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June 2024

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Newsletter Sections Click on any link to jump to that section

Manufacturers' Role In Training
Online Credentials For Schools And Instructors
Updated OTDR Trainer
The Tech Business Is Complicated
FOA Programs For STEM Education
What's New And Popular On FOA Website

Key Trends In Long Haul
Fiber To The Sugar Mills
Wildfires Knock Out Fiber In Yukon
Quantum Network Testing In Boston
New FTTH Textbook in Serbian Language
Broadband Communities Summit

Compatibility Issues For BI Fibers
New Single Ended Testing Instrument
Introduction To Fiber Project Software
How Good Are Your OTDR Reference Cables?
Best Example Of Worst Install?
New Sumitomo Splicer
NECA/FOA Standard Withdrawn
Information From A Cable Scrap
Managing Projects - Gantt Charts
FOA Color Code Guides
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Interesting questions from our readers

Workforce Training/FiberU
Types Of Work Done By Fiber Techs
FOA-Approved School News
Fiber U MiniCourses

New FOA Technical Resources


About the FOA

FOA Certified Techs

CFOT Total

2024 At FOA - Heading For 100,000 

FOA certifications headed for 100K

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

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

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

fiber U

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

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

FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA
                          Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book
FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book
                        on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Fiber Broadband Guide

                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

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

FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online

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

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

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

Renew online with a credit card or PayPal

Join FOA On  Social Media

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has 3 LinkedIn Groups
FOA - official page on LinkedIn - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace
FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics
Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

Fiber Optic Training - What Is The Role Of Manufacturers?

In the early/mid 1990s when the FOA was being started, manufacturers were a major source for training for fiber optics. The manufacturers of fiber optic components like cable and connectors knew that few contractors and installers knew anything about fiber optics, so training was important to protect the company's own interests. Unless the installers were properly trained and performed installation tasks properly, it was likely the manufacturer who would get blamed. Many manufacturers, large and small, had their own training programs and certified installers specifically for the installation of their products. Many also offered warranties on their products but only if the installation was done by one of their certified installers.

The FOA was founded by many of these companies to offer an industry recognized certification that covered all fiber optic installation including installation of their particular products. the original CFOT KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) were written with the collaboration of companies like Siecor(Corning), 3M, Panduit, Automatic Tool & Connector, Fotec and others in the industry.

Dan Silver 3m Tecahing fiber optics
Dan Silver (R) of 3M teaching students about splice cases at Fiber U in 1994

Manufacturers' training suffered a deadly blow in the bursting of the Internet/fiber optic bubble in 2001 and has never fully recovered. For some companies it morphed into online training about the products, riding on the technical development of streaming video, primarily on YouTube.

In some ways, streaming video instruction has been great. It widens the availability of training to anyone with an Internet connection. What's it's missing is the hands-on practice that comes from an in-person class.

During the pandemic, FOA tried expanding on this concept with the Fiber U Basic Skills Lab. Lessons were created based on the learner having access to the proper equipment like splicers or test equipment, in soe cases, even buying inexpensive tools and components online. We learned that it is not easy to teach hands-on skills online without proper equipment and a nearby instructor to ask for help.

In some areas around the world, manufacturers are more involved in training. In a recent article on workforce retraining in the NYTimes, job retraining by manufacturers in Germany was used as an example. "Germany prides itself on its vocational training, offered through a dual-track system that combines school coursework with hands-on work experience.  Around 330 occupations require a trade certification, and anyone without one is largely out of luck — regardless of the skills that he or she may have acquired on the job."

In most countries, training and certification are not required. Techs always learn on the job (OJT), but many also elect to get proper training and certification like that from FOA approved training organizations. They know that training makes them more productive and certification makes them more employable.

FOA has manufacturers in our network of approved schools like Clearfield which uses our certification program for both employees and customers. FOA welcomes more manufacturers to join us; the industry needs your help training the fiber optic workforce. FOA can provide the basic training program and you need only add in your products to make it yours.

Online Credentials For FOA Schools And Certified Instructors

FOA switched to online credentials 1-1/2 years ago. Now every active FOA certified fiber optic and premises cabling tech has an online credential they can use to prove their certification, print paper certificates and share on social media. When they add another certification or renew, their online credential is updated.

