September, 2007

In This Issue
New User's Guide To Fiber Optics
What's New: OSP Show
AT&T Starting FTTH?
Looking For a Fiber Optic Installer? CFOT's should register online. Use the FOA Installer Database Free!
Looking For Jobs - several this month. See Below

NEW: Sign up for the new FOA eMail Newsletter

The Archives: Previous Issues:
08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07 , 2/07, 1/07
12/06, 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04, 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
12/03, 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02

End Users Need Advice Too
Most technical information on fiber optics seems to be aimed at installers, but at the FOA we get lots of phone calls from end users. Often they are confused and want advice: Should they use fiber or copper? What components should they choose (and why?) What does a fiber optic system design require? Can they install fiber themselves or should they hire a contractor? How do they find a contractor? What should the contract with the contractor include? What are the requirements for testing and documenting a network? And sometimes, we get a fiber optic network user who asks "My system is down? What can I do?"
Well the FOA has started addressing the needs of the end user. A new section of the FOA website will be devoted to the end user, trying to cover all these questions and more - as the users call us to ask.
Don't assume the information is just for users, not installers, contractors and consultants. It's information you need to be familiar with also, and we'd suggest you tell all your customers about it, as it will help explain fiber optics in terms they will understand and help you and them communicate about fiber optic projects.

The Fiber Optic Association User's Guide To Fiber Optic System Design and Installation

Visiting The OSP Show - What's New?
The "Outside Plant Show" was held in San Jose in August. It's oriented to OSP, and it covers a lot of copper products (pressurized cable plant hardware, anyone?) but there was plenty of new fiber products shown. Here's a quick rundown of some of the interesting hardware we saw.
Teraspan: thin, flat conduit to install cables in roadways, sidewalks, etc. by sawing a groove in the surface. Great for traffic signals or any kind of roadway install.
AFCID: acoustic fiber cable identifier, just taps on the fiber and listens. Can you hear me now?
National Fiber Optic Protection Summit: "backhoe fade" has its own trade show! March, 2008 in Vegas.
BeadMark: plastic, color coded beads to identify fibers in splice trays.

Another Incredibly Useful Gadget
At the NJATC National Training Institute this summer, we saw a really useful gadget displayed by a company called "Rack-A-Tiers." The company sells gadgets to make installing cable easier, whether it be communications (fiber and copper) or electrical. What caught our eye was their unique rack that holds spools of cable to pay it out neatly. This can be a big issue for fiber, as you want to feed the cable off the spool without twisting it. Using the Rack-A-Tier, you can do this easily with any size spool up to about 3 feet diameter.
They also make a "E-Z Roll Wire Rack" that allows you to easily roll around a big spool of cable (up to 18") and a number of other useful cable handling tools.
Rack-A-Tiers sent us a sample to use with the spools of old cable we have been given to distribute to FOA schools, so we can now spool off shorter lengths from big spools easily. Thanks Rack-A-Tiers!

Progress Being Made On Silicon Optoelectronic Chips
Cheaper optoelectronic chips are becoming more likely as Intel and USC make progress on developing optical devices made on cheap silicon chips. Once these devices become commercially available, they will simplify optical connections, not just networks but on and between integrated circuits that are the building blocks of all electronic devices. Read more.
The First Silicon-Optoelectronic Product Hits The Market
Luxtera of Carlsbad, CA has introduced a 40 Gb/s link using conventional CMOS technology.
Read more.
(These links take you to MIT's Technology Review online. You may need to register to read some TR articles, but it's worth it. In fact, we recommend you sign up for thier daily email newsletter.)

Help Define Your Jobs

You can provide assistance with an important program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) known as the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). The USDOL is gathering occupational information in an effort to better define worker and work characteristics such as knowledge, skills, abilities, activities, and work context for nearly 900 occupational categories in the U.S. economy. As the data is collected and published, it will be used by millions of employers, workers, educators, and students ( Much of the information already is in use by agencies and organizations across the nation (

The O*NET program is seeking experts in the Photonic Technician occupation. The last complete update of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles was conducted by USDOL in the late 1970s. Basic criteria includes that data be provided by individuals who have performed the occupation for at least one year, have five or more years of experience in the noted occupation, and have performed in that same arena during the past six months. This can be practicing, consulting, teaching, instructing, supervising, etc. A short description of the occupation currently being updated is listed below. Please use the description, not the title, to decide if you may be a good match:

Photonics Technicians: Build, install, test, and maintain optical and fiber optic equipment such as lasers, lenses and mirrors using spectrometers, interferometers, or related equipment.

The Fiber Optic Association, FOA, is asking for volunteers from our membership to assist in the collection of information about this occupation. Please be assured that your decision regarding participation in O*NET will not impact your standing as a member of the Fiber Optic Association, FOA.

RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research firm, is assisting USDOL with the O*NET data collection effort. Please send an e-mail indicating your interest to participate, including your experience, title, last name, first name, address 1, address 2, City, State, ZIP code, Phone number, FAX number, Cell Phone number, E-mail address, Employer or "Self-employed," and Photonic Technician area specialty to Ron Wandscher, RTI Business Liaison, at You can also call 877-233-7348.

By participating, you will contribute to a key resource providing our nation with continuously updated occupational information. Thank you for your time and effort.


FOA & President Jim Hayes Recognized For Contributions To FTTx
FOA President Jim Hayes and the FOA have been recognized for their efforts to promote FTTx, particularly in the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) market by Broadband Properties magazine. The importance of our work promoting FTTx education and recruitment through our certifications, online programs and FTTx Summits was recognized by BBP. Read the article.

Installing Fiber Optics? Have You Seen These?
We get lots of calls here at the FOA looking for advice. Many are from people unfamiliar with fiber optics who are planning an installation, having an installation done or testing and troubleshooting problems. To answer these questions, we have created a standard on installation, NECA/FOA-301 and three Tech Bulletins for users and installers. These, plus all the information in our "Tech Topics" section, will answer many of your questions. It's where most of our callers are sent for detailed explanations they can print and distribute to interested parties.

AT&T Rolling out U-verse. Starting FTTH?
Conversations with AT&T personnel handing out U-verse literature at the OSP show said that they were offering their U-verse digital TV systems in more areas and indicated they were installing FTTH in greenfield applications in Northern California. We're requesting more information. Now their focus is no longer mainly on acquisitions, they can go back to focusing on the telecom business, we guess.
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.

 Digging Safely

The old story (not a joke!) about the most likely fiber optic communications system failure being caused by "backhoe fade" reminds us that digging safely is vitally important. The risk is not just interrupting communications, but the life-threatening risk of digging up high voltage or gas