February, 2010

In This Issue
Two New FOA Projects: "Fiber U" and a Premises Cabling Book
Download a Free Fiber Optic Safety Poster
Free FOLS Webinar on LAN Standards
Broadband News: Google To Bring Gigabits to FTTH, FCC Wants Faster Broadband Too
The Unsung Heroes of Fiber Optics: "Mom & Pop Companies"
Where is The US Stimulus Money for Broadband Going?
TIA Votes To Disband Fiber Optic Premises Cabling Subcommittee
Expert Opinion: 5 Second Fiber Optic Connectors?

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide It keeps expanding- now available in book form - and online with "Google Custom Search" Just updated: Premises Cabling

New Schools: FOA welcomes new schools to the FOA-Approved network

Tech Topics: New Listings of International Standards.  See Tech Topics Below.

Q&A: Estimating, Fiber cleaning, return loss, fiber in innerduct, MM fiber specs. 

Product News:  Bend-resistant fiber, Trailers that "Figure-8" Fiber, OTDRs, SMA connectors and cell phones and copper cabling.  See "Product News" Below

Worth Reading:  The Lost Souls of Telecom History, Top 10 Telecom Forecasts for 2010, Careers in Fiber Optics, Malware and Spam, active optical cables and POLs. See "Worth Reading" below
FTTH: FTTH top-rated, FTTH in Alaska, Verison has almost completed FiOS.  North American Fiber to the Home Connections
Surge Past Five Million. David Chaffee's FTTH Prism newsletter. 
Looking For Jobs - Business Development Leader, Fiber optic component designer. See "Jobs" Below

This Month's "Tech Puzzler"
FOA Home Page
NEW: Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter

Last Month: 1/10
The Future of Supercomputers is Optical
TIA Standards Meeting Report
First "Do It Yourself" FTTH, Now "Pay First" FTTH

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

It's now CFOT®  The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With over 25,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT required trademark protection. Now it's official!

Want to know more about fiber optics? Looking for specific information? Study for FOA certifications? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Contact the FOA  

You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.

Two New Projects Benefit You!

We're a few days late with the newsletter this month because of deadlines on two other projects. But they will benefit you so we hope you excuse us!
FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling

New FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling Textbook

Available from the FOA eStore for only $19.95.
The FOA CPCT Certified Premises Cabling Technician certification has been growing in popularity, in part because it's the only premises cabling certification that places appropriate emphasis on competence in copper, fiber and wireless technologies - mandatory for today's premises cabling techs, and in part because the economy has caused many cabling companies to reduce their training programs, requiring installers to look elsewhere.
Because of the three-part subject matter, the FOA CPCT certification needed a new reference guide. We first created an online guide for Premises Cabling on our website, then wrote a textbook for those wanting or needing a printed reference (like some schools and those of us who still like to thumb through paper books!)
Like the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics, this book has covered the relevant topics in a concise manner, making it a highly effective book for training or studying. And for instructors, the FOA has curriculum materials keyed to the book. The FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling is available from the FOA eStore at a price of only $19.95.

Free Self-Study Program on "Fiber U"

Lennie LightwaveAs we announced last month, the FOA is bringing back "Fiber U" or Fiber University and Lennie Lightwave. We have just finished a self-study program on the basics of fiber optics for Fiber U that is free to everybody. The program takes advantage of all the technical materials on the The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide and the new textbook the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics,  which contain so much material it can be confusing to someone new to fiber optics. We have created a lesson plan that leads you through 10 lessons from the basics of fiber optics to installation practices. Each lesson gives you reading assignments and then tests your comprehension. You can take the course online or using the textbook - both are referenced in the lesson plans. Go to Fiber U and try it yourself.
At Fiber U, we have also added links to some "Virtual Hands-On" Tutorials that show you how common processes in fiber optics are done.

