October 2013

In This Issue - (INDEX)

FOA's monthly newsletter keeps growing so it seemed time for a little reorganization.  We're adding a link "RETURN TO INDEX " after each section to return you to this INDEX so you can find things easier than by scrolling around. We've broken the sections into Features, Sections and Jobs with links to them to make it easier to find things here in the INDEX too.


Clarksville, Tennessee, USA. Not Your Average FTTH City
Update: The Gigabit FTTH Market Heats U
San Diego Opens New Central Library With Optical LAN
Fiber Optics And Alternative Energy - Brightsource Ivanpah Solar Generating Station
Progress On Mode Conditioning For MM Fiber Testing
OFS Improves Multimode Fiber Geometry To Enhance Performance
What Is A Fiber Optic Data Link? High Speed Links, Power/Loss Budgets
This Month's OTDR Questions At FOA

OLANs - Optical LANs
OTDRs - more info
More to read in Worth Reading and Q&A


New @ FOA  
Fiber U - free online self-study courses
Publications: FOA Textbooks, NECA/FOA 301 Installation, eBooks
More "Quickstart Guides" - OTDRs
 videos: New FOA YouTube Videos
Online Reference Guide: Many new pages 
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools: New schools and programs - school specializes in FTTA!
Events: Webinars, Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
Webinars: Online seminars on useful topics 
Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
Product News - New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world
Download This - Good applications material online

DIG SAFE - Call 811 before you dig!


JobsCurrent openings for Cable Techs, Fiber Splicers, etc.
Also see FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn

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

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

Use our "Google Custom Search" to look for specific topics on our website.

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  

Join The FOA eMail Newsletter List

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 msg charges apply)

The Archives: Previous Issues.
Use these links to read previous issues or use our "Google Custom Search" to look for specific topics on our website.
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13
1/12 , 2/12, 3/12, 4/12, 6/12, 7/12, 8/12, 9/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12   
1/11 ,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10 ,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09 ,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
1/08 , 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08  
12/07 , 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07, 2/07, 1/07
12/06 , 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05 ,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04 , 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
12/03 , 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02
Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

It's CFOT®  and Fiber U® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA. With over 43,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs (July 2013) 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? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

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

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Videos Now on videos

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

Special Announcement!

Lightwave Says "Passive Optical LANs Catch Fire*", Offers Free Webinar November 13, 2013

With bandwidth demands on enterprise networks increasing, network managers have begun to rely more heavily on fiber. Passive optical local area networks (LANs) have emerged as a particularly strong option for building and campus applications as a future-proof way to meet very high bandwidths today or to ensure an smooth evolution toward future all-fiber enterprise networks.

This special webinar by Lightwave again confirms the rising popularity of Optical LANs (OLANs) based on FTTH technology and emphasizes the importance of the new FOA OLAN training and certification.

Presented by Stephen Hardy, Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave
Date/Time: Wednesday November 13, 6PM GMT, 1PM EST, 10AM PST (Webinar will be available for later viewing within 24 hours of live webcast. All live and on demand Lightwave webcasts are now available on any mobile device including iPads, tablets and phones!

Here is the announcement and link to sign up. You can sign up and watch it after it has been given.

*If you are not fluent in English slang, that means it's "hot" or very popular!

Come along with us - recently we've visited 3 very interesting fiber optic projects! We've been to another city doing gigabit FTTH (Clarksville, TN), a major solar facility in the California Desert and a follow-up visit to the San Diego Library to see their finished OLAN.

Clarksville, Tennessee, USA. Not Your Average FTTH City

Clarksville, TN is a small town in Northern Middle Tennessee with a big neighbor - Ft. Campbell, one of the largest Army bases in the US.

Clarksville began their FTTH program like several other Tennessee cities through Clarksville Department of Electricity (CDE) as a method of connecting electrical users meters for their electrical grid management programs.

What is unusual was they started way back in 2007, long before most cities were even considering FTTH and they chose an active Ethernet (also called point-to-point or P2P) system instead of a PON. In 2008, they began offering broadband services - symmetrical active Ethernet and TV. A year later, phone services were added and more TV channels. By 2011, the system was upgraded. Today, Clarksville "CDE Lightband" offers high speed Internet (20-30-40-60-100Mb/s and Gigabit Ethernet) and 255 channels of TV, including 52 high definition channels.


Interestingly, 50% of their traffic is OTT - entertainment video downloaded from the Internet by subscribers from other sources than the system TV. That is close to the estimated US average.

In addition, all their electrical substations are connected on fiber. Plus they have city facilities, traffic controls and surveillance CCTV all on fiber.

The network has proven beneficial to the city, generating $4.5million in income and $1.5million in savings.

Update: The Gigabit FTTH Market Heats Up - Chattanooga offers Gb FTTH for $70/month and New Zealand Opens Contest For A Gigabit City

Last month we reported Chattanooga's EPB cut the fee for its super-fast gigabit-per-second Internet connection from $300 to $69.99 a month on September 17 and upgraded all residential customers with 100 and 250 megabit-per-second services to the gig. That boosted the number of gig users in Chattanooga from 10 to 2,915. Read more from a Chattanooga newspaper.

AT&T is responding to Google's coming to Austin, AT&T is doing upgrades for 300Mb/s service in parts of Austin, TX by December. Gigabit is promised for Mid-2014. Verizon is offering 500-800Mb/s in many FiOS areas already and promises it to all FiOS customers. Isn't competition wonderful?!

Now New Zealand is into the act! Chorus, who is doing the land-based Internet system in NZ, has created the "Welcome to Gigatown" competition. Victoria Crone of Chorus says the race for Gigatown aims to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of ultra-fast broadband (UFB) to transform New Zealand. “The vision for Gigatown is to create a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand which showcases how ultra-fast broadband will re-define our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play,”  Read more.

And an interplanetary first - NASA uses free-space optics to transmit 622 Mb/s connections to the moon! (Read the story here.)

ArsTechnica just did a survey of all the cities that offer Gigabit Internet and listed them in an article on their website.

Quote of the month: From Diane McCarthy, Senior VP, Service Delivery and Assurance, Verizon Network & Technology in an article in OSP magazine, 10/13)
"We have significant portions of our nationwide network where we have fiber running next to our copper infrastructure --two networks serving one customer base. Our goal is to migrate customers who have experienced ongoing service issues. Specifically we are looking to improve service for our copper customers who've called us for repair two or more times in the past year. We're also offering migration to customers who are served by copper facilities that have a history of trouble even though these specific customers may not have called us for repair themselves. Rather than moving customers that are experiencing chronic copper problems from one copper pair to another, we're giving them the opportunity to migrate to the more reliable fiber platform at no cost whatsover. The same products on a more resilient infrastructure at no additional cost - there is no downside."

San Diego Opens New Central Library With Optical LAN

SD Library

Last November, cabling contractor Vector Resources gave FOA a tour of the new San Diego Central Library where they were installing a major optical LAN with Tellabs electronics and TE Connectivity cabling. We reported on it in the November 2012 FOA Newsletter with pictures of the construction. It's fun to look at the construction photos alongside the photos below, taken recently after the library opened.

The new library building is beautiful and wonderful to visit, but we were invited by Vector, Tellabs and TEc to see the OLAN. The library has about 4000 drops on 9 floors. Two floors are leased out to a high school.


The design was done before an OLAN was considered, so it has giant telecom closets, room for big cable trays and lots of large conduit to the work areas since it was designed to have 8 UTP cables to every work area. The design for wireless APs was done separately, so they have drops from the telecom closets with UTP cables which could have been converted to fiber, saving costs and space, had it been designed later. Even the video feeds could have used fiber instead of the coax installed. So the library is not an optimal design, but the OLAN still saved a lot of space, money and time, plus will save power costs in the future. Even the possibility of sharing the electronics by using the OLAN distance capability (~20km) to include other branch libraries in the system in the future.

Here are some of the library tables with connections for users.



All the areas in the library have connections for users as well as wireless. The tables are connected to the library network via poke-thrus with power and singlemode cable connections and the Tellabs equipment is installed under the tables and connected to UTP outlets.


SM fibers come up out of the floor and are terminated in boxes on the table legs. Patchcords connect the Tellabs ONTs.


The main equipment room has the Tellabs optical line terminal (OLT) for the system and a surprisingly small amount of cable - the big advantage of the OLAN!

SDPL - Tellabs


When you look up at the single rack of equipment and the almost empty cable trays above the equipment racks, you can really understand the advantages of an optical LAN! The space savings are amazing.


Photos of the site under construction are
in the November 2012 FOA Newsletter.

 Here are even more photos of the San Diego Library and its OLAN  

Fiber Optics And Alternative Energy - Brightsource Ivanpah Solar Generating Station


If you are traveling on I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, just west of the California/Nevada border you might see this strange looking place in the middle of the Mojave Desert. This is Brightsouce Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, one of the world's largest solar facilities covering about 3500 acres (~14 sq km), which when fully operational will be capable of generating ~377 megawatts of power, enough to serve ~140,000 homes in California. We have written about Ivanpah in the FOA newsletter several times, bragging that we helped get jobs for about a dozen techs who are installing tens of thousands of fiber optic cables that control and monitor the mirrors and generating plant.

What's unusual about Ivanpah is it's method of generating electricity. It is not a photovoltaic system but a steam generating system. It uses mirrors to heat fluid which is stored in underground tanks and is used to heat steam for driving generators. One engineer there described it as just like a nuclear plant but the nuclear reactor core is 93 million miles away - and there is no nuclear waste! This system also has a big advantage over a
photovoltaic system - the heat can be stored to allow operation when the sun goes down!
Looking closer, you can see the tower closest to us which is being brought up to power. The intensity of the light from all the mirrors creates a "cloud" around the tower. That tower is 459 feet (~140 m) high!


There are over 300,000 of these remote controlled mirrors that concentrate the sun's energy on the towers.


