September, 2010

In This Issue
Wired Towns Edge Out Big Cities
Who's Beating Google and Verizon to Gigabit FTTH Speeds?
New FOA OSP Certification
FOA @ IBEW Training Institute
Did You Know You Have A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?
Lots of Interesting Tech Questions in Q&A

NEW: FOA Jobs Web Site  

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide-NEW OSP Section

New Schools:  New FOA Courses in UK

Tech Topics

Q&A: Large number of good questions this month. 

Product News - more bend insensitive fibers

Worth Reading:  Interesting things we've read (and videos we've seen.)
Looking For Jobs-Several new ones this month. Also see the new FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
This Month's "Tech Puzzler"
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  
NEW: Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

It's now CFOT®  The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With over 25,000 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 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.

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

New FOA Reference Books

FOA Videos Now on videos

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

Worth Repeating

New FOA Technical Information and New Ways to View/Read It
This summer has been busy for us here at the FOA. Last month we announced our third reference book on OSP fiber optics (see below.) This month, the FOA adds more new information for your reference:

All FOA Books Now Available as eBooks for Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle
If you already have one of these devices, you know how great they are for reading books, and they are even better for reference books like FOA Reference Guides since you can bookmark important passages and add notes on each page. If you already have an iPad and iPhone, you know all about apps. You might have enen thought about how some basic fiber projects like loss budgets or converting dB to watts or ratios might make a good app - well, we have thought that too. Keep watching this space for the news on new FOA projects!

More Installation Videos Now on videos
The FOA continues to add more videos to its You Tube channel "thefoainc" on installation for fiber optics and premises cabling - now there are two dozen videos. Y-T Videos
Here is the FOA YouTube channel.

FOA T Shirt

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
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.

Wired Towns Edge Out Big Cities
A city’s size no longer is the key factor in building vibrant local economies. It’s all about connections to other places, a new study at Michigan State University suggests. The study found that a city’s population was the most important factor for its economy until the 1950s, when the spread of commercial air travel fostered more cross-country business networks.
That trend continued with advances such as teleconferencing and the growth of the Internet.
Some large cities—including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—built on those networks and maintained their economic clout, according to the study. Other cities—like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh—were unable to effectively capitalize and now are considered “poorly connected.” This holds true for the overall economies of the cities and for specific sectors such as manufacturing and transportation and communication, Neal said.
And then there are communities that recently have developed connections to become “wired towns,” he says. These are smaller cities that were essentially insignificant 50 years ago but have emerged as major economic centers, according to the study.
Wired towns include the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina—which pooled its regional resources to focus on innovation and creativity—and Miami, which took advantage of its location to serve as the primary link between North, Central, and South America.
Neal says the findings could help city planners and officials better formulate plans to stimulate their local economies by helping them know where to focus their efforts.

Some cities like Chattanooga, TN also realize this:

Who's Beating Google and Verizon to Gigabit FTTH Speeds?
Last year, the big news was Google wanting to build a gigabit FTTH network in a US city as a test and last month we mentioned Verizon's trial of 1 Gb/s connectivity over its FiOS infrastructure in Taunton, Massachusetts (Connected Planet.) While we were reading all this, we have a gigabit FTTH network being built -  an entire city-wide network committedt to gigabit FTTH in Chattanooga, Tennessee! "Chattanooga Gig" is installing the fastest FTTH anywhere, as well as a complete "Smart Grid" system.
Chattanooga's community-owned electric utility EPB is installing a 100% fiber to the premises network, built to run America's first true Smart Grid and offer residential high speed Internet, video and telephone services. Alcatel-Lucent provided the GPON equipment. About 125,000 subscribers are already connected with the complete 170,000 subscribers connected by the end of 2010.
Chattanooga is now 10 times faster and 10 years ahead of FCC’s National Broadband Plan calling for 100 Mbps speeds for 260 million households nationwide by 2020. Interestingly, the system is being partially funded by US Stimlus grants, but not from the broadband funds, it's Smart Grid funds from the Department of Energy. The Smart Grid portion of the network is planned to be completed in 2012.
More at Chattanooga Gig

FOA Reference Guide To Outside Plant Fiber OpticsFOA Releases Certification On Outside Plant Fiber Optics, Offers Online Study Guide, New Reference Textbook
With the CFospT outside plant certification, the FOA 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 San Antonio.

