2009: What to Expect?
FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide Keeps Expanding- and adds Premises Cabling, FTTH and "Google Custom Search"
Tech Topics: New "Google Custom" Search Tool. See Tech Topics Below.
Q&A: What's the accuracy of OTDR length measurements?
Product News: Bendable multimode fibers, 15% discount on test equipment, tools to measure source mode distribution. See "Product News" Below
Worth Reading: JDSU Webinar series on fiber testing. Fiber optic sensors on the web. Also offers on new market reports. See "Worth Reading" below
Looking For a FOA-Certified Fiber Optic Installer? Use the FOA Installer Database Free! Almost 1000 CFOT's listed.
CFOT's register online to create your listing.
Contact the FOA
|You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.|
|2009: What To Expect?
Forty years ago I attended a training session given by Oliver Wight, the IBM employee who invented MRP systems. (materials requirement planning). The first thing he covered was forecasting, and he reminded us of the one thing one must never forget about forecasting: "All forecasts, from the moment they are made, are wrong!" Having never forgotten this, I am reluctant to make forecasts or, when forced to do so, repeat Ollie's warning! So consider yourself warned....
That said, I do want to share with you some thoughts on what we hear and see for the coming year. First, the economy is not likely to improve in the short term. It may get worse, even much worse. After the last telecom bubble burst in 2001, some companies failed quickly, others struggled until acquired and some have never recovered.
But the telecom market recovered over the last seven years slowly based on real applications and revenue, not the hollow promises of the "Dot Bomb Era." The dramatic reduction in the fiber optic market - and prices of fiber optic components - has been a major reason the focus of telco fiber has moved to FTTH (fiber to the home).
The other reason was the high cost of maintenance of aging copper cable plants that could not support newer services that generate good revenue like DSL for Internet or TV. Verizon, which probably has the oldest cable plants, justified their FiOS FTTH program in part on maintenance savings which would offset about 20% of the cost in only the first 4 years.
Now FTTH technology is proven, the major obstacle to its expansion is capital for installation and overcoming some regulation. For the last eight years, telcom oversight appears to have been more based on poitical ideology and lobbying than technology, but the new administration looks ready to change all that.
We look for the new administration to be full of technical whizzes not political wonks and the proposed government spending on infrastructure to pump up the economy to specifically target expanding broadband access:
Obama said his administration would seek to implement the "single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s" via use-it-or-lose it grants to states—and made clear that this would include digital infrastructure no less than roads and bridges. "As we renew our schools and highways, we'll also renew our information superhighway," said Obama. "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President—because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world." See
Not only will fiber benefit from the expansion of broadband connectivity, fiber will be installed alongside highways, within towns as part of security and traffic management systems as part of metropolitan networks funded by economic recovery funds. Job retraining for broadband is also likely to be a focus of this new administration also, as their focus also includes jobless benefits.
What about fiber in corporate (premises IT and industrial) networks? As corporate backbones move toward 10G Ethernet, fiber has major advantages in speed, latency and power consumption, all three important issues for IT networks. But the cabling to the desktop is being dropped in favor of newer wireless technology, allowing workers the mobility they desire. Copper wiring is still suffering from volatile prices for copper and plastics used in cable construction also. Industrial networks will lag as production drops. But the biggest unknown factor in corporate networks is where will the money come from. Credit remains hard to get and corporate profits are dropping. Upgrades in corporate networks look less likely today.
During one recession, I worked for a company whose President was adamant that recessions were opportunities for growth. Rather than cut back R&D or promotion, he continued developing new products and selling as hard as he could. While competitors hid in their shell, the company gained market share and grew like crazy when the economy started to improve. That's what I advise if you can do it.
Jim Hayes, President
Broadband and Training on White House Agenda
Today, January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day, the Obama Administration posted its agendas on their website, including their agenda for technology:
You should read it for yourself - but we copy here two parts that we at the FOA are delighted to read:
Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Work towards true broadband in every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives. America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access.
Lifelong Retraining: Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, and increase resources for community colleges and lifelong learning initiatives to ensure our citizens can continue to gain new skills throughout their lifetimes. Modernize and expand the existing system of trade adjustment assistance to include service sector workers hurt by changing trade patterns. Create flexible education accounts that workers can use to retrain.