Controls for the mirrors is done centrally with local controllers spaced among the mirrors. These are connected to the central facility on fiber.


You can drive around the facility - it is so big that public roads run around and through it. It's on the "Yates Well Road" exit of I-15. If you visit midday, you will quickly realize why sunlight is an enormous resource for energy in California - or any desert city anywhere in the world for that matter.

Read more about
the Brightsouce Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Here are more photos of the Ivanpah Solar Project  

Progress On Mode Conditioning For MM Fiber Testing

The issue of how to condition the modal output of a launch cable for MM fiber testing has been argued for at least three decades. For the last few years, it has focused on encircled flux, a new metric that more accurately measures the mode conditioning but confuses most users because it is a measurement not a method of actual mode conditioning. Finally, we seem to be making progress.
At the TIA meeting in Philadelphia in October 2013, the TR-42.11 committee responsible for OFSTP-14 agreed to modify the document to require EF only for that case and at 850nm only, not for any other multimode fiber type nor at 1300nm. Data was presented by Fluke that showed that mandrel wrap conditioning would bring most sources into EF compliance. The committee is working toward a solution that calls for a mandrel wrap tested by HOML - higher order mode loss. HOML measures the power before and after the mandrel wrap and looks for a specified power loss due to the mandrel wrap.

The slide below, presented at the TIA meeting, shows how a fiber with overfilled condition becomes EF compliant with a simple mandrel wrap. More work is continuing to validate this approach and include it in the TIA OFSTP-14 standard.

mandrel wrap

OFS Improves Multimode Fiber Geometry To Enhance Performance

OFS has improved several important optical and geometry specifications for its line of 50 µm multimode fibers including LaserWave® FLEX Bend-Optimized Fiber. The new, tighter specifications can reduce connector loss and improve link system performance in cabled fiber for demanding high speed data center and enterprise applications.

For its line of 50 µm multimode fibers meeting the OM4, OM3 and OM2 standards, OFS has lowered its 850 nm attenuation specification to ≤ 2.2 dB/km, the lowest in the industry.  (Compare that to the TIA-568 spec of 3.5dB/km at 850nm!)

In addition, OFS has improved several key geometry specifications in its 50 micron multimode fibers to industry-leading levels. Clad diameter tolerance has been tightened from 125.0 ± 1.0 µm to 125.0 ± 0.8 µm, while clad non-circularity has been improved from 1% to 0.7%. Combined with a numerical aperture tolerance that has been tightened from 0.200 ± 0.015 to 0.200 ± 0.010, these improved specifications allow for better core-to-core alignment and light-coupling efficiency in connectors and splices, thereby helping to reduce the loss at these connections. Modeling of simulated connections conducted by OFS indicates that the tighter specifications can result in connection loss improvement approaching 0.1 dB per connection.


Feature/Tutorial: Fiber Optic Datalinks

What Is A Fiber Optic Data Link?

We recently got a call from a network designer looking for information on specifying a fiber optic data link in a SOW (scope of work) and how to test it. His thought was there must be a generic standard for a fiber optic data link. We were unaware of a "generic" standard, but of course they are dozens of international network standards - we list many of them here in the FOA Guide.

But what about a generic spec for data links? What they do, components that make them work, how to specify their performance and how to test it. We found nothing like that - just tons of details about specific communications systems.

fiber optic datalink



So FOA is looking at datalinks as a possible new FOA standard. And like other FOA standards, they cut through the complications and reduce the standard to the basics, putting it all on one page.

Take a look at FOA-5, Datalinks, the draft version of our latest standard. Give us your comments at the email at the bottom of the page.

And read about Intel's new datalink below.

State Of the Art: Data Center Link Technology

Options for Data Center Cabling For High Bitrate (>10Gb/s) Connections

Data centers are getting attention because of their enormous growth and the rising speeds of their networks. Going at or slower than 10Gb/s is currently not so difficult. Options include Cat 6A UTP cabling, CX-4 coax copper cabling, laser-optimized multimode fiber at 850nm and singlemode fiber at 1310nm. The next step up gets more difficult. In order to use copper cables, can start a long time project like developing "Cat 8" and hope IEEE goes along with you (they did not on an earlier project for Cat 6), use MM fiber in a parallel link or SM fiber in A WDM link. Or you could use the Intel approach.

Here is a table of the options.

Fibers/Connectors Limitations
40Gb, 850nm multimode 4 X 10Gb, parallel 8 OM3/4, MTP/MPO 100-125m
Manage fibers in groups of 4
40 Gb, 1300 nm singlemode 4 X 10Gb, CWDM 2 OS1/OS2, SC or LC 10, 40 km
Premises singlemode
40 Gb, 1550 nm singlemode 1 X 40Gb 2 OS1/OS2, SC or LC 2 km
Premises singlemode
100 Gb,  850nm multimode 10 X 10Gb, parallel 20 OM3/4, MTP/MPO 100-125m Manage fibers in groups of 10 or 12?
100Gb. 1300 nm singlemode 4 X 25Gb, CWDM 2 OS1/OS2, SC or LC 10, 40 km Premises singlemode
800G, Intel SPT, 1300 nm multimode 32 X 25Gb/s
64 special MM fibers, custom 64 fiber expanded beam connector - MXC
300 m
Proprietary fiber and connector, 64 fiber cables, prefab only

The choice any user would make will depend on their particular data center and their thoughts about the future. The fiber and cable companies who have specialists in premises applications have been focused on parallel optics over OM3/OM4 multimode fibers. Some big users like Google expressed a preference for a singlemode solution for it ability to handle future upgrades. The Intel SPT solution is a massively parallel solution that is single-sourced, but from trusted suppliers.

It will be interesting to see how users choose.

Datalinks: Power Budgets vs. Loss Budgets

Here at FOA we get many technical questions that relate to loss budgets. Most are related to testing - is the loss value being measured what should be expected from the cable plant being tested. But we also get questions from designers wondering if a system will work on a cable plant. Let's examine the difference between a "power budget" and a "loss budget."

Power Budget

All datalinks are limited by the power budget of the link. The power budget is the difference between the output power of the transmitter and the input power requirements of the receiver. The receiver has an operating range determined by the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) in the receiver. The S/N ratio is generally quoted for analog links while the bit-error-rate (BER) is used for digital links. BER is practically an inverse function of S/N. Transceivers may also be affected by the distortion of the transmitted signal as it goes down the fiber, a big problem with multimode links at high speeds or very long OSP singlemode links.

fiber optic power budget

Loss Budget
The cable plant "loss budget" is a function of the losses of the components in the cable plant - fiber, connectors and splices, plus any passive optical components like splitters in PONs.

fiber optic link power budget

Thus the loss budget of the cable plant is a major factor in the power budget of the fiber optic link and is what one calculates to compare against tested insertion loss (and even compares to OTDR loss measurements) to determine if the cable plant is properly installed. The distortion impairments can be calculated for high speed links or included in the power budget as is done in most standardized systems. The noise impairments are included in the receiver sensitivity specifications.


OLANs - Optical LANs

FOA OLAN Certification Ready For Beta Testing

OLANs are probably the most important new technology for enterprise networks in two decades (see article on San Diego's new library above), since the introduction of structured cabling standards 22 years ago. Many large user installations have been described here in the FOA Newsletter (11/12, 1/13, 3/13). OLANs offer medium to large organizations a new way to install LANs that are typically half the installation cost and even less the operating cost of traditional LANs using hybrid copper/fiber structured cabling. Plus, the use of singlemode fiber makes them easy to upgrade - if any technology in premises cabling is "future proof," it's singlemode! (Copper has had over 12 generational upgrades since LANs began being used in the 1980s!)
For the last few months, FOA has been working with companies and groups interested in OLANs to create a certification for techs designing and installing them. FOA has a long history with the FTTH technology behind OLANs, having been approached by Verizon when they were ready to introduce FiOS and realized that there was a need for trained personnel to design and install FTTH. FOA developed a FTTx curriculum and certification program, then worked with Verizon to give seminars and recruit personnel. Many FOA schools have adopted the FOA FTTx curriculum and trained workers that have installed FTTH networks around the world.
With OLANs, FOA has worked with leaders in the field to create technical materials on our FOA Guide website and YouTube channel already. We now have a curriculum ready for "beta testing" at our FOA-Approved schools which should make OLAN training ready for students in a few months.

New Association for OLANs


Not surprisingly, OLANs now have their own association to educate users about the advantages of OLANs. The Association for Passive Optical LAN is a non-profit organization composed of manufacturers, distributors, integrators, and consulting companies who are actively involved in the Passive Optical LAN marketplace. Its members support the growth and education of the Passive Optical LAN industry and are focused on formulating solutions on how best to market, install, educate, and support this burgeoning field.
The new organization's website already has some good technical information on OLANs.

105 East 34th Street,
Suite 103, New York, NY 10016
E-mail: : contact@apolanglobal.org

APOLAN website  http://www.apolanglobal.org/

CI&M OLAN Webinar Now Available Online

FOA, working with Cabling Installation and Maintenance magazine, presented our third webinar for them- this time on OLANs. The webinar covered the history of cabling for LANs and look at the evolution of cabling for today's high speed networks. More on the webinar at http://www.cablinginstall.com/webcasts/2013/03/passive-optical-lans.html Register to view it at http://video.webcasts.com/events/pmny001/viewer/index.jsp?eventid=45518&adid=ws

OLANs - Resources

Over the last couple of years, we've written a lot about all-optical LANs, either based on FTTH passive optical network (PON) or point-to-point (P2P) Ethernet architecture. The more we see of these types of networks, the more we appreciate their design and economy. But how about scale - how big can they get?
In November, we ran a picture story about the new San Diego Central Library which is using a Tellabs optical LAN using PON technology that was using about 1000 4 port drops. Now we hear another Tellabs customer has over 16,000 users. That must make it one of the biggest LANs in the world.