FOA @ IBEW Training InstituteNTI 2010The International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker (IBEW) held their 21st National Training Institute at the University of Michigan August 1st thru 6th. The Institute trains Apprenticeship/Journeyman instructors on the newest training techniques and technologies from the industry experts.
The Fiber Optic Association participated in the NTI Trade Show and the week-long training program for about the 15th time. The FOA introduced its new Certified Fiber Optic Outside Plant Technician (CFospT) training /certification program. The program is targeted to the workers that design, install, and test fiber optic systems used by telecommunication companies, cable TV, and power companies. The new program will debut later this fall at Gateway Community and Technical College, Smart Grid program. 
Also unveiled, was the Kindle version and iBook of the CFOT reference guides. An Apple iPad/iPhone app of the iBook was also shown. It will be an interactive self-study E-text that will cover the text material and the installation skills. In addition, The FOA made a midweek evening presentation covering the FOA certification programs to 25 NTI participants.   
During the week of NTI, The FOA offered daily morning and afternoon sessions of the Certified Fiber Optic Technician program.  The 25 newly certified CFOT technicians included telecommunication instructors, electrical instructors, training directors, and power lineman instructors. These new CFOT’s can become CFOT instructors and begin to offer the CFOT program at their local JATC’s. These new instructors will become part of the 250 + FOA affiliated training sites located throughout the world.

Corning Hosts Fiber Optic Instructors For Training
Corning Hosts Fiber Optic instructors
Corning recently invited a number of fiber optic instructors to Hickory, NC HQ for training on new technology and, of course, Corning products. It was a great session with the instructors there - many FOA instructors along with FOA President Jim Hayes - getting amazing access to the know-how of the #1 fiber company. Corning personnel made many presentations over 2-1/2 days covering new technology and Corning products.
What did we learn and discuss? Two big topics were the revised OFSTP-14 multimode test standard and cabling for data centers to accomodate 40 and 100 Gb/s Ethernet. We'll be covering these topics more in the next few months.
Who's in the photo: from left, Bill Graham, FOA Director from Mississauga Training, Canada, Noel Herschberger, Rebecca Cale, Corning Fiber IQ Program Coordinator, Leonard Wasser, Mike DiMauro, PhoneGuy, Jim Hayes, FOA President and Marcus Sullivan, Marketing, Private Networks at Corning

New Reference Books for FOA Certifications - 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.
Details on the new book each of the new books are at the book pages linked to the photos above.

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

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 being prepared as references for the new FOA CFospT outside plant technician certification, due this fall.

New, FOA Videos Now on videosand a new reference guide page on Polarity

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide has become very popular - perhaps the most popular technical website ever, typically with over 30,000 users downloading about 1/4 million pages monthly! We continue updating materials regularly, keeping it as up to date as possible.
Just this month, we added a page on "polarity" for fiber optic networks. Although it seems obvious that connecting transmitters to receivers is required, how it's accomplished can be confusing! We already updated the Premises Cabling sections in conjunction with publishing the  FOA Premises Textbook and are now focused on outside plant applications (OSP) with a new OSP reference section. We've already added a new page on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD)

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

Featured School - New FOA Courses in UK

BDI DataLynk, which offers fiber optic courses around the US in partnership with colleges, will offer FOA Sanctioned Fiber Optics Courses in the UK starting January 2011.  Mr. John Tait has become the BDI Datalynk Instructor Partner and will be teaching all courses starting 26th January 2011.
John has worked in the fibre optics industry for 35 years and has been involved in fibre optic cable manufacturing and distribution both in the United States and the UK.  Over the last 25 years he has provided training in fibre optic technology to people in many countries around the World.  John holds a Masters Degree in Physics from London.
The FOA-BDI Datalynk course location is:
West Kent College
Brook Street, Tonbridge,
Kent. TN9 2PW | Tel: 01732 358101
CFOT - 24th January to 26th January, 2011
CFOS/T - 27th January to 28th January, 2011
CFOS/S - 31st January and 1 st of February, 2011
Please direct all questions regarding the course to: Mr. John Tait via email at:
We are happy to welcome Mr. Tait on board and appreciate the opportunity to add West Kent to our training course list.

Welcome New FOA-Approved Schools:
Master Vocational College, Riverside CA
Nexus Net, Phillipines

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.
You 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.

