, 2011

In This Issue
FOA Seminars in Africa
Fiber U Training Conference For Africa?
Is Telecom Dead?
FOA iPad App Now Available
FOA Approved School Student Wins Ohio SkillsUSA Telecommunications Contest
DSL Market Dying, Why Are We Surprised?
New Record, 26 Terabits/Sec, Using One Laser
Corning "Sold Out," Blames Verizon

New @ FOA  
FOA Corporate Memberships  
Fiber U - two new free online self-study courses
Publications: NECA/FOA 301 Installation Revised, eBooks
videos: New FOA Lecture Series - Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Cables
Online Reference Guide: New pages on BI fiber, data centers, more
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools:
FOA Recognizes It's Master Instructors, New schools and programs

FOA Jobs Web Site  

Jobs- OSP Techs in Southeast US and New England, Fiber Construction Consultants for a Michigan Healthcare Network and 2 new jobs in Sales/Marketing- Also see FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
Events: Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
Fiber U is back - at the OSP Expo
AFL to Host "Traveling" Advanced Splicing Seminars
Free Corning "See the Light" Seminars

Q&A: Large number of good questions this month, e.g. IR/UV Eye Protection

Product News - Bendable connector boots, more

Worth Reading:  More interesting things we've read (and videos we've seen.)
This Month's "Tech Puzzler
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

Want to be notified when the FOA Newsletter is updated? Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter. 
You can also sign up from your cell phone: text "FOA" to 22828 (usual text charges apply)

The Archives: Previous Issues:
1/11,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  
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

It's now CFOT®  and Fiber U® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are now a registered trademark. With over 33,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT and Fiber U required trademark protection. Now it's official!

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

New FOA Reference Books 

(Available Printed or eBooks)
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

FOA Videos Now on videos

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  

Renew your FOA certification online - plus get a discount coupon for the new FOA books and get an extra month free. Details here.
Find us on Facebook            FOA on LinkedIn       videos

FOA Seminars in Africa

FOA Logo  Jim Hayes, FOA, at the Johannesburg seminar FOA President Jim Hayes in Johannesburg 

Click here for more photos of the FOA Seminars  

Download the FOA Presentation from the Africa Seminars (PDF, 15 MB)

The FOA, repesented by President Jim Hayes and Administrative Director Karen Hayes, presented three seminars in Africa in May, organized by local FOA-Approved schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, (Triple Play Fibre Optic Solutions) Nairobi, Kenya (African eDevelopment Resource Centre) and Lusaka, Zambia (ICT Resources Center) . The seminars were attended by large numbers of local contractors, installers, vendors and government officials interested in learning more about new fiber optic technologies as well as about the FOA and its programs. FOA also visited local companies to discuss specific issues related to the local markets.
    As one of the fastest growing markets for telecommunications, Africa is planning the installation of more fiber optic infrastructure and needs trained technicians to perform the design, installation and maintenance work necessary to support their fiber optic and wireless networks. Our visits to South Africa, Kenya and Zambia gave us a view into the variations in development in Africa, with SA being on a par with the US, Europe or the Asian rim countries, Kenya rapidly building infrastructure and Zambia in an earlier stage of development.
    With many submarine cables now connecting to Africa, the need is to bring the bandwidth into the heart of the continent and distribute it for general use. Quite a few installations have already been completed, and many more are being planned. We were often questioned about installation practices in the US and how we protect the fiber optic cables, as they have continual problems with dig-ups from other construction and theft of cables by those thinking the cables contain copper.
    Like much of the developing world, most African countries have few landline phones or CATV systems, relying instead on wireless - cell phones, WiFi and satellite links in more remote areas - for communications and Internet access. Backhaul for their cellular networks today appears to be mainly on line-of-sight wireless, although fiber is now making inroads where increasing bandwidth is needed to support growing numbers of active users.
    Cellular phones in the areas we visited would surprise most Western users. Few smart phones were seen, limited to the really high technology types of users. Most people have simple phones used for voice and text messaging, but they have different systems and applications than places like the USA. Their simpler phones can access the Internet, for example to view and/or update a Facebook page, using far less bandwidth than a smart phone. They also use their phones for something really impressive - banking and cash transactions. In many countries, few Africans have credit or debit cards, so they use their phone instead. 
    Like America, rural broadband can be a problem, but fiber to the rural areas and wireless connectivity seems to be a viable solution. Most operators are already using cellular and WiFi and are familiar with WiMax. We received many questions regarding the new "white space" systems using unused analog TV channels to deliver wireless services over a much larger range now being rolled out in the US and UK. There was also lots of interest in our presentation about fiber to the wireless towers and fiber "up the tower" to the antennas.
     Other topics covered in the FOA presentation that generated high interest were data centers, with many being planned or built in Africa to support rising Internet traffic and power utility applications for smart grid and alternative energy.

Seminar in Joburg*
FOA Seminar in Joburg 2011
     The seminar in Joburg was organized by Joe Botha of
Triple Play Fibre Optic Solutions , a FOA Master Instructor, with assistance and sponsorship of DataNet Infrastructure Group. Besides speakers Jim Hayes of the FOA and Joe Botha, Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Dimension Data Holdings, PLC, and formerly Director General - South African Department of Communications, spoke on the current state of communications in Africa. (You can watch a Dimension Data satellite launch on YouTube -  exciting! ) FOA presented a new "Pioneer in Communications" award to Mr. Ngcaba in Joburg.
*That's what everyone in Africa calls Johannesburg!

Seminar in Nairobi
FOA Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya
     The seminar in Nairobi was organized by Harry Hare and Andrew Karanja of
African eDevelopment Resource Centre and their staff. Attendees filled the conference room at the Nairobi Intercontinental Hotel to standing room only. Harry opened with a welcome and an introduction of the attendees. Presentations included an introduction by Paul Kukuno, CEO of KICTB (Kenya Information & Communications Technology Board) and a official opening by Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications. The presentation by Jim Hayes of the FOA was followed by a lively and lengthy question and answer session.  A further report on the meeting is in CIO magazine of Kenya.

Seminar in Lusaka
FOA Seminar in Lusaka, Zambia
     The Lusaka seminar was organized by Ernest Kamanga of
ICT Resources Center and sponsored in part by Axiz, an IT distributor. Speaking at the meeting was Hon. Dominic Y. Sichinga, SC, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Transport, Republic of Zambia, Mrs. Susan Mulikita, Asst. Director General, Zambia Information and Communications Telecommunication Authority (ZICTA), who reveiwed the state of communications in Zambia and the plans for future developments. Jim's presentation was followed by a question and answer session where attendees asked some pointed questions on issues important to their work developing new communications infrastructure in Zambia. Joe Botha did a short presentation on training and then he and Jim awarded CFOTs to the students in his class that week.

Fiber U Training Conference For Africa?
    The current FOA schools (
Triple Play Fibre Optic Solutions in SA,  African eDevelopment Resource Centre in Nairobi and  ICT Resources Center in Lusaka) are actively training workers needed to expand communications in Africa. To assist their efforts, the FOA is looking at the possibility of a "Fiber U for Africa" in 2012, a major training conference that would bring experts and manufacturers from around the world to Africa to train workers on the latest technologies. Stay tuned.