FOA has now expanded the online credentials to its network of FOA Approved training organizations and FOA Certified Fiber Optic Instructors (CFOS/I and CPCT/I.) Now FOA Approved training organizations and FOA Certified Fiber Optic Instructors can now also share their credentials online.

FOA Approved School     FOA Certified Instructor
Those evaluating fiber optic or premises cabling training organizations will be able to quickly determine the status of the training organization they are considering by following the link to the organizations online credential. Likewise the qualifications of the instructor are also available on their online credential which lists all their FOA certifications.

More about FOA's network of approved training organizations.

Updated OTDR Trainer

Fiber optic testing is complicated. It's the subject of most of the technical questions we get at FOA and, according to the results of our certification exams, the hardest subject in fiber optics. FOA has worked hard to explain testing; even creating a complete textbook on the subject, The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optic Testing. We also have multiple pages on testing in the FOA Guide and several self-study courses at Fiber U.

In testing, OTDRs get the most questions and cause the most confusion. Questions like "When should I use an OTDR?"or "Is OTDR testing OK for acceptance testing on a newly installed cable plant?" are common, but emailing FOA a trace and asking questions about what it means is the most common by far.

For many years, FOA has had an OTDR trainer, created from PC software that allows analyzing OTDR traces offline. I read the OTDR standard ".sor" files and allowed analyzing the trace on the computer. We added a set of traces that showed how the user-set test parameters like distance, wavelength, test pulse width, fiber index of refraction and number of averages affect the measurements  made by the OTDR and taught the user how to choose the proper settings for any test conditions.

Like all software, this Windows software became obsolete. We looked for a more modern version that everyone could use and found Fiberizer® from instrument maker VeEX. Most OTDR makers offer PC software for offline trace analysis, but Fiberizer offers multiple options, Fiberizer Cloud online, Fiberizer Mobile apps for both iOS and Android, and Fiberizer for Windows. And Fiberizer is publicly available, not just for their test equipment customers.

Now we have rewritten the FOA OTDR Trainer around Fiberizer. The PC software was the version we used for creating the Trainer, but the basic techniques apply to all versions of Fiberizer. FOA provides a folder of sample traces in 3 categories - Parameter Traces, Sample Traces and PON Traces - around which we build the trainer. If you set up Fiberizer, you can complete the FOA OTDR Trainer lessons and then use the same software to analyze other traces you may have, even from other brands of OTDRs, as long as they are .sor files.

OTDR Trainer

We start by introducing you to the OTDR display, explain the functions of the software that help you understand OTDR operation and then guide you through a number of OTDR traces that explain how OTDRs work and how the setup options determine how well it will work with any particular cable plant.

OTDR averaging

Here is a comparison of three traces taken with different averaging, showing how more averaging reduces the noise in a trace and increases its distance capability.

After you get through the basic tutorials, we show you a few traces of real cable that illustrate typical confusing data in traces, like ghosts and gainers.


The FOA OTDR Trainer is ready to help you learn about OTDRs. Go to the OTDR Trainer page,
tech/ref/testing/OTDR/OTDRsimulator.html, choose your version of Fiberizer, download the FOA Traces and you are ready to go.

FOA wishes to thank VeEX for permission to use their Fiberizer® software in our OTDR trainer. And our compliments to them for making the ap available on multiple platforms that ensure anybody can use it.

The Tech Business Is Complicated (And Driven By Hype)

Technology-based businesses like the Internet, software, fiber optics, wireless, etc. are complicated. The technology itself is complicated. New tech is often technically complicated, and its developers and proponents are often secretive about their technology to protect their trade secrets from competitors. That never stops the marketing teams from creating lots of promotion promising how great it's going to be - what we call hype - that is spread far and wide in the press.

"The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press." The Law of Hype, Chapter 20 of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout.

Some tech, in the end, turns out to be mostly hype. 5G did not revolutionize healthcare or public safety (claims there got one service provider sued), has not replaced FTTH, and in fact its biggest change for cellular users may be that it drains their cellphone battery much faster. Our 5G phone almost always connects on WiFi; the 5G small cell 1-1/2 blocks away only gives 2 bars of signals. And the talk of 6G is already starting.

