Online Remote Labs
Alternatively, some schools are experimenting with "remote labs," where the students get sent tool kits and components and labs are conducted by videoconferencing. Before the labs, the students may watch demos by their instructor on videoconferencing and/or review the relevant "virtual hands-on" lessons in the Fiber U
Fiber Optics Basic Skills Labs  so they will already know the steps in the exercises.
And Fiber U has the new Fiber U DIY Basic Skills Lab lesson with directions on how to purchase inexpensive tools online and use them to learn basic fiber optic skills. Videoconferencing allows the instructor to remotely monitor their work and provide help as needed. Contact the FOA for more information.

FOA Zoom Exam Proctoring

Online Certification Testing
FOA has all its certification tests available online, both for use by our schools and by our direct "Work to Cert" applicants. All FOA certification tests require a proctor to oversee the applicant taking the exam. In this time of social distancing, getting a proctor can be difficult, so FOA now has procedures for online proctors administering the exam.
Contact the FOA for more information.
OJT - On-The-Job-Training
Many novices get a job and learn on the job. They usually have an experienced tech who helps them gain the knowledge and  learn the skills they need to perform their job. Thinking about this in relation to the 
FOA KSAs, the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by a fiber optic tech,  the tech will learn skills but not the basic knowledge that helps them understand the processes involved. FOA can offer help here with our
FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program, using our Fiber U online self-study programs. While the tech learns on the job, they become a Fiber U trainee, getting the knowledge they need, while working under their "mentor" at work. This is particularly good for contracting companies who need techs but do not have the usual training courses available. Interested in OJT programs? Click on the link below or contact FOA for more information.

FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program

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 "Work-to-Cert" 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.

FOA School Offers Toolkit With Online Training

Slayton tool

Slayton Solutions (FOA Approved School #156) is offering a simple fiber optic tool kit that includes a 29-piece set of fiber optic tools and a power meter along with training videos and online instruction for only $499. 29 Piece Kit includes all tools and devices a technician needs to install fiber optic connectors and test optical power.  Information on the kit is available on YouTube. You can contact them for more information at or

/ Resources


More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages? Here are directions.

FOA YouTube Video Describes On-The-Job Training (OJT) 

Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U
To explain How OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too.

More New Videos Including FTTH Series
As part of developing the new Fiber U MiniCourses, we added several new YouTube videos:

Lecture 56 explains the issues of cable bend radius limitations, typical cable specifications and how to gage the proper radius or diameter when installing or storing cable. Lecture 57 covers problems with dirty connectors and how to inspect and clean them.

4 New Lectures on FTTH - #63-66  Plus #70 on Rural Broadband

New Lecture on Fiber Optics at Electrical Utilities - #67

FOA Lecture 51 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 1 - Causes of Damage To The Network  
FOA Lecture 52 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 2 - Planning For Restoration 
FOA Lecture 53 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 3 - Troubleshooting And Repair
FOA Lecture 54 Fiber Optic Connector Identification - New and old
FOA Lecture 55 The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics. - Understanding dB 
FOA Lecture 56 Fiber Optic Cable - Bend Radius -  Important for Installers to Understand
FOA Lecture 57 Fiber Optic Connector Inspection and Cleaning -  Most Connection Problems Are Caused By Dirty Connectors
FOA Lecture 58 Fiber Optic Media Conversion  - Copper To Fiber Made Easy
FOA Lecture 59 Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access   - How to drop fibers from a cable with minimal splicing
FOA Lecture 60 How Fiber Works   - Animated explanations of how fiber transmits light
FOA Lecture 61 Fiber Optic Color Codes    
FTTH Series

Like all our YouTube lectures, they are all short and easy to understand.

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.

Recent updates:

FTTH Updates: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated Architecture and PONs (10G)
Color Codes For Fiber Optics  

Fiber Optic Projects - the FOA Guide to projects from concept to operation

Coherent Communications Systems in the FOA Guide.

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

FOA Reference Books


NEW: FOA's FTTH Handbook:
We've gathered all our information on FTTH from the FOA Guide and past issues of the FOA Newsletter and edited it into a 112 page "FTTH Handbook." We even added a section on planning and managing FTTH Projects.
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

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
                          book   FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
Fiber Optics (4 languages), Premises Cabling, OSP fiber and construction, Network Design, Testing and FTTH

   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 and French (print and online) and Portuguese (online only.)

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 or as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        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

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
The FOA is concerned about safety!

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

See for more information

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

Safety Leader Magazine

Safety Leader

Safety Leader, a new quarterly magazine, informs and educates electrical contractors on safety from various angles—electrical, workplace, PPE, regulations, leadership, line work, NFPA 70E, and more. Safety Leader is bundled with ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR in February, May, August and November. To receive Safety Leader subscribe to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine here or subscribe to the ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR newsletter here.

2022 Conference On Damage Prevention In Phoenix
Excavation Safety Conference

Global Excavation Safety Conference

Phoenix AZ

March 1-3, 2022


The magazine, dp-Pro, sponsor of the conference, has also published it's latest issue with an article by FOA on "New Construction Techniques in Fiber Optics" and a overview of the FOA. You can read the magazine here.

When You Bury Marker Tape, Bury One That Will Work (July 2021)


Signaltape® provides a visual warning by ensuring tape is brought to the surface, alerting the operator to the presence of a buried utility. It includes a 3,000-lb. tensile strength aramid fiber membrane, which ensures the tape is pulled to the surface to alert the excavation crew. Signaltape comes in two sizes: 12″ x 1000′ or 6″ x 1000′.

 Best Practices Guide For Underground Construction
                      Practices - CGA

We assume you are familiar with the "One Call" and "Call Before You Dig" (811) program, but are you also familiar "Click Before You" and with the people behind it - the Common Ground Alliance and their Best Practices website?

Officially formed in 2000, the CGA represents a continuation of the damage prevention efforts embodied by the Common Ground Study. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and completed in 1999, this Study represents the collaborative work of 160 industry professionals who identified best practices relating to damage prevention. Any best practice or program endorsed by the CGA comes with consensus support from experts representing the following stakeholder groups: Excavators, Locators, Road Builders, Electric, Telecommunications, Oil, Gas Distribution, Gas Transmission, Railroad, One Call, Public Works, Equipment Manufacturing, State Regulators, Insurance, Emergency Services and Engineering/Design.

Read the CGA Best Practices Guide here.

Here are all the CGA resources for damage prevention.

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

FOA Corporate Members - Products & Services

List of corporate member information provided by FOA corporate members listed on the FOA website.


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 was 25 years old July 2020 - Read about FOA's history

Learn More About FOA's History.

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <>

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. or email <>
Phone: 1-760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2022, 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.