Click here for more photos of the FOA Seminars  

Download the FOA Presentation from the Africa Seminars (PDF, 15 MB)

Is Telecom Dead?
Telecom Timeline
This is a personal timeline of sorts, since I (Jim Hayes) was first introduced to modern communications at Bell Labs in the late 1960s, walking down hallways populated by Nobel Prize winners to work with researchers developing the integrated circuit technology that made digitization of the phone system possible. A decade later I was back, working with others who were developing fiber optics. Since 1980, as an entrepreneur in fiber optics and as a member of the FOA staff, I've followed the changeover of the communications system from POTS (plain old telephone service) to the Internet age.
Since I (JH) have been involved in communications, it has been digitized and mostly converted to fiber optics. A decade ago, data traffic surpassed voice traffic and has been growing at an exponential rate since. Google alone now accounts for about 7% of all Internet traffic, about half is user searches and half is machine-to-machine traffic updating their local data centers. Now we have video – some nights in the US, Netflix movie downloads account for almost half the Internet traffic. Growth in traffic shows no sign of slowing either!
Voice seems obsolete – it’s not telephoning anymore! Data traffic dominates the Internet. At a recent meeting AT&T noted that they still have to support virtually every service they ever offered, making standards like MPLS that can accommodate any type of traffic is necessary for them. But Google only needs to transmit data, so they say they will not pay the additional costs in equipment or traffic overhead that the telcos must live with. Now we have to deal with how to charge for video which uses far more bandwidth than voice or data – where is the revenue coming from to support video growth?
Whatever, fiber is the winner, because only fiber can provide the bandwidth we need!

FOA iPad App Now Available
FOA iPad App
The FOA has just released its first APP for the iPad, a self-study version of the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics.
The FOA APP builds on the FOA basic fiber optic textbook to create an interactive learning environment that builds on the iBook electronic version of the book to add a guide to use for self-study and real-time testing that provides feedback on what you have learned and correct answers to questions answered incorrectly.



The FOA APP is priced at only $9.99, same as the iBook, so the self-study program is free. Download it from the Apple APP Store with your
iPad or iTunes.

FOA Approved School Student Wins Ohio
SkillsUSA Telecommunications Contest

Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers hosted the SkillsUSA Telecommunications contest for Ohio in April. We had 12 students from other schools in Ohio who entered the contest, and I am very proud to say my student took GOLD. My student will now be representing the State of Ohio at SkillsUSA Nationals in Kansas City MO the last week of June. The best part is he is only a junior student so he can compete again next year.

A feather in your hat is the fact that everything I taught him was from FOA curriculum. I just thought you should hear our success at my school and know your training material is creating champions not only in the workplace but also in skills contests.
I have been getting a flood of e-mails asking what we use to train our students. I told them all that one place has everything they need to teach Telecom and that being the FOA.

Once more thank you for providing great learning opportunities for our students success. Wish us luck at the Nationals...

Floyd Collins
CCNT-2 Instructor
Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, FOA Approved School #135
Fremont, Ohio 43410

Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center

DSL Market Dying, Why Are We Surprised?
A recent article on Connected Planet talked about the rapid decline of the DSL equipment market. Is this FTTH finally overcoming copper? Or is it just that all the copper lines are converted to DSL and the market is saturated? We suspect the latter, as we found in Africa, there are few copper landlines to convert.

New Record, 26 Terabits/Sec, Using One Laser
Researchers at 
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany
have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using a single laser: 26 terabits per second. That's correct, its not many lasers using DWDM, but one laser, using very short pulses that produce a number of discrete colours of light in what is known as a "frequency comb".
At the receiving end, traditional methods to separate the different colours will not work. In the current experiment, the team sent their signals down 50km of optical fibre and then implemented what is known as an optical fast Fourier transform to unpick the data streams. Professor Freude at Karlsruhe said that the current design outperforms earlier approaches simply by moving all the time delays further apart, and that it is a technology that could be integrated onto a silicon chip - making it a better candidate for scaling up to commercial use. More from BBC.
In another report, BBC quotes a UK researcher saying that currently, we can utilize up to 50% of the ultimate capacity of SM fiber, squashing the idea that SM fiber has infinite bandwidth. BBC.

Corning "Sold Out," Blames Verizon
Corning has sold out its optical fiber cable capacity, blaming, among other factors, a 20% increase in orders from Verizon. "We're actually sold out in fiber right now," CFO Jim Flaws told the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit on Tuesday. Corning, which supplies glass for everything from televisions to network cable, will add new manufacturing capacity over the next year in order to cope with booming demand, according to Flaws. He cited an increase in fiber optic business in Australia and Canada, and in Japan, where networks are being rebuilt after the earthquake, as well as unexpected U.S. growth from Verizon.

Events of Interest

Fiber U@ OSP Expo

Fiber U Returns @ OSP EXPO, September 13-14, 2011

Some of you may remember the famous "Fiber U" training conferences of the 1990s where dozens of vendors and hundreds of students converged for a week-long training conference. Now Fiber U is part of the FOA. This year we've been invited to work with OSP Magazine to present seminars at their annual conference. We'll have sessions on Fiber Optics in SmartGrid, Fiber for Wireless and Gigabit FTTH.

AFL to Host "Traveling" Advanced Splicing Seminars

AFL has launched advanced splicing seminars intended for industry engineers and professionals, as well as university students, engaged in fiber optic activities involving splicing and for those interested in learning more about fusion splicing technology and methods. The seminars, which will take place around the US, will include
  • Explanation of splicing system observation and fiber alignment technology
  • Fusion splicing parameters and heating methods
  • Splicing methods and techniques for various specialty fiber types
  • Methods for high strength splicing
  • Splice protection
  • Measurement of splice quality
  • Cleaving and other fiber preparation issues and technology
  • Non-splicing applications such as ball-lensing
Seminars will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Boston, Canada.
There is no charge for attending; however AFL will be conducting pre-registration in order to ensure availability of a proper facility depending upon the number of attendees. Sign up today: http://www.stateofthearc.com/seminars/signup.html

Free Corning "See the Light" Seminars
Corning is offering free 3 hour seminars on "Termination Technology" in over a dozen cities around the US in the coming months. The seminars focus on new termination techniques and will give attendees real hands-on training.
You must pre-register for the seminars, and we recommend you do so soon as they will probably fill up quickly!
June 15     Cincinnati, OH
July 20     Washington, DC
August 10     Buffalo, NY
August 17     Miami, FL
September 14     San Diego, CA
October 19     New Orleans, LA
November 16     Atlanta, GA
December 14     Austin, TX
Register at http://registration.corning.com/1STL%2D2011/

FOA LogoWhat's New @ FOA

FOA Corporate MemberNew Corporate Memberships
FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Read more.

Fiber U
Two New Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs on Outside Plant Fiber Optics and OTDRs
There are two new free online self-study programs on Fiber U. "Outside Plant Fiber Optics" uses the new FOA textbook and online reference guide to OSP to help you learn about OSP fiber networks. The "Understanding OTDRs" self-study program will help you learn how to properly use these complicated instruments and there is a free OTDR simulator you can download to use for practice.

FOA Certification On Outside Plant Fiber Optics
The new FOA CFospT outside plant certification focuses on OSP fiber optic network design, installation and maintentance. A CFospT certified tech must know the ways that fiber is used in the OSP, how it is installed, tested and maintained. While a CFOT might only have a basic knowlede of fusion splicing and OTDR testing, for example, a CFospT will be knowledgeable and skillful in those areas - and more. Reference materials for the new CFospT are the printed textbook, the FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics (right) as well as eBooks from Amazon for the Kindle or Apple for the iPad/iPod/iPhone and the OSP reference section of the FOA Online Reference Guide which now includes a self-study guide to the CFospT exam.
More information on the FOA 
Outside Plant Fiber Optic Technician (CFospT) certification.

Want to know more about OSP? There's OSP Magazine for that - and a trade show, OSPExpo, running this fall in Cincinnati.