AI - Artificial "Intelligence" - is turning out to mostly hype, unless your definition of "success" includes the widespread distribution of misinformation. How some company could use AI for a search engine is beyond belief, knowing that AI is trained on an Internet full of misinformation.

But Google has been touting its new AI for search. According to a hilarious article in the Washington Post, "In search results, Google’s AI recently suggested mixing glue into pizza ingredients so the cheese doesn’t slide off. (Don’t do this.) It has previously said drinking plenty of urine can help you pass a kidney stone. (Don’t do this. And Google said it fixed this one.)" and "But there’s a serious lesson: You should have relatively low expectations for AI. With the generative AI from Google, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot, you should assume that they’re wrong until proved otherwise." (You can read more from the Post about their investigations into AI here. Depending on your point of view, it's hilarious or enough to scare you of AI.)

Remember MIT's AI "Norman", an AI trained on the web that just wanted to kill?

No matter how much AI is just hype, it consumes vast amounts of computing power in data centers (actually both computing power AND electrical power, a growing problem in many areas) and bandwidth in the fiber optic cables that connect the data centers. See the News Section below for an assessment of the impact of AI by Telegeography.

In the fiber optic business in the US, nothing has been hyped so much the BEAD program to support broadband in unserved and underserved areas. Fiber is not just "fiber broadband." Fiber broadband represents only a small fraction of the fiber business compared to long-haul, middle mile, metropolitan, electrical grids, intelligent traffic systems, data centers and many more applications.

The BEAD program was announced almost 3 years ago, details provided 2 years ago and to date projects have started. A NYTimes article on rural investment notes "The biggest risk is that politics stops the momentum created by these laws, because the investments are just getting started. For example, the money has not even begun to flow to local projects from the infrastructure act’s signature $42.5 billion investment to close the broadband gap."

The key word in that quote is "politics." The US is facing an election this year and, depending on the results, that BEAD money may never materialize. Even if it does, it will probably take a decade to affect the fiber optic market.

Tied to that, hype has also also focused on the fiber optic workforce. Like all hype, the need for workers has been exaggerated, which is why the FOA work with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a new job category for Telecom Techs and get reliable statistics is so important. Likewise, the article on the workforce in last month's FOA Newsletter, Who/What Is A Fiber Tech? What Is Their Future Looking Like? is important. Not everyone trained and certified in fiber optics works in telecom, nor is all fiber work broadband.

"Real revolutions don't arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6:00 PM news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced in the middle of the night and kind of sneak up on you." The Law of Hype.

Some tech, the ones that really offer benefits, tend to quietly move in and take over applications.  Coherent transmission is taking over in high speed fiber optics, after a decade of proven applications and, like most tech, becoming cheaper and smaller over time as R&D, manufacturing experience and market volume exert their influences.

FOA Programs Support STEM Education

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

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

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

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

Whats New And Popular?

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

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

FOA Guide To The Fiber Optic Workforce - what we've learned in developing the fiber optic workforce over more than a quarter century and almost 100,000 certified techs.

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

FOA Newsletter Sections

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


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Quote of the month: “Middle mile is like the middle child that keeps getting ignored. If we continue ignoring it, at one point in time, we will not be able to connect all of these new last mile connections that we are planning on building in the next four years.” Sachin Gupta, Director of Government Business & Economic Development at Centranet.

The Key Trends Shaping Long-Haul Capacity And Demand (Including AI)

In an article above, we talk about the hype that colors the markets for technology. One of the best groups to cut through the hype is Telegeography, the UK group that tracks submarine cables and produces beautiful maps showing their locations. Telegeography also produces reports on the telecom/internet marketplace. Recently they posted an article with the title The Key Trends Shaping Long-Haul Capacity And Demand that looks at market factors including the effects of AI.

Besides AI, the article looks at geopolitical issues and private submarine cables (Google and Meta/Facebook.) But AI is a surprisingly large factor in the need for more long-haul capacity. Before, the drivers were simply more people using the Internet, the rise of smartphones and more recently streaming. Now video is about half the Internet bandwidth.