Note: This course is designed to introduce you to fiber optics, refresh your knowledge or help you study for the CFOT exam, but it is not sufficient for FOA CFOT certification. All FOA certifications require an extensive knowledge of fiber optics, skills in performing common work tasks, and the abilityto perform those tasks - what we call KSAs. While you may gain knowledge from online courses, you cannot learn the skills required nor demonstrate your ability to do so, requirements for FOA CFOT certification. If you are just getting started, this course can prepare you well for training at an FOA-Approved school, where you will learn much more if you are already familiar with the jargon, components and processes we cover in this online training. If you are working in the fiber optics field already, meet the FOA experience requirements and wish to apply for FOA CFOT certification, this is a good preparation for the CFOT exam.

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.

Free FOLS Webinar
LAN Standards, News & Trends -- 2010 Update, Presented by Herb Congdon, Tyco Electronics, Standards Chair, FOLS & Chair TIA TR-42
The Web conference will be held:  Tuesday, March 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EST.
Register here.

Google and FCC Both Promoting Faster Broadband
(Fiber, of course, benefits!)

Google Wants To Build Experimental Gigabit FTTH System
Google announced it would build a super high-speed broadband (gigabit/second) network for up to half a million people around the United States in order to experiment with the possibilities of a network running at 100 times current speeds. The company has long argued that it can sell more Web ads – the way it makes money – by encouraging Internet use. It imagines three-dimensional conferencing and classes, faster movie downloads and new businesses taking advantage of the speeds that are only theoretical for most people now. Google said it would use fiber optics to the home, the same technology used by many telecommunications companies, but declined to give details about whether it would build, buy or rent such services and how much the venture would cost.
We expect the competition to participate will be furious. The University of Virginia in its campus newspaper has said it will make a bid for Charlottesville: "The University is considering applying jointly with the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to become a pilot community for the installation of Google Fiber, a fiber-optic network that could produce Internet speeds greater than 1 gigabit per second, more than 100 times faster than the broadband connections most Americans can currently access, all at a price that Google says is competitive."
Remember when we reported that Google had an April-Fool's joke about fiber to the home through the toilet a few years ago? (Google TISP - click on the link "Get Started With Google TISP" for a Laugh.) Who knew they were serious?
What is behind the Google announcement is what worries current communications companies. Are they using this just to prod carriers into offering faster Internet access to make it easier to grow Google or - especially with the Nexus One wireless phone and Android operating systems and Google Voice, are they intending to become a major telecom company? Only time will tell.

How Fast is Broadband Growing?
Depends on who you are talking to, it seems. If you want to stream video to everybody, obviously not fast enough. But if you look at how many people now subscribe to cable modem, DSL or FTTH, we've grown very fast. Take a look at this graph from the recent NTIA publication "Digital Nation, 21st Century America's Progress Toward Universal Broadband Access."
Broadband growth in America
Practically everybody who uses the Internet uses broadband, but that could mean connection speeds from less than 1 Mb/s or up to 50 Mb/s.  FTTH connections are growing and that means that more users will not only have higher connection speeds but can get Gb/s in the future. Interestingly the number of people having Internet access is saturating, as this report notes that the rest either don't want it or don't know enough about it to be interested. (The report is worth reading!)

FCC Wants Faster Internet
The FCC wants service providers to offer home Internet data transmission speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 100 million homes by a decade from now, Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said. Industry estimates generally put average U.S. Internet speeds at below 4 Mbps. The proposal is part of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, due next month. It comes a week after Google Inc rattled Internet service providers with its plan to build a super-fast Internet network.
The response from communications companies was predictable - those still trying to kludge the connection to the home over copper called the FCC program unrealistic while those committed to FTTH like Verizon say it's the thing to do.
"(One gigabit per second) as discussed in current news reports is a lot of signal; typically enough for many massive business operations," Verizon said in a statement that referred to Google's plan to test a network with those speeds. "But we could make it happen over the FiOS network without much trouble, should a market for it develop."
Reuters - read more.
Read Chairman Genachowski's Remarks on the plan.

The Unsung Heroes of Fiber Optics

"Mom and Pop" High Tech Companies
High tech startups are often thought of as big startups backed by lots of venture-capital, it's often not the case. In the very early days of fiber optics, when the total market was tiny, a number of small companies started up, interestingly by husband and wife teams. Here are four we remember well.