Reference Books for FOA Certifications are now available on Kindle and iPad/iPhone
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

We have created three new FOA books to be used in training for FOA certifications and as reference books for contractors, installers and end users of fiber optics. These books have full curriculum support, including free curriculum materials for teaching FOA certification courses. Because we are self-publishing these books using more modern "publish on demand" technology, they are easier to keep up to date, easier to buy and much, MUCH cheaper!
All are now available in print and electronically in Kindle and Apple iBook versions. The basic fiber optic book is also available as a self-study program in an Apple APP for iPad/iPhone/iPod.
Details on the new book each of the new books are at the book pages linked to the photos above.
NECA/FOA 301 Installation Updated
NECA 301
Standards cover components and systems and how to test them, but rarely get into installation issues. The FOA NECA 301 standard which covers installation of optical fiber systems has been revised for the second time, adding considerable new materials. This standard is derived from FOA educational material put in standards form and approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner." The standard is available from NECA

Lecture 4: Fiber Optic Cables

FOA YouTube Lecture 4 - Optical Fiber Cable

The fourth lecture in our series on fiber optics is now online. It covers fiber optic cables: cable types and applications.

View the FOA YouTube video Lecture 4 - Optical Fiber.  

FOA Lecture Series 
The FOA is dedicated to make technical material readily available to all those interested in fiber optics. For all 15 years of our existence, we've created reference materials in the form of printed textbooks and web pages. Now our Online Reference Guide has grown so large it needs it's own Google Search and we offer all three of our new books on the Amazon Kindle or Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod. Recently we started our own channel on YouTube
and the response has been enthusiastic.
So we've been adding more videos to YouTube, including a demonstration of how to use your cell phone camera to detect IR light in fiber systems and have started a lecture series on fiber optics.
The first lecture is called "Fiber Optics and Communications" and FOA President Jim Hayes describes the many different uses of fiber in telecommunications, CATV, security, utility and many other networks. Lecture #2 is about Safety in handling and installing fiber. Future lectures will cover the basics of fiber and cable, termination and splicing, installation and testing. Watch for more.

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

New Web Page on Bend Insensitive Fiber
Bend-insensitive fiber is a "hot topic" now - we try to explain how it works and what it means for installation and test. 

Basic Fiber Design Section Updated
Lots of new materials added to this introduction to fiber optic network design.

New Web Page on Data Centers
Data centers are the heart of the Internet, storing and supplying data for user requests. Needless to say, high performance cabling is needed to move the data between storage, servers and routers. We've created a new pagein our Online Reference Guide on 
data centers - how fiber and cabling are vital to their performance.

Learn More About OTDRs - Download a Free OTDR Simulator
More and more installers are being asked for OTDR testing but using these instruments is not easy. They are hard to set up properly and complicated to interpret the traces. Using the autotest function can lead to disastrous results! The FOA has a good tutorial on OTDRs on our Online Reference Guide and w
e added a free download of an OTDR simulator to the OTDR section so you can learn how to use an OTDR on your PC.

New OSP Reference Section on the FOA Online Reference Guide website
Joining our basic fiber optics and premises cabling sections on the FOA Reference Guide website is a new outside plant reference section that covers materials like that in our new textbook. The material is ready for use and will be followed shortly by a self-study guide.
Both the OSP textbook and website are references for the new FOA CFospT outside plant technician certification.

More New Info:

Links to manufacturers and distributors of fiber optic lighting products.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide has become very popular - perhaps the most popular technical website ever, typically with over 270,000 users downloading about 1.6 million pages in 2010! We continue updating materials regularly, keeping it as up to date as possible.

Find What You Want Using "Google Custom Search
custom searchThere's so much information on the FOA 
Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide that even a well-organized Table of Contents isn't enough and when the material is always changing, an index is impossible to maintain. So the FOA is using the latest technology in search, Google Custom Search, which will allow you to search just the FOA Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide for any topic you want to find more about. Try it!  

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

School News

FOA Recognizes It's Master Instructors
FOA training and certification has become the world standard for creating the workforce needed to permit the rapid expansion of communications worldwide. Part of this comes from all the technical information and curriculum we develop and make available on our website and through our schools. Part of it comes from our schools themselves, as we only allow the best to become "FOA-Approved." But most of all, it is a result of the instructors who teach these FOA certification courses.

John Highhouse and Tom Collins
Master Instructors Tom Collins (L, current FOA Board Member, and John Highhouse, Former President of the FOA, emeritus) teaching an FOA train-the-trainer course.

Some of our instructors have more than 30 years experience in the business. Some participated in the earliest applications where fiber optic systems were installed commercially. Some have been instrumental in developing the technology and components that have made fiber optic communications grow so fast. Many have been developing courses and teaching for decades. Many are still actively involved in designing and installing systems. All share a love for teaching and a talent to pass their knowledge and experience along to their students.

The FOA is recognizing those outstanding instructors who have served the fiber optic industry and the FOA so well by designating them as “FOA Master Instructors.” These instructors have been an extremely important influence on our industry in helping create a capable workforce that has helped make fiber optic communications so successful. The designation “FOA Master Instructor” recognizes their contribution to our industry.
Those honored this year as FOA Master Instructors include 
Wallace  Allen,  Bob Ballard, Joe Botha, Craig Bowden, Tom Collins, Mike DiMauro, Pat Dobbins, Tom Dowdy, Craig Getchel, Gary Giguere, Mark Goodwin-Asire, Bill Graham, Arnie Harris, John Highhouse (emeritus), Chris Hillyer, Robert Kinney, Dave Miller, Peter Morcombe, Milt Murry, Terry O’Malley, Eric Pearson, Bill Pruett, Eric Quinby, Tom Rauch, Dominick Tambone Jim Underwood, Chuck Vella and Leonard Wasser.

How Well Do Students Get Trained at FOA Certification Classes?
Bill Graham of Mississauga Training in Canada sent us a photo of one of his classes' results in terminating 3M Hot Melt adhesive polish connectors. Their results for their tested connectors (dB loss) speak for themselves.
Bill Graham connector class

New Schools
The FOA welcomes the newest additions to our listing of FOA-Approved Training Organizations:
Weber State University, Utah #289
Indian Hill Community College IA #282
Inovatech College of Business and Technology #322

Want to Own The Best School in Canada?
Mississauga Training Consultants is looking for a new owner. This 15 year old company is a great opportunity for someone who has fiber experience and likes to teach. Also a great way for a current school to establish a presence in Canada. William will work with the new owner for up to six months to help them get established and grow.  If there is not a new owner by April I will consider breaking the company up and selling it in pieces.  The web site www.fiberoptictraining.com has top rating.

William Graham,  CFOS/S/T/C/D/, CFOI
Mississauga Training Consultants
email: mr.bill.graham@sympatico.ca
Tel: 905-785-8012
Cell: 416-659-8713

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

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training OrganizationFOA-Approved School Map Zoom to CA

Most phone calls we get regarding finding a FOA-Approved training organization want to know two things: what school is closest to me or what school offers the certifications I need. That can be difficult, since the FOA has almost 200 training organizations we have approved worldwide!
We've been looking at ways to make it easier, and we think we've got a good solution. In fact we have two solutions.
First we have added a sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools.
ou can also use our FOA Google Map Application to find FOA-Approved schools.

Here are links to the
sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools and  FOA Google Map.

What Should A Fiber Optics or Cabling Tech Know and What Skills Do They Need?
The FOA has been updating its lists of KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) for fiber and cabling techs. The updated list is now on the website for your information and comments - as fiber and cabling KSAs evolve as new technologies develop.
KSAs for fiber and cabling techs.