Here are more sources of information on optical LANs - BTW, they need a name - let's start calling them OLANs!

FOA Guide Page on OLANs and FOA YouTube Video



Cliff Walker's FTTO paper  

3M on POLs 

And the new FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs


New FOA YouTube Lectures

Cabling Project Management - FOA has created a new YouTube video on what's involved in a cabling (copper/fiber/wireless) project with advice for both the customer and the contractor involved in a cabling project. The intent of this video lecture is to help customer and contractor communicate effectively on a new project.

We've added new lectures on Wavelength Division Multiplexing and Fiber Amplifiers joining other new topics like the characterization of optical fibers for CD, PMD and spectral attenuation, important issues for long haul systems and DWDM, POF and OLANs..

wavelength division multiplexing

The new FOA lecture on Wavelength Division Multiplexing joins other new topics like the characterization of optical fibers for CD, PMD and spectral attenuation, important issues for long haul systems and DWDM, POF and OLANs..

Lectures On Instructor Training
A new section of the FOA YouTube channel is all about teaching fiber optics and premises cabling. It's designed to help instructors working toward FOA CFOS/I instructor certification but is also useful to anyone teaching fiber or premises cabling.

Read more 

More On The OTDR

This Month's OTDR Questions At FOA: Three questions were from contractors arguing with their customers who had been sold OTDRs - none were using launch or receive reference cables and two of the three insisted that only autotest results were valid.

See the problem?

When Was Your OTDR Last Tested And Calibrated?
FOA was recently sent some traces to comment on where the traces obviously had some inconsistencies. Turned out the OTDR was last tested and calibrated over 3-1/2 years ago and was still using the original software. The connector on the OTDR showed wear (high reflectance) and the software was inconsistent. Most test instruments are expected to be calibrated once a year, two at most. So check your calibration certificate or firmware update and make sure your instrument is working properly.

JDSU May Have The Right Idea On Autotest
Autotest for OTDRs is all too often behind the problem when people call FOA for advice on testing. Operators who know little about OTDRs are trained to turn the unit on and hit the autotest button. More often than not, the measurement is all wrong. But JDSU may have the right idea - autotest by application. They are introducing OTDR software just for the wireless FTTA (fiber to the antenna) application. Within the limits of the applications, the OTDR should be able to set up and take data properly. Has anybody tried it yet? Here is the JDSU announcement.

Quick Start Guide For OTDRs
We added to our Online Guide is a new "Quickstart Guide" on using OTDRs which we hope will help users operate them properly:
Quickstart Guide: Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR  

PASS/FAIL Criteria
We recently received an inquiry regarding setting "pass/fail" values for
Splice threshold
Reflectance threshold
Slope threshold (slope is attenuation coefficient)
End threshold
Here were our recommendations:






Singlemode long distance (>5-10km)

<0.1dB (fusion)


>-40dB (that means -41dB or more)

0.4dB/km at 1310nm, 0.25dB/km at 1550nm

SM short links

<0.1dB (fusion)


>-50dB (that means -51dB or more)

0.4dB/km at 1310nm, 0.25dB/km at 1550nm


0.3dB (fusion or mechanical)



3.0 dB/km at 850nm, 1dB/km at 1310nm


Three Good Practice Tools For OTDRs, All Free

FOA OTDR Simulator
You may already know that the FOA has a free OTDR Simulator you can download from our website (go here for directions) that allows you to practice using an OTDR on your PC, seeing the effects of changing setup parameters and analyzing dozens of real world traces. But here are two more tools that can be good for practice.

AFS OTDR Online Demo
AFS OTDR Simulator

AFS has an online interactive demo of their new OTDR that allows you to see how an OTDR makes measurements. You use the yellow buttons in the center of the OTDR to set the markers to make measurements. Very well done. Go to http://www.afsi.us/otdr/otdr_mode.php for the demo.

Fiberizer OTDR App Available Free as "Cloud Service"

fiberizer cloud

Fiberizer Cloud – fiber optic testing data management solution in the cloud. 
The new web service Fiberizer Cloud was developed from the view point of ordinary fiber optic engineers and their businesses. Now engineers have no need to store multiple copies of their OTDR traces on different PCs in tremendous number of nested folders; or to order expensive custom software. Fiberizer Cloud allows to store and analyze fiber optic testing data directly from the browser .

Currently Fiberizer Cloud registration is free and available here: http://fiberizer.com

YouTube video on Fibrizer: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRiTVDSEaug)

"Fiberizer" APP Reads, Analyzes OTDR Traces


Fiberizer is a iPhone/iPad APP that reads industry-standard ".sor" format files and allows trace analysis on your iPhone or iPad. An android version is in the works too. Read more about Fiberizer. And here are more directions on its use.

Including FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley's tests on what the end of a fiber trace looks like with broken and cleaved fibers.
Frequently Asked Questions On OTDRS And Hints On Their Use  


Events of Interest

The 5th Edition of FTTH Council MENA Annual Conference 2013, Marrakech, Morocco, 27-28 November 2013

Read more: http://bbcmag.com/chicago/agenda.html 

Free Corning "See the Light" Seminars
Corning Cable Systems' See the Light team is coming to a city near you!  Receive Free fiber optic training on a variety of topics including Termination Technology, Testing and Trouble Shooting, Fusion Splicing, and Preterminated Solutions. These interactive three-hour sessions provide students with a comprehensive overview of the latest technology. Fiber optic BICSI (CEC) credits apply (3). 
Here is the current information and schedule.


You are invited to join JDSU for a complimentary series of educational webinars. Each webinar, presented by a JDSU subject matter expert, lasts approximately one hour, including Q&A. Seminars are on Connectivity (May 23), Testing Fundamentals (June 20) and OTDRs (July 11)
Go here to see the seminars offered. 

Don't forget to download your copies of the JDSU Testing Textbooks.


FOA LogoWhat's Happening @ FOA

FOA Certifications Recognized By US Department of Labor

All FOA Certifications have now been recognized by the US Department of Labor. The DoL reviews certifications and how they relate to job opportunities and training. The DoL Career OneStop website helps individuals explore career opportunities to make informed employment and education choices. The Web site features user-friendly occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, career exploration assistance, and other resources that support talent development in today's fast-paced global marketplace.
FOA Certifications Listed By US Department of Labor - Career OneStop

US Department of Labor Recognizes FOA In New "Occupational Outlook Handbook"

FOA is listed in the new US Department of Labor  "Occupational Outlook Handbook" in the section "How to Become a Line Installer or Repairer."

This website lists all sorts of interesting information, including what these workers do in their jobs, how they get trained and certified (where the FOA is referenced) and something everybody is interested in - sections on "Pay" and "Job Outlook" - see the red arrow above.

Join The FOA  LinkedIn Group On Fiber Optic Training

Linked In Training Group
FOA has started a new LinkedIn group called "Fiber Optic Training" dedicated to discussions on fiber optic training. Anyone can join our new Linked In fiber optic training group. We're experimenting on teaching instructor-led online courses on LinkedIn - watch for announcements on the FOA LinkedIn group and Fiber Optic Training Group. Take a look and join the group.

FOA Corporate MemberCorporate Memberships

FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Among other benefits, Corporate Membership gives companies access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees. Read more.

FOA Standards:

FOA now offers free standards for datalinks and testing the installed fiber optic cable plant, patchcords and cable, optical power from transmitters or at receivers and OTDR testing.

Available for comment is a new proposed standard for Datalinks.

Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide.

View the  FOA YouTube Video On FOA Standards 

Go to the FOA "1 Page Standards"

Free For FOA Members: NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

Because of its importance to users, contractors and installers of fiber optic networks, The FOA and NECA have agreed to make the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard available free to FOA members. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner."   FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.

FOA is a member of:

NECA/FOA 301 Installation Standard

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.   FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.


Fiber U

Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs

FOA'S "Fiber U" free online self-study programs help you learn about fiber optics, study for FOA certifications or use them to help create "blended learning" classes. There are two new free online self-study programs on Fiber U. Fiber Optic Network Design is for those interested in learning more about how to design fiber optic networks or studying for the CFOS/D certification. FTTx is for those wanting to know more about fiber to the "x" - curb, home, wireless, etc. - or studying for the CFOS/H certification.
Got to Fiber U for more information.

Lennie & Uncle Ted Now Available As Free Books on iTunes

Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling

Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Premises Cabling are now available free to iPad users who can download them from the Apple iTunes store.
Lennie's Guide has always been the world's favorite introduction to fiber optics. It was first published in the mid-1990s by Fotec, the fiber optic test equipment company famous for its "Fiber U" training conferences and more than 60,000 printed copies were distributed. Lennie was one of the earliest commercial webpages and is still online today (and as popular as ever) at http://lennielightwave.com. Uncle Ted's Guide was created at the request of Lennie readers who wanted a similar simple introduction to "Cat 5" wiring. This latest version of Uncle Ted's Guide covers the all premises cabling topics - wiring, fiber and wireless.
You can find these free guides on Apple's iTunes Store: Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Premises Cabling  
Reference Books for FOA Certifications 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.


FOA iPad Apps

The FOA has just released its second APP for the iPad, a free "loss budget calculator," FOA LossCalc.

FOA LossCalc
FOA Loss Calculator AppFOA LossCalc estimates the optical loss of a fiber optic link. This will save time for the installer of a fiber optic link needing to know whether test results are reasonable and/or make a "pass/fail" determination. It can also help the designer of a link to determine if communications equipment will operate over this link.
By choosing the type of link (singlemode or multimode) and specifying the length of the fiber and numbers of connections and splices, it will calculate the end to end loss of the link. The app has default specifications for singlemode and multimode links or the user may create custom setups with specifications appropriate for any application. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-losscalc/id476262894?mt=8&ls=1

Self -Study in Fiber Optics
FOA iPad AppOur first app is 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.