Strangest Fiber Cut Ever?
This article appeared in the newspaper in the small town in Southern California where we live. A woodpecker twice penetrated an aerial fiber splice closure and broke fibers. Obviously the woodpecker thought it was something like a tree trunk, but I doubt it found the fiber as tasty as the bugs it's usually looking for!
Know any other strange causes of fiber outages? Let us know!
Here's You Chance To Own A Fiber Optic Training Company In Canada
Bill Graham, owner of Mississauga Training Consultants and member of the FOA Board of Directors from many years, is selling his training business. “I have operated Mississauga Training for almost 14 years,” says Graham, “but I’m past my mid-60s with some medical problems that are limiting my future activities. That is my reason for selling these businesses.”
Mississauga Training offers training and sells fiber optic tools, test equipment and some materials. “While these businesses go well together, they can also operate separately,” says Graham, adding that both are solid businesses with almost no competition. “For someone in the industry, this is a terrific business opportunity, and I would assist them to get started.”
Bill has promised to remain on the FOA Board of Directors and stay involved in helping us direct FOA activities.
For more information:
Serious enquiries should be directed to <email@example.com>
FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Is Continually Expanding
And Adds "Google Custom Search"
The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide is now available for use. It's not complete - we expect it to never be "complete" but always expanding! We want you to contribute and give us feedback on how we can make it better!
The new FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference website continues to grow. We're not just adding technical materials, but study guides to help you use it. This month, we added sections on FTTH, premises cabling (fiber, copper and wireless) and study guides for CFOT students, CFOTs wanting a refresher and anyone just wanting to learn about fiber optics. We also added a Instructor's Guide to assist teachers in understanding how the website relates to our textbooks and can be used in conjuction with or in place of textbooks and other references in class.
Wanted: Links To Technical Materials
Next, we're soliciting links from fiber optic manufacturers and other organizations that have created technical materials that would be of interest to our readers. If you have technical websites you want to share, go here for our guidelines for submission.
FOA Adds "Google Custom Search to Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
There'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!
FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide "Tour"
Each month, we'll do a quick tour of part of the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide to show you what's there and how to use it effectively. One of the "tricks" we use in the Fiber Optic Reference Guide is what we call "Virtual Hands-On" tutorials." These are online slide shows that show you how do perform a standard fiber optic task like preparing cable, splicing or terminating with various types of connectors. They are developed only after analyzing tasks, breaking them into their logical steps and understanding the reason behind each part of the process. There are lots of VHOs in the Fiber Optic Reference Guide, so take a look at those of interest to you.
Go to The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.
Good Question! Tech Questions Worth Repeating
Q: If I test a FO link from both sides, am I suppose to get the EXACT distance reading?
A Contractor is busy installing some FO systems. The OTDR result from one side show 14,5189 km and on the same fibre from the other side his machine gives a result of 14,5577 km... to me this is about 39 meters difference. I try and understand this.
A: Let's look at the numbers: The difference in readings is 14518.9 to 14557.7 or 38.8 meters. That's a difference of 0.27 percent. The resolution of the instrument is 0.1 m or 0.006 percent of the reading.
How does the OTDR measure distance of a length of fiber? It sends out a pulse and looks for the returned reflected pulse from the far end. It measures this round-trip time and divides it in half for the one-way time. It then multiplies that time by the speed of light in the fiber, defined by the effective index of refraction, something around 1.4675 (Corning SMF28, a typical fiber.)
The OTDR measurement depends on an accurate time measurement by the OTDR, knowing the speed of light in the fiber precisely and the techniques used to get and process that information.
What's the "accuracy" or "measurement uncertainty" of the instrument? Referring to the
+/-time base error x distance +/- 1m +/-sampling resolution +/-index uncertainties.
The time base error can be 0.01 to 0.001%
The uncertainty of the index of refraction is about 0.1% to 0.01%
For this example
+/- 0.001% x 14518 m = 14.5 m or 0.01% = 145 m
+/-sampling resolution =? probably a few meters?
+/-index uncertainties. = 145 or 1450 m
Adding these up, we have a measurement uncertainty of at least 14.5+145+1=~160 m or as much as 145+1450+1=~1600 m
And that's applicable for repeatedly measuring the same fiber. From two directions, there may be differences on how the measurement markers are placed if done manually.