Good Question! Tech Questions Worth Repeating

Tech Hint: Did You Know You Have A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?
Yes! The camera in your cell phone is sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter.  Chris Hillyer,
CFOT/CFOS/I, Master Instructor, Northern California Sound & Communication JATC sent us some photos showing how this works. See below or the video now on YouTube.

IR/UV Eye Protection
I was given your information from a vendor who sells safety glasses, with the recommendation that someone with your organization might know the names of providers of safety glasses which protect from infrared in the 1310-1550nm range.  I read through some of your literature online, and I see that it states that injury is unlikely to occur at those wavelengths; however I believe that better safe than sorry and so would like to find a provider of such glasses.  Any information which you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
A: While it is highly unlikely to incur eye damage, it is good practice. Lab suppliers like this offer UV/IR protective eyewear.

Changing From 62.5 to 50 micron MM Fiber
Right now we use 62.5 micron to connect our legacy system (desktop). Do we need to upgrade our  hardware if we move to 50 micron ?
A: There are several answers to this question, which we will address separately not so much providing answers as outlining issues that need addressing.

1. Interconnecting 62.5 and 50 micron core fiber, as in patch panels:
This is generally not a good idea. The difference in core size and numerical aperture (the angles of light accepted by the fiber) between 62.5 and 50 micron fiber causes the amount of light loss in connections between two fibers to be highly directional.
Depending on the types of transmitter sources, the excess loss causes by the mismatched fibers can be as large as 1.6 dB (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/fib62-50.htm) when going from the larger 62.5 micron core fiber to 50. The loss in the other direction (50>62.5) may be slightly less than connecting equal size fibers due to the lesser sensitivity of the fiber connection to geometric offsets, but not enough to offset the loss of the opposite connection.
Many systems have enough loss margin to easily accommodate this much excess loss if the links are short and losses are well under the maximum allowed loss budget (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/lossbudg.htm)

2. Coupled power from sources may be lower:
Due to the smaller core size and numerical aperture (the angles of light accepted by the fiber) of 50 micron fiber, the amount of light coupled from the transmitter of the equipment may be lower. LED sources have a larger difference as their light patterns are more unfocused, often overfilling all multimode fibers. 850 nm LEDs and surface emitting 1300 nm LEDs have greater differences than 1300 nm edge-emitting LEDs which were used in some FDDI and ESCON systems in the 90s. VCSEL sources used in most systems at 1 Gb/s - and many current 850 nm data links -  will have much less difference because the light from a VCSEL is more tightly focused into the center of the MM fiber core. Regular 1310 nm SM lasers used in some data systems will effectively see no difference.
This is something easily tested. You need a 62.5 micron patchcord, a 50 micron patchcord and a power meter. Test the coupled power from a transmitter with the power meter using each patchcord and note the results. The difference in coupled power needs to be subtracted from the loss budget when using 50 micron fiber.
The narrower beam from the 50 micron fiber may make coupling to receivers more efficient, but that's a tricky one to test.
Some equipment manufacturers will provide loss budgets for both fibers, so you can avoid the testing.

In the last decade, most fiber optic communications systems will work equally well with either fiber type.  Particularly premises systems, like your desktop connections, generally have plenty of margin with either fiber type. Some systems like CCTV cameras my have links long enough to cause concern. But the simple tests above, or a review of equipment documentation, will settle the issue.

You can find much more information on the FOA website, particularly our online reference guide (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/contents.html) and we have a special site for users of fiber optic systems that may be helpful ( http://www.thefoa.org/user/index.html print version  http://www.thefoa.org/tech/guides/UG3.pdf). 

Testing Splitters and Couplers
How do I test a 70/30 splitter?
Use the power meter and light source to test the splitter. If it has connectors, you can test it just like two patchcords.
Attach a patchcord to your source and measure the output power. It helps to measure in mW or microwatts, but can be done either way.
Let's say the test source/patchcord output is 1 mW (-30 dBm)
Connect the splitter input (the side with one fiber) to the test patchcord. Measure the power out of the two splitter outputs.

[S]-----patchcord]---------------ConnC--------------[Splitter]-----------------Conn[Power meter]

If it were a perfect 30/70 coupler, one leg would be 70% of the 1 mW input or 0.7 mW (-1.55 dBm) and the other would be 30% of the power or 0.3 mW (-5.23 dBm). Both those dB changes are the same for any input: -1.55 dB for 70%, -5.23 dB for the 30% output.  Here is an Excel spreadsheet that calculates dB/power ratio and dBm/milliwatts
Since no coupler is perfect, the power you measure will be lower - and includes the connection from the test patchcord to the coupler. So if you measure the 70% leg and it has -2 dB instead of -1.55 dB, the excess loss including the input connector is 0.45 dB.
If you have specifications for the coupler, they should give a spec for excess loss. You should look for how closely the outputs are at the 70/30 ratios and how much excess loss each output has.

The specify testing the link without the connectors on the ends while most standards say include them. Why?
A: We can make an educated guess - well two.
First, in order to test a pigtail transmitter's output power, (and pigtail sources are typical of most laser transmitters), you generally attach a pigtail and test it with  a power meter, so the output power includes that connector loss. When you measure power, the meter has a detector that looks directly at the end of the fiber in the connector, so there is no connector loss. Thus, the way power is measured at both ends of the link corresponds to the way the "main optical path" is defined in this diagram.
Secondly, if you are testing the link with an OTDR, most operators generally will not measure the connectors on either end. We've heard from many telco types that they only test with OTDRs and this is how they make the measurements.
See also the question " more on loss budgets" below.

Q: We are required to do PMD testing on a long distance cable plant. What do I need to know?
We did some study on PMD for the web page on testing CD/PMD/SA: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/CD_PMD.html
That page gives a rundown on PMD and the tests currently approved - 5 in all. 
Exfo offers several versions of testers, JDSU has field equipment also. See http://www.jdsu.com/en-us/test-and-measurement/products/a-z-product-list/Pages/pdm.aspx or more generally http://www.jdsu.com/en-us/Test-and-Measurement/Products/field-network-test/fiber/dispersion-cd-pmd-ap/Pages/default.aspx where you can download the JDSU book on testing, Volume 2, that covers PMD.
There are a number of Exfo tech papers. Just google "Exfo PMD testing"
I think Anritsu and Agilent may make equipment for PMD testing.
Summary of what we have learned.
1. PMD testing is quite imprecise because it is a changing parameter. I have a paper showing how it changes in the wind on aerial cable! 
2. The different methods produce similar but not quite the same results. See 1.
3. What people seem to look for is "boundaries" - an envelope around the measurements giving the worst case.

Standard For Installation?
Q: Is there a standard for testing and certification of installation in an industrial environment?
A: The FOA has worked with NECA to create ANSI/NECA/FOA 301, an installation standard for this purpose. It's intended use is to be used as a document defining proper installation for contracts. I can send you a copy if you like.
You might also find these pages on our reference website useful:
Section for users of networks: http://www.thefoa.org/user/index.html  PDF to print: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/guides/UG3.pdf
Section on project paperwork: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/install/paperwork.html
Designing fiber optic networks:http://www.thefoa.org/tech/guides/DesG.pdf

Termination Times
Has your group ever done a study or analysis on how long it takes to complete assorted field terminations?
I’m looking for average values as there can be so much variation due to skill level, equipment availability, experience, etc.
A: Around 1997, several of the Fiber U instructors did a comprehensive time and motion study on termination. They compared several types of termination processes under several different scenarios, since sometimes you only do one or two connectors at a location and sometimes a dozen or more Times were based not just on termination times, which are in the data tables, but also setup, cable prep and cleanup times to make the analysis representative of real world installations.
And while the instructors involved then were very skeptical of prepolished splice connectors then, they have become much better! (see above) However, I think the times are still representative. And the cost data can be updated to represent current prices for the connectors. Read the article on termination times.

