FOA Guide

The Fiber Optic Association - Tech Topics

The FOA presents "Tech Topics" - a free resource for the fiber optic industry - schools, installers and contractors, and those interested in finding out more about the medium that has revolutionized communications. Here you will find  numerous webpages, technical papers and links on fiber optics, with content ranging from the basics for the novice to state of the art papers.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide is another source of technical information on the FOA website, organized as a reference guide for training or self-study. It expands on FOA Tech Topics with more details and adds self-study programs for students.

Don't miss the FOA Newsletter. It is online monthly and has lots of technical content. You can read back issues too. Sign up for the email version .
Interested in linking to FOA webpages or reproducing FOA technical materials? Here is the FOA policy on use of our technical materials.

FOA Tech Topics (Quick links to lists below)

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
FOA Certification References  
Introductions to Fiber Optics   
Instructional Videos  
Freqently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Fiber Optics  
FOA Technical Bulletins  
Fiber Optic Components and Standards     
Fiber Optic Design  
Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb  
Fiber Optic Installation and Safety  
Fiber Optic Testing  
Fiber Optic Jobs  
Fiber Optic Science Project 
Fiber Optic Teaching Labs (PDF) (DOC)
Myths of Fiber Optics and Glass  
Fiber Optic Lighting  

FOA Web Site Special Sections

Getting Started In Fiber Optics

Guide for Users of Fiber Optic Networks  

Fiber to the Home/Curb/Premises  

Instructors and Schools  

New Schools - How to Join the FOA  

FOA Certifications  

FOA Web Site

Approved Training Schools  

Sign-up For FOA Email List 

FOA Videos On videos

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FOA Tech Topics and
Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide


New Reference Books for FOA Certifications

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 for FOA-Approved training organization, 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!
Details on the new books and how to purchase them online are at the book pages linked to the photos above.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide is a complete reference website for fiber optics created as a complement to our textbooks. It is formatted to be easy to read online or with mobile devices.

reference site

The NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

NECA-FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard
NECA 301, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors Association), has been updated. This second revision  expands the original standard to cover much more detail, describing the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants.

Introductions To Fiber Optics
Getting Started: Introduction To Fiber Optics presentation in English or Spanish
FTTx PowerPoint tutorial
Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics
 FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - The Basics of Fiber    
End User Site: For whose who are planning to install fiber optic networks or already have them.
Free Self-Study Programs
Lennie Lightwave   Fiber U
Lennie Lightwave and Fiber U are back! Learn the basics of fiber optics  in preparation for taking a training course, refresh your knowledge or prepare for the CFOT exam online at Fiber U online.
Instructional Videos
We have made available online videos on four topics:
Cable Preparation (zipcord, distribution, breakout, loose tube and armored cables)
Termination (adhesive style connectors)
Mechanical Splicing (Ultrasplice, with optimization using visual fault locator)
Testing (insertion loss with light source and power meter)
The videos are in Quicktime format for viewing online.

You can also view these videos and more on the FOA channel on videos
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): General FAQs and Testing FAQs.
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 print and use.
Designing and manufacturing fiber optic communications products for manufacturers. (PDF, 0.2 Mb)
Choosing, installing and using fiber optic products for communications network users. (PDF, 0.1 Mb)
Designing Fiber Optic Networks - a reference guide for contractors, designers, installers and users and the reference for the FOA CFOS/D Design Certification (PDF, 1.3 MB).
Installing Fiber Optic Cable Plants. (PDF, 0.2 Mb)
Troubleshooting fiber optic cable plants and communications systems. (PDF, 0.1 Mb)
Fiber Optic Restoration - how to plan ahead and restore networks quickly. (PDF, 0.1 Mb)
  connector history
Fiber Optic Components and Standards
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Technology and Standards
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Components
How Optical Fiber Is Manufactured
Fiber Optic Connector Identifier - a history of fiber optic terminations.
Origins of Fiber Optic Connector Names  
FOCIS - Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards
Multimode Premises Cable Plant Nomenclature (OM3, etc.)
Wavelength-Division Multiplexing( DWDM, CWDM)
How Fiber Amplifiers Work
Plastic Optical Fiber
Singlemode Fiber Nomenclature 
Fiber Optic Cable Jacket Color Codes
The Effect Of Termination and Splicing on Bandwidth
Understanding Fiber Optic Wavelengths  
Multimode Fiber Bandwidth ( PDF 1.6 MB)
EIA/TIA (US) and IEC (International) Fiber Optic Standards
EAI/TIA 568 For Fiber Optics
FO Power Meter Calibration Uncertainty   
Fiber Optic Network Design
Start with the Design Reference Guide in FOA Technical Bulletins
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Network Applications
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Network Design
Specifications for Fiber Optic LANs and Links (Updated 1/2008)
Specifying Premises Cable Plant Nomenclature (OM3, etc.)
Calculating Link Loss Budgets
What Loss Should You Measure When Testing Fiber Optic Links?
What Happens When You Mate Mismatched MM Fibers, e.g. 50/125 > 62.5/125?
Fiber or Copper? A general overview and a specific look at fiber in LANs.
Fiber Optic Construction Guidelines from US DoT
American Polywater's Cable Pulling Calculators
The OSI Model For Networks, Marilyn Michelson
Fiber Makes Telecom Closets Disappear, Eric Pearson
Estimating Communications Cabling Installations, F. Douglas Elliott
EAI/TIA 568 For Fiber Optics