So the uncertainty of a 14,518.9 length measurement (+/-160 to 1600 m) is much larger than the 39 meter difference the instrument gave for bidirectional measurements.
The answer to your question, therefore, is the difference in the OTDR length measurements is due to the error inherent in making the measurement with an OTDR.
We're surprised the results were so close!
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.
Q. Is it OK to use inexpensive air-gap attenuators with lasers in singlemode networks?
A: Since lasers are sensitive to reflectance and air-gap attenuators may have high reflectance, we do not recommend using them on singlemode systems. Filter type attenuators with low reflectance are recommended. Here's more on attenuators from our new Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide including a simple way to make an attenuator yourself.
We're covering these topics (and a lot more) in our new FOA Online Fiber
Optic Reference Guide: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/index.html and
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.
Interested In Fiber Optic Sensors?
Besides it's uses in communications, medicine and lighting, fiber is used for sensors. It began long ago with fiber optic gyros and chemical or acoustic sensors but has expanded to many more physical measurements. Now there's a website
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
Market Analysis: Overbuild: The New RBOC Advanced Access Architecture Strategy?
Verizon is placing fiber cable for Advanced Access Architecture (FiOS) in AT&T franchise areas in north Texas. They expect to start offering service in these areas in direct competition with existing cable companies and AT&T late in 2008. This is probably the first time that the RBOCs have directly competed with each other in residential services. It may sound a note that can drastically change the industry.
In June of this year, the Texas PUC issued an order approving Verizon’s request to extend its “State-issued Certificate of Franchise Authority” to 12 new areas immediately outside Verizon’s Texas franchise and inside AT&T’s franchise. Shortly thereafter, they began extending fiber from their existing FiOS-equipped central offices to relatively nearby areas in these newly acquired franchise areas.
In recognition of the possible overriding importance of this development, Information Gatekeepers Inc. (IGI) has commissioned Clif Holliday to expand their group of reports on Advanced Access Architectures to include a new report on this overbuild activity. The new report, which will be out before the end of the year, is entitled "Overbuild: The New RBOC Advanced Access Architecture Strategy?"
For more information on this report, please visit igigroup.com or contact:
Dr. Hui Pan
Information Gatekeepers Inc.
320 Washington Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02135
617-782-5033, Fax 617-782-5735
Special Offer: Military Fiber Opportunities-2009, Confidently pursue the opportunities that best fit your technology and product set. Chock full of active solicitations, successful contracts by vendors similar to your company, key military and major defense systems contacts, special information on hot topics such as silicon photonics and fiber optic sensing, and the latest on new military trends, this 100+ page Book, now in its third year of publication, will open the doors you need to start scoring big in this multi-billion dollar market space.
For a very limited time, you have the opportunity to look into an exciting new world of fiber optic opportunities at a bargain-basement price. Fresh off the presses, Chaffee Fiber Optics is offering you the newest, most complete tool you will ever need for doing business with the U.S. military and other federal agencies. And, until December 31, Military Fiber Opportunities-2009 is available for $400.00, a significant reduction from the cost when the Book becomes available on a global basis on January 1, 2009.
Contact David Chaffee
Table of Contents.
Coming soon to a network near you - 40 and 100 gigabit/sec Ethernet!
The IEEE is already working on specs for 40 and 100 gigabit/sec Ethernet and have approved a number of new PMDs (that's standards-speak for Physical Medium Dependent - i.e. cabling). A summary of the proposals is on the updated list of network specs at http://www.thefoa.org/tech/Linkspec.htm.
15% Discount on Test Equipment
TreeTop is running a 15% of sale on all the fiber test equipment on their web site.
Simply use the below coupon at checkout.
Coupon Code: NEWYEAR15
Corning Introduces Multimode Ultra-Bendable Fiber
Corning® ClearCurve® OM3/OM4 multimode fiber is the world’s first laser-optimized multimode fiber to withstand tight bends at or below 10 mm radius with substantially less signal loss than traditional multimode fiber. Now, Corning has a fiber for premises networks that can stand tight bends without creating excess loss.