Mix and Match Connectors
With SM fiber, can one end have SC/APC to the equiment and SC at the patch panel? Patch panel is in place and equipment needs APC.
A: Use a SM patchcord with one end SC/APC and one end SC. Just specify a higher grade of PC polish (UPC is what some vendors call it) to reduce reflectance.
Don't try to mate a SC to a SC/APC - it may damage the connectors.

That's Why They Call Them "Dust Caps"
Q: We clean a connector, inspect it to ensure it is clean then put the dust cap on. If we inspect it after we remove that dust cap, it's dusty again, we assume from dust in the cap. I have tested different types and makes of dustcaps for the LC and clean ones are rare. If you only push them on half way it helps.....sometimes, but not always.  Does any company make clean (guaranteed) ones?
A: I've been saying for years that the reason they call them "dust caps" is they contain lots of dust. I know of no clean ones. Think about how they are made in millions and dumped in big bins in a factory! You just have to clean connectors when you remove them. Have you tried some of the dry cleaners? They seem to work well.

Midspan Entry
How difficult or easy is it to fusion splice one buffer tube and leave rest of the buffer tubes uncut in a fiber optic cable?  This is in regards to carefully cutting only one tube, while not damaging the fibers in the other tubes of the fiber optic cable.
A: You can get a special tool for this process which is called "midspan entry." Check with the cable manufacturer. Here is a link to a special Draka tool.

More on Loss Budgets
Q: Reading your tech article labeled lossbudg.htm, I think there are some redundant losses calculated.  You show a setup with a TX connected through other connectors (patch panel) a splice another patch panel and connected to a receiver.  You state that you consider all of the connectors to have loss, including the connectors at each end.
I question this concept.  When a fiber optic transmitter states the output power parameter, say -20dBm launched into 62.5/125 fiber optic cable, it already takes the connection to the transmitter into consideration.  The fiber, once connected to the transmitter should be receiving -20dBm of light power.  The same situation exist at the receive end.  The receiver states that it has a maximum sensitivity of -32dBm, from a 62.5/125 fiber optic cable.  The only way to measure this is to connect a fiber optic cable to the receiver and vary the power to determine the lowest level at which the receiver will operate then measure the light out of the fiber cable.  This connector is part of the measurement and should not be used as part of the power budget calculation.
I submit that the only elements to be considered in calculating power loss are the patch panel(s), splices, and fiber cable attenuation.  If a TX states minimum power launch is -20dBm and the receiver states maximum sensitivity is -32dBm then this pair of equipment has an optical budget of 12dB.  One should expect that when they connect the patch cable to the TX it will launch -20dBm and when they connect the patch cable to the RX it will launch all of the light exiting the fiber optic cable onto the RX.  The only elements that can cause attenuation are those elements between the TX and RX connectors.
A: The concept of the loss budget has two viewpoints: 1) The systems people need to know how much cable plant loss their transmitters and receivers can tolerate and 2)The fiber designers/installers need to know if their cable plant will support the communications system that is supposed to use the cable plant they install.
Both need to know that the connections at the equipment couple the proper amount of light into the fiber from the transmitter source and transmit the proper amount to the receiver detector as well as the intermediate losses are within reason. The coupling at either end will only happen if the connectors on the ends of the cable are low loss. The cable plant designers and installers generally do not have the equipment onsite to use to test connectors for proper coupling to transceivers, but they do have the test equipment to test the connectors against another known good reference connector. Systems people who test their equipment for coupled power, however, do have the ability to test their products with known good connectors, so their coupled power numbers assume a certain performance level, e.g. low insertion loss, from the connectors used for the coupling.
This line of logic has led us to have a convention of including the connections on the end of the cable plant in the loss budget.
In the early days of fiber optic standards, there were some strays! IBM once used a 3-cable reference for their systems because they came to the same conclusion that you did and the 3-cable reference reduced the measured loss by two connector losses, making them think they had made the proper compensation. But the logic proved wrong (see http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/5ways/lossmath.html) and they realized the 3-cable reference had a higher measurement uncertainty (see http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/5ways/fiveways.html toward the end).
Now by convention, when the systems people specify a power budget, they generally use the testing standards which include the connectors at the end, and I believe this is true for all standardized networks.
So the method we specify works for both systems and cable plant analysis and is the accepted version. Have you ever tried to test coupled power with known bad or dirty connectors? It's an interesting experiment! And some transceiver's couplings are very different with 62.5/125 and 50/125 fiber.
There are also test standards for coupled power and they specify using cables with tested connectors of low loss.

Fiber Backhaul Instead of Microwave for Wireless

Q: I am in a small remote alpine town creating a case to have fiber optic backhaul instead of the beleaguered microwave link currently provided by the iLEC. Could you please point me in the direction of any materials that would empirically support the advantages of fiber backhaul for remote sites vs the dis-advantages of microwave links. The microwave system we're trying to get the iLEC to replace spans about 35miles per hop, and "supports" three DS3 equivalent circuits; but real world performance is pretty poor from the end user's perspective.  Since the town is fed with DSLAMs, it's tough to really load the link until all the tourists are here making cell calls, using mobile data, and occupying the residences & hotels -then the link really maxes out. If we have a busy weekend, and get 48" of snow over night - same thing - delay, jitter, congestions of the available path.
A: Microwave has been used in many areas where fiber is hard to install, like mountains, but with the advent of 4G systems carrying lots of data and video, microwave is giving way to fiber backhaul. In fact, one of the biggest areas for fiber expansion today - plus they are using it to connect the antennas on the tower.
Try this: http://connectedplanetonline.com/images/CP_ADC2_WhitePaper.pdf  

Fiber Cleaning
This is a topic we keep reminding everybody about, and here is why:

From a contrator in the Middle East: Here some samples of the connectors for SM fiber already installed in the system we were testing.
dirty connector   dirty connector
As you can see, the dirt is large compared to the size of the fiber (dark gray), and the core (not visible here) is only 9/125 of the overall diameter of the fiber! More on cleaningSee Product News below for links to vendors of fiber cleaning products.

Measurement Uncertainty: Everyone testing fiber optics should understand that every measurement has some uncertainty - whether you are measuring loss, length, wavelength, power, etc. Knowing that uncertainty is very important to interpreting the measurement. It's worthwhile to read and understand the issue of measurement accuracy covered in this page of the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Worth Reading:

A Documentary Treasure on the History of the Internet
15 minutes of a rarely-seen BBC documentary demolish the myth that ARPAnet was inspired by nuclear war, and explain the far more intriguing truth.

Searchable IGI Publication Archives Now Available as Google eBooks
Information Gatekeepers Inc. (IGI), a leading international supplier of information on fiber optics and telecommunications markets and technology, has entered into an arrangement with Google to make its archives available as Google eBook.
Since 1977, IGI has been publishing newsletters, conference proceedings, market research reports, and other publications focused on worldwide markets in telecommunications and fiber optics. With Google eBooks , all of these publications and studies — including previously unavailable earlier works — are now available in searchable, electronic format to market researchers, financial analysts, lawyers, governments, university researchers, libraries, and all other interested parties. Please search our new archive by visiting igigroup.com or entering search terms in the box below.
The new Google eBooks of IGI publications are also the best available for reading on mobile devices. Google eBooks can be read on the Web, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and supported eReaders. Learn more about our supported devices.
For more information on the new Google eBooks of IGI publications please visit igigroup.com. You can search Google Books for IGI publications directly - Go here.