AI uses bandwidth both in learning/training the AI and as it is used. AI scrapes data from all around the world to learn then again to answer queries. There is some movement to storing data locally, like edge data centers, but that means more data center capacity, which creates another series of problems, including providing electrical power.

Read the Telegepgraphy report here: The Key Trends Shaping Long-Haul Capacity And Demand

Last Month It Was "Fiber to the Yacht" and "Fiber to the Shack." This Month It's "Fiber To The Sugar Mills" In Brazil


BBG Telecom brings optical fiber to 130 mills in Pernambuco, Brazil

BBG Telecom, founded 15 years ago in Camaragibe, metropolitan region of Recife, PE, is bringing optical fiber to around 130 sugar mills in the interior of Pernambuco, through its subsidiary CampusNet, based in Palmares. “This operation ensures high-speed connectivity to remote areas of the state, where not even cell phones reach”, says Gilmar Amaral, the company's commercial and marketing director.

Sugar mills are a fundamental part of the history and culture of Pernambuco. The old production units, which transformed sugar cane into wealth, left a remarkable legacy in the region. Installed in rural areas, the mills face the challenge of difficult access and low population density. Known in the region as “arruados”, the communities bring together houses spread out and far apart. “For example, in one place there is a group of 20 houses and just 1.5 km later there are five more”, says the director. Even so, CampusNet brings FTTH connectivity – fiber to the home. “We have several strategic points of presence, we installed CTOs and we use 100% legal posting. We often need to negotiate with the farms to be able to pass the fiber through the properties”, he says.

BBG Telecom leva fibra óptica a 130 engenhos de Pernambuco, Brazil

A BBG Telecom, fundada há 15 anos em Camaragibe, região metropolitana de Recife, PE, está levando fibra óptica a cerca de 130 engenhos de açúcar do interior de Pernambuco, por meio de sua subsidiária CampusNet, sediada em Palmares. “Essa operação assegura conectividade de alta velocidade a áreas remotas do estado, onde nem mesmo o telefone celular chega”, diz Gilmar Amaral, diretor comercial e de marketing da empresa.

Os engenhos de açúcar são parte fundamental da história e cultura de Pernambuco. As antigas unidades produtivas, que transformavam a cana-de-açúcar em riqueza, deixaram um legado marcante na região. Instalados em áreas rurais, os engenhos têm o desafio do difícil acesso e baixa densidade populacional. Conhecidas na região pelo nome de “arruados”, as comunidades reúnem moradias espalhadas e distantes entre si. “Por exemplo, em um local há um grupo de 20 casas e somente 1,5 km depois há mais cinco”, afirma o diretor. Mesmo assim, a CampusNet leva a conectividade FTTH – fiber to the home. “Temos vários pontos de presença estratégicos, instalamos as CTOs e usamos posteamento 100% legalizado. Muitas vezes precisamos negociar com as fazendas para poder passar com a fibra pelas propriedades”, conta.

Read More at RTI.

“Perfect storm:” Wildfires knock out services in the Yukon

Wildfires in Yukon

The wildfires damaged communication infrastructure on May 10, disrupting access to emergency services.

Ongoing wildfires in Canada’s Yukon territory severed critical fiber lines, leaving customers in parts of the Yukon, British Columbia, and the Northwestern Territories leaving customers unable to communicate or access emergency services. Two separate fires damaged cables operated by local telco Northwestel simultaneously, leaving customers without access to mobile, internet, or telephony services.

“This really was a bit of a perfect storm,” said Northwestel’s vice-president of customer experience Tammy April to Global News. “We had two fires that really went from no fire to incredible blaze within a matter of hours of each other. So we had our east-west (fiber) route fail late afternoon on Friday, and it was within about five hours that we had our north-south route fail.”

To make matters worse, satellite phones – usually a reliable backup to terrestrial networks fail – were also experiencing disruption. April ascribed this disruption to electromagnetic interference resulting from the recent solar storm.

Repairs to the infrastructure have been underway since the weekend, with services already restored in most affected regions.