OptoTest Releases Launch Condition Analyzer with capability to measure Encircled Flux (per IEC standard 61300)
Measurements on multimode fiber are highly dependent on mode conditioning, which itself is dependent on test sources. Several ways of specifying source launch conditioning have been used over the years, some accurate, some not so. A new method, Encircled Flux, has been approved by standards bodies. How does one measure EF?
OptoTest released its latest version of the
Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?
More links on cleaning:
About 13 million homes are passed by fiber optics now - about 1 in 6. In spite of the economy, FTTx is carrying on and costs are decreasing.
Graph from data by RVH in Broadband Properties Magazine.
FTTH "Take Rates" Now at 30%
About 1/3 of all subscribers offered FTTH are not taking it according to
Verizon ramping up FiOS build out
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.
The old story (not a joke!) about the most likely fiber optic communications system failure being caused by "backhoe fade" reminds us that digging safely is vitally important. The risk is not just interrupting communications, but the life-threatening risk of digging up high voltage or gas lines.
is a website called "
special interest is their
There is a new toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811
Carlson Construction Services, LLC., a DBE Certified Fiber Optics Contractor working out of the Atlanta area is seeking qualified fiber optic splicers and OTDR testing services for work throughout Georgia.
We are currently seeking:
4 qualified splicers
1 qualified OTDR technician
Please send all resumes and interest to:
PO Box 669547
Marietta, GA 30066
Or David Swales, Jr.
Wanted: Instructor Immediate Needs (1/09)
Teaching CFOT Classes in Canada, In French
Requires translation of materials into French and instruct in French
Requires knowledge of Fiber Optics
William H. Graham
Mississauga Training Consultants
6117 Clover Ridge Crescent
Mississauga, ON, Canada, L5N 7B2
Headquartered in Hayward, California, our client, a successful and profitable Fiber Optics company develops and sells advanced micro photonic solutions that are changing the way their customers operate worldwide. Their breakthrough Fiber Optic Products are based on fairly new technologies that help clients save time and money.
Systems/Sales Engineer – seeking experienced Engineer to sell Optical telecommunications equipment to carriers!
The Sales Engineer will support Sales Directors for pre-sale activities and sales related account management for existing customers. Pre-sales activities may include completing RFP responses, evaluating customer needs (program and technical), performing the primary role of planning product demonstrations and evaluations (customers or trade shows). Post-sales engagement activities include account based product management to ensure that products are considered for purchase against competitive offers as well as for new applications.
* A minimum of a Bachelor's degree, preferably in engineering or computer science or equivalent.
* Aggressive "can-do" attitude
* Previous sales engineering or support experience with optical networking equipment
* Knowledge of GMPLS/Control Plane protocols (MPLS)
* Entrepreneurial skills
* Five to ten years experience working as an equipment vendor interacting with customers in Business Development, Sales Engineering and/or pre-sales technical account management roles for lab trial and commercial deployment of network equipment.
* Experience working for small / privately held companies is a plus.
Pay: They pay a base with a quarterly and annual bonus based on percent revenue attainment.
The travel: 75% of time: 2-4 trips per month nationwide; 3-4 trips per year to Asia or Europe
Contact: Angela: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiber Splicers - Canada (11/08)
Ledcor Contracting Career Opportunities
Under general supervision the Fibre Optic Splicer provides moderately complex work in fiber optics installation and maintenance, including performance and fusion splicing and testing. Ensuring the quality of buried and aerial optic facilities by overseeing the end result of contractor and/or in-house work and performing activation related duties.
Field Techs - Telecom and Cabling
FieldSolutions is the leading provider of quality field souring.
We have an immediate need for a field technician experience in TELECOM and CABLING to become a preferred technician.
This preferred technician will operate within a specific geography, there are openings for technicians nationwide.
The duration is ongoing- the requests last from 1-4 hours. The calls are paid hourly or at a flat rate depending on the nature of the call/ client.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Need a strong and flexible field tech to be a Preferred Tech for client to perform TELECOM/CABLING break fix work on a weekly basis.
This assignment is best suited for an easy going technician capable of taking on field related assignments with little supervision and off the cuff.
The tech should be able to handle something as basic as a punch down to the 66 block and as complex as a T1 installation and DMARC testing
TOOLS: Skills/Tools assessment checklist to be provided to potential candidates once established. Must have reliable vehicle capable of carry multiple parts. Must have unlimited cell phone plan as being contacted in the field for potential new calls is a must.