Link Lengths on Long MM Fiber Cable Plants
Q: I’m in the process of proposing some LAN switches for a client which involves selecting some 10G SFP modules based on the type of fiber presently on site. For instance one of their sites has OM3 MMF 50/125 fiber installed and I need to know the cable distance limitations. I have this document but I’m not sure where the OM3 MMF 50/125 fibre sits within it. I can’t make sense of the Modal Bandwidth spec? I assume because it’s OM3 it has a cable distance of 300m?
How do I work out the Modal Bandwidth? Is this specific to the fiber or the module?

A: Modal bandwidth is one of the standard specifications for multimode fiber, tested by the manufacturer. It is generally not tested in the field today. Each network specifies a maximum length based on the bandwidth of the fiber that is 100% certain to work with the network equipment.
 This is a webpage that defines the specifications for fiber types and references the standard designations:
 This webpage has a listing of most types of networks to 100 GB/s and their specified cabling distances with different types of fibers:

Mixing 50/135 and 62.5/125 Fibers
Q: I work at a college campus. I have been asked about using 50/125 micron pigtails and fusion splicing them onto the existing 62.5/125 fiber to create a 10GB fiber back bone. Will this work?
A: I don't think that's going to work. The Ethernet committee has published specs on all their networks (see and at 10G 62.5 fiber is only good for about 33m. One does not know the quality of older fibers and many had serious bandwidth issues with VCSEL sources. Furthermore, mixing 50 and 62.5 fiber can lead to up to 1.6 dB  loss when going from 62.5 to 50 micron, ( using up most of your loss budget ("Linkspec" link above). Even fusion splicing old 62.5 fiber can cause bandwidth issues!
If the goal is 10GbE, I'd recommend a new cabling system based on OM3/OM4 fiber. Furthermore, I'd use LC connectors to prevent mismatched fiber connections! This is a webpage that defines the specifications for fiber types and references the standard designations:

Using OM3-OM4 Fiber
Q: We're currently in the process of linking up 2 locations through a fiber connection. The network has a speed of 100 Mbps. The switches at both ends are <company> switches, and the optic ports are SFPs plugged into these switches. <company> states that their switches work with OM1, OM2 and OM3 fibers. As a side note, they mention that they do not use SFPs with VSCEL technology at this time.
My question is, Even though the SFPs do not support VSCEL, can we use an
OM3 type of cable to link up the 2 locations?

A:Any multimode fiber will work with LEDs or VCSELs. The design of laser-optimized fibers (OM3 and now OM4 - see is simply to refine the graded-index profile to reduce modal dispersion, necessary for using VCSELs at 1 Gb/s and above. LEDs work perfectly well in these fibers. LEDs are not used in faster networks than 100-200 MB/s simply because LEDs are not fast enough - the devices themselves have limited bandwidth, and they suffer badly from chromatic dispersion (also in that link above).
OM3 fiber is more costly than OM2 (and about the same as OM1), but if the intention is to ever upgrade to higher speeds, it's a good investment.
Some source manufacturers have recommended customers only use VCSELs as they are so cheap!

Telco Fiber Types
Q: A customer called for a SM fiber for a OC-48 d-marc extension from one floor to another in a building. So that is what we installed. I was taught that visible red laser light uses single mode fiber for high speed xfer. However, the OC-48 light seems to be invisible which I think is infrared. Should we have used MM fiber? Do you know the light frequency of an OC-48 circuit?

A: All telco transmission such as an OC-48 link will use singlemode fiber with a 1310 nm or 1550 nm laser source which is quite invisible to the human eye. The only use for red lasers and singlemode fiber is for tracing fibers to ensure continuity or proper connections. Red LEDs are used with plastic fiber for short links like consumer audio - their only use for links.
Who taught you that red lasers use SM fiber for high speed transmission? I want to chastise them!

Life Expectancy of Fiber Optic Cable
Q: I'm trying to find information relating to the expected working life of fibre cables in different applications, specifically in underground applications within conduits and aerial on existing utility poles.