FTTx - Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb
FOA's FTTx Pages
FTTH, FTTH PON types and FTTH network architecture.
FTTx PowerPoint tutorial
Designing And Building Homes For Broadband/FTTH (FOA Presentation To Homebuilders)

Fiber Optic Installation
Start with our Tech Bulletins, listed above.
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Installation
Safety In Fiber Optic Installations
backhoe fade
Digging Safely - Avoid Buried Cable Damage or Physical Harm To Installation Crews
Fiber Optic Termination, a Lennie Lightwave Tutorial
Termination Times  How long does it take to terminate fibers with connectors? A time/motion study.  
Cleaning Fiber Optic Connections
Stripping Fiber Optic Cable. Berk-Tek has several ap notes on stripping cables on their website as PDF files. Here is the list of all Berk-Tek ap notes.
What Happens When You Mate Mismatched MM Fibers?

Eric Pearson's (Pearson Technologies) Fiber Optic Newsletter (PDF format)
Volume 2, No. 1 "Cleave and Leave" Connectors
Volume 2, No. 2, Connectors and Interpreting OTDR Traces
Volume 2, No. 3, Fiber To The Desk Costs, Testing
Volume 2. No. 4, More "Cleave and Leave," Mandrel Wraps
Volume 4. No. 1, Should OTDR Testing Be Required By Standards   
Advice from an "Old Pro" - 10 Reccommendations for Designing and Installing Fiber Optic Networks   

Fiber Optic Testing
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics - Fiber Optic Testing
Before you test, read about loss budgets and expected measurement results.
4 Ways To Test An Installed Cable Plant, an overview of testing standards and measurement uncertainty (PDF, 1.3MB)
Insertion Loss, a Lennie Lightwave Tutorial
Understanding OTDRs , a Lennie Lightwave Tutorial, and "Virtual Hands-On OTDR Tutorial"
Do OTDR tests correllate with insertion loss measured by Light Sources & Power Meters? (FOA R&D Project, PDF, 44 kB)
First clean your connectors and equipment.
Testing FAQs. Worth a review, answers many questions we are often asked.
More advice on using OTDRs properly. (PDF, 1.2 MB)
What Happens When You Mate Mismatched MM Fibers, e.g. 50/125 > 62.5/125?
Fiber Optic Jobs 
Jobs in Fiber Optics - FOA Advice on Finding Them  
Fiber Optic Job Titles.
Fiber Optic Science Project
Fiber Optic Project for a Science Fair Or Scouts
Fiber Optic Teaching Labs (PDF) (DOC) 

Does Glass "Flow" Over Time? Is It Really a Liquid?

Fiber Optic Lighting
The FOA is really focused on fiber optics in communications, but we get requests for information on lighting so we have created a tutorial. 
Fiber Optic Lighting Tutorial
Here is a website that has some very good examples of fiber optic lighting.
Links to other fiber optic sites

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FOA Tech Topics and
Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

More detailed information can be found on the FOA Online Reference Guide.

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