The Fiber Optic Association

  The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.
the non-profit professional society of fiber optics

The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

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This is the Fiber Optic Association's online Reference Guide To Fiber Optics. It includes materials from the basics to advanced topics that are to be used as reference materials for FOA Certifications as well as references for FOA training classes and refresher tutorials for FOA CFOTs.

The goal of this website is educating students, users, designers, installers, etc. on the proper usage of fiber optic communications systems. This website will be constantly changing as new information is added. Suggestions regarding the content are welcomed. Send suggestions to <info @>.

Using the Table of Contents
  • Links are provided in this Table of Contents to all the materials.
  • Some links are simple documents as webpages or PDF files formatted for printing and some are online PowerPoint presentations. 
  • Unmarked links are webpages
  • The links marked (TT) are FOA Tech Topics From The FOA website
  • The links marked VHO are "virtual hands-on" online PowerPoint presentations that provide a tutorial showing actual installation practices in a step-by-step process designed to lead the reader through a hands-on procedure exactly as it would be performed in the real world.
  • The links marked (Tutorial) are online PowerPoint presentations that provide a tutorial on the subject.
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Understanding Fiber Optics, The Basics
Applications of Fiber Optics
Fiber Optic Technology and Standards
Fiber Optic Components
Designing Fiber Optic Networks
Installation of FO Cable Plants
Testing & Troubleshooting Fiber Optic Systems
Using fiber optic systems

Table of Contents
Understanding Fiber Optics, The Basics
Basic overview   
The jargon and the technology
Basic applications and transmission systems
Optical Fiber
Termination and splicing
Network Design 
Standards – meaning, relevance, where to get info
Glossary of terms
Applications of Fiber Optics
Fiber Optic Datalinks
Telephone, long haul, FTTH, triple play
Premises Networks, LANs, industrial, wireless, surveillance, building automation
Consumer entertainment
Supporting wireless
Converting copper to fiber, fiber or copper to wireless, etc.
Fiber Optic Lighting (TT)
Inspection/ Viewing Using Fiber Optics
Fiber Optic Technology and Standards
Wavelengths of Light Used In Fiber Optics
Wavelength-Division Multiplexing
How Fiber Amplifiers Work
TIA/EIA Fiber Optic Standards 
TIA-568 Premises Cabling Standard for Fiber Optics
Fiber Optic Components
Optical Fiber
Singlemode Fiber Nomenclature
Multimode Premises Cable Plant Nomenclature (OM1, OM2, OM3, etc.)
Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)
How Optical Fiber Is Manufactured

Basic cable (Tutorial)
Fiber Optic Cable Jacket Color Codes
Cable Preparation: VHO:   Cable preparation     
Basic termination including testing connectors  (Tutorial)
Adhesive/polish connectors VHO: Epoxy/Polish, Anaerobic, Hot Melt
Prepolished/splice connectors  VHO: PPS termination
Prefabricated cable systems  
Singlemode fiber termination: VHO: SM termination     
Connector Names and Nomenclature
Basic splices   (Tutorial)
Mechanical splices VHO: Mech splice
Fusion splices - VHO: single fiber and VHO: ribbon 


Transmission Equipment
Designing And Manufacturing Fiber Optic Systems (for Manufacturers) (PDF, 0.2 MB)
The OSI Model of Networks (TT)

Designing Fiber Optic Networks 
Designing Fiber Optic Networks, a reference guide for users, contractors, installers, etc. (PDF, 1.3 MB)(TT)
Network User's Guide, covers design through maintenance. (PDF 0.1 MB)(TT)
Specifications for fiber optic LANs and Links  (TT)
Link Loss Budgets (TT)
Fiber or Copper? Overview and Fiber LANs (TT)
FTTx Online Tutorial (TT)
Estimating Fiber Optic Installations (TT)
Corning's Loss Budget Calculator
American Polywater's Cable Pulling Guidelines and Calculator
Planning For Restoration (PDF, 0.1 MB) (TT)

Installation of FO Cable Plants

Installing Fiber Optic Cable Plants - FOA Tech Bulletin, basis of the NECA/FOA-301 Installation Standard (PDF 0.2 MB) (TT)
Installation Checklist - step by step installation planning

Safety procedures (TT)
Tools and Equipment
Cleaning Fiber Optic Connections (TT)
Receiving cable and components onsite
Installing Cable - General Guidelines
Installing a Swivel Pulling Eye on Cable  

Laying, placing or pulling cable
How To "Figure 8" Cable For Intermediate Pulls
Splicing OSP cable
Termination (splicing on pigtails, PPS, preterminated)
Patchcords – selection, testing, management
Testing requirements
Transmission Equipment – power requirements - using attenuators as needed
Premises Site Preparation
Laying or pulling cable

Termination (adhesive polish, PPS, preterminated)
Patchcords – selection, testing, management
Testing requirements
Transmission Equipment – power requirements - using attenuators rarely needed
Special methods (air-blown, preterminated)
Testing & Troubleshooting Fiber Optic Systems
Fiber Optic Test Instruments
Visual tracing & fault location
Measuring Optical Power, Units of Measure,
Fiber Loss Testing and Multimode Modal Control
Modal Distribution Effects on Multimode Fiber and Cables Measurements
Installed Cable Plant Testing (OFSTP-14)  VHO Insertion loss testing
Patchcord or Single Cable Testing (FOTP-171)
Testing cables with different types of connectors.
Loss by Cable Substitution - when other methods will not work
Connector and Splice Loss Testing (FOTP-34)
Data Link or Network Testing

OTDR testing  VHO Using an OTDR
Microscope Inspection of Connectors  
Testing long haul networks (CD, PMD)

Technical Issues For Testing
5 different Ways To Test Fiber Optic Cables According To International Standards
Accurately Testing Fiber Optic Cables
Differences in OTDR and insertion loss measurements
Using fiber optic systems
User's Guide To Fiber Optic Networks 
Choosing, Installing and Using Fiber Optic Products For Users (TT, FOA Tech Bulletin, PDF 0.1 MB)
Restoration (planning & implementing)
Home: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics


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