A: We have talked to cable manufacturers who say cables are designed for approximately a 40 year lifetime (a number that sometimes shows up in bid packages - see this package .) The glass fiber is good for millennia, of course, as long as the coatings remain hermetic, but the plastics used in the cable will have a shorter lifetime. This lifetime only applies to a cable, which can be compromised by damage to the cable during installation (cuts in the jacket, pulled with excess tension, kinked by bending around a smaller radius that specified for the cable, etc.) In addition, you have the lifetime of splices and terminations and any other hardware involved. Where reliability is a concern, fusion splices should be used and splice closures carefully sealed and perhaps even purged and pressurized with dry nitrogen.
The biggest cause of failure is damage - from "backhoe fade" -digging up buried underground cables - or "target practice" on aerial cables (a problem you may not have like we do here in the USA!) One major cable incident happens each day in the USA on the average!
We suggest you also consult with cable manufacturers.

Cable Twists
Q; I work for the U.S. Navy and am trying to find information on fiber optic cable twisting when loaded & unloaded from a drum or spool. Although we are winding the cable on & off the drum and not from the end of the spool such that we'd impart a twist, we are still seeing a twisting in the cable.  It does see a load (~200 lbs) but it's always directly through the cable length.  We're trying to understand how the twist happens, how much it might grow and what are the potential changes in physical properties to the cable because of the twist.  I think I've been able to loosely explain what our issue is and hope that you might be able to point me in a direction that I could get some more detailed information (reports, etc.).

A: All cables are manufactured with some twist in the components. The fibers and strength members are helically wound around the central strength member in OSP cables. Many cables have a counter-helical twist that revolves clockwise for a short period then counter-clockwise for an equal period to reduce the tendency of the cable to untwist under load. The fibers are isolated from the strength members in tight buffer cables, usually inside them, or in buffer tubes where they are loosely enclosed to allow the cable to withstand high tension loads.
Cables are designed to be pulled by the strength members and those are isolated from the fibers to prevent damage. Some cable designed to be left under tension after installation like ADSS (all dielectric self-supporting aerial cable) is designed to have the jacket under tension without causing stress on the fibers.
If you have a cable being loaded by pulling on the jacket and the cable jacket is not designed to be used for pulling, it will stretch and the internal structure will untwist because of its helical wound structure.
My question is how are you pulling this cable? And is it designed to be pulled this way. Most cables are to be pulled only by the strength members, not the jacket, may untwist when pulled by the jacket.

Pulling Fiber Cable
Q: We have to install one fiber optical cable parallel a huge water tube for two distances (2.7 Km and 3.3 Km) and we want to know if it is better to install the cable using junction boxes or just install the tube and use a pressure gas puller for each length.

A: The FOA does have information on installation in several places:
User's Guide web page:
Tech Bulletin on installation:
Online Reference Guide, Installation section:
Outside plant installation web page:
For the installation you describe, the issue is how long a distance can the cable be pulled. That is determined by the friction of the cable in the conduit and the length. A vendor, American Polywater, has a calculator software that can assist you in determining the length you can pull with proper lubrication: and the pulling calculator: and
You should also always consult with the cable manufacturer.

dB - What does it mean, exactly?
Q: In FRG to Fiber Optics  Pg 51 it states "For example, the loss of ............only 1 dB/km. That means at 850nm, half the light is lost in 1km, while only 20% is lost at 1300nm" Does that mean half of the transmitted power is lost when transmiiting at 850nm? How do you derive the 20%?

A: 3 dB is a ratio of 50% in power, so a loss of 3 dB means the power is lower by 50% at the end of 1 km of fiber. Likewise, it's down another 50% to 25% of the starting amount at the end of the second km, and so on.
At 1300 nm, the loss is only 1 dB or about 20%, so there is 80% of the initial power level at 1 km, 64% at the end of the second km (0.8 x 0.8 = 0.64) and so on.

You can calculate dB from power by using dB = 10 log (power ratio)

The FOA Online Reference Guide has a page on measuring optical power ( that has an Excel Spreadsheet that calculates dB/power ratio and dBm/milliwatts) so you can calculate the actual values.

Reference Textbook
Q: There is a 4th edition of the Fiber Optic Technicians Manual published just recently. Isn't that a FOA book? Why is it not listed as a reference for the FOA certifications?