Ensuring Distance Accuracy On OTDR Measurements

The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage
If you think the Internet has changed communications in recent years, consider the effects of the introduction of telegraphy 150 years ago. Communications went from as slow as horses, ships or trains could carry news to instantaneous! Who was the first to use it? Stock traders, of course, and low latency is still their goal! It's a good read, and you'll find out some new info on Thomas Edison! On Amazon.

Broadband Properties Webinar Archives
Broadband Properties Magazine
Lots of interesting webinars, mostly on FTTH. Go here.

FTTX Networks
An ADC white paper on how they work and how networks are upgraded to FTTH. http://connectedplanetonline.com/images/CP-ADC3-WhitePaper-v4.pdf.

JDSU Application Note On "Qualifying FTTH Network before Equipment Installation"
Another great paper from JDSU covering FTTH PON networks is available for downloading. It gives an overview of FTTH architecture, cleaning connectors then testing the cable plant with OTDRs and OLTSs. This paper will help you understand why OTDRs can be confusing on PONs! 

Best Practices For Wireless Backhaul Network Upgrades
Joan Engebretson, Contributing Editor of Connected Planet has written a very good overview of how fiber is essential to the operation of cellular wireless systems. Everybody probably knows that fiber is used to connect towers into the telecom network - they call it backhaul - but her article also covers the new appliations to replace bulky, heavy, lossy coax up the  tower to the antennas. http://connectedplanetonline.com/images/CP_ADC2_WhitePaper.pdf.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster
We've had numerous requests to reprint our guidelines on safety when working with fiber optics, so we have created a "Safety Poster" for you to print and post in your classroom, worksite, etc. We suggest giving a copy to every student and installer.

Corning now offers videos on Corning on YouTube. Lots of interesting videos, some technical, some sales, but all good information.

US Conec's videos on cleaning fibers - show's the results of proper cleaning.

Webinars of Interest

Broadcast Engineering Magazine - Fiber Optic Testing
FOA President Jim Hayes presents an overview of fiber optic testing for all applications. Available on Demand. Sign up here.

Multimode Fiber Trends from TIA's Fiber Optics LAN Section
Ryan Chappell, Draka Communications, looks at the evolution of multimode fiber, examines its current usage and shares predictionson its future
Available on-demand at: http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/7182/play

OSP Magazine Webinars

OSP Magazine (OSP as in outside plant telco) is now offering a number of interesting webinars that cover fiber topics, including network design and specialized components.  http://www.ospmag.com/events/web/

Multimode Fiber Characterization Launch Condition Considerations - new ap note from JDSU  

JDSU Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing – Volume 2 PublishedJDSU Fiber Optic Testing Volume 2
The second volume of the JDSU series on fiber optic testing has been published.  Volume 1 focused on Basic Fiber testing and Volume 2 is geared toward fiber optic installers, project managers, telecom technicians and engineers who need to understand fiber networks. Volume 2 also covers Chromatic Dispersion, Polarization Mode Dispersion, Attenuation Profile and Fiber Link and Network Characterization. A 3rd volume, a glossary of fiber optic terms, is also available for download.
This is a "MUST HAVE" for all fiber optic techs. Download your free copies here.
We used this book as one of our references in creating a new page in the FOA Online Reference Guide on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD).

Careers in Fiber Optics:
Brian Smith. A 1998 book on fiber optic jobs is a bit dated, but a free overview is on Google Books and worth a look at it online.

As much as 70% of the problems associated with deploying fiber to the home result from something as simple as dirty connectors according to JDSU. Telephony Online.

US Conec's videos on cleaning fibers - show's the results of proper cleaning.

Good Technical Websites

American Polywater (http://www.polywater.com/) has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Here is a rundown on some new material on their site.

Cable Installation using "Push" or "Push/Pull"
Polywater's new Pull-Planner™ 3000 Software allows a "pushing force" variable in pulling tension calculations.  Read a White Paper that quantifies the push contribution and compares calculation results to field experience. --

Pulling Cable Through Water?
Read a Product Spotlight on Polywater® + Silicone™, Polywater's new generation underground lubricant.  Continued reduction of friction when pulling through water is only one of the unique features of this lubricant. --

Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and  “Calculators.” http://www.polywater.com/NNNBSL.pdf


" Heard on the Street" is a monthly online newsletter from Frank Bisbee of Communications Planning Corporation  that covers the telecommunications and cabling businesses. Each month includes news from manufacturers, trade associations and professional societies like the FOA. You can read the current issue and back issues online.

JDSU Webinar series
JDSU has announced the See the Light webinar series, a four-part program designed for anyone involved in the installation, maintenance, and repair of fiber optic systems. It begins with fiber inspection and cleaning and then covers the basics of fiber testing. The webinar series then continues with the more advanced optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) and fiber local area network (LAN) testing challenges. More information on the series.

IGI is offering a series of webinars on topics of interest to those in the communications industry.
You can join them live ir download from the archives. 
IGI, a major market research and technology reporting company (the "Active Optical Cables" below)  is offering a a free one year subscription to one of our fiber optics newsletters to FOA members.  All they have to do is to send IGI an e-mail stating which newsletter they would like to get. See http://www.igigroup.com/nl.html for a listing of IGI Newsletters.

FOA Tech Topics - 
A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?  (See the video on Corning on YouTube )
Yes! The camera in your cell phone is sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter.  Chris Hillyer,CFOT/CFOS/I, Master Instructor, Northern California Sound & Communication JATC sent us some photos showing how this works and the following description.
IR Viewer 850 nm  IR Viewer 1300 nm
"Your cell phone camera's image sensor can read IR light. It uses this technology to help take pictures at night.
In the advanced audio and CCTV field they have been using the smart phone camera to trouble shoot problems in IR communications. The human eye cannot see the IR light emitted by let’s say a remote control.  Well up until now we would always say that the remote is out of batteries, or either the IR transmitter or IR receiver was not working properly. Now we can use your smart phone camera to see the IR light emitted by the IR transmitter. All you have to do is turn on your camera function on your smart phone and hold it up the remote control and push any button. The cameras screen will show the IR light.
Now back to Fiber Optics. If you follow the same principals of the last paragraph, let’s say you wanted to check if a fiber port was energized. You can either use the card that is supposed to show you in a few seconds that the port was hot. Or you could plug in your meter, in this case it takes some time to find the card or if you don’t have your meter handy.  Just pull out your smart phone turn on the camera and hold it over the port. If it is hot you will see a bluish white dot in the fiber bulk head (see attached pictures)."
We tried this ourselves and found our camera phone very sensitive at 850 nm but as expected less so at 1300 nm, like all semiconductor detectors. Our phone could still see 1300 nm sources at around -20 dBm, making it very useful even for LED sources, and of course, perfect for lasers.

OFSTP-14 Update

OFSTP-14 is the TIA standard for testing installed multimode fiber optic cable plants which has been around more than 20 years and is the one TIA standard probably most familiar to contractors and installers.  The TIA has adopted IEC 61280-4-1 as the replacement of OFSTP-14. Most of the two documents is the same, with some important exceptions.
  • For insertion loss, three reference methods are are still approved, but the nomenclature is different.
  • OTDR testing is now an approved test method as long as you use launch and receive cables.
  • Reference test cables with "reference grade connectors" are recommended.
  • Methods are given for testing and verifying the loss of reference test cables.
  • CPR with a mandrel wrap is gone, replaced by "Encircled Flux," a complex - and not completely debugged - method of measuring the source output. See our explanation of EF here.

We are creating a web page to explain the differences and will give you a link shortly. In the meantime, continue testing as usual.