More "Quickstart Guides"

In our continuing quest to help people understand how to test fiber optic cable plants and communications systems, we've created two more "QuickStart Guides to Fiber Optic Testing." They are simple, step-by-step guides on how to test fiber optic cable plants, patchcords or single cables using insertion loss or OTDR techniques and optical power from transceivers. It's as straightforward as it can get - what equipment do you need, what are the procedures for testing, options in implementing the test, measurement errors and documenting the results.
It can't get much simpler.
Send anybody you know who needs to know about fiber optic testing here to learn how it's done in a few minutes.

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants And Patchcords  

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR  

Measuring Optical Power In Communications Systems 



The FOA has many videos on YouTube, including two Lecture Series (Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling), Hands-On lectures on both and some other informational and instructional videos. For all the videos, go to the FOA Channel "thefoainc" or use the direct links below.

New FOA Lectures And Hands-On Videos

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

Prepolished/Splice Connector Termination (Panduit OptiCam) 

Cabling Project Management - what's involved in a copper/fiber/wireless project -advice for the customer and the contractor

We've added new lectures on Wavelength Division Multiplexing and Fiber Amplifiers joining other new topics like the characterization of optical fibers for CD, PMD and spectral attenuation, important issues for long haul systems and DWDM, POF and OLANs..

FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  

FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)

FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs
FOA Lecture 31, Wavelength Division Multiplexing  

We also added a Premises Cabling lecture on counterfeit Cat 5 cable, with a demonstration of its flammability.

Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling

Hazards Of Counterfeit Cable

You may have read the stories we have written about the counterfeit "Cat 5" cable made from copper-clad aluminum rather than pure copper. Recently we tried an unscientific burn test on the cable compared to a known good UL tested cable and posted a video on YouTube. You can see the results below.

Counterfeit cable flame test

Counterfeit Cable     Real UL-rated cable

The difference is obvious and the danger is real. Watch the video on YouTube: Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling

2 New "Hands-On Hints" Videos:

Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 

Below is a list of all the current lectures (plus there are 28 hands-on videos too!). We're looking for ideas for topics for future lectures. Send your ideas to <info@thefoa.org>.

FOA Lecture 1: Fiber Optics & Communications 
FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics 
FOA Lecture 3: Optical Fiber 
FOA Lecture 4: Fiber Optic Cables 
FOA Lecture 5: Splices and Connectors 
FOA Lecture 6: Fiber Optic Splices 
FOA Lecture 7: Fiber Optic Connectors 
FOA Lecture 8: Fiber Optic Installation 
FOA Lecture 9: Fiber Optic Network Design, Part 1
FOA Lecture 10: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 2 
FOA Lecture 11: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 3 
FOA Lecture 12: Fiber Optic Testing Overview 
FOA Lecture 13: Testing Fiber Visually 
FOA Lecture 14: Testing Optical Power 
FOA Lecture 15: Five Ways To Test Fiber Optic Cable Plants 
FOA Lecture 16: Insertion Loss Testing 
FOA Lecture 17: OTDR Testing 
FOA Lecture 18: OTDR Setup 
FOA Lecture 19: OTDR Measurement Uncertainty 
FOA Lecture 20: Other Fiber Optic Tests 
FOA Lecture 21 Visual Fault Locator Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 22 Mode Power Distribution in Multimode Fibers Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 23 Total Internal Reflection in Optical Fiber Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 24 Copper, Fiber or Wireless? 
FOA Lecture 25 FTTx 
FOA Lecture 26: Loss Budgets  
FOA Lecture 27, Fiber Optic Datalinks 
FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  
FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)  
FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs
FOA Lecture 31, Wavelength Division Multiplexing  
FOA Lecture 32, Fiber Amplifiers  

Hands-On Fiber Optic Videos show how it's actually done
Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 
Fiber Optic Connector Polishing Technique 
Prepolished Splice Connector Termination (Unicam)  
Prepolished/Splice Connector Termination (Panduit OptiCam) 
The Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket (Cell Phone)   
Insertion Loss Testing   
Fusion Splicing  
Mechanical Splicing   
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 1, Setup & Tools  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 2, Jacketed Cable Prep  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 3, Adhesive Prep  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 4, Stripping Fiber  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 5, Connector Attachment  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 6, Polishing  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 7, Inspection  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 8, Distribution Cable Termination   
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 1 Introduction  
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 2, Zipcord
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 3 Distribution Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 4 Breakout Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 5 Loose Tube Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 6, Armored Cable

Lectures On Premises Cabling
The FOA has added more videos to our YouTube Channel, thefoainc. These are an introduction to premises cabling, covering applications, types of cabling, standards and installation practices for copper (UTP and coax), fiber and wireless. Like our lecture series on fiber optics, these provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in short videos, typically 5-10 minutes in length, on each subject. Watch for more.

Premises Cabling Lectures  on YouTube

"Hands-On" UTP Cabling Videos show how it's actually done
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 1, Tools
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 2, The Training Board
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 3, UTP Cable
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 4, 66 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 5, 110 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 6, Jacks
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 7, Testing
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 8, Plugs and Patchcords 
Lectures On Instructor Training
A new section of the FOA YouTube channel is all about teaching fiber optics and premises cabling. It's designed to help instructors working toward FOA CFOS/I instructor certification but is also useful to anyone teaching fiber or premises cabling.

FOA Instructor Training and Certification Playlist (all videos)  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 1 -Introduction   
FOA Instructor Training - Part 2 - About The FOA  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 3 - FOA Approved Schools  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 4 - Instructors  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 5 - Curriculum  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 6 - Teaching A Course 
FOA Instructor Training - Part 7 - Hands-On Labs  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 8 - FOA Resources  

View all the FOA YouTube video Lectures.  


What's New  in the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide?

We have been updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information.

What do you do when you need to test fiber or cable on a reel? Here is anew page on
Bare Fiber Testing  
The page on Optical LANs (OLANs) has been expanded with new material and links.

What's A Network? A simple explanation of network types and operation has been added to the FOA Online Guide.

We have updated the "Datalinks" page.

FOA has added a page on Connector Repair to our Online Guide.
fiber optic connector repair

FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units)
When we talk about FTTH, we often assume we are installing the fiber to a “home” where it terminates in a optical line terminal (OLT) and services (voice, data and video) are delivered inside the subscriber’s "home." But since we may have detached single-family homes, row houses or living units in a large building, the situations can be quite different, requiring different architectures and installation practices. To clarify the options for fiber in MDUs, FOA has created a new page in our FTTx section of the FOA Guide to explain the options.


FOA Guide: FTTH in MDUs   

Three new "Quickstart Guides" for fiber optic testing: cable plant & patchcord loss, power and OTDR

OLANs: Optical LANs  -  based on FTTH technology and offering speed and economy for most premises applications.

FTTx and Design Pages Updated
As we developed the new Fiber U self-study courses, we updated the FTTx and Design pages and added a FTTx installation section.

Testing FTTH
Basic guidelines for testing FTTH PON networks  

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 we added a free download of an OTDR simulator to the OTDR section so you can learn how to use an OTDR on your PC.

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 360,000 users downloading about 1.75 million pages in 2011! 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

Quote from one of our certified instructors: I want to thank you and your organization for all the resources you provide for the students and the opportunity to offer the certification to the students. The fact that you published the book yourself to get the cost down and the unlimited free resources on your website shows a commitment to the public that is second to none. I let it be known to the students that the FOA is the best in the industry at supplying knowledge and resources related to the communication industry. I look forward to passing on the information that you provide for the industry.

Great Video About An FOA School And Their Training 
BDI Datalynk trains at the Unversity of Central Florida. UCF created this incredible video on the BDI Datalynk program.  It shows the power of what they offer on campuses around the US.
Watch the video here: http://www.ce.ucf.edu/Program/2583/Fiber-Optics-Network-Certification-Courses-Non-credit/
For more information, contact Bob Ballard, CFOS/I, BDI DataLynk, LLC, A Vietnam Veteran-Owned Company
www.bdidatalynk.com, Ph: 512-785-9024 

New Schools
The FOA welcomes the newest additions to our listing of FOA-Approved Training Organizations:

Admintelecom Academy
Tel: +233 244379657
Email: fred.larnyoh@admincity.com, admin.academy@admincity.com
FOA Approved School # 759.

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

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization
FOA-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/Comments Worth Repeating

Testing MM Fiber For 10G Networks
Is testing 10g MM fiber is different than testing regular MM fiber?
A: Assuming it's OM3 or OM4, it should be tested like other 50/125 fibers - insertion loss. Theoretically, that means that it should be tested with sources or mode conditioners that create a EF launch according to the current TIA OFSTP-14 standard.
At the TIA meeting in Philadelphia in October 2013, the TR-42.11 committee responsible for OFSTP-14 agreed to modify the document to require EF only for that case and at 850nm only, not for any other multimode fiber type nor at 1300nm. Data was presented by Fluke that showed that mandrel wrap conditioning would bring most sources into EF compliance. The committee is working toward a solution that calls for a mandrel wrap tested by HOML - higher order mode loss. HOML measures the power before and after the mandrel wrap and looks for a specified power loss due to the mandrel wrap.

Micro-cracking In Fiber (10/13)
Q: Does your organization have information on the effects of micro cracking in optical fibers over a 20 year life?
A; We do not have any particular information on this subject. It has been discussed by the fiber manufacturers in literature over the history of fiber. The manufacturing process includes stress testing of the fiber which is intended to cause failure at points that could lead to future failure. After that, the coatings provide protection and the stress on the fiber can be a factor. We have discussed this topic with fiber manufacturers in terms of the lifetime of deployed fiber cable and they talk about a 40 year design life.

