Fiber To The
Home/Premises/Curb Technician Requirements
The FTTx Technicians Needed By The Industry
Technology or finances are no longer the primary
detriments to FTTx deployment. Finding sufficient personnel trained and
certified to install FTTx networks has become a gating item as hundreds
of FTTx projects come online. Unlike large projects such as long
distance or metro networks that keep a small crew busy for weeks, FTTx
involves relatively short projects that can keep numerous crews busy
working in a small geographic area such as a neighborhood or
The Fiber Optic Association,Inc. (FOA), the nonprofit
professional society of fiber optics, first became aware of this problem
in late 2005. First some of our schools approached us for
recommendations on teaching FTTx. FTTx installers came to the FOA asking
for help in finding techs capable of doing FTTx installs. Next we
received calls from service providers like Verizon also looking for
appropriately trained techs.
With hundreds of FOA-approved schools around the world
certifying thousands of Certified Fiber Optic Technicians each
year, we were an obvious source of capable technicians. As we talked to
these companies, we realized that we could greatly improve their
efficiency by creating standards for teaching techs in the FTTX
specialty and a FTTx certification. The FOA
created curriculum for our schools as the basis of their training
for the FOA FTTx certification program.
Making Training and Certification Meet Industry Needs
The diversity of installations of FTTH/FTTP/FTTC makes
developing training materials more complex. FTTx involves some
different skills from traditional OSP installations, depending on the
installation methods chosen. Traditional telco OSP installs has one crew
pulling cable, one splicing and maybe even another testing, then a final
crew turning up the equipment. A FTTX crew is sometimes expected to do
all this themselves as well as setting up services for phone, Internet
and video inside the home.
Rather than try to cover all the fiber optics associated
with FTTx installations (cables, terminations, installation, testing,
etc.) as a single program, we made the FTTx certification cover only
topics specific to FTTx, including marketing issues (why FTTx now),
technology, network architecture and installation. Techs would have the
FOA first level fiber optic certification, CFOT, as a prerequisite. The
program could then be used to train not only techs, but also
non-technical personnel, such as customer service representatives who
need to understand FTTx in more depth to deal with today's tech-savvy
homebuilders and consumers!
Remember the FOA does not have a fixed curriculum that we
provide to our approved schools. We have our reference textbooks and
website and we set standards for the training. But our approved schools
develop their own programs, which allows them flexibility to teach
courses appropriate for different applications, whether it is OSP,
premises, security, military, industrial, utitlity or whatever is
needed. In the case of FTTX, we decided the priority associated with
getting programs available quickly made it reasonable for us to create
the basis of a program which the schools could modify as needed to fit
the FTTx philosophy of their customers. Feedback from our schools
indicate they are incorporating materials from their customers for
training that customize the training for the particular applications of
FTTx in use by company or regionally.
One thing we know for certain is that the FOA FTTx
certification program will have to evolve as the industry develops
various FTTX solutions.
Recommended FTTx Training
This course outline covers recommended training for
personnel on Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb (called FTTx). The course
can be used to either train installation technicians already familiar
with fiber optic installation (and FOA CFOT certified) or can be
structured to train other personnel in various support roles, including
certification: CFOT certification (understanding of basic fiber optics,
components, installation practice, testing)
For others not expecting to do actual installation work
but need knowledge of FTTx to contract for, design, manage or support
FTTx networks, there is no prerequisite for the training, although a
basic knowledge of fiber optics is expected to be able to understand the
Students should learn:
Why FTTx is being implemented today, including technical,
marketing and financial justifications.
The types of FTTx architectures being used, advantages
and disadvantages of each and types of components required.
Technical details of specialized FTTx components like
splitters and wavelength-division multiplexers and requirements for
cables, connectors, splices and hardware.
Design and installation requirements particular to FTTx.
Testing and troubleshooting FTTx links.
Specialized safety requirements of FTTx.
What is FTTx
Why is FTTx just now becoming utilized?
Types of FTTx architectures and networks, advantages and
FTTx components, options in types used
Designing FTTx networks
Testing and troubleshooting
Hands-on activities for
FTTx labs must be structured for the requirements of the organization
being trained. Options in system architecture and installation methods
can lead to choices including these:
Traditional OSP installation: Cable installation,
preparation and splicing
Preterminated cable plant installation: Installing cables
and hardware using factory made cables and hardware.
New installation processes: preterminated/splice
connectors, installation and assembly of PON splitters.
Testing: OLTS and OTDR testing of PON (passive optical
network) links, use of optical power meters to measure power outputs at
system turn-on to verify installation performance.
Text And Reference Materials
FTTx on the FOA
Online Guide, FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics textbook
Appendix B, supplemented with outside materials from vendors of FTTx
U FTTx Online Self-Study Course (free)
More Information, Contact The FOA:
Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time
Return to The FOA Home Page
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