A: The FOA wrote the FOTM in 1997 and has used it as the reference book for FO training until this year. When the price of the FOTM 3rd edition nearly reached $100, the FOA decided it was too expensive for our own training, although we had just sent the publisher the updates for the 4th edition. We decided to created our own references and self-publish, cutting out the high costs of the publisher. Now we have our own books at a fraction of the previous costs, even cheaper as eBooks on the Kindle or iPad, plus a complete website with online study guides. The FOA curriculum materials and exams were not updated for FOTM 4th ed. and references to FOTM 3rd ed will be gone at the end of the year.

Loss Budgets
Q:  have a question about loss budgets. Should you count the last connector, because you only get a loss if you mate the pair.  If the link plugs directly into a machine then are the last connectors counted?

A: This question arises occasionally because the copper equivalents offer two options, with and without connections on the end.
However, fiber convention is only to consider an installed fiber optic cable as a permanent link, This is because 1) it is necessary to connect the fiber in the link being tested with a source with attached launch cables to be able to establish test conditions and a meter with attached receive cable to test the connector on the receive end. 2) The permanent link will be used with patchcords which means the reference cables emulate real usage including the loss of the end connectors. 3) Systems manufacturers and standards committees (e.g. Ethernet) define their loss budgets based on a test which includes the loss of the connectors on each end, with usage including patchcords that provide transmitter and receiver coupling. 4) You never test by just connecting a source and meter, with the rare exception of connectors that are not designed for mating, like some POF connectors, where you use a cable substitution test.
Even if we have a cable that is used to connect to equipment directly without patchcords, the convention to include the loss of end connectors is followed, otherwise there is no way to verify the quality of those connectors.
We cover this specifically in the book, eg  on the top of page 132 of the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, on the web pages and in all the examples.

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! See 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:

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:

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.

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 ( 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.”


" 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 WEBINAR ARCHIVES UP AND RUNNING - VISIT TELECOMBRIEFINGS.COM TO DOWNLOAD!
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 for a listing of IGI Newsletters.

FOA Tech Topics - 
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 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 is DEAD! Long Live OFSTP-14!
OFSTP-14 is, of course, 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. It has been due for updating, but TIA has been replacing many US-written standards with the equivalent international documents. 
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.
We are creating a web page to explain the differences and will give you a link shortly. In the meantime, continue testing as usual.

The FOA reference website is now online. New sections have been added on Outside Plant Fiber Opticsfusion splicing and mechanical splicing.  Check out the current Table of Contents
This month, we added a page on "polarity" for fiber optic networks.

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

End-Of Summer Sale on FO Toolkits at TTTP
Save 25-40% off Advanced Fiber Solutions fiber optic installation toolboxes with test equipment. Go here.

New AFL Cleaver Does Regular and Angle Cleaves
Both cleavers incorporate an easily replaceable blade and cleave 250µm and 900µm fibers. They are easy to use, simple to adjust and extremely consistent.
More details.

Draka Expands Bend-Insensitive Fiber Line
A large number of Draka fibers are available with BendBright-Elite fiber. In North America, BendBright-Elite is available in premises and outside plant cables. Draka introduced the BendBright family of bend insensitive fibers in 2002 and has since expanded the product family to four versions of bend insensitive fiber, spanning both singlemode and multimode types:
BendBright – 10X bend improvement versus standard singlemode
BendBright-XS – 7.5-mm bend radius fiber with over 6 billion feet sold
BendBright -Elite – 5-mm bend radius fiber
MaxCap-BB – OM3 & OM4 bend insensitive multimode fiber (see below re testing with MM fiber)
Bend-Insensitive Fiber Becomes Corning's Standard 50/125 Fiber -
But it means changes in the way you test with it!
Corning announced that effective April 1, 2010, ClearCurve® multimode optical fiber will become its standard 50-micron multimode fiber product offering. "ClearCurve multimode fiber is the world’s first laser-optimized, high-bandwidth, multimode fiber to withstand tight bends at 7.5 mm radius with substantially less signal loss than traditional multimode fibers. ClearCurve multimode optical fiber was first introduced by Corning in Jan. 2009 and has been validated through broad customer acceptance of the product.
Traditionally, when an optical cable experiences tight bends, some of the light can escape from the fiber core and part of the signal can be lost.  Corning ClearCurve multimode fiber is designed to keep the light in the fiber core, even under tight bends, and better maintain the integrity of the optical fiber signal.
“Corning’s 50-micron multimode fiber customers will now benefit from superior bend performance. This will result in faster and more efficient optical cable routing and installation, and significantly higher spare operating margin, at no additional cost,” said Martin J. Curran, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Fiber.
Corning ClearCurve multimode fiber meets or exceeds the OM2, OM3 and OM4 industry standards for high-bandwidth, laser-optimized multimode fiber. Corning will demonstrate the performance of ClearCurve multimode optical fiber from March 23-25, 2010, at OFC/NFOEC in San Diego. Detailed product specifications are available at"