Jack and Ruth Cook, Dorran Photonics. One of the first people we met when first introduced to fiber optics was Jack Cook at Bell Labs. Jack was working under Stew Miller developing the fiber optic connector which became known as the "AT&T Biconic." Jack left Bell Labs in the early 80s armed with a license to manufacture Biconics and formed Dorran Photonics with his wife Ruth. Dorran was extremely successful and was acquired by 3M in 1986.

Paul and Karin Wendland founded Photodyne, one of the first fiber optic test equipment companies in 1980. Photodyne created the first small, reasonably-priced optical loss test sets.  Photodyne was sold to 3M in 1988 and Karin went on to help found Rifocs.

Tom and Janet Tamulevich. Tom left EpoTek to found OFTI in the early 80s and Janet started LCS, one of the first large cable termination services. OFTI showed a startup could sell high quality connectors at a low price and Tom worked hard to train people how to install them. 

Jim and Karen Hayes started Fotec, another one of the first fiber optic test equipment companies, in 1981. Fotec became the low cost fiber test equipment supplier to the non-telco market, introduced new products like visual fault locators and talksets to the industry, and worked with NIST to create standards for fiber optic measurements. Fotec started “Fiber U” and the associated training conferences to train people getting started in fiber. Fotec was sold to Fluke in 2001. (And now we manage the FOA!)

We're intending to recognize more of the "unsung heroes of fiber optics" this year and we're asking you to help us decide who gets recognized by sending us your suggestions. Tell us who you thinks deserves recognition and why - send an email to jim@thefoa.org with the subject "Hero" and a few words why this person was important to the industry.

TIA Votes To Disband Fiber Optic Premises Cabling Subcommittee
At the recent TIA TR-42 meeting in Palm Springs, CA, the TR-42.8 subcommittee on fiber optics in premises cabling, the committee responsible for the  fiber optic content of the TIA 568 premises cabling standards listened to a presentation on another reorganization of fiber optics standards committees and then voted to disband, turning their work over to another committee.
Perhaps a little history is needed here. TIA once had two major standards groups working on fiber optics, one components, one systems, which had done all the major work on standardizing fiber optics since the early 1980s. As fiber became more common, attendance dwindled and the two groups were merged. Attendance continued to fall, so it was decided to meet at the same time and location as the TR-42 committee. Next the fiber optic group was merged into the TR-42 group much to the concern of some who wondered how it got put under the umbrella of a premises cabling standards group primarily concerned with UTP Category-Rated cables. Finally, the economy caused an even further drop in participation so a quorum was rarely achieved in some groups, making it impossible to do any real work.
A group was created to suggest possible changes, but their suggestions were met with concern and voted down. They tried again and suggested having  four fiber committees:

TR-42.8 Telecommunications Optical Fiber Cabling Systems
TR-42.11 Optical Systems
TR-42.12 Optical Fibers and Cables
TR-42.15 Fiber Optic Metrology (including TR-42.13 Passive Optical Devices and Components)

After the recommendations were presented and discussed at the TR-42.8 meeting, it was decided that the work of TR-42.8 was actually more appropriate to TR-42.11 and the group voted to disband and turn all their projects over to TR-42.11.
The TIA website has not yet posted a confirmation of these changes, but it is assumed it will be accepted.

And, we can't resist reproducing a slide from one of the Chairman's presentations:

TIA Meeting Slide

Where is The US Stimulus Money for Broadband Going?

Eastern New Mexico and West Texas will receive $11.2 million in federal Recovery Act money to bring high-speed Internet access to more than 200 community anchor institutions, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today.  The money will go to the ENMR Telephone Cooperative Inc. to enhance broadband Internet capabilities in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas by providing a more than 1,600-mile ring of fiber.

Maine Fiber Co., a private company, has been formed to oversee the construction, maintenance and leasing of an open access, 1,100-mile, high-capacity fiber-optic network that won $25.4 million in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce. “As a Maine-based company, we are proud to be building a network that will have such an immediate and lasting positive impact on our state’s economy,” said Dwight Allison, the chief executive officer. “This spring, Three Ring Binder will create jobs as we begin installing 1,100 miles of fiber optic cable.”

