May, 2010

In This Issue
FOA Web Page on Job Opportunities Fiber Optics
What is a "Fiber Optic Network" ?
When it Comes to Fiber Optic Training, It's A Jungle Out There!
New Dark Fiber Network for USA
Turkcell Builds a Next-Generation Mobile Network
Fiber-optic cables will drive the fixed-line telecoms in Sub-Saharan Africa
Lightwave Organizing Optical Networks for Enterprises (ONE) Conference
Webinars of Interest

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

New Schools

Tech Topics

Q&A: Questions we've answered recently. 

Product News

Worth Reading:  Interesting things we've read.
Looking For Jobs 
This Month's "Tech Puzzler"
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print
NEW: Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter

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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.

Free Self-Study Program on "Fiber U"

FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA  

Renew your FOA certification online - plus get a discount coupon for the new FOA books and get an extra month free. Details here.
Find us on Facebook            FOA on LinkedIn

New FOA Jobs Website
We get many questions from CFOTs, students at FOA-Approved schools and others contemplating getting into the fiber optic business regarding jobs in fiber optics - and how to find them - so we’ve created a new web page to share some information we've gathered about jobs in our industry. The information is designed to help you understand what jobs are available in fiber optics, how to find them and apply for them.
While the overall economy is pretty bad - you've probably heard that there are 5 times as many people unemployed in the US as there are jobs available, telecom is a bright spot - broadband is a major focus of stimulus spending in the US and countries around the world are building fiber networks as fast as possible. Even wireless companies have to build fiber for their backhaul. Cities are installing fiber linked surveillance cameras and smart traffic lights. Fiber is the link making Smart Grid possible. Companies like Allied Fiber are building large private networks. Telecom is one of the fastest growing businesses worldwide.

If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs.

The FOA has created a group on FOA on LinkedIn  expressly to help our CFOTs find employment and contracting opportunities. If you are a CFOT and are interested in participating, join us on FOA on LinkedIn. If you have job openings, let us post them on FOA on LinkedIn.

What is a "Fiber Optic Network"? And who has the right to decide that?
We were recently disturbed to read that the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has told Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications that they should not use the term "Fiber Optic Network" in their advertising. Responding to a complaint about their advertising from Verizon who is the largest FTTH service provider in the USA, NAD says:

As a preliminary matter, NAD noted that the references submitted by the advertiser did not
support the contention that all networks with fiber are considered “fiber optic networks.”
Instead, NAD noted that the industry recognizes that there are several network
architectures that incorporate fiber, hence the term “FTTx” which is used to illustrate how
deeply fiber penetrates the network. However, NAD stated, the industry does not simply
refer to each network which contains some level of fiber as a “fiber optic network.”

You can read the complete NAD comments on Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications at these links.

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. respectfully disagrees with the NAD. Their contention appears to be based on the fact that neither TWC nor Cox bring "fiber to the home" as does Verizon with their FiOS service. But every communications method in the world today is based on fiber optic networks, including landline telephones, wireless/cellular phones, CATV and, of course, the Internet. But since we're not using optical computers, every one of those networks eventually converts to copper wiring and works on electrons! Even Verizon's FiOS connects from the customer's ONT on an outside wall to copper, many times using the CATV/satellite TV coax already in the house (using MOCA) for connections to customer equipment - making their FiOS system look just like a CATV HFC (hybrid fiber coax) system!

Admonishing CATV companies for advertising their fiber optic networks is quite unfair. CATV companies were pioneers - using fiber optics in the form of HFC networks to deliver high speed Internet access to the home for a decade before the telcos were able to deliver high speed Internet over DSL to as many users as cable companies and FTTH really got started. Even now, the telcos are still trying to catch up with the cable companies. See High Speed Access Report from IGI  for graphs that show the data.