UTP Jacks and Punchdown Blocks
Q: Why are the color codes for jacks (8p8c connectors) different from punchdown blocks?
A: Punchdowns preceded the modular connectors by at least 50 years and were set up to punch down pairs in numerical order, with "tip" (striped wire) first then "ring" (solid wire) for each pair. (Tip refers to the wire connected to the tip of the phone plug from an old manual switch used by operators and ring refers to the ring around the phone plug.) Blocks came with options for 25, 50, 100 pairs or more to accommodate the high pair count of POTs cables. When 4-pair cables came along, each cable was punched down in sequence (blue, orange, green, brown).
When jacks came along the first use was also for POTs - plain old telephone service - and the pairs were split symmetrically.


When Ethernet, DECnet and IBM started using this modular 8-pin jack, they all chose slightly different pin usage but all separated conductors in the pairs to prevent crosstalk (http://www.telebox.com/technical/t-pdf/WiringConfig_2007-0205.pdf). TIA choose to standardize on a 4 pair cable for the jack and  standardized on two pin configurations (had to satisfy both AT&T and the Ethernet people.) Thus we got TIA 568A/B when it became standardized.

As speeds increased, the crosstalk and return loss became more important so the jacks, starting with Cat 5, included internal "twists" to continue the tighter twists in the pairs.

Twist  Cat 5 Twist

Punchdown blocks have pretty much disappeared since Cat 5 because it's hard to keep crosstalk and return loss under control. 110 blocks are better than 66 blocks, but still tough to get high speed performance.

Bi-directional Testing
Q: I am wondering why you would need to perform bi directional insertion loss testing? I would assume that you should get the same results testing from either end?
A: That's an interesting question when you are talking about insertion loss.
For OTDRs, the answer is obvious - the differences can be quite large due to the different backscatter coefficients of fibers which causes joints to be gainers as much as 1/3 of the time.
For insertion loss, the likely directional measurement errors are generally smaller, primarily due to the different conditions of the connectors on the reference cables and the variations in the diameters of the fibers at joints.
Those errors may be smaller than some simpler issues like source wavelength, a major contributor for loss variations in long singlemode and most multimode cable plants. By source wavelength, we do not mean 1310nm vs 1550nm for singlemode or 850nm vs 1300nm for multimode, we mean that international specs for test sources allow significant variations, e.g. 1310nm lasers can have wavelengths from ~1280-1330nm and 850nm LEDs can vary from 820-880nm. If you look at the loss variation due to the variation of attenuation coefficient of the fiber, the potential for error is large.
In my 30+ years of working with standards committees, I've found that they tend to focus on certain issues and ignore others when writing standards. The committees have, for example, focused on mode-power distribution in MM testing but ignored issues like source wavelength and core diameter (which I have been adamant at presenting data to TIA committees here in the US to point out the real world issues.) Strangely enough, long SM runs are sometimes not even tested for insertion loss.
So to finally answer your question, you will likely not get the same result when testing insertion loss in the opposite direction, but the measurement uncertainty due to direction is only part of a larger number of potential errors that probably do not justify the time and cost of bidirectional testing.
One could probably argue the same way on OTDR testing, but many people are confused by the large numbers of gainers one sees in a long concatenated link.

OTDR Resolution (9/13)
We have a prefab cable system with about 100 hi density SM&MM cartridges with a 12 strand MTP connector on the back and 12 LC connectors (p/n: ECM-UM12-04-89G).  There is roughly 18 inches of fiber wound up in the cartridge so the OTDR consistently fails at this point due to terrible reflectance.  It’s almost like the it cannot see the 2 connection points because they are so close together. Is there an OTDR that will resolve this?
A: This is not a proper use of OTDRs. There is no field OTDR that can resolve the connectors on these modules. The lab versions that could see them cost ~ten times as much, use different measurement principles and are not portable. These modules should be tested as part of a complete cable plant installation for insertion loss with a light source and power meter like every other installed cable plant.  At best, you could consider them one event in the OTDR trace and measure the loss across the two connections. Since reflectance is a complicated calculation, I'm not sure what happens with two reflectances that would be combined, but you could compare one fiber in a module to another.

Fiber In Airports (9/13)
Can you show me an example of Fiber Optic Cabling Layout of an airport.
A: Fiber has been used in airports for decades. FAA developed a runway monitoring system many years ago that checks runway lights and other services and does CCTV video surveillance. Inside buildings and between them, fiber provides communications for the operating authority and tenants, connects signs, provides WiFi and cellular wireless systems, etc.
For one specific application, Dubai Airport's new Terminal 3, see the FOA Newsletter article "FTTO: Fiber To The Office" and be sure to read Cliff Walker's paper about his design.

OLAN Design (9/13)
At slide 18 (13:23) in your YouTube Video on OLANs, you say we don´t need telecom closets. You´re considering that the telecom closet is substituted by the passive patch panel, the switch or both? It seems a stupid question, but depending on where your central office is located, you can have a single strand running from the central office to a switch inside the building´s basement, or having multiple strands, running from the CO through the passive patch panel to a small switch on every other floor. I don´t understand which of this scenarios you´re suggesting to be the most economical.
A: In an OLAN, the switches in the main equipment room have connections to the outside world, often today on fiber for a medium/large business, and inside the business, to the companies servers and storage, either on fiber or copper. Those switches connect to users, typically through a backbone cable to local switches near the users and horizontal cabling, usually Cat 5E/6/6A connects users's desktops or wireless APs or other IP devices connected over Ethernet.
An OLAN replaces the racks of switches in the main equipment room with a OLT-optical line terminal- that is also rack mounted, about a foot high, that serves up to 8192 users in about a 10km radius. The OLT connects to a splitter with a max of 32 ports over a single fiber that is used bidirectionally. The splitter works like the switch in the telecom closet, connecting the main switches to many users, but is passive, needing no power. Each of the outputs of the splitter connects to a local switch that typically provides 4 Ethernet ports at the work area, along with PoE -power over Ethernet if needed. Thus, one electronic port on the OLT can serve 128 users with 2.4Gb/s down and 1.2Gb/s up.
So the splitter can be thought of as a substitute for the switch in the telecom closet, but needs little space and no power or AC -thus no telecom closets. Users place splitters on walls, above ceilings, etc. instead of racks.
We will be doing more on this- in the newsletter, on Fiber U, YouTube, etc. in the near future.

Cable Plant Maintenance (9/13)
What is recommended for inspection/maintenance for outside plant ADSS fiber optic cable?  We have a few hundred miles of mostly overhead OFS ADSS Fiber Optic Cable with 48/60/144 count.  We have no current outside plant maintenance program for that fiber and I was trying to find out what type of maintenance is recommended, and at what periodicity.
A: Fiber optic cable has no special inspection or maintenance requirements beyond general cable maintenance- e.g. looking for branches falling on it or growing around it or tennis shoes hanging from it.<g> About all anyone should do is periodically visually inspect the route. If you think something may be wrong, test a few spare fibers for loss with a light source and power meter or take traces with an OTDR and compare to earlier results. Perhaps once a year or after natural events that could harm cables.

Test MM With SM OTDR?
Is it possible to test multimode fiber with a single mode OTDR? I have tried this and appear to get results that are correct  just want to confirm if this is generally acceptable or are there any pitfalls
A: As you found, it is possible to test MM fiber with a SM OTDR if it has sufficient dynamic range to handle the mismatch loss on the return signal. Obviously testing at 1310nm will show lower loss than 850nm where MM needs testing, but any bending losses will show up. Reflectance at joints will likely be different too. But if needed, it can work. Just be sure to do an insertion loss test with an 850nm light source too!

Recycling Cabling (8/13)
Who can I contact regarding recycling cable I am removing from a building?
A: Here are some people who say they recycle fiber optic cable or at least know how to do it:





Dynamic Range Spec For OTDR (9/13)
What is the best suitable dynamic range of an OTDR? Manufacturers specifications cover many ranges.
A: OTDRs are generally designed for particular types of applications. Long range OTDRs have a high dynamic range but not very good resolution. Short range OTDRs, like those used in metro applications, will emphasize resolution more than range. The dynamic range of the OTDR is a function of not only the OTDR itself but also the setup. For long range, you use wider test pulses and more averaging. For short lengths, use narrower pulses and less averaging. For any OTDR, you should find a max dB range and minimum resolution distance quoted. From those you make a choice.
Have you read the FOA Guide pages on OTDRS?

132 Fiber Cable? (8/13)
I am a long time FOA reader and use your site often as a teaching tool and reference guide.  I find your information to be very useful and I thank you for making it available.  I am writing for the first time to ask if anyone might have heard of a 132 fiber outdoor SM cable? 
A: I'd guess it was a 144 fiber loose tube design with one dummy tube - usually a solid plastic rod in place of the last fiber tube. It would not be unusual, especially if it were old enough to be made when fiber was expensive - like pre 2002/3 - or for a customer who sized out what he wanted and was not willing to pay for any more fibers under any circumstances.
If you are replacing a section, a 144 fiber replacement will work and leave you some spares.

Lightning Protection (7/13)
Q: I want some technical literature and practical tips on “Protection of OSP from lightening”. Please help.
A: Try this from the US Federal Aviation Agency, it's fairly complete. https://faaco.faa.gov/attachments/STD-019e2.pdf
I've seen the aftermath of lighting strikes where a cable was simply in the way of the lightning and over 100m of the cable was damaged by the high current affecting the armor. If lightning strikes a cable with conductors, there is little you can do to protect the cable, so the focus is on protecting the electronics.