Lightwave reports on even more fiber projects with stimulus money.

More information about projects funded by the Recovery Act is available at www.usda.gov/recovery, www.commerce.gov/recovery, www.Recovery.gov and www.WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery.
Looking for a job? These projects should keep many fiber techs employed! Hint: search the sites, esp. this page on Recovery.gov, for fiber or fiber optics and/or your local state/city.

Expert Opinion

Fiber Optic Connector: Five Second Installation Time?
Recently, a manufacturer offered a connector with a five second installation time. This memo is in response to that offering.

Truth lies in the definition of terms, as any good attorney knows. Since I work with attorneys, I've learned that lesson well.

If you define all end preparation actions to be through cleaving, then the 5 second statement is reasonable. But 5 seconds per end means 12 connectors a minute and 720 per hour. Obviously, an unrealistic number. Though the 5 second number is a great marketing and advertising approach.
That being said, one cannot use the 5 second statement to choose this product. Total installation time and cost are the factors to examine. Let's look at time first.

Total installation time includes time to prepare cable ends, time to strip, clean and cleave fiber, time spent on travel to and from, set up and clean up at each location [=utilization] plus the 5 seconds per end. From this description, one can see that the 5 seconds will be a small part of the total time.
I suspect that one could install 30 per hour,  if utilization of time is 100 %, which is never is.
Some well-coordinated and disciplined personnel might get to 40/hour. 

Let's look at cost. Or more precisely, total installed cost for that is the cost factor on which to make a decision.
These products run $11-$13 for multimode. Use the $11 number for a 'cleave and leave' product.
Assume, for convenience of discussion, that one could install 30/hour and the total loaded labor rate is $60/hour. Assume 100 % utilization: 8 hours of connector installation in an 8 hour day. [Unrealistic, I know].
Labor cost for a 'cleave and leave' product is $2/end. Total cost is $11+2=$13.
Now let's calculate total installed cost for a Hot Melt. A Hot Melt runs about $5. Assume 15/hour and $60/hour. Labor cost is $4/connector. Total cost is $9/end or $4/end less expensive.
This analysis is crude, but a more sophisticated analysis, available on my site under 'free resources/eye on fiber/list of articles', shows the cost difference to be larger than $4/end.
To justify selecting this product of the basis of total installed cost, the total loaded labor rate must be above, perhaps, $70 or $80/hour.
Summary: the labor cost reduction is less than the premium for a cleave and leave product.

That being said, there are reasons to use this installation method, such as speed of installation and reduction in cost of training. In addition, organizations that have high personnel turnover [military and governmental] choose this method because training new personnel is much easier and faster with cleave and leave than training on a connector requiring polishing. Finally, set up and clean up times are reduced with this method. If the network has 2-4 connectors per location, total installed can cost favor cleave and leave.

Eric R. Pearson, CFOS
Pearson Technologies Inc.
4671 Hickory Bend Drive
Acworth, GA 30102

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.

FOA-Approved School Map Zoom to CAIt's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization
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.

New FOA Book Available from Amazon.com for only $24.95. FOA book
That's FOA President Jim Hayes, the guy behind the new book, reading a copy.
The new FOA book, the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics, is finished and available from Amazon.com for only $24.95.
The  book  is intended to be used in training for FOA certification and as a reference book for everybody interested in fiber optics: contractors, installers and end users of fiber optics. It's complemented by our Reference Website and complete curriculum materials for teaching fiber optic courses.
This book, which benefits from 12 years of experience with our previous book, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, is more comprehensive on many important topics and better organized for use both as a reference and as a textbook. It's developed from our Reference Website which complements the  book and covers many subjects in greater depth. And since we are self-publishing the book using more modern "publish on demand" technology, it will be easier to keep up to date and much cheaper - as you can see from the price!
The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics and The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide website will be the official reference for the 2010  CFOT exams.

Here is more information on the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics. Order  from Amazon.com for only $24.95.

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide has become very popular - perhaps the most popular technical website ever, typically with over 30,000 users monthly! We continue updating materials regularly, keeping it as up to date as possible.