As for the NAD contention that "Neither the industry nor the advertiser refers to DSL networks as “fiber optic networks,” we tried doing a web search for "fiber optic network" after the names of other companies. We found thousands of articles like these:

New Fiber-Optic Network to Speed Communication for the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County
Evansville, Indiana, November 18, 2008
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced an agreement with the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Ind., to install the state's largest city/county fiber-based network. The network will be faster and enable more efficient communications and operations among fire, police, park, water, transportation and other city facilities. (more)

About Westar Satellite ServicesPrivately-held Westar Satellite Communications provides traditional uplink and downlink video services via satellite and terrestrial broadcast transmission, including multimedia and streamed media content distribution. Customers can utilize its antenna assets to connect to more than 49 major satellite systems, as well as Westar's advanced fiber-optic network. Westar currently serves customers nationwide such as broadcast and media companies, the U.S. government, retailers, political parties and utilities. For more information, visit (more)

Google to Build Superfast, Fiber-Optic Network (more)

Note that the first clipping is from AT&T. Does NAD think that AT&T should not be allowed to use the term "fiber optic network" - they did practically invent it, you know. How about Westar - a satellite company? And should Google be allowed to use the term "fiber optic network" ?

That term "fiber optic network"  has been in use for a lot longer than FTTH! And a trademark search in the US contains disclaimers that indicates the term itself cannot be trademarked.

We think the NAD decision is misguided. Sure FTTH is a "fiber optic network" but so are a lot of other networks and the term has been in use for several decades before FiOS was even conceived.

The FOA has sent a letter to NAD expressing these opinions. If you want to comment also, here is their website:

When it Comes to Fiber Optic Training, It's A Jungle Out There!
One of the prices of success is you become the target of those who, well, let's say, don't play by the rules. The FOA has become a big success because we're widely recognized as helpful, technically competent and our FOA-Approved schools provide really good training. It hasn't hurt that we are, as we say, a "real non-profit," offering lots of free information nd services and being dedicated to keeping the cost of certification and membership reasonable.
But some training organizations have been taking advantage of our good reputation.
As we have been doing research for the new employment page on our website, we've found some companies offering "training for FOA certification" that are not FOA-Approved. We've had schools giving exams - even the FOA exam - and not sending the applications to the FOA.
If you are getting ready to get training in fiber optics, we suggest that:
  • If you are looking for training for FOA certification, check to ensure the school is listed on the list of FOA-approved schools. If the school is not on the list, they are not FOA-Approved. Contact us if you are not sure about a school.
  • If you get trained by a school that is FOA-approved, you should get a receipt for your certification and an FOA ID card within 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast the school gets the applications to us. Make sure you get both.
  • Ask your instructor if he is an FOA-Certified instructor. He should have a CFOT and CFOS/I certification. We can check it for you if you contact us.
  • If the school charges you for certification separately, it must cost no more than $60. Contact us if you pay more.

New Dark Fiber Network for USA
After the "dot bomb" and "telecom bubble" burst a decade ago, some said America had so much dark fiber that it would not need more - maybe ever. Of course that proved untrue, since many areas had a glut of fiber but others had no fiber at all. And those pundits who were saying we would not need fiber for decades never thought about video over the Internet or broadband on wireless in the future.
Now we're seeing the installation of lots more fiber in many areas. A new company has announced a nationwide network of dark fiber which will be leased to carriers. The fiber network will be carrier neutral and carriers can use space in the Allied Fiber regeneration hubs and colocation centers to place their own network equipment. Local fiber networks can join the Allied Fiber backbone at many points along the route. A big focus is connecting cell towers, a necessity if broadband over cellular is going to fly.

Allied Fiber Network

Allied Fiber already has almost 100% of their duct installed and fiber installation will begin shortly. Contracting will be done by Henkels and McCoy, Michaels Communications, Adesta and others who have local knowledge that will facilitate construction.

More information on the Allied Fiber project on the company website.  