Bend Radius For Fiber? (From a FOA school instructor) (6/13)
Q: I have a question regarding the bend radius that was asked in my class. We understand the bend radius as it pertains to pulling cable. One of my students wanted to know if it still applies to individual fibers after the jacket has been stripped off.
A: Excellent question. The cable rules come from manufacturers who must make cables to handle the stresses of installation. When you get to the fiber level, the situation will depend on the type of fiber and the application, e.g. in splice closures or patch panels and the type of fiber.
When splicing SM fiber cables together, the splice closure is designed to protect the fibers from stresses which can cause loss or long term unreliability. When SM was mostly used at 1310nm wavelength, the closures were designed for about a 3" diameter fiber loop for the 250 micron buffer fiber. With more use at 1550nm where bending losses are more severe, a ~4" diameter loop was adopted. Thus it was the fiber and closure manufacturers who jointly developed a de facto standard.
For tight buffered fiber, mostly MM in premises cables, the issue was how fibers would be routed inside a box with connectors installed on each fiber. Here a minimum radius of ~32 mm was common practice.
All this, of course, predates bend-insensitive fiber. With those, fiber manufacturers seem to be competing to see who can abuse their fiber the most! While BI fibers do not have as much stress loss, the long term reliability of a tightly bent fiber is still questionable so conservative guidelines should be followed. BI fiber is very popular for indoor applications, but should still be handled with care. It has made possible some new ultra-small cables which are easier to install in buildings.

Standards For Datalinks
Q: I have the ITU G.652 standard and the 662 standard as well, but these address more of the fiber and component system requirements, characteristics and performance without any test convention related info. Are there any fiber based system test references/standards you can recommend?
A: Most standards are written for component manufacturers, not system users. Test standards generally refer to the cable plant, not the system. For the cable plant, you do a "loss budget" which estimates the loss and then do an insertion loss test to see how test results compare to the loss budget estimate.
Here is information on the loss budget http://thefoa.org/tech/lossbudg.htm
And information on testing from the FOA standards http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/OFSTP-14.html
There are standards for many communications standards, for example Ethernet (see http://thefoa.org/tech/Linkspec.htm) but many systems are proprietary, so the manufacturer specifies the link "power budget" based on the output power of the transmitter and input power requirements of the receiver. See http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/appln/datalink.html
The system manufacturer will specify a cable plant loss budget to be less than the link power budget to leave some margin for system operation over time.
Note: This seems to be a problem that has not been addressed by standards. FOA has proposed a "datalink" standard to address the need.

OTDR Settings (6/13)
What are good values to set a OTDR to for PASS/FAIL?
Splice threshold
Reflectance threshold
Slope threshold (slope isattenuation coefficient)
End threshold (depends on whether you 1) use receive reference cable which would be a normal connection loss or 2)the length of the cable and the noise floor of the measurement. Best to make sure the trace is not noisy to the end and have 2-3dB from the cable backscatter level to the noise floor.

A: Here are some recommended values for types of links:






Singlemode long distance (>5-10km)

<0.1dB (fusion)


>-40dB (that means -41dB or more)

0.4dB/km at 1310nm, 0.25dB/km at 1550nm

SM short links

<0.1dB (fusion)


>-50dB (that means -51dB or more)

0.4dB/km at 1310nm, 0.25dB/km at 1550nm


0.3dB (fusion or mechanical)



3.0 dB/km at 850nm, 1dB/km at 1310nm


Is Reflectance A Problem on Short SM Links? (6/13) 
Q. Have you heard of high reflections causing issues with short SM links?  If so, at what speeds and levels of reflection?  The standards only require -26dB for SM, but does that only work for lower speed applications?  TI have noticed with higher speed digital systems that reflection can cause issues.
A: We started hearing about it on campus type applications of Gigabit Ethernet using SM ~1km long - that was a decade ago. The first time it was with field terminated SM (I's bet using MM techniques) that was probably -20dB reflectance. Cutting the field terminations off and splicing pigtails on the cable solved the problem.
We've seen other similar instances, all with short SM links. We believe the problem was not with the commonly accepted explanation, interference with the laser transmitters (which may affect the linearity of analog transmitters), but multiple reflections (like you see with ghosts on an OTDR) adding to receiver noise. Each connection can add to the reflectance. Higher speeds makes it more problematic because the power budgets are lower but the background noise remains fairly constant.
It appears to be a problem also on FTTH and OLAN PONs. Most of these networks are now specifying APC connectors to stop reflections.

What Connector Is This? How Do I Test It? (5/13)
 Connector 905-906
Q: Have you seen this connector on the left side of the picture before?  It looks similar to an SMA 905 connector but it has a ridge around the ferrule. I have a customer that wants to be able to test their existing cable that has these connectors. Do you have any ideas on how I can test this cable?
A: The connector on the left is a SMA 905 and the one on the right is a SMA 906. The ridged design was used by some manufacturers to make it easier to machine - only a small part of the ferrule was necessary to grind to the exact 0.125 inch diameter and it reduced friction when inserting it into mating sleeves. Check the diameter with a micrometer and it should be 0.125 inch.
Testing these can be tricky if the fiber is a large core PCS fiber. First, check it with a microscope if you have one with a SMA adapter. Otherwise, try a jewelers loupe and compare it to a 125 micron OD fiber to see if it is indeed larger.
If so, it can be tested with a hybrid patch cord as you describe. The problem may be finding a SC or ST connector that can accommodate the larger fiber. Are the cables that need testing using SMAs on each end? Or just one end? Testing with a power meter with modular adapters that can handle SMAs makes it easy. Use a single-ended test to check connectors on each end.
See http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/1pstandards/FOA-2.pdf or http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/FOTP-171.html

Tech Hint: Did You Know You Have A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?
Yes! That old mobile phone has a camera which may be 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. Update: You should check out your old cell phones before you recycle them. We've found older models use sensors which are better at infrared than the newer ones which take better pictures. This is a good use for your old cell phones hiding in the drawer!

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.

See news about Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube by ITW Chemtronics below.

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 or Watching:

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.

Trends, Technologies, and Ecosystems: Evolution of the Digital Home
The evolution of the connected home continues toward increasing complexity.  Devices and services must continually offer more: more functions, more speed, and more consumer benefits. In this new whitepaper, Parks Associates analyzes the factors impacting the connected home, leveraging our industry and consumer expertise to determine the key trends of 2013. Download it here.

ITU Report On Broadband
Countries with a clearly-defined national vision for broadband are significantly out-performing other countries, according to a new joint report released by ITU, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and funded by network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. ITU analysts indicate that countries with a National Broadband Plan have fixed broadband penetration some 8.7% higher on average than countries without plans.
Read the report here.

Networks Today: 80% on cable, 20% wireless, Networks Tomorrow: 20% on cable, 80% wireless
Dimension Data this week released its annual Network Barometer Report 2013, which evaluates the readiness of enterprise networks to support critical business operations. The announcement, made during the Cisco Live user conference in Orlando, Fla.

(The gentlemen looking at a bundle of copper cables must be illustrating the industry's nostalgia for old copper technology!)

You can download the Dimension Data report here.

ITU Report On Broadband
Countries with a clearly-defined national vision for broadband are significantly out-performing other countries, according to a new joint report released by ITU, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and funded by network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. ITU analysts indicate that countries with a National Broadband Plan have fixed broadband penetration some 8.7% higher on average than countries without plans.Read the report here.

Have You Noticed The "Halo Effect"?

We've written before about "bend-insensitive" fibers that use an optical ring around the core to prevent light loss when the fiber is stressed. But when inspecting connectors on BI fiber, you may have seen a "halo" around the core like this.
OFS has created an application note that discusses this effect, caused by light in the fiber or from the inspecting microscope. It seems some installers have gotten confused, thinking they are looking at the whole core of the fiber (62.5/125 fiber perhaps) instead of the 50 micron core and the halo caused by the optical "trench" around the core that provides the bend insensitivity. OFS Application Note On The Halo Effect.

How Is Fiber Manufactured?

Manufacturing fiber at OFS

OFS invites you on a tour of their multimode fiber manufacturing facilities in this new 5-minute video. You will see their highly automated manufacturing operation in Sturbridge, Mass., including their patented MCVD preform fabrication process to fiber draw and final product testing. With a technological heritage dating back to AT&T and Bell Labs, OFS has been manufacturing high-quality multimode fiber since 1981.
Watch the video here.

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

The August, 2012 FOA Newsletter presented a review of where we see the most active areas in fiber optics now and where the jobs seem to be most available. You can read this article here.  If you are looking for a job, the FOA also has a web page on looking for jobs and a LinkedIn group for CFOTs where jobs can be posted,plus a jobs section in this newsletter.

FTTO: Fiber To The Office

At our seminars in the UAE with eSharp Consultancy, Cliff Walker presented information on his work designing "fiber to the office (FTTO) networks. The concept is based on using fiber to connect large switches in the equipment room to smaller switches with 4 ports at the outlet. You can read Cliff's paper on the airport system to see estimates of the cost savings using FTTO.
Read Cliff Walkers paper on FTTO.

More On Fiber Use In Wind And Solar Power

Craig Bowden, FOA Master Instructor at FiberNexxt in NH, presented a program at the New England Fiberoptic Council recently on fiber in wind power. His presentation is available for downloading here. It's full of good illustrations and photos that tell the story.

Making Sense of The G.657 Standard (OFS)

The G.657 standard was developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to provide consistency in the evolving requirements for bend-insensitive single-mode fiber.This OFS paper sums up the standard and what it means. Read more

Want To Know Where Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Run?

There is a good map online by TeleGeography you can access here.

Confused By Standards?

You are not the only one! As Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, once said at a conference "The wonderful thing about standards is we have so many to choose from!" But the Siemon Company, an active participant in standards activities for decades, has tried to give some order to this chaos with a new website Standards Informant where they cover the TIA, ISO /IEC and IEEE standards that affect cabling and networks. If you need to keep up with standards, sign up for their email newsletter too.