Updated: We updated the Premises Cabling sections in preparation for the next FOA Textbook and added a new page on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD).

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 Offers "Google Custom Search  to Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
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.

Featured Schools:

The FOA welcomes new schools receiving FOA Approval this month:

School #306, Avitek International, Yorktown, VA

School #730, New Era Traiing, New Zealand

School #736, E Sharp, Dubae, UAE

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

Good Question! Tech Questions Worth Repeating

Q: We're working on a network design and need information on estimating fiber optic jobs, including estimates on the time or cost of processes like splicing fiber. What information is available?
A: We have a page on the FOA website that explains the process of estimating and has a table of labor time estimates that can help you.  Estimating.

Termination of Twisted Pair Cabling
(Since the FOA expanded to cover the entire topic of premises cabling, including copper and wireless, we get questions on topics outside fiber optics!)
Q: We are terminating 25 pair buried cables between our power houses; however this cable is 19 gauge and I am not sure what IDC block would be best. Currently we have some old (very old) AT&T threaded termination blocks but I believe it would be best to use IDC’s.
A: The difference between 22 and 19 gage is only 0.01 in (http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm) so I think a 66 block can handle it. The 66 block is rated for 22-26 gage solid, 20-24 gage stranded. A 110 block might be harder to set the connecting block with the larger wire, but you can see the results easier on a 66. Just make sure you just put one wire in each IDC contact and it will probably work. 

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! See Product News below for links to vendors of fiber cleaning products.

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:

The lost souls of telecommunications history
If you like techie history, you will enjoy this one. Arstechnica  

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).

Top 10 Telecom Forecasts for 2010
Download the Forecast for Free!
Information Gatekeepers Inc. (IGI) has just announced the availability of its forecasts for 2010.  Every year, Clif Holliday, author of IGI’s Lightwave report series, prepares his view of the most significant events likely to underpin telecommunications for the coming year. While Clif likes to take a somewhat lighthearted approach to this forecast (its title is “Holliday’s Holiday Horoscope,”) his accuracy has been exceptional! He is one of the few New Year’s prognosticators who always precedes his new forecast with a review of the accuracy of last year’s forecast. This gives the reader a sense of how much creditability to put in the forecasts for the coming year.
We are also offering you a similar opportunity to comment on the upcoming 2010 forecasts.  Click here to download the Top 10 Telecom Forecasts for 2010 now.

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.

2009 sets new record for malware with 25 million new strains, 92% of emails are SPAM. (eChannelline)

Managing the Wireless Data Deluge (Business Week)
The surge in data usage on cell phone networks (AT&T has reported a 7000% increase - 70X - since the introduction of the iPhone) has created a giant market for fiber optics!

Tellabs Joins Motorola, Verizon and SAIC is offering Passive Optical Lans ( POLs.)
Passive Optical Lans (POLs), based on FTTH PON networks are getting more interest in enterprise networks. (Lightwave)

New IGI Active Optical Cables Market Report Forecasts 48 Million Units by 2014
AOCs (electrical-fiber link-lectrical) cables are expected to grow fast as computer peripherals require higher bandwidth connections. (IGI)  

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.

Tanks And Ships
GB Ethernet and fiber Upgrades. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms got a contract to supply a custom version of its Gigabit Ethernet switch to rumble around inside the US Army's Abrams tank. The US Navy recently awarded Boeing contract to upgrade and support the Gigabit Ethernet networks it is building on its guided missile destroyers.   From Network World.

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 - 
The new FOA reference website is now online. New sections have been added on fusion splicing and mechanical splicing.  Check out the current 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
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 international standards
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10G Ethernet.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on General Topics and Testing
Reference Guide sections on fusion splicing and mechanical splicing.