Turkcell Builds a Next-Generation Mobile Network
Last month, we reported on our seminar in Istanbul where we learned that Turkey was actively installing fiber optics to support their communications needs. Now we learn Turkcell has deployed an Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) — based on the Cisco Carrier Routing System (CRS) platform, according to Cisco. Turkcell, Turkey’s leading mobile communications and technology company, is using the Cisco CRS platform to manage 3G traffic and build the foundation for the next-generation mobile Internet (4G) in Turkey.
More from Connected Planet  

Fiber-optic cables will drive the fixed-line telecoms in Sub-Saharan Africa
Africa has very low penetration of communications, a consequence of little development in many areas, but good communications can speed development. The demand for communications services exists, but installations lag. Now several long distance fiber links are being being developed may help.  Read more from Lightwave  

Lightwave Organizing Optical Networks for Enterprises (ONE) Conference
Lightwave is organizing a conference dealing with optical networks in the enterprise. Here's their description: "Lightwave's Optical Networks for Enterprises (ONE) Conference is unlike any other communications, networking or optical conference. Enterprise, government and service provider organizations are looking for practical solutions to rapidly expanding bandwidth and network cost challenges, and Lightwave’s ONE Conference focuses specifically on their needs. With a 25-year track record of excellence in explaining the technologies, strategies and product options for building, maintaining and upgrading optical networks, Lightwave is uniquely positioned to bring together the thought leaders who can provide the practical advice managers need to make the right optical networking decisions."
Date: October 4-6, 2010
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
Collocated with ITExpo
More Information  

Webinars of Interest

Broadcast Engineering Magazine - Fiber Optic Testing
FOA President Jim Hayes presents an overview of fiber optic testing for all applications. Available on Demand. Sign up here.

Multimode Fiber Trends from TIA's Fiber Optics LAN Section
Ryan Chappell, Draka Communications, looks at the evolution of multimode fiber, examines its current usage and shares predictionson its future Available on-demand at:

OSP Magazine Webinars
OSP Magazine (OSP as in outside plant telco) is now offering a number of interesting webinars that cover fiber topics, including network design and specialized components.

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.

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training OrganizationFOA-Approved School Map Zoom to CA
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 Reference Guide To Fiber Optics available for only $24.95. FOA book
That's FOA President Jim Hayes, the guy behind the new book, reading a copy.
 Order  from the FOA eStore or for only $24.95.

FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling
And The New FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling textbook is only $19.95 -  Now available from the FOA eStore or
"..very nice job.  It's really important that the techs get usable info in a language they understand."

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

New: Polarity

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.
Just this month, we added a page on "polarity" for fiber optic networks. Although it seems obvious that connecting transmitters to receivers is required, how it's accomplished can be confusing! We already updated the Premises Cabling sections in conjunction with publishing the  FOA Premises Textbook and are now focused on outside plant applications (OSP.) We've already added a new page on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD). Next we're working on cables for OSP applications and splicing.

Find What You Want Using "Google Custom Search
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:

New Outside Plant Emergency Restoration Training Course
The Light Brigade announces a new two-day technical training course for Outside Plant Emergency Restoration. This course, which is available only as a custom course, places heavy emphasis on fault location, troubleshooting, and test equipment. It culminates in a second day of hands-on practices that simulate actual field restorations for retrievable and non-retrievable slack scenarios.
Whether the fiber cable network is above or below ground, inside or outside a building, the words “emergency restoration” strike fear in any network or outside plant manager. Network outages can cost ten of thousands of dollars every hour your system is offline. When (not if) a problem occurs, it is critical not only to have a recovery program in place, but to have staff that is trained to deal with the emergency in timely, cost-efficient manner.

The Light Brigade - FOA Approved School #241

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

Good Question! Tech Questions Worth Repeating

Fiber Optic Polarity
Q: This summer a fiber ring is being installed on our campus. It will be terminated in a 24 port fiber patch panel in each buiding. Does the industry standard provide that if I attach fibers 1 & 2 to my servers and fibers 1 & 2 to the network in each other building that they will be able to communicate? Or is it far more complicated than that?

A: Since most fiber optic links use two fibers transmitting in opposite directions to create a full duplex link, you need to ensure that transmitters are connected to receivers and vice versa. Traditionally, fiber links are made where pairs of fibers are crossed between patch panels so fiber 1 at one patch panel will be connected to fiber 2 at the patch panel on the other end, fibers 3/4. 5/6. etc. are handled likewise. Thus, when connecting patchcords, fiber 1 (or the odd numbered fibers) can always go to the transmitter and fiber 2 (or even numbered fibers) goes to a receiver and proper connectivity is maintained.
This is described in TIA-568 as polarity.
Obviously, nothing substitutes from proper markings and documentation of the cable plant, a task that is often given little consideration until the network equipment installers are forced to use a visual fiber tracer to find which fibers to connect.
If possible, discuss this with the fiber installers to ensure you are on the same wavelength (pun intneded.)
BTW, the FOA has a good Tech Bulletin and web page for network users:
Choosing, installing and using fiber optic products for communications network users  
and User's Guide To Fiber Optics  
Just this month, we added a page on "polarity" for fiber optic networks to the FOA Online Reference Guide.