TECH REQUIREMENTS: Strong background in cabling and telecom type calls. Skills/Tools assessment checklist to be provided to potential candidates once established.
5775 Wayzata Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Fiber Optic Splicing Technicians
Volt Telecom Canada is looking for some qualified Fiber Optic splicers to perform work in Alberta. Our first priority is in the Calgary, but there may be other locations throughout the province as well.
Successful candidates would require good experience in spicing underground and aerial fiber optic ribbon cables. Copper cable splicing skills would also be an asset. We are currently looking for individuals who have their own truck and tools and would be interested in becoming a independent contract to Volt Telecom. Volt telecom will provide the fiber optic ribbon fiber splicing equipment.
If you know of any of your association members who would be interested in leaning more about these opportunities please have them contact myself.
Project Manager - Canada
Office - 780-962-6800
Cell - 780-868-0720
Fax - 780-962-6841
Patchcord Assembler (Cat 5e/6), Southern CA
This person must have at least 2 years experience in patch cable assembly. Work consists
of cutting and splicing wires and must have knowledge of category 5E and category 6. Any type
of audio/telephone repair is a must. Company is located in Laguna Niguel/ position is a temp to
hire and comes with excellent benefits.
Contact Brady Staffing Services at (949)707-1447 or email@example.com
Outside Sales Representative
Verrillon is looking for an Outside Sales Representative to sell specialty optical fiber and cable products and development services within an assigned territory. The territory is anticipated to be all accounts in the United States and Canada except for the Oil & Gas market vertical and any house accounts. Objectives will include prospecting on behalf of the assigned territory/region, customer/prospect meetings, product proposals, closing sales, and appropriate follow-up activities via visits, phone, email, etc.
This position requires previous specialty optical fiber sales experience along with a strong understanding of the specialty optical fiber market and competitors. The position is based in North Grafton, MA for local hires. Candidates residing elsewhere in the United States with a home office are also encouraged to apply.
Interested candidates should contact Ed Connor at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com or 508-890-7141.
Account Manager, Optical Fibers
Reports To: Director Marketing and Sales
Position Goals: Provide direct sales representation and technical assistance, as related to the Company’s Specialty Optical Fibers worldwide
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Present and sell company products and services to current and potential customers through customer visits and direct customer interaction
Prepare action plans and schedules to identify specific targets and to project the number of contacts to be made
Follow up on new leads and referrals resulting from field activity, trade shows, advertisements, etc.
Identify sales prospects and contact these and other accounts as assigned
Prepare presentations, proposals and sales contracts
Maintain current knowledge of all products, including technology, pricing, and sales strategies, and able to quote, close, process and support a sale as part of the sales team
Establish and maintain current customer and potential customer relationships
Prepare paperwork to activate and maintain contract services
Manage account services through quality checks and other follow-up
Identify and resolve customer concerns
Prepare a variety of status reports, including activity, closings, follow-up, and adherence to goals
Communicate new product and market opportunities, special developments, information, or feedback gathered through field activity to appropriate company staff
Coordinate company staff to accomplish the work required to close sales
Other duties as assigned
Participate in marketing events such as seminars, trade shows, and telemarketing events
Follow-up for collection or payment
Coordinate shipping schedules and delivery of products and services
Education and Required Skills:
Four (4) year degree, preferably in Engineering
At least Five (5) years direct experience in sales of fiber optics, optoelectronics or photonics
Self motivator with the ability to plan, meet deadlines and work symbiotically with peers, customers and supervisors
Compensation and Benefits:
Competitive base salary plus commission/bonus
Medical and dental
Long term disability
401K participation with company match
Interested applicants may send their resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Careers at Verizon:
Your Name, CFOT - It pays to advertise!
The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.
Feel free to use the logo and designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!
Remember To Renew Your Certification !
to renew your FOA certification. All current CFOTs have a ID Card with
their certification data and we keep a database of current CFOTs to
answer inquiries regarding your qualifications if needed. You must be a
current FOA member and CFOT to participate in our online
database of installers, contractors, technicians and consultants.
If you forgot to renew, use the online application
form to renew NOW!
You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.