When You Test...
Most standards call for a "mandrel wrap" mode conditioner on your launch cable. The Corning announcement made us wonder what happens with this bend-insensitive fiber if you wrap it around a standard mandrel - it should not act the same as regular 50/125 fiber. We contacted our friend the Marketing Manager for the product at Corning and he confirmed our suspicions. The difference in the bend sensitivity of the fiber requires a much smaller mandrel, only 6 mm in diameter, to have the same effect.
This is detailed in Corning Application Engineering Note "Multimode Fiber Considerations for Test Jumpers,  AEN 131, Revision 2" available from Corning.

Add OCC to the list of cable manufacturers offering "bend-tolerant" cablesDraka too.(Lightwave)

AFL Introduces 3 new Noyes OTDRs(Lightwave)
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:
    FTTH or FTTC?
    That's the competition between Verizon FiOS and and AT&T U-Verse. The graph below, courtesy of IGI from their ecent report, “FiOS vs. U-verse; Architecture, Marketing, and Technical Considerations,” shows FiOS ahead but the gap narrowing as Verizon winds down their extremely aggressive FTTH program.

    Woodstock Goes FTTH - Woodstock Telephone Company in Minnesota, that is. Delivering up to 75 Mb/s over a 450 square mile service area. (TellLabs)

    Residents of Ashby de la Launde, a small village in Lincolnshire, UK, will soon be able to install 100-Mbps fiber-optic broadband into their homes via the FTTH network. Lightwave.

    Nearly 60 homes and three businesses have started on-site digging to connect to the FTTH network to be installed around the village. The project involves the community working together to establish a privately funded network.
    New Report : FTTH connections continue to grow in North America
    You can download and read the entire report from the FTTH council website.

    Testing FTTH
    JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR:

    US FTTH Connections Continue To Grow
    US Connected FTTH homes
    According to a just released FTTH Council Report prepared by RVA, FTTH connections continue to grow in North America - 99% of which are in the US, but growth seems to be slowing, probably a consequence of the current economy. Much of the FTTH deployment in the US has been due to Verizon's $23 billion investment in FTTH, but the report noted that FTTH is now being deployed by more than 750 service providers across North America. Most of these service providers are small, independent telephone companies that are replacing their copper lines with end-to-end fiber to ensure their future competitiveness as broadband providers. Of the service providers not yet offering FTTH, a majority say they are likely to soon. You can download and read the entire report from the FTTH council website.

    David Chaffee's FTTH Prism Newsletter is Online
    (archives are at bottom of the linked page)
    Where is Verizon offfering FiOS service? See this map.
    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:  
    Part 2

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

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

    See 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!
    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:
    ADC's Book On FTTx
    ADC has an excellend book on FTTx. Here is a link to request a copy:

    Job Openings
    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:  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.