Nothing is more confusing that jargon. Here is a Q&A on jargon:
Q: One thing I did notice, you teach that there are three types of UTP cable tests, wire map, certified and verified here;
There is the danger that trained individuals will confuse cable testers called" verifiers" and "certifiers" for cable that is printed "verified". UL's definition of verified is individual critical attributes testing and NOT BERT testing, which is just the opposite of a "verification" BERT tester. The "certifying" tester is more apt to "verify" a cable, permanent link, or channel. I know this seem minor but it isn't. There has to be a clear distinction as to what the customer wants, BERT verses attribute tests. And the use of conflicting terms between cable and hand-held testers is unfortunate.

A: You're right about UL. Not only do they use "verified," but they use "certified" as well - I remember when it was just "listed."  (
I believe that Ron Vogel of Test-Um was the initiator of the "verification" term when he dropped a GBE chip into a tester and started selling it at a fraction of the cost of a UTP cable "certifier," although I've actually never seen the term "verified" used for cable tested with one of his testers.  Fluke, of course sells a cable "verifier" too ( so that means it's made it to the industry jargon.
A quick search shows 3030 references to the term "verification" and 2850 for "verified" on the UL website! UL is even ambiguous about their use of the term; see what they say:
"What does the term "verified" mean?
The term "verified," when used in a UL marking, means that the product has been tested and complies with one or more specific requirement. These requirements may be safety- or performance-related. In the UL system, the words "Classified" and "verified" mean the same thing. For a complete explanation of "Listed," "Classified" and "Recognized," read more on the UL Mark."
Reminds me of a panel at ComNet with Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, who said "Standards are such wonderful things because we have so many to choose from."

Q: I bid a job today with 50 um aqua OM3 MM. Any special characteristics as far as fusion splicing and testing?  I know I will have to get some LC jumpers of 50 um size.

A: No problems should be expected. If you're splicing it, check the fusion splicer programs (and maybe the fiber manufacturer) to see if special setup parameters are needed. And you will probably need hybrid jumpers with LCs to the connectors on your test equipment.

Q: We're having a fiber network installed. We know that two fibers are used for each link, but how do you ensure transmitters are always connected to receivers? Where do you make the crossover in the fibers?

A: While there are several ways to do this, it's less complicated to do it in the fixed cabling, not the patchcords. Here is an explanation of fiber optic link polarity on the FOA Online Reference website.

Connector or "Connection" Loss?

Q: Isn’t the loss in the standard for a connector pair and not a single connector?

A: Yes, it is. All connector losses are for a mated pair. We've been trying for years to say "connection loss" instead of "connector loss" but most everybody still says "connector loss" and we fall back into that often ourselves.

Here's what is in the FOA online reference guide at :

"Connector and Splice Loss
The primary specification for connectors or splices is loss or the amount of light lost in the connection.

When we say connector loss, we really mean "connection" loss - the loss of a mated pair of connectors, expressed in "dB." Thus, testing connectors requires mating them to reference connectors which must be high quality connectors themselves to not adversely affect the measured loss when mated to an unknown connector. This is an important point often not fully explained.  In order to measure the loss of the connectors you must mate them to a similar, known good, connector. When a connector being tested is mated to several different connectors, it may have different losses, because those losses are dependent on the reference connector it is mated to."

We were discussing this recently with another person who has a spec which calls for a loss for the mating adapter! We had to help him explain to the spec writer that each connector and the mating adapter contribute to the loss but one cannot apportion the loss to each component separately!

Low Water Peak Fibers

Q: One of the issues on which vendors try to differentiate themselves is "zero" and "reduced" water peak fiber.  Is there anything in Fiber U or the FOA that addresses this?