  • Product News

    For Sale: Used Fujikura FSM-50S Fusion Splicer
    The FSM-50S Fusion Splicer sets the standard for core alignment fusion splicers. The FSM-50S is the fastest field splicer available, and completes a splice and tube heat in a total of 44 seconds. Special features include its small size and weight and the legendary ruggedness Fujikura is known for. The FSM-50S also includes user-friendly features such as calibration-free arc adjustments, automatic fiber type identification and reduced operational steps. The FSM-50S also offers increased flexibility for various splicing tasks with user-selectable front and back monitor positioning.
    This unit is the best deal I've seen in the last 10 years:
        1] it is fourth generation [FSM-50s, current generation is fifth, FSM-60s]
        2] it is the first generation with the ability to function faster than the splicing person [9 sec splice time, 35 second heating time]
        3] it has low splice count [2346 arcs and 12 since last electrode replacement]
        4] it is a profile alignment splicer so it compensates for differences in the fibers
        5] Has a CT-20 cleaver with spare blade, battery pack, spare electrodes.
    $8900 plus shipping
    Eric R. Pearson, CFOS
    Pearson Technologies Inc.
    4671 Hickory Bend Drive
    Acworth, GA 30102

    Cable Trailers Can "Figure 8" Fiber For Pulling
    Larson Cable Trailers has a Figure 8 Device that has been tested and approved by a majority of the Fiber Optic Cable manufacturers as a safe way of Figure 8'ing cable with a "machine".  Familiar with "Figure 8'ing cable? Find out about it on the FOA Online Reference Guide

    Bend-Optimized Multimode Fiber by OFS
    Aimed at dense premises applications like data centers. More.

    Cell Phones Bring Down 10Gb/s Cat 6A Networks?
    According to this Tyco Electronics report, cell phones and walkie-talkies can cause enough interference in UTP cables to bring down network transmission. Wouldn't happen with fiber, but they're also selling shielded copper.

    Add OCC to the list of cable manufacturers offering "bend-tolerant" cablesDraka too.(Lightwave)

    AFL Introduces 3 new Noyes OTDRs(Lightwave)
    Remember the SMA Connector?
    They're still being used for high power laser delivery - up to 80.100W! Seikoh Giken has even introduced some new ones.

    Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

    Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

    More links on cleaning:

  • Westover 
  • AFL

    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads



    FTTH Notes:

    Verizon To Complete FiOS System in 2010, Looks for 40% FiOS penetration
    This year Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) plans to complete the fiber-to-the-premises network it started in 2004, and it is focusing harder on customer penetration.
    “We’re averaging just under 30% [FiOS penetration] for the whole property,” Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg told investors recently. “My people think they can get to 34%. They’re not going to get paid very much if they don’t get to 40%. The question is how quickly we can get there.” (Connected Planet)

    Consumer Reports Says FTTH Providers Top-Rated
    FTTH systems, led by Verizon FiOS, get top ratings from users over other Internet connections. (Lightwave)

    FTTH In Alaska
    Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division starting FTTx in Ketchikan, AK. Do they have to wait until Spring to start consturction?

    Brigham City votes to issue bond for fiber-optic network
    Brigham City Council approved the issuance of a $3.7 million bond to fund the build-out of the fiber-optic system in the city.
    The bond will be issued through a special assessment area set up by the city for Utopia's benefit. The revenue to pay the bonds will be generated by the approximately 1,600 city residents who agreed to pay $6,000 each over the next 20 years, or approximately $22 a month, to hook up their homes so they could access the network.
    "We are doing this for all of Brigham City," Mayor Lou Ann Christiansen said. Read more: Salt Lake Tribune.

    Fiber-to-the-Home Council:
    North American Fiber to the Home Connections
    Surge Past Five Million

    FTTH Networks Now Available to 15 Percent of Homes

    HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2009 - The number of North American fiber to the home (FTTH) subscribers now stands at more than 5.3 million, as deployers of end-to-end fiber networks continue to add more than 1.5 million customers a year, according to a study released today by the Fiber-to-the-Home Council.

    The study, which was conducted by RVA Market Research (www.rvallc.com) and will be presented tomorrow to the 2009 FTTH Conference & Expo in Houston, also found continued robust growth in the number of homes passed by FTTH networks, which rose to 17.2 million from 13.8 million a year ago.  Five years after their deployment began in earnest, fiber to the home networks are now available to 15 percent of homes in North America.