Benchmarking Fusion Splicing And Selecting Singlemode Fiber
We've been asked many times "How long does it take to splice a cable?" It's not a simple answer as it varies with the number of fibers in the cable and the work setup, including whether one or two techs are working at a job site. FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha of Triple Play in South Africa did his own analysis based on decades of experience both splicing cables and teaching others how to do it properly. This is one of the best analyses we have seen because Joe includes prep times as well as splicing times and differentiates between one tech and two techs working together. He adds some other tips on fusion splicing too. This should be mandatory reading for every tech and given to every student! Here is Joe's splicing analysis. 

Joe also has an excellent writeup on how to choose singlemode fiber that helps understanding the different types of G.6xx fiber. Read it here.
And you will want to read Joe's report on splicing different types of SM fiber, including bend-insensitive (G.657) fiber. Read it here.

Videos on Firestopping: These free videos from UL and the International Firestop Council are good tutorials on firestopping. Go here to view the videos.

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

Free - Mike Holt's Explanation Of The US National Electrical Code (NEC) For Communications Cables
Mike Holt is the acknowledged expert of the US National Electrical Code (NEC). His books and seminars are highly praised for their ability to make a very complicated standard (that is in fact Code - law - in most areas of the US) easily understood. Part of the appeal is Mike's great drawings that make understanding so much easier. Mike makes Chapter 8 of his book available free. It covers communications cables, telephones, LANs, CATV and CCTV, for premises applications. Even if you live in a region or country where the NEC is not the law, you may find this interesting.
Download Mike's Chapter Here

Fiber Optic Crossword Puzzles For Entertainment And As A CFOT Certification Study Aid (2/12)

Pearson Technologies Inc., a 32-year fiber optic training, technical and marketing consulting firm, announces availability of a free training and certification tool. This tool is a free set of crossword puzzles on the terms of fiber optic installation and products. This set assists those studying fiber optic installation or planning to take the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) certification examination. The four puzzles are for: light and fiber terms, cable terms, connector and splice terms, optoelectronics and testing terms.

The puzzles can be viewed and printed from: http://www.ptnowire.com/resources.htm or http://www.ptnowire.com/CFOT-Puzzles-vb.pdf. Individuals can receive the answers by email request.

For additional information, contact Pearson Technologies Inc. at: 4671 Hickory Bend Drive, Acworth, GA 30102, at (770) 490-991, or via e-mail at fiberguru@ptnowire.com.

New Eric Pearson Books

A new book from Eric Pearson, Mastering Fiber Optic Network Design, has just been introduced (9/12).

EP Book  EP Connector book  EP OTDR Book

Pearson Technologies Inc. announces the release of four new books, Mastering Fiber Optic Network Design, Professional Fiber Optic Installation, The Essentials For Success, Mastering Fiber Optic Connector Installation and Mastering The OTDR.
Based on 32 years of experience, laboratory testing, development, and training of more than 8000 installers, these books is suitable for training, installation, personnel certification, and reference. Eric's books are perhaps best described as fiber optic "cookbooks," full of detailed directions that reflect many years of tesing in his courses. They are valuable references for the fiber optic tech.

For additional information. contact Pearson Technologies Inc., www.ptnowire.com, fiberguru@ptnowire.com, 770-490-9991

Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube
ITW Chemtronics has three fiber optic cleaning videos on videos covering Dry CleaningWet-Dry Method, FiberWash and Combination Cleaning. They are good explanations of cleaning processes - the Wet-Dry is especially interesting.

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.

Ensuring Distance Accuracy On OTDR Measurements

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 (Archives)

CI-M Logo
CI&M magazine often does webcasts on interesting topics in premises cabling. FOA President Jim Hayes has done several for them  too. Here are the archives of all recent webcasts: http://www.cablinginstall.com/webcasts.html

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

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.

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.

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 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 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 brought this to our attention.
IR Viewer 850 nm  IR Viewer 1300 nm

If you have an old cell phone, try it too. Our experience is that older cell phone cameras have better sensitivity at IR wavelengths than newer phones, so you may want to toss that old phone into the toolbox.

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 more international standards
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10/40/100G Ethernet.


Product News

New AFL Cleaver Aimed At Prepolished/Splice Connectors and Mechanical Splices

AFL  Cleaver

The CT-05 fiber optic cleaver provides high quality cleaving at an economical price.Designed for cleaving single fibers only, this cleaver is best suited for the installation
of field installable connectors and mechanical splices. The rugged yet scaled-down design offers cleave quality approaching that of more expensive high precision cleavers.
The long-life, 16-position circular blade performs cleaving operation in one single step.
Read More.

Foam Sealant For Pedestal Floors


American Polywater® PedFloor™ Structural Foam creates a barrier to protect pedestals and cabinets containing standby power supplies, splices, switches and other gear.  Polywater® PedFloor™ helps prevent outages and service disruptions by creating a resilient and impermeable barrier that keeps out moisture and stops rodents, snakes, and insects from burrowing up through earthen gaps into the enclosure, potentially causing costly outages or safety hazards to crews. The strong, lightweight seal withstands freeze-thaw cycles  and environmental extremes.  It is compatible with cable  jacket materials and will not corrode metal. Read more.

Recycling Communications Cable
FOA was contacted by a company that recycles electronics communications equipment and cabling. CommuniCom recycles cable/metals/e-waste for Telcos and CATVs. They also recycle Fiber Optic Cable and associated Materials (the fiber scrap). And, they reclaim OSP abandoned copper cables (abandoned from road moves or FTTx growth). This is a huge part of our business. They do the work (permitting/locates/labor) for free and we revenue share back with our clients (telcos).

Contact Steve Maginnis
803.371.5436 (cell)

Loss Budget Calculator For Android OS
Sebastian Flores has created a loss budget calculator for Android operating systems. Being iOS users we cannot report on its use, but it has some positive feedback from users on the FOA LinkedIn group.
You can find it on Google Play along with Data Tech Helper a similar app by Sebastian for copper cabling.

Bend Insensitive Fibers Get Smaller Coatings, Smaller Cables for FTTH or OLANs

OFS has started supplying BI-SMF with a 200 micron coating instead of 250 microns. This means they can make smaller cables or higher density cables, ideal for FTTH and OLANs. Like the TEC cables above, smaller cables are easier to handle, especially in high density environments.
Read more.

Illuminated Fishtape: Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Klein Tools, (http://www.kleintools.com/) for professionals since 1857, introduces a new illuminated fish rod tip (Cat. No. 56119). The bright white, omni-directional light illuminates when fishing above ceilings, in attics, through walls, in crawl spaces and under raised floors.  The hook or bullet nose attachments (sold separately) fit smoothly into the threaded top and the ends are tapered for easier pushing and pulling.

Handheld OTDR
Advanced Fiber Solutions has introduced a new compact portable OTDR that offers high resolution (to 1m) and light weight (1.6 pounds, 0.72 kg) plus numerous wavelength and range options. Here is more information.

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

Protecting Pedestals From Rodents
Pedestals and underground vaults can be damaged by rodents who come up through the base and damage cables. Uraseal "Drain N'Seal" foam deters mice from taking up residence in your pedestals. They have some good videos on using their product.

Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

More links on cleaning:

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.

  • Westover 
  • AFL

    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads




    FTTH Notes:

    Many States In the US Restrict Municipal Networks

    As reported in the website "Community Broadband Networks," many municipalities are creating their own networks, including FTTH like Chattanooga and Clarksville, TN, etc. But in 19 of the US states, there are laws that handicap municipalities or outright ban their offering "telecom" services. (See the list of laws compiled by Optica here.) Obviously, these laws were passed to protect the (usually monopoly) telecom and CATV providers who do not want competition. But they also make it difficult or impossible for many areas to get broadband.

    Does anybody know if these laws prohibit a municipality from building a fiber network and then leasing it to an Internet service provider? Obviously, FTTH needs good lawyers too.

    FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units)

    When we talk about FTTH, we often assume we are installing the fiber to a “home” where it terminates in a optical line terminal (OLT) and services (voice, data and video) are delivered inside the subscriber’s "home." But since we may have detached single-family homes, row houses or living units in a large building, the situations can be quite different, requiring different architectures and installation practices. To clarify the options for fiber in MDUs, FOA has created a new page in our FTTx section of the FOA Guide to explain the options.

    FTTH in MDUs

    FOA Guide: FTTH in MDUs   

    Google Map Shows Worldwide FTTx Projects

    One of the better sites to track FTTx projects is this Google maps application that shows projects on a world map with details on the project.

    FTTx Map of the world

    Click on the map above or here to view the interactive web map.
    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.

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

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

    See www.call811.com for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit by the "811" group.

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

    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: http://www.westoverfiber.com/Support/downloads.php



    Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
    The August, 2012 FOA Newsletter presented a review of where we see the most active areas in fiber optics now and where the jobs seem to be most available. You can read this article here.  If you are looking for a job, the FOA also has a web page on looking for jobs and a LinkedIn group for CFOTs where jobs can be posted,plus a jobs section in this newsletter.