FOA Technical Bulletins
How do you design and manufacture fiber optic systems? Choose and install one to serve your communications needs? Troubleshoot problems? The FOA Fiber Optic Technical Bulletins will provide step-by-step guidelines to help you. All are PDF files you can download, print and use.
Testing Update
Are there really 5 different ways to test optical fiber cabling after installation? Why so many? How do the measurements - and more importantly the measurement results - differ? What are the advanteages and disadvantages of each method?
Why are there 4 ways (maybe 5) to test fiber optic cables?
Do OTDRs and OLTS tests give the same results?
New Tech Topics
Industry standards updated to include international standards
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10/40/100G Ethernet.

Product News

Bendable Boots for Connectors
AFL is releasing an innovative bendable boot jumper that meets or exceeds leading industry standards for fiber bends in cable installations. With a variable boot angle ranging from 0 – 90 degrees, the boot allows an installer to fine tune an installation by placing a controlled bend in the boot and enabling proper routing at the connector adapter. Using this new bendable boot jumper, installations become more manageable and organized with tangles and draping fiber bundles no longer an issue.
AFL connector boots
The Bendable Boot Jumpers excel in low or tight clearance applications by allowing the installer to closely route the assembly toward the fiber egress point of the enclosure, reducing the probability of a fiber break or sharp bend at the rear of the booth. Ideal in campus/LAN environments as well as equipment closets and optical links, AFL's bendable boot jumpers are RoHS compliant.

Surplus Fiber Optic Cable
Surplus fiber
Lucent 216 fiber ribbon cable, Truewave fiber, armored and suitable for direct burial or pulling in ducts. 1416 km of the cable for sale. Manufactured in 2001, stored in warehouse, recently tested.
Contact Klaus Prestele <Klaus-Prestele@cooperation-exchange.com>

A Cable Tie That's Fiber Friendly
We're always warning installers not to tighten cable ties too tightly around fiber optic cable (or UTP copper cable either!) A better choice is the hook and loop fastener ties (Velcro is one trade name), but there is another type, the Mille-Tie. It's an open tie that can be used at any length, then cut off and the remainder used also. Take a look a the video to see how it works.
Mille-Tie Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPVTQGKmcvE  
Bend-insensitive fiber is the subject of much discussion right now - witness the article on the CI&M cover and discussions at TIA standards meetings reported above. Corning has produced a series of technical papers on the issues, part of which is reproduced above. Any other fiber manufacturers want to add their comments?
The FOA has created a new Reference Guide page on bend-insensitive fiber.


OFS has Creted a White Paper on B-I Fiber That Questions Its Value

Quote: Studies have shown that sharp kinks in a jumper (such as would be caused when a jumper is closed in a cabinet door) can lead to fiber breaks. Encouraging installation practices that result in tight bends and kinks by using BI-MMF in the data center is both mechanically dangerous and unnecessary. Modern cable management systems and easy, common installation practices enable high density with reliability.

Quote: Figure 4 shows that the system penalties for fibers with poor higher order mode control are significantly higher than fibers with good control of all modes. This variation in performance indicates that substantial work is required to properly classify bandwidth in BI-MMFs. Higher order modes (17th, 18th and higher mode groups) propagating in BI-MMFs can make system performance much worse than predicted by current standards.


Corning ClearCurve® Bend-Insensitive (BI) Optical Fiber Compatible With Other Multimode Fiber Types

See the Corning Web Pages On BI Fiber for more details.

Corning ClearCurve® multimode optical fiber combines the high bandwidth performance of laser
optimized fiber types, e.g. Corning InfiniCor® SXi (OM2), InfiniCor®SX+ (OM3) and InfiniCor® eSX+
(OM4) fibers, with advanced macrobending performance. ClearCurve® multimode is specifically
designed for Enterprise networking applications such as LAN (local area network), SAN (storage
area network), campus networks and Data Centres. All Corning ClearCurve multimode fibers are
able to support transmission speeds of 10/100 Mb/s through to 10Gb/s and are ready for next
generation speeds of up to 16/40/100 Gb/s.

• ClearCurve OM2, OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers are compliant and fully backwards
compatible with all relevant industry standards;
P IEC 60793-2-10 for A1a class 50/125 multimode fibers
P TIA/EIA 492AAAB (OM2), 492AAAC-A (OM3), and 492AAAD (OM4)
P ITU-T Recommendation G.651
P ISO/IEC 11801 Grade OM2, OM3 and OM4
• ClearCurve multimode fiber is fully backwards compatible and may be used with existing
multimode installed base
All 50/125 grades including OM2, OM3 and OM4
Corning fibers as well as competitive standard and bend insensitive fibers

• ClearCurve multimode fiber may be spliced or connectorized to conventional 50/125 fiber
types with commercially available equipment and established practices and methods; no
special tools or procedures are required. Testing has been done with Corning fibers and
various competitive standard and bend insensitive fibers and no issues were observed.

Corning has stated that all their MM fiber will be BI fiber and has created an app note on how to implement the TIA-spec mandrel wrap with this fiber. Here is the complete information reported in the FOA April Newsletter.  
The FOA has created a new Reference Guide page on bend-insensitive fiber.  

Benchtop Connector Cleaner
S-G benchtop fiber optic cleaner
FerrulePro™ is the world’s first fully automated benchtop fiber connector cleaner for laboratory and cable production environments. It automates the final cleaning of all types of terminated fiber products, a critical task where performance once depended largely on the production line worker’s skill. Fiber connectors can be cleaned in 3 seconds cycle - eliminating the need for re-cleaning after post production inspection. More.

Remember the SMA Connector?
They're still being used for high power laser delivery - up to 80-100W! Seikoh Giken has even introduced some new ones.

Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

More links on cleaning:

  • Westover 
  • AFL

    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads



    FTTH Notes:
    Testing FTTH
    JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR: http://www.jdsu.com/other-literature/PON-OTDR_fop_an_ae.pdf

    Want To Learn More About FTTx?
    The FOA has created a special FTTx resources section of our website with a FTTx links page with lots of links to news, market reports, technical articles and vendor technical and product information. Here is a great place to start learning more about FTTx.
    FOA's CFxT FTTx Certification Program Explained
    Read the Broadband Properties article about the FOA FTTx certification program. Read the article about FOA President Jim Hayes being honored for his work promoting FTTH.


    What Is The FOA?

    Hear FOA President Jim Hayes tell the FOA Story in a 2-part interview by Sound & Video Contractor Contributing Editor Bennett Liles. It tells about the FOA history, goals and achievements.
    Part 1: http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/fiber_optic_association_part1/index.html.  
    Part 2 http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/inside-fiber-optic-association2-0924/index.html.

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

    There is a new toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811

    See www.call811.com for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit: By the "811" group. March, 2008 in Vegas.