    "The march to all-fiber networks is showing no sign of letting up in the United States and Canada," said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council, which promotes and tracks the growth of fiber to the home in North America.  "Given the growing sophistication and bandwidth requirements of online and video applications, as well as the high satisfaction that current FTTH subscribers are expressing about their fiber service, the growing consumer demand for end-to-end fiber is now a fact of life and something that our members are working hard to satisfy."

    In addition to the 5.33 million homes connected to FTTH, the study found that the overall "take rate" - the percentage of those offered FTTH service who decide to subscribe - went up for the seventh straight six-month period, with the vast majority of providers experiencing take rates of greater than 50 percent.

    Download the accompanying charts on FTTH deployment.
    Led by Verizon's massive investment in FTTH technology in the deployment of its FiOS service, the fiber to the home industry in North America also includes hundreds of smaller telephone companies and other network providers, municipalities, planned residential communities and cable television companies that are making the move to end-to-end fiber to deliver next-generation video, internet and voice services.  Given the almost unlimited bandwidth of fiber, FTTH technology is seen as an ideal way of "future-proofing" networks in light of the ever increasing consumer and business demand for faster networks and higher-bandwidth applications.

    David Chaffee's FTTH Prism Newsletter is Online
    (archives are at bottom of the linked page)

    Verizon Ups FiOS Speeds in NY
    Verizon is offering faster FiOS speeds in NY and even getting into the TV biz with a local channel. Telephony.

    In Norway, You Might Have To Bury Your Own Cable To Get FTTH!
    A Norwegian triple-play provider has a unique solution to the pesky problem of digging up consumers' yards to bury fiber-to-the-home. Lyse Tele, an overbuilder that launched its fiber-based all-IP solution in 2002, installs the fiber right to the edge of a customer's lawn, then gives the customer instructions on how to bury their own fiber cable to the house.
    Read More From Telephony.    
    Where is Verizon offfering FiOS service? See this map.
    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.


    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.

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)
    There is a new toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811

    See www.call811.com for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit: By the "811" group. March, 2008 in Vegas.


    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! http://lw.pennnet.com/whitepapers/wp.cfm?id=665
    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
    ADC's Book On FTTx
    ADC has an excellend book on FTTx. Here is a link to request a copy: http://www.adc.com/productsandservices/productsolutions/fttp/book/index.jsp

    Job Openings

    Sr. Business Development Leader (1-25)

    Join Innovative Leaders in the Design, Development & Manufacturing of Electro-Optical Systems 
    Northrop Grumman Adaptive Optics Associates 
    Northrop Grumman Adaptive Optics Associates (AOA) designs, develops and manufactures a wide
    variety of standard and custom electro-optic and opto-mechanical products. Since its inception, AOA
    has steadily expanded its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to provide its customers with
    the highest quality products, systems and services. For more information on AOA, please visit: 
    Job Title: Sr. Business Development Leader
    Job Description: 
    The role of Sr. Business Development Leader is to obtain new business opportunities by providing
    technical and engineering support to customers leveraging AOA’s processing capabilities and
    technical expertise. The Sr. Business Development Leader will engage customers with sound
    technical consultation and will define, support, close, monitor, and report on development-related and
    new business opportunities, programs, contracts and agreements. Through their technical leadership,
    the Sr. Business Development Leader will develop and grow the business relationship between AOA
    and our customers, increasing our revenue and profitability. The responsibilities include: establishing
    and leading a successful business development team; developing new business in Custom Electro-
    Optical (E-O) Systems Design and Mfg, and Customized Optical Measurement Solutions, focusing on
    industrial companies with significant U.S. domestic operations, defense contractors, and U.S.
    government agencies; creating marketing and sales goals, as well as developing and executing
    formal plans to reach these goals; training, and coordinating the activities of (to-be-hired) regional
    Basic Qualifications: 
    Bachelors degree in Marketing or related field (engineering degree desired).
    Minimum 8 years combined technical and business development experience required. 
    Minimum 2 years experience with electro-optical systems and/or optical systems design and
    Experience developing high-level marketing strategy and implementing Sales/Marketing performance
    tracking tools.
    Experience working with senior management to achieve results.
    Demonstrated ability identifying new business opportunities and securing profitable business
    Up to 50 percent travel necessary.
    Demonstrated written and oral presentation skills interfacing with customers.
     Assets (Preferred qualifications): 
    Existing Rolodex of pertinent industrial companies, people, and key contacts and decision-makers.
    Experience marketing to government agencies and industrial companies.
    Experience marketing customized engineering design and/or manufacturing services.
    More about Northrop Grumman AOA:
    Northrop Grumman AOA benefits are among the most competitive in the industry. While salary is a
    major component of your compensation, you also receive a competitive benefits package including:
    Medical, Dental and Life Insurance
    STD and LTD
    Purchased Vacation Program
    PTO (sick / personal time)
    Holiday Pay
    9/80 Work Schedule
    Tuition Reimbursement
    Employee Referral Program
    Professional Development Opportunities
    Employee Incentive Plan
    An Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/D/V
    Interested applicants should apply at: www.careers.northropgrumman.com