Read more in Broadband Communities

Longest Quantum Network Tested On Existing Fiber Optics In Boston

It is just a test, but a very promising one.

Quantum internet would allow for sending hacker-proof information around the world. Its secret is quantum mechanics and it is seen as an important development for the future of telecommunications. There are challenges to overcome, but progress has also been made – such as a new record set by researchers at Harvard University.

Quantum Network Boston

The team was able to demonstrate the longest transmission between two nodes using already existing fiber optics within the city of Boston. The fiber path was 35 kilometers (22 miles) in total, stretching around the city. The two nodes that connected to the close path were actually located one floor apart, so the fiber was not the shortest route but rather the more interesting one.

Showing that quantum network nodes can be entangled in the real-world environment of a very busy urban area, is an important step towards practical networking between quantum computers.

IFLScience on Apple News. Thanks to FOA instructor Terry O'Malley for sending this to FOA.

New Technical Book On FTTx In Serbian

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

Vladimir Grozdanovic

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

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

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

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

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

Quote Of The Month Year:

(this is worth repeating)

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


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

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


Cross Reference To FOA Technical Reference Materials

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

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

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

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

The Curious Compatibility Issues Of Bend Insensitive FIber

Bend insensitive (BI) fiber (also referred to as reduced bend sensitive - RBS - fiber) has been around for more than a decade now, but it is still not well understood and there are some technical controversies associated with it. When first introduced, it was mainly for multimode fiber which can get a lot of bending stress in premises applications, especially around patch panels. It took little time before practically all MM fiber was BI.

That created the first controversies. There was much concern at the time over the testing of MM fiber with its dependence on modal distribution when testing loss. For many years, standards for testing called for using reference test cables with non-BI fiber. The problem was finding non-BI MM fiber cables. Eventually most standards changed to say use either fiber for reference test cables.

Singlemode fiber only recently joined this controversy. BI fiber (ITU-T G.657) was an essential component in making cables more densely packed with fibers. Not only did cables start using BI fibers to make cables more fiber dense, but they began using coatings of less than 200 microns on the fiber instead of 250 micron coatings to increase density even more. Many of today's cables, especially the high fiber count cables and those with flexible ribbons rely on BI fibers in their designs.

Then this month, FOA gets this inquiry: "I've currently got quite a few G652 launch boxes of various lengths but we are testing more and more G657 A1 fibre. My question is, are my G652 launch boxes compatible for testing G657A1 cable."

An ITU online publication says "ITU-T G.657.A1 and ITU-T G.657.A2 fibres are fully compliant with ITU-T G.652.D fibres."

FOA asked our technical advisor Joe Botha of Triple Play Fiber Optics about this compatibility. Joe has done studies on this issue for clients in Africa.
Here is what Joe tells us.

"To start with, they are perfectly compatible, with a marginal difference in MFDs i.e. only a slight gainer and additional loss is visible. With latest Corning fibers, the two MFDs are identical.
Years back, I was asked to do research on exactly this for a few FNO’s . Based on findings, the following recommendations are made:
Not too many are aware that the ~27m long fiber in a OTDR, is in fact G.652D - which is a good reason to use a G.652D launch patch cord and pigtail in your patch panel.
Where a fiber terminates in a patch panel, whether it’s a G.655, G.656, G.657, or G.652, etc, you should splice-on G.652D pigtails. The reasons for this are:
Your patch cords will in all likelihood be G.652D. And remember, the fiber in the OTDR is G.652D.
With different fiber types, one cannot obtain a perfect enough core alignment, like you would with a fusion spice, through a connector/mating adapter type connection."

From the trace below taken at 1310 nm, the splice loss of the joint between two ~25km fibers, one G.652 and the other G.657, is low and has minor directional differences. At 1550, the loss of the splice was too low in both directions for the OTDR to detect it.
Splice loss G.652 to G.657 fiber

So the answer to the original question is "Yes, you can use your G.652 launch cables with G.657 fibers. The bigger question of compatibility of the two fibers is "Yes, they are compatible."