    Fiber Optic Engineer – Research and creative new product development wisdom (10/12/2010)
    Do you just love to peal back the onion of a fiber optic product and find out what really makes it work and are challenged to make it work better?
    Does your interest in fiber optics go to digging into the physics of optical communications?
    Are you excited about finding ways to make high speed data transport optical cable better?
    When it comes to the next generation of premise wire for data centers do you have the wisdom to help create the fiber systems that will become industry standards?
    Then this engineering research opportunity will be a utopia for your career in creative engineering design and development within a research lab where you can excel.
    We’re looking for an engineer who is turned-on by researching, designing, and developing passive optical communication products that are ahead of the curve in anticipating customers’ requirements in high data rate fiber optic communication systems including cables, connectors, panels, cords, and other infrastructure products for critical communications networks.
    The goal of this engineer will be to create new fiber optic products with superior reliability, performance, and scalability.   The top candidate for this responsibility will have a history of creative R&D with multi or single mode fiber infrastructure products and have demonstrated a career of product development knowledge that has led to production sensitivities required in lean manufacturing.
    This position focuses on strategic and tactical design engineering leadership and NPD for fiber optic components that will complement the company’s expansive telecommunication network product lines.  By developing its offerings ahead of the curve and anticipating customers’ requirements in high data rate fiber optic communication systems, this Chicagoland company will continue its expansion as a world-class technology leader.
    The person in this position will join this half-billion dollar company’s “go-to” research team for NPD and will interact with cross-functional groups that will include engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and sales.
    Some challenges will include:
    1.      Lead the research efforts of advanced fiber optic products from concept through the proof-of-principle, explore and research emerging applications/ technologies that enable new product opportunities, and evaluate performances of optical communication systems, interconnect technologies, and new emerging optical technologies – some into the GHz range.
    2.      Using experimental research design, build, and troubleshoot prototypes/concept models using optical principles and test methods that will validate theories and models.
    3.      Perform measurements and benchmark analysis on fiber optic components, prototypes and existing products to determine future product design requirements.
    4.      Develop new optical test methods for prototype, component or product evaluations.
    Experience being sought:
    1.      NPD engineering background – in fiber optic infrastructure which may include: communication systems, components including lasers, detectors, transceivers, and optical cable and connectors, assemblies, and adapters.
    2.      Experience working with lean manufacturing environments and methods.
    3.      Innovation career track record of providing creative solutions to complex problems.
    4.      College Degree in related engineering sciences which may include: Physics, Optical Science, Optoelectronics, Photonics.
    If you think you have the skills to join this company’s R&D research lab team for new fiber products and have the wisdom for advancement in NPD, call me.  Challenge your career, and become an industry creative leader for fiber optic communication.
    Or --  if you know someone whose career might be ready for this level of enhancement, please feel comfortable passing this information to you network.
    Jack Bourque
                    860-738-5035 ex: 23

    Infrastructure Installation Technician (8/2010)

     Perform installation, termination and assist in signal loss testing of Fiber Optic SM and MM, Categories 3, 5 and 6, RG6 and RG11 cabling to industry standards and NSA specifications.
     Have working knowledge of both Single Mode and Multi Mode MTRJ, FC, LC, SC and ST fiber connections, shielded twisted pair copper (STP), and Un-shielded twisted pair copper (UTP) RJ-45 connections, RG6, RG11 connectors and wire wrap connections.
     Experience with and capable of installation of metallic and plastic conduit _” up to 2”, communications racks, cable tray, and grounding with supervision.
     Will be required to assist in the installation, removal of network devices in communications racks including switches, routers, fiber shelves, and cryptographic equipment, etc.
     Safe operations and use of hand and power tools.
     Must be capable of lifting 65 lbs.
     Perform end user equipment installation in an office environment to include multiple CPU and monitor interconnection using analog and digital switching devices, printers, plotters, faxes, analog, digital and IP phones, digital senders, etc. with minimal supervision.  BS degree required or 3 additional years of experience.
     1-3 Years of experience.
     Fiber Optic (CFOT) certification preferred.
     Experience working with the Military is a plus.

    This position requires a TS/SCI Security Clearance.

    Travel required.

    An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

    Michael Bagford
    Technical Recruiter
    Scientific Research Corporation
    1101 Remount Road, Suite 500
    North Charleston, SC 29406

    Manager System Test Verification: Reporting to the VP of Engineering - 8/2010
    The ideal Manager, Systems Test Verification candidate must possess +8 years of complex hands on telecommunications Data/IP systems industry experience within the telecommunications capital equipment industry to include +5 years direct system test engineering management experience. This individual must possess a working knowledge of TDM networks and practical experience in deploying triple play services (data, video, voice) and includes how to troubleshoot fiber related issues as well as how to use tools for testing data, voice, and video services in a lab environment. As an engineer possessing strong engineering skills, this individual must be a domain expert in GPON with associated expertise in OMCI technologies and SNMP PON Management protocols. This individual is currently in a Systems Test Verification like role within the telecommunications Data/IP carrier access capital equipment industry. Also open to candidates possessing large Tier-1 Telco Provider Lab Trial experience.