    Fiber Optic Design Engineer (1-10)
    This position is responsible for the development of custom optical fiber products, including conventional ferrule based fiber connectors and free space optical components. Industry standard product development and engineering design principles are used including simulation, analysis and phased development milestones.
    • Product design from concept through production
    • Development of optical assembly and alignment processes and tooling
    • Documentation release, and maintenance including revision control and data management
    • Coordination of projects with other facilities
    • Managing a program through a New Product Development process
    • Interface with customers, sales and tech support and outside engineering groups for product support
    • Engineering Change Notice procedures
    • BSME or equivalent with five or more years engineering experience in the design and manufacturing of glass optical or opto-mechanical products
    • Strong experience with 3D CAD software and precision mechanical design required. Solidworks preferred
    • Experience with simulation software especially Optical simulation software desirable
    • Solid understanding of free space optics and exposure to fiber optics
    • Demonstrated experience and understanding of machining, molding and other production processes
    • Project management experience preferred
    • Connector industry experience highly desirable
    • MRP system knowledge desirable
    • Good problem solving skills

    • Meriden, Connecticut area

    • $80K+ DOE

    Job Number:
    • 1805

    Interested parties may contact DRP Resource Group, Inc. at 877-857-8233.  Please forward your resume to resumes@drpresourcegroup.com.  We look forward to speaking with you.

    Open for Bid Until January 23
    Florida Air National Guard upgrade from copper network to fiber at 125th Fighter Wing in Jacksonville.
    Responses to this federal networking job (solicitation number F6U10P9301A001) are due no later than 2 p.m. eastern time 23 January and are limited to small businesses.
    The Air National Guard networking job involves not only upgrading an existing copper line network to a fiber network, but also adding infrastructure for another network with switches, rack, and end-user switches for as many as 18 workstations.
    More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USA/NGB/DAHA08-1/F6U10P9301A001A/listing.html.

     Do listings in the FOA Newsletter Work? Here's feedback:

    "We did great!  We have over 15 interviews next week."

    David Swales, Jr.

    Also Check Recent Job Openings In Previous Issues of The FOA Newsletter


    Tech Puzzler
    What does this OTDR Trace Show?
    OTDR Puzzler

    Answer below

    FOA Logo Merchandise
    FOA has arranged with EmbroidMe to provide FOA logo merchandies. Identify yourself as a FOA-certified tech or instructor. The lab coats are super impressive for either cabling techs and instructors. Check out the selection.

    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 27,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 230 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 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've created several new 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 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 !

    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. 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.


    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.

    Want to write for the FOA Newsletter? Send us articles, news, anything you think might be interesting to the rest of the membership!

    Return to The FOA Home Page

    (C)1999-2009, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

    Tech Puzzler:
    Well, this trace is a good example of why you need some technical documentation to assist in troubleshooting problems in fiber optic networks. The trace shows a concatenation point on a long link with some oddities in the trace. Is it a connector (it has reflectance) where the cables around it are stressed causing the dips in the trace? Or a stressed fiber in a splice closure which has cracked - with a 1 dB loss and some reflectance. We'll bet on the latter, but some documentation would certainly make it easier to determine the cause.

    OTDR Puzzler

     See the FOA Reference Guide for more info.