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New Concept In Testing From One End Of A Cable

AFL SE100While it might look a lot like a standard fiber optic power meter, the AFL FlowScout SE100 and its special accessory, a dedicated wavelength optical reflector, is a different kind of tester. The instrument is an OCWR - optical continuous wave reflectometer - a complicated name for an instrument that sends out a steady signal and looks for a reflected signal on the same fibre. Remember the OTDR sends out a pulse and times the return pulse for distance information and looks at backscatter for loss information. The OCWR just measures the return power.

The unique feature of the AFL SE100 is the tuned relfector. It uses an optical device called a bragg grating to reflect light around 1430nm but transmit light at other wavelengths. By having its internal source at 1430nm, it measures the reflected light at 1430nm and computes the loss of the fiber from one end.

Since the relfector passes light at other wavelengths, it can be inserted at the end of the cable, for example at a customer ONT in a FTTH system for testing the link to the ONT, then left in place during the PON network operation. Any time testing is required, it can be done by a single tech from a remote location.

The concept is also a good one for difficult testing situations like fiber to the antenna (FTTA) at a cell site. Once the reflector is inserted, testing can be done from the ground.

Follow these links for more information on the AFL FlowScout SE100 and it's reflector.

How Good Are Your OTDR Launch/Receive Cables?

FOA received an inquiry about some OTDR traces that showed failures. Quite a few fibers failed at the final connection to the receive cable, indicating that there could be a problem with the connection - dirt of a bad connector on the receive cable. Have you checked the connectors on your OTDR - or OLTS - reference cables recently? You should inspect and clean them regularly - every few connections - to ensure they are good. If they are bad, they will cause false failures on the cable under test.

Introduction to GIS and Fiber Management Systems

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

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

Read the article here in the FOA Guide.   

NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard withdrawn

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

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

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

FTTH Technical Papers

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

Testing The FTTH PON Network (new) 

 Troubleshooting PON Installations.

 Installation of FTTH Active Equipment in the FOA Guide.

Optical Splitters in the FOA Guide.

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

Recycling Fiber Optic Cables?  Contact LD4 Recycle  

Learning Important Information From A Found Cable Scrap

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

Corning RR Cable

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

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

Managing Fiber Optic Projects - The Gantt Chart

(With An Excel File To Make Your Own)

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

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

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

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

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

  FOA Color Code Card  color code card UTP color codes

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

And Color Codes For UTP Cabling

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

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration

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

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

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

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

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


Worth Reading

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

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

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

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

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

The FOA's History

Stories From The Past FOA Newsletters

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

Fiber To The Shore - Undersea cables along the coast April, 2024.
The Future Of The Fiber Tech May 2024.

Worth Reading (And Watching): 

May 2024

Responsible Fiber Deployment: Strategies for Protection and Damage Prevention - Excavation Safety Alliance - YouTube video, 1hr.

Corning opens new Hickory, NC, optical cable manufacturing campus - Lightwave

How a simple fix could double the size of the U.S. electricity grid - Washington Post -
Rewiring miles of power lines could make space for data centers, AI and a boom in renewables.

April 2024

The March/April Digital Edition of ISE Magazine - Interesting interviews and an article on preparing for disasters.

Copper decommissions spread across the US, albeit quietly - Some smaller US telecom providers are toying with the notion of shutting down their copper networks, following years of pioneering efforts by bigger network operators like AT&T and Verizon.

Scientists ride new fiber wavelengths for terabit speed - A team of researchers got to terabit speeds using E- and S-band spectrum over a single optical fiber

Internet data centers are fueling drive to old power source: Coal - Antiquated coal-powered electricity plants that had been scheduled to go offline will need to keep running to fuel the increasing need for more power at data centers, undermining clean energy goals.

Recent Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023

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

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

The Secret to Future Proofing,  ISE Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

Construction Without Disruption ISE Magazine

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine

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

Worth Reading - Magazines, Websites and Newsletters

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

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

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

Structured Cabling News - a website and weekly newsletter about cabling

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

FOA was founded in 1995 - FOA's History

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

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

Worth Reading - History & Technical

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

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

books  book 2

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

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

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

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

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


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

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

Good Question!

Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers 

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  

Grounding Armored Jumper Cables
Q: Do you need to bond/ground FTTH drop "jumpers" that ise an armored cable?
A: Yes, just like any other cable that has conductive elements.  A manufacturer of the cables Tinifiber seems to agree:
I do not know of any fiber optic connectors that address this, unlike the RJ-45/modular 8-pin connectors for UTP copper.

Disoposal Of Fiber Optic Cables
Q: How does an organization dispose of unwanted fiber optic cables in an environmentally safe manner?
A: We recommend that users save some reels leftover from an installation for possible use in restoration. If a cable break occurs, getting cable quickly can be a problem. We also have a contact who says he can recycle fiber optic cable:
Contact: Steve Maginnis, LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling, (Visit website,, 803.371.5436
Otherwise, it is basically landfill.
Finding Buried Fiber Optic Cables
Q: We have a client that needs their private fiber located.  We have been on site and confirmed the lines were installed with no tracer wire or conductive conduit/sheathing.  Want to know if you had any suggestions on how to locate or if there was specialized equipment that I am aware of.
A: Interesting question on an important topic. The answer is a qualified maybe. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) can sometimes spor fiber optic cable, maybe more easily if it is in duct or conduit. It requires someone with a lot of experince in GPR. There are companies around the US with this capability. Then there is a new proposal using the sensing capability of fiber with above ground vibrators. Nothing commercial is available here as far as I know.

Fiber Optics For Alarm Systems
Q: Can you please help me with having information about if do you know if someone did use fiber for complete fire alarm systems, sensor, smoke detectors, panels etc.
A: FOA checked with my technical contact at the IBEW, Jim Simpson, for this topic. Here is his answer:
NFPA does indeed have requirements for fiber in fire alarm systems. Keep in mind, the requirements may vary depending on which edition of NFPA 72 the jurisdiction has adopted. The info below is based on the 2022 NFPA 72.

  • Chapter 12 covers Circuits and Pathways
  • Section 27.4 covers Communications Methods
  • Section 27.7 covers Public Cable Plant

Updating FOA Courses And Reference Materials
Q: How often are FOA courses updated? And when they get updated, what happens to those who would have done a previous version?
A: The FOA certifications are updated as needed to stay current with technology and applications. Udates are incremental and we do not require current certification holders to retake courses or exams. Some of our updates are almost humorous. For example, over the last 20 years the definitions of “hybrid” and “composite” cables have flipped twice in several international standards. At the last time, we changed all references to these cable types in all our materials to note the confusion it creates, then purged all questions from our exams that covered this confusing topic.

Older questions can be found on the FAQs page.

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

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  



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

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order:

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

/ FiberU

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

Learn about the fiber optic/ broadband workforce 

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

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

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

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

FOA install banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New In Spanish - Nuevo en español

FOA Spanish Textbook And Online Guide Updated

FOA Fiber Optic Textbook in Spanish

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

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

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

FOA Adds Fiber Optic Network Design in Spanish

Design Textnook in Spanish

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

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

FOA School News

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

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOA Direct Certification Program For Experienced Fiber Optic Techs

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

New Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 

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

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

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

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

Fiber Optics In Communications  

Fiber Optic Jargon

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

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

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

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

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

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

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

2. The difference between dB and dBm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

/ Resources


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

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development

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

Read the FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development online.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

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

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

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

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

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband  

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

More Translations of FOA Textbooks

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

Here is a listing of all the FOA textbook Translations

Spanish Editions:

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

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

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

Planning A Fiber Optic Project?

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

FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

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

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

FOA Loss Budget Calculator On A Web Page 5/2020

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

FOA Loss Budget Calculator 

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

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

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

FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband

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

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

Click on any book for more information about it.

FOA has reprinted

Lennie Lightwave
Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.
Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

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



On Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards

fiber in
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

FOA Corporate Program - Products & Services

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

List of corporate information  on the FOA website.

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


About The FOA

Contact Us: or email <>

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has a company page and four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

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

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

What is The FOA? 

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

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

Read More  

FOA History  

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optics  

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

The FOA Home Page

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

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


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

Fiber Optic Timeline  

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

 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.

Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

Feel free to use the logo and designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!

Contact FOA at to get logos in file format for your use.

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