    Download This!
    There are tons of technical application notes and videos on the web, and occasionally we recommend some you should download. The JDSU fiber testing guide is really worthwhile, as are the ADC FTTx book and Westover video on fiber inspection and cleaning, linked below.
    JDSU Testing Book
    JDSU offers a free download of their Testing Guide from the Lightwave website. This is one great book which explains some basic fiber technology, but the real value is the last half which deals with OTDR testing. Not only does it give the usual info, but it covers important topics like measurement uncertainties and anomolies like ghosts and gainers.
    I was in the testing business for 20+ years at Fotec and think this book is one of the best fiber optic testing texts available. It's complete but comprehenisble! I used to believe that premises techs did not need OTDR training, but now OTDR manufacturers are pushing their use in premises networks. Unfortunately, the limitations of OTDRs in premises applications can cause extreme problems for those who are not aware of their limitations. So knowing hows OTDRs work is essential information to every tech. 
    Download yourself a copy and read it! http://lw.pennnet.com/whitepapers/wp.cfm?id=665
    Westover Application Notes And Cleaning Video
    Westover has several application notes on inspecting and cleaning fiber optic connectors. The video is a big file (50+MB) but a good tutorial.
    Download page: http://www.westoverfiber.com/Support/downloads.php


    New FOA Jobs Website

    We get many questions from CFOTs, students at FOA-Approved schools and others contemplating getting into the fiber optic business regarding jobs in fiber optics - and
    how to find them - so we’ve created a new web page to share some information we've gathered about jobs in our industry. The information is designed to help you understand what jobs are available in fiber optics, how to find them and apply for them.
    While the overall economy is pretty bad - you've probably heard that there are 5 times as many people unemployed in the US as there are jobs available, telecom is a bright spot - broadband is a major focus of stimulus spending in the US and countries around the world are building fiber networks as fast as possible. Even wireless companies have to build fiber for their backhaul. Cities are installing fiber linked surveillance cameras and smart traffic lights. Fiber is the link making Smart Grid possible. Companies like Allied Fiber are building large private networks. Telecom is one of the fastest growing businesses worldwide.

    If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs.

    The FOA has created a group on
    FOA on LinkedIn  expressly to help our CFOTs find employment and contracting opportunities. If you are a CFOT and are interested in participating, join us on FOA on LinkedIn. If you have job openings, let us post them on FOA on LinkedIn.

    A list of 10 ways to get your resume noticed from Marketplace on NPR   

    Jobs Created As Part of Stimulus-Funded Projects
    The federal government is spending 7.2 billion dollars on the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.  This money is working it's way into the economy and hopefully will provide jobs.  You can track recovery dollars and look for job opportunities on this website:
    www.recovery.gov  Go to "opportinities" link then "jobs".  You will see a section “find recovery jobs” – enter “fiber optic jobs California” or wherever you are and review what comes up.

    One of the projects funded by stimulus money is the1100 mile network of
    Maine Fiber Company Inc. which has selected nextGen Telecom Services Group Inc. as the installation contractor. CFOTs: NextGen has a link on their website for applying for jobs

    Current Job Openings

    OSP Engineers, Southeast (6/11)

    ASTS  is excited to be working with a major company who requires OSP (Outside Plant Engineers) of varying levels of expertise and skill sets to work throughout the Southeast region of the USA.  AT&T, BellSouth, BSTCAD, OSPCM, OPEDS permitting and FTTCS design on your resume will get you noticed. 

    Please submit resumes to Alison.King@kbr.com

    OSP Techs in New England (6/11)

    Superior Communication Services (SCS)  is atop the premier communications contractors in the New England that provides a variety of communication services to commercial business applications. At SCS we specialize in the design and installation of structured cabling solutions we are now hiring experienced structured cabling technicians to full time positions at our Massachusetts location.
    Technicians must have a valid drivers license, basic understanding of cable pulling and basic knowledge of using hand tools; we are willing to train motivated and positive individuals. 

    To learn more about this opportunity or to forward your resume, please contact me at scottsavard@scs08.com.
    Scott Savard
    Account Executive
    Superior Communication Services

    Cable Manufacturing and Development Engineer (4/11)

    Chromis Fiberoptics has an immediate opening for a cable manufacturing and development engineer. The successful applicant will be responsible for overseeing the manufacturing and development of numerous cable products based on plastic optical fibers. Responsibilities include managing the operation, upgrading, and maintenance of cable manufacturing lines, maintaining a related quality control system, and managing a small production workforce. The successful applicant will also be responsible for development of new cable types, including material selection, process engineering, and customer interactions.

    Experience and education in areas related to precision extrusion processing are a requirement. Experience and training in optical cable manufacturing are highly desirable, but not required. Experience in manufacturing precision custom extrusions, cables, or tubing are also desirable. Basic electrical and machine tool skills are also a requirement. Management experience in a high-tech manufacturing environment is highly desirable, but not required. Bachelors or Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Polymer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or related field is expected, but other applicants with exceptionally relevant backgrounds will also be considered.

    Chromis Fiberoptics is located in Warren, NJ. They manufacture a variety of patented polymer optical fiber products for data-center, consumer, and building networking applications. As a small, fast-growing company with a compelling product, they offer an opportunity to work with accomplished, highly motivated colleagues, and an excellent chance for a well-qualified individual to advance and grow with the company. They have a very competitive compensation plan, including medical benefits.

    Further information is available at www.chromisfiber.com.

    Email: hr@chromisfiber.com

     Do listings in the FOA Newsletter Work? Here's feedback:

    "We did great!  We have over 15 interviews next week."

    "Your newsletter generated a significant number of applicants and we have filled the position."


    Tech Puzzler:
    Each month we will award 5 copies of the FOA textbook of choice to the first 5 correct answers. 

    We have winners! You can still answer the question and check your answer below.

    March 2011

    Mode power distribution is a hot topic in multimode fiber testing. Which of the following acronyms does not refer to a method of specifying or controlling modal distribution? (Hint)

    A. MPD
    B. CPR

    C. PMD
    D. EF
    Answer to past questions below

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

    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 33,000 CFOTs (March 2011) have been certified by over 250 schools. Since our founding in July, 1995, we have dedicated ourselves to promoting fiber optics and professionalism in fiber optics personnel, focusing on education and certification. We are continuing to add new schools and more CFOTs as users of fiber optics learn that a CFOT is the indication of a professional, well-trained fiber optic technician. Now with FTTH (fiber to the home) finally taking off, demand for CFOTs is rising and schools are responding by expanding programs rapidly.
    The FOA now has approved programs in place at 200+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems and AFL (and their new acquisition "The Light Brigade" for their installation training programs) and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at http://www.thefoa.org/foa_aprv.htm.


    Understanding FOA Certifications
    To answer questions on FOA certifications, we have several web pages:
    Overview of FOA certifications
    Training Requirements - What Schools Are Teaching
    Reading these will help you understand what each FOA certification covers and how to prepare for them.

    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 on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

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


    Remember To Renew Your Certification !

    Remember to renew your FOA certification. All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding your qualifications if needed. You must be a current FOA member and CFOT to participate in our online database of installers, contractors, technicians and consultants. If you forgot to renew, use the online application form to renew NOW!

    You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.



    To Contact The FOA:
    The Fiber Optic Association
    1119 S Mission Road, # 355
    Fallbrook, California 92028 USA
    Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time, Monday to Friday
    Telephone: 760-451-3655
    Fax: 781-207-2421
    You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.

    Want to write for the FOA Newsletter? Send us articles, news, anything you think might be interesting to the rest of the membership!

    Return to The FOA Home Page

    There is no new Tech Puzzler this month - we'll be back in May!
    Answer to Last Month's Tech Puzzler:
    Check here next month for the answer to previous tech puzzlers.

    March 2011

    Mode power distribution is a hot topic in multimode fiber testing. Which of the following acronyms does not refer to a method of specifying or controlling modal distribution? (Hint - here is where modal distribution in MM fiber is discussed)

    A. MPD (mode power distribution)
    B. CPR (coupled power ratio)

    C. PMD (polarization mode dispersion)
    D. EF (encircled flux)

    February 2011

    Bend-insensitive (BI) MM fiber is generally offered in which 2 types?

    A. OM1, OM2
    OM2, OM3
    C. OM3, OM4
    D. OM1, OS1

     See the FOA Reference Guide for more info.


    (C)1999-2011, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

      Go to the special answer form to enter the FOA Tech Puzzler monthly contest.