Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb Certification
The FTTx Technicians
Needed By The Industry
Technology or finances are no longer the primary detriments to FTTx deployment. Finding sufficient personnel trained and certified to install FTTx networks has become a gating item as hundreds of FTTx projects come online. Unlike large projects such as long distance or metro networks that keep a small crew busy for weeks, FTTx involves relatively short projects that can keep numerous crews busy working in a small geographic area such as a neighborhood or subdivision.
The Fiber Optic Association,Inc. (FOA), the nonprofit professional society of fiber optics, first became aware of this problem in late 2005. First some of our schools approached us for recommendations on teaching FTTx. FTTx installers came to the FOA asking for help in finding techs capable of doing FTTx installs. Next we received calls from service providers like Verizon also looking for appropriately trained techs. With hundreds of FOA-approved schools around the world certifying thousands of Certified Fiber Optic Technicians each year, we were an obvious source of capable technicians. As we talked to these companies, we realized that we could greatly improve their efficiency by creating standards for teaching techs in the FTTX specialty and a FTTx certification.
While we had many schools that had been teaching fiber optics installation for years in our group, few were yet proficient in FTTx. And, of course, FTTx is a moving target, as implementers experiment with various topologies and new technology develops. The FOA created curriculum for our schools as the basis of their training for the FOA FTTx certification program.
The diversity of installations of FTTH/FTTP/FTTC makes developing training materials more complex. FTTx involves some different skills from traditional OSP installations, depending on the installation methods chosen. Traditional telco OSP installs has one crew pulling cable, one splicing and maybe even another testing, then a final crew turning up the equipment. A FTTX crew is sometimes expected to do all this themselves as well as setting up services for phone, Intenet and video inside the home.
Training and Certification
Meet Industry Needs
Rather than try to cover all the fiber optics associated with FTTx installations (cables, terminations, installation, testing, etc.) as a single program, we made the FTTx certification cover only topics specific to FTTx, including marketing issues (why FTTx now), technology, network architecture and installation. Techs would have the FOA first level fiber optic certification, CFOT, as a prerequisite. The program could then be used to train not only techs, but also non-technical personnel, such as customer service representatives who need to understand FTTx in more depth to deal with today's tech-savvy homebuilders and consumers!
Remember the FOA does not have a fixed curriculum that we provide to our approved schools. We have our reference textbooks and website and we set standards for the training. But our approved schools develop their own programs, which allows them flexibility to teach courses appropriate for different applications, whether it is OSP, premises, security, military, industrial, utitlity or whatever is needed. In the case of FTTX, we decided the priority associated with getting programs available quickly made it reasonable for us to create the basis of a program which the schools could modify as needed to fit the FTTx philosophy of their customers. Feedback from our schools indicate they are incorporating materials from their customers for training that customize the training for the particular applications of FTTx in use by company or regionally.
One thing we know for certain is that the FOA FTTx certification program will have to evolve as the industry develops various FTTX solutions.
a Workforce for FTTx
The FOA has the world's largest network of fiber optic trainers, which is why we were approached about developing a FTTx program in the first place. We at the FOA feel proud of our efforts to support FTTx and do out part to help the FTTx industry grow as fast as it can. Our contributions through this program and our other technical services to the industry fulfill our goals of promoting fiber optic applications worldwide.
FOA CFOS/H FTTx Specialist Certification Course Description
This course covers training personnel on Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb (called FTTx). The course can be used to either train installation technicians already familiar with fiber optic installation (and FOA CFOT certified) or can be structured to train other personnel in support roles, including customer service.
For technician certification: CFOT certification (understanding of basic fiber optics, components, installation practice, testing)
For others not expecting to do actual installation work, there is no prerequisite for the training, although a basic knowledge of fiber optics is expected, but a first level FOA certification is necessary for certification.
Students in this course will learn:
Why FTTx is being implemented today, including technical, marketing and financial justifications.
The types of FTTx architectures being used, advantages and disadvantages of each and types of components required.
Technical details of specialized FTTx components like splitters and wavelength-division multiplexers and requirements for cables, connectors, splices and hardware.
Design and installation requirements particular to FTTx.
Testing and troubleshooting FTTx links.
Specialized safety requirements of FTTx.
And Reference Materials:
FOT-FTTx PowerPoint furnished by the FOA, FOA reference website, FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics textbook, supplemented with outside materials
What is FTTx (FTTH/P, FTTC)
Why is FTTx just now becoming utilized?
Types of FTTx architectures and networks, advantages and disadvantages
FTTx components, options in types used
Designing FTTx networks
Testing and troubleshooting
Activities For Labs
Hands-on activities for FTTx labs must be structured for the requirements of the organization being trained. Options in system architecture and installation methods can lead to choices including these:
Traditional OSP installation: Cable installation, preparation and splicing
Preterminated cable plant installation: Installing cables and hardware using factory made cables and hardware.
New installation processes: preterminated/splice connectors, installation and assembly of PON splitters.
Testing: OLTS and OTDR testing of PON (passive optical network) links, use of optical power meters to measure power outputs at system turn-on to verify installation performance.
The CFOS/H exam covers the materials in the curriculum noted above.
FOA Certification Overview
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