A: Low water peak fiber is done to allow coarse WDM. It's very expensive to do and not very worthwhile unless you want to do CWDM. See for details.

OTDR Gainers

Q: Why do we see a “gain” in some OTDR measurements? How can there be a gain?

A: Gainers are caused by differences in the backscatter coefficient of the fibers being spliced. Not only does that cause gainers, but in the opposite direction it causes the loss to be shown as greater than it actually is and it affects the measurement accuracy of any loss measurement with an OTDR. We have a tutorial on OTDRs that covers what we call "gainers" on the FOA Online Reference Guide:

Troubleshooting a Short SM Network
Q: We are trouble shooting a 10 gig network. So here is the gist!
Single mode 10 gig network.
The MDF is pint a at the main building of the school.
The net work ends in an Identical switch 3222 ft  at the student center
from each switch, the connection is an LC UPC and an SC APC meets the distribution box and connects the 3162ft backbone.
The problem is that after 2 years the users suddenly complained of masive problems with the net work. Users going down, or unable to access, etc.
The IT manager isolated Masive collision activity as the problem.
Sounded like dirty connectors so we went in and cleaned everthing and the problem seemed to go away. Except school was out and when everyone came back the problem still existed.
We went back and found a kink in one of the jumpers showing a slight crack or fracture ( with a VFL) and replaced it.
The system still exhibits the simptoms but to a far less degree and is manageable.
Oh! and yes the laser modules were replaced.
The bit errors are only in the outbound direction but not on the return path. ( MDF out)
This is a redundent back up system and the problem is on both outbound paths. No issues on the return.
I am going back with a new jumper and move everything over to a set of spares on the backbone.
However I believe the problem points to this. Since the problem exists only on the outbound path of both lines there may be a problem with power distribusion to the laser module or voltage stability to the module. Dirty connectors only exasperated the problem.

A: We've seen a number of instances of similar problems to this on short SM links.
On short SM links like this, the problems are typically 1) Reflectance or 2) excess power at the receiver.
Have you checked the power at the receiver? It may be overloading the receiver on such a short link and it may need an attenuator. You can test this by making a stressed-fiber attenuator near the receiver. Wrap 5-10 turns of a patchcord around a pencil and see if the transmission improves. That is typically 3-6 dB added loss with no reflectance. If that helps, find some non-reflective attenuators.
Reflectance causes several problems. It can interfere with lasers causing distortion if it's close to the transmitter, as in a patchcord connecting to the system. But a more complex problem is now getting attention in international standards groups - multipath interference. This is caused by a large reflectance sending a substantial amount of light back up the fiber which is then re-reflected back to the other end and  may repeat several times. Think of ghosts in OTDR traces. In the best case, it adds to the background noise (yep, optical noise) which can affect BER (digital) or S/N (analog). Worst case is the reflectance is high enough to distort pulses.
We HIGHLY recommend APC connectors on short SM links or at least UPCs. And all terminations must be made by fusion splicing on pigtails (or the new fusion splice prepolished connectors from AFL or Corning.)
Cleanliness is obviously very important but may not be enough!

Update on this question: Sometimes you find really unusual problems. Power  testing showed the receiver power was low, not high. After inspecting and cleaning all the connectors, special cleaning swabs were used to clean the laser module receptacles and the power was back at spec. Several the laser modules came from the manufacturer with dirt in them - even though they all had dust caps. As we often say, dust caps are called dust caps because they often contain lots of dust!

Mizing APC and UPC connectors?
Q: I'm doing hd sdi video using single mode upc connectors. Can I use upc on the fiber/rx and apc on the patch panel?

A: You can use APCs for patching as long as both connectors are APC. So make the patch panel APC and use a hybrid patch cord, APC on the patch panel end and UPC on the equipment end. Since they are color-coded, the APCs are all green, you can keep the ends straight.

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:

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.

High Speed Access Report from IGI  
The High Speed Access Report (HSAR) is a quarterly newsletter covering the current state of high-speed access, including xDSL, cable modems, and FTTx.   The data are derived from quarterly reports of the telcos and MSOs and delivered to subscribers in a timely manner.   Each issue includes a wealth of information in the form of tables and graphs. You can download the 4Q2009 report talking about Google and connections to the home for free.