    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   

    Job Openings

    Optical Connectors - Principal Engineer- (9/13)

    Position Overview:  
    The Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) group which supports and develops leading edge manufacturing technologies and plays a central R&D role within the company, is seeking an enthusiastic, innovative, and goal-oriented individual. The candidate should be proactive in problem solving and possesses technical leadership and communication skills that will lead and transition new technologies from the laboratory to the business units to help maintain and grow my client as the global leader in connectivity.  The position is in Harrisburg, PA.
    Responsibilities & Qualifications:
    Work with business units development engineers and manufacturing organizations to transition successful technology to large-scale manufacturing and the end-user market
    Ability to be a technical expert, lead projects or serve as a team member of complex, large, or high impact projects
    Develop creative and innovative approaches for manufacturing processes
    Troubleshoot technical problems, determine and execute resolution plans
    Create and/or contribute to project scoping, planning, budgeting and schedules
    Ability to perform proficiently in all phases of the project from concept to transfer
    Works on technically complex and high impact projects and deliverables, where ingenuity and basic business understanding is required. Applies advanced/expert knowledge of specialized discipline(s) and methods to support internal/external customer needs
    Independently researches broad, diverse, complex issues outside technical capability; selects most efficient methods/techniques to achieve objectives. Simultaneously handles multiple, demanding, unstructured assignments and solves complex high impact problems requiring expert specialized skill, multi-disciplinary knowledge, and basic business understanding. Responsibility includes definition, completion, technical quality, and securing consistency across assigned area(s)
    Applies knowledge in a broad range of topics within technical discipline, reflecting in-depth knowledge of 1-2 sub-specialty areas
    Demonstrates advanced/expert knowledge in a single or multi-disciplinary area, and balances constraints/opportunities of 2-3 adjacent technical disciplines with primary technical area(s)
    Assist in developing long-range plans for incorporating new processes and selecting new equipment
    Keep-up-to date with latest manufacturing technologies through conducting independent literature searches, conferences, networking and implement these innovative technologies within the organization
    Use engineering principles in assessing viability of new technologies
    Provide recommendations to internal businesses about innovative manufacturing technologies that will be implemented for production
    Transfer new processes from the laboratory to the manufacturing environment and establishing robust high quality manufacturing principles

    Qualifications required:
    Ph.D., preferably in Polymer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, with exceptional academic achievements or relevant work experience, or an M.S. degree with work experience, and be familiar with mechanical design and injection molding methodologies.
    Candidates with prior knowledge in fiber optics connector manufacturing are strongly encouraged to apply.
    Ability to communicate effectively throughout all levels within the organization. Excellent multi-tasking and organizational skills
    Proficient in Microsoft word software including but not limited to: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Project
    Preferred CAD experience with AutoCAD, Pro/E, or SpaceClaim
    Preferred FEM experience such as ANSYS, Moldflow
    Preferred statistical software experience with Minitab
    Strong analytical thinker with excellent problem solving skills
    Knowledgeable and hands on experience in injection molding or other plastics related processing (extrusion, thermoforming, compression, blow molding, compounding), secondary operations, value added operations, automation, assembly, mold design, utilization of high end precision machining equipment, additive manufacturing
    Preferred characterization experience or knowledge of AFM, SEM
    Preferred material analysis experience or knowledge of DSC, TGA, DMA
    Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and guidance
    Demonstrate ability to work within a team environment
    Solid fundamental understanding of: polymer structure property relationships; polymer properties in regarding to physical, electrical, chemical and other properties; heat transfer of various materials; fluid flow of polymers
              Willingness to travel domestically and internationally.
    The MUST HAVES for this position are:
    PhD degree or MS degree
    Preferably in Polymer Engineering but also Mechanical Engineers will be considered
    Experience with injection molding process
    Experience with optical connector molding
    Experience with polymer characterization techniques
    Solid understanding of polymer structure-properties relationships
    Some design experience (for example design for manufacturability)
    IF you or a friend/colleague are interested in one of these (or similar) great job opportunities, please respond with resume and cover-letter explaining why you are a fit and for which position. Resume submissions, referrals and suggestions are always welcomed.

    Best Regards,

    Nicholas Meyler
    GM/President, Technology
    Wingate Dunross, Inc.
    ph (818)597-3200 ext. 211

    Field Application Engineer – Optics (Menlo Park, CA)  (9/13)

    The Data Communications business unit of my client has an opportunity for a Field Application Engineer in Menlo Park, CA to support a key customer at their location. The business unit has determined that, for key customers, having knowledgeable engineering presence on-site is critical to long-term success in supporting the customers’ product and design needs and in advancing the Company’s interests.

    The resident engineer will serve as a technical resource for customers’ engineers and program / platform managers by providing technical expertise, design work, product application information, and general support for strategic customers. The resident engineer will be a significant interface between Company’s sales and engineering organizations and customers.

    Key Job Responsibilities:

    • Be the initial point of contact for customer’s local engineering group
    • Function as the technical interface between the customer’s engineers and the engineering community on all existing products as well as focus on new product development opportunities
    • Actively contribute to new product development opportunities for company at the customer with the ability to provide conceptual design
    • Interact directly with customer account(s) on a daily basis and coordinate the deliverables related to customer projects including new products, modifications to existing products, test studies, signal integrity modeling, and any other development efforts
    • Establish relationships with key customer engineering contacts and decision makers
    • Gain a solid understanding of customer’s product set and future roadmap
    • Gain a solid understanding of products and future roadmap
    • Use VOC (Voice of Customer) tools to understand the accounts’ technology, strategic direction, and electronic connectivity needs. Communicate these needs to internal Electronics teams to initiate projects
    • Support a cross-functional, global team specific to the customer. The team may consist of a Program Manager, Quality Engineering, Logistics, Procurement, Operations, and Sales.
    • Penetrate customers’ design cycle to be involved in the early stages of new product / platform planning
    • Work closely with internal engineering teams to insure that they are meeting the customers’ needs and be a conduit to the customer
    • Represent and be an advocate for the customer.
    • Support product & process qualifications
    • Support existing applications and products including tolerance analysis, application evaluation, and testing

    The ideal candidate should have the following qualifications:
    • BS degree in Engineering required (Electrical / Mechanical / Systems discipline preferred)
    • Experience with optical transceivers and testing methods / equipment (either as a designer, user, qualifier, etc)
    • Experience with both single mode and multimode transceivers
    • Familiarity with Ethernet, infiniband, and other high speed data protocols / standards
    • Experienced with 10G and above data rates
    • Familiarity with structured optical cabling
    • Familiarity with standard optical connects (mpo, LCD, sc, FC)
    • Demonstrated ability to document customer product concept in variety of electronic formats
    • Proficient in product data management tools
    • Demonstrated ability to provide effective project leadership
    • Demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize
    • Strong interpersonal & negotiating skills
    • Excellent oral and written communication skills demonstrated by the ability to communicate across all levels within and outside of the organization
    • Computer proficient including 3D Design Applications
    • Ability and willingness to travel as required, mainly regionally
    • Ability and willingness to be a remote-based employee with limited personal interaction with immediate supervisor
    • Successful candidates will have strong ability to work independently
    • Outstanding networking, influencing, and listening skills
    • Additional industry based skills a benefit:
    • At least 4 – 8 years of engineering experience in connector knowledge
    • Knowledge of general manufacturing processes of stamping, molding, plating, and automated product assembly desired
    • Experience in development engineering and participation in full product development cycle
    • Prefer candidates with some knowledge of electronics components, preferably in one or more of our product lines (connectors, electronics relays, wire & cable)
    NOTES (new information): There are two scenarios for this Field Applications position. We will certainly consider any highly-qualified designers who have optical transceiver and backplane experience, who wish to become field applications/customer-focused engineers. Also, we would consider junior Optical Engineers/Electrical Engineers who have recently graduated or are Post-Docs. Here are the outlines of the two categories we are looking for:

    Nicholas Meyler
    GM/President, Technology
    Wingate Dunross Associates, Inc.
    ph (818)597-3200 ext. 211

    Construction Company looking for a few good people. (Plainfield, IN) (9/13)

    CSU Inc. is looking for the following applicants. Individuals with experience in Horizontal Directional Drilling, Fiber Optics, Telecommunications or Water Main Installations. Top candidates have experience with one of the following skills: HDD Locating, Operation of a Directional Drill, Drop Plow, Vac-Truck, Backhoe, Mini Excavator or General Labor. Class A CDL a plus. We are also accepting applications for candidates that have a strong work ethic and would like to work in a fast paced environment. We offer Matching Retirement, 100% Paid Medical Premiums, Paid Vacation, Holidays and Incentive Plan. If this sounds like something you would be interested in please call 317-972-0802, go to www.csucontracting.com and fill out an online employment application or fax your resume to 317-839-8597. We are located at 3919 Clarks Creek Road, Plainfield IN.
    POSTING DATE: 9/9/2013

    This position is responsible for planning, laying out, participating in, and supervising work on multiple job sites. This position performs supervisory responsibilities from pre-construction meetings to final walk outs. This position assists with the scheduling, supervision of field crews and communication with the project managers of their designated projects. The Superintendent is a working supervisor, meaning non-supervisory time may be dedicated towards Foreman activities.
    ·        Travels to job sites to ensure work is progressing to schedule and acts as a referral point for Foremen when questions arise.

    ·        Assists the Operations Manager to develop an effective plan and schedule for completion of project following a logical pattern for utilization of labor, material, and equipment in conjunction with construction/GC schedule.

    ·        Coordinates work of employees working on various phases of projects.

    ·        Forecasts, oversees, and actively supervises all assigned labor efforts, equipment & material requirements.

    ·        Tracks timeline of jobs to stay on schedule.

    ·        Reports to the Operations Manager about progress and any necessary modifications of plans that seem indicated, including any out-of-scope work is not completed until a change order has been issued.

    ·        Communicates regularly with project managers, customers and engineers.

    ·        Ensures project documents (as-builds) are complete, current, and stored properly.

    ·        Ensures all work is completed to applicable code in a safe manner.

    ·        Attends coordination, planning, & progress meetings on-site as required.

    ·        Plans and lays out work from verbal and written instructions; oversees the work of CSU personnel.

    ·        Other duties as assigned.

    Work under pressure and coordinate numerous activities and groups of people who need to cooperate to achieve maximum efficiency.
    David Staten
    Business Development

    Utility Contractor
    3919 Clarks Creek Road
    Plainfield, Indiana 46168
    Office: 317-839-8588
    Fax: 317-839-8597
    Cell: 317-612-4443
    ~WBE Construction Contractor~

    FOA lists jobs and contracting opportunities on our LinkedIn groups. CFOTs are invited to join.

     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."



     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 36,000 CFOTs (December 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 for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

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

    Contact FOA at info@thefoa.org to get logos in file format for your use.


    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.  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.

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