    Michael A. Rothstein
    Managing Principal
    Executive Advantage Group
    Direct: 503-372-9084

    Fiber/Communications Field Technician (7/2010)
    Fast paced communications cabling company in Glendale needs an individual with experience in the field of fiber optics installation and testing.
    Candidates must have experience in working with OTDR's and Fluke DTX testers and must know fusion splicing.
    Need good communication, leadership and customer service skills.
    Please call our human resources department at 818-241-6009 x 219 or email resumes to
     Pinnacle Networking Services  

    Promotes and sells Diamond USA products within New England & NY to all markets as outlined in the corporate marketing plan.

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following.  Other duties may be assigned.

    Compiles lists of prospective customers for use as sales leads, based on contacts given from Diamond USA sales office, information from newspapers, business directories, industry ads, trade shows, Internet Web sites, and other sources.

    Travels throughout New England & NY to call on regular and prospective customers to solicit orders, or talks with customers on sales floor or by phone.
    Maintains personal contact with key customers in assigned markets.
    Displays or demonstrates product, using samples or catalog, and emphasizes features and benefits.
    Quotes prices and credit terms and prepares sales contracts for orders obtained in conjunction with inside sales representatives and/or New Business Development Manager.
    Communicates date of delivery to customer, based on information given by inside sales representatives.
    Develops and maintains relationships with purchasing contacts.
    Investigates and resolves customer problems with deliveries.
    Attends trade shows as assigned.
    Participates in sales meetings as requested, offering information on trends in historical product sales.
    Recommends pricing strategies and promotional programs for key customers in assigned territory.
    Assists in developing sales plans and strategies for review and approval.
    May be required to host visiting customers at Diamond USA facility or Diamond SA.
    Frequently communicates with New Business Development Manager to discuss business activity and reports expected sales trends that may influence buying patterns.
    Prepares reports of business transactions and keeps expense accounts.
    Works with inside sales representatives to keep account activities and literature up to date.
    Reviews and enters new customer data and other sales data for current customers into computer database.
    Handles any other duties so prescribed by the New Business Development Manager.

    QUALIFICATIONS:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    College degree or equivalent experience.
    Minimum of 5 years technical sales experience, preferably with fiber optics products or a related field.
    Valid state motor vehicle operator's license.
    Willingness to travel extensively in assigned territory.
    Strong communication skills-verbal, presentation, and writing.
    Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.  Ability to speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.


    Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume.  Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.
    Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form.  Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.
    Steve Bullis
    Manager of Sales and Technical Support
    Fax: 978-256-3362

    Engineering/Project Manager-Fiber Optics (7-10)

    Linden Photonics is a small company that develops technologies related to the fiber optic markets.  Specializing in fiber optics and using novel extrusion/molding techniques for thermoplastics, Linden focuses on military and other harsh environment markets.

    They are currently searching for a full time employee to fill an important position in this growing small business.  The ideal candidate will have a strong background in engineering and project management.  This position will be largely responsible for handling the management and execution of a 2+ year contract to develop a specialty product.  Job duties will include product development, managing a network of subcontractors, and successful commercialization of the finished product.  Additional job duties will include growing the commercial side of the business and may include some technical sales and a small amount of travel.

    5 to 10 years experience in manufacturing and a BS in an engineering or equivalent technical degree is desired.

    Knowledge/experience of fiber optics is essential.  Experience with distribution and/or disposables/consumables fiber optic market is a plus.  Must display entrepreneurial qualities and have a proven record of analytically solving specific engineering problems.

    For more information on Linden Photonics, check out on the web at
    Please send resumes to Stephen O’Riorden, Director of Business Development at

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

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

    David Swales, Jr.

    Also Check Recent Job Openings In Previous Issues of The FOA Newsletter


    Tech Puzzler

    The AFL cleaver above offers cleaves at a angle - why?

    Answer below

     FOA Logo Merchandise
    FOA T Shirt

    New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
    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.

    FOA has arranged with EmbroidMe to provide more FOA logo merchandies. Identify yourself as a FOA-certified tech or instructor. The lab coats are super impressive for either cabling techs and instructors. Check out the selection.

    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 27,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 230 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 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


    Understanding FOA Certifications
    To answer questions on FOA certifications, we've created several new 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

    Tech Puzzler:
    An angle cleave stops reflections for mechanical splices. Any light reflected at this angle will be absorbed in the cladding of a SM fiber and not create a reflection.

     See the FOA Reference Guide for more info.

    (C)1999-20010, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.