TIA FOLSFREE Web conference hosted by the TIA's Fiber Optics LAN Section!
Multimode Fiber Trends
Presented by Ryan Chappell, Draka Communications
In this presentation, Chappell will look at the evolution of multimode fiber, examine its current usage and share predictions based on research by CRU, IEEE, Penwell, Cisco, IBM, Mathew Burroughs, and Alan Flatman.
The Webconference is available on-demand at:
To download a PDF copy of the presentation please visit our Website,

New Report : FTTH connections continue to grow in North America
You can download and read the entire report from the FTTH council website.

Testing FTTH
JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR:

Data Centers: Preparing for 40/100 Gb/s
Data centers are probably the fastest growing application for fiber. Many are already using 10 Gb/s links and 40/100 Gb/s is in the planning stage. Read Corning's article on what this means for cabling.

Fast Optical Switching
We often quote science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke's "sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" to describe some of the developments in our field. Here's a good one: Molecules that allow lasers to switch fiber optic signals. Read it at MIT Tech Review:

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 ( 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.”


" 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 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
This month, we added a page on "polarity" for fiber optic networks.

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
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

    Yes, An OTDR-Type Instrument Can Resolve Short Lengths - with mm Resolution
    Luna Technologies offers a OFDR - optical frequency domain reflectometer that can resolve about 3 mm (1/8 inch) out to 500 meters. OFDRs work in the frequency domain, not timing a return signal, to get ultra high resolution over a limited distance range with considerably less dB resolution than a OTDR, 0.1 dB in this instrument. The primary use for this instrument is testing cable harnesses such as those used on aircraft, as it can pinpoint problems with connectors or bending loss. Read more.

    Bend-Insensitive Fiber Becomes Corning's Standard 50/125 Fiber -
    But it means changes in the way you test with it!
    Corning announced that effective April 1, 2010, ClearCurve® multimode optical fiber will become its standard 50-micron multimode fiber product offering. "ClearCurve multimode fiber is the world’s first laser-optimized, high-bandwidth, multimode fiber to withstand tight bends at 7.5 mm radius with substantially less signal loss than traditional multimode fibers. ClearCurve multimode optical fiber was first introduced by Corning in Jan. 2009 and has been validated through broad customer acceptance of the product.
    Traditionally, when an optical cable experiences tight bends, some of the light can escape from the fiber core and part of the signal can be lost.  Corning ClearCurve multimode fiber is designed to keep the light in the fiber core, even under tight bends, and better maintain the integrity of the optical fiber signal.
    “Corning’s 50-micron multimode fiber customers will now benefit from superior bend performance. This will result in faster and more efficient optical cable routing and installation, and significantly higher spare operating margin, at no additional cost,” said Martin J. Curran, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Fiber.
    Corning ClearCurve multimode fiber meets or exceeds the OM2, OM3 and OM4 industry standards for high-bandwidth, laser-optimized multimode fiber. Corning will demonstrate the performance of ClearCurve multimode optical fiber from March 23-25, 2010, at OFC/NFOEC in San Diego. Detailed product specifications are available at"

    When You Test...
    Most standards call for a "mandrel wrap" mode conditioner on your launch cable. The Corning announcement made us wonder what happens with this bend-insensitive fiber if you wrap it around a standard mandrel - it should not act the same as regular 50/125 fiber. We contacted our friend the Marketing Manager for the product at Corning and he confirmed our suspicions. The difference in the bend sensitivity of the fiber requires a much smaller mandrel, only 6 mm in diameter, to have the same effect.
    This is detailed in Corning Application Engineering Note "Multimode Fiber Considerations for Test Jumpers,  AEN 131, Revision 2" available from Corning.

    Another Fusion Splice-On Connector
    Seikoh Giken joins the companies offering prepolished connectors to fusion splice onto fibers for termination. They use OFS fusion splicing technology combined with Seikoh Giken connector design. This seems to be the new standard way to provide fast terminations with low loss.

    Cable Organizers
    Nothing is more difficult than organizing lots of cables. Here's a simple solution:  
    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:

    Update on Google FTTH Program
    Remember Google's interest in building gigabit FTTH systems in several communities to showcase what can be done with "real broadband?" (FOA Newsletter 2/10) Well, 1100 communities are vying for the 2 or 3 prizes. Stay tuned to find out who wins!

    US FTTH Connections Continue To Grow
    US Connected FTTH homes
    According to a just released FTTH Council Report prepared by RVA, FTTH connections continue to grow in North America - 99% of which are in the US, but growth seems to be slowing, probably a consequence of the current economy. Much of the FTTH deployment in the US has been due to Verizon's $23 billion investment in FTTH, but the report noted that FTTH is now being deployed by more than 750 service providers across North America. Most of these service providers are small, independent telephone companies that are replacing their copper lines with end-to-end fiber to ensure their future competitiveness as broadband providers. Of the service providers not yet offering FTTH, a majority say they are likely to soon. You can download and read the entire report from the FTTH council website.

    New Report : FTTH connections continue to grow in North America
    You can download and read the entire report from the FTTH council website.

    Fiber-to-the-Home Council to Offer Professional Certification
    Program to Support Growing Need for FTTH Professionals
    The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council - a trade association of more than 200 companies and organizations dedicated to expanding the deployment of all-fiber, next-generation networks - has announced that it is developing the first-ever certification program aimed specifically at professionals who design, administer, and manage FTTH systems.
    This complements the FOA CFxT Certification aimed at installers of FTTx programs and should provide a service provider with complete assurance of personnel competence. More.

    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)

    David Chaffee's FTTH Prism Newsletter is Online
    (archives are at bottom of the linked page)
    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:  
    Part 2

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

    There is a new toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811

    See 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!
    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:
    ADC's Book On FTTx
    ADC has an excellend book on FTTx. Here is a link to request a copy:

    Job Openings

    If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs.

    Jobs Created As Part of Stimulus-Funded Projects
    The federal government is spending 7.2 billion dollars on the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.  This money is working it's way into the economy and hopefully will provide jobs.  You can track recovery dollars and look for job opportunities on this website:  Go to "opportinities" link then "jobs".  You will see a section “find recovery jobs” – enter “fiber optic jobs California” or wherever you are and review what comes up.

    Test Engineer (5/10)

    EM4 is seeking a Test Engineer to join our team to support production and to work on new and existing projects and programs.  The Test Engineer will both hardware and software test support for optoelectronic, fiber optic, RF and electronic assemblies.

    Job Description
    Design and develop test methods, processes, software and hardware for optoelectronic packages, modules and subassemblies, automating wherever possible Identify, design and develop interfaces, fixtures, tooling and equipment required for the testing of optoelectronic packages, modules and subassemblies Working with Purchasing, specify and procure necessary materials, circuit boards, fixtures, tools, equipment and outside services to create test solutions for the company’s products Assemble, integrate and commission test hardware, software, fixtures and equipment Conduct necessary qualification of test hardware and software using industry standard methods and protocols Document software and hardware designs, interfaces, processes and procedures Transfer designs, processes and procedures to manufacturing as required Create work instructions, train Production personnel as required in the use of test hardware, test software, processes and procedures Other duties as assigned
    Skills RequiredExcellent knowledge of optoelectronic and fiber optic testing methods, equipment and software Excellent test software, hardware, troubleshooting and analysis skills of optoelectronic and electro-optic assemblies Excellent working knowledge of C++, LabView, MathCad, MS Office, HPIB, IEEE Excellent working knowledge of HP, Agilent, ILX, Fluke and similar HPIB/IEEE controlled equipment Experience in SolidWorks a plus Ability to work independently and creatively, improvising as necessary Good knowledge of fiber optics and related areas Working knowledge of necessary optics and electronics Good knowledge of hybrid microelectronic manufacturing equipment
    Education and Experience>5 years relevant work experience At least BSEE or equivalent

    Citizenship: US Citizen or Green Card Holder

    Send resume and cover letter to <>

    Inside Sales Application Engineer (4/10)

    The Inside Sales Application Engineer will have some experience of technically supporting customers in the Defense, Telecommunication, Industrial and Medical markets.  The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 5+ years of relevant industry experience, extensive industry knowledge and an established contact base. We would consider less experience with the right candidate. The position is located at EM4’s headquarters in Bedford, MA.

    EM4, Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary EM4 Defense, designs, develops and manufactures state-of-the-art, optoelectronic components for the Defense, Broadband and Industrial markets. We offer both Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) optoelectronic modules, subsystems and unique Optoelectronic Design and Manufacturing Services (ODMS). We are ITAR registered and US-based.

    Key Responsibilities

    Seek new opportunities promoting new technical concepts, applications and/or new product and services. Conduct general inquiries with potential customers to keep abreast of new developments and technology in the Defense and Industrial markets. Support in-coming calls for technical and application questions by interacting with engineering group. Write and maintain application notes for all products. Work with the Quality and Engineering groups regarding testing, written reports and communication of results to customers for RMA (Returned Material Authorized) devices.  Work with Customer Support to provide quotes, follow-up of quotes and closing of  sales. Represent the sales group in weekly meetings regarding production schedules, forecasting, quality control and custom projects. Work with IT to keep data sheets and other information updated on the company web page.
     Key Qualifications

    Bachelor’s degree in engineering, business administration or related field plus a minimum of 5+ years related sales and/or engineering experience within the industry. Ability to communicate in an appropriate manner with contacts at all levels of individuals within the Company and Customers. Good organizational, time management and attention to detail skills. Motivated team player with a positive attitude who can work independently.

    Edward McCartin
    Sales Director
    EM4 Inc.
    7 Oak Park Drive
    Bedford, MA 01730
    781-275-7501 x 283

    Cable Techs - Cat 5 - 3/22
    Retail Echelon is a small business that manages the installation and service of retail traffic counting systems.  We are the providers for several companies and cover the US and Canada.  We are also currently moving to handle sites in South America, Europe, and Asia.
    The systems consist of various sensor types installed at the entrances of retail sites.  The sensors are connected via CAT5 to a data collector.  The data collector is connected to either the network or POS.
    We are continuously seeking technicians across the country to handle our jobs.  I was wanting to inquire about joining any job placement programs that you may have or partnering with your group to get work to graduates.
    Please note that these systems currently operate with CAT5.
    Allen D. Johnson
    Vice-President of Operations
    3583 Blue Ridge Blvd.
    Blue Ridge VA 24064
    Phone:  336.404.7562
    Fax:        866.766.5720

    Splicing Contractor - 3/22
    We are looking for a company that can splice a fiber optic cable onto a connector onsite.  The cable carries both video and audio signals.  Need a company in the Los Angeles area.
    Stan Jacobs

    Network Maintenance - Fiber Optics   - 3/22
    Looking for Certified Fiber Optic Technicians for a 24/7 maintenance contract that we have. There are 48 regions spread across the United States. Can you provide me with any leads or companies that would be interested?
    Ryan Faulkner
    Intellys Corporation | Global Infrastructure Services
    Email:   |   Phone: 972.929.9000 ext 102
    Toll Free: 877.468.3559 ext 102   |   Cell: 972.741.3215   |   Fax: 817.796.1208
    LAN | WAN | DATA | Mobility | VOIP | Security
    Deploying Secure, Uninterrupted Airspace - Not Simply AP's.

    Strategic Sales - Egypt, 3/22
    One of my clients, Alcatel-Lucent, is looking for a Strategic Sales Lead (Optical) for their MEA operations. The position will be based in Egypt with travel across the MEA region. Please send me your updated CV to if you're interested and if not please recommend your friends / colleagues that might be interested.

    Hemant Harisree
    Delivery Team Leader
    SNS FZ LLC, Dubai, UAE
    (In Partnership with Networkers MSB, UK)
    Office: +971 44 291 342
    Mobile: +971 50 174 0756 , +971 50 653 9299

    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:

     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's this big cylinder on display at the OFC show and what will it become?
    Fiber Optic Preform

    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


    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

    Tech Puzzler:
    It's a preform - the beginning of the fiber manufacturing process. It will be processed and pulled into tens of kilometers of optical fiber.
    See for more information on fiber manufacturing.

     See the FOA Reference Guide for more info.

    (C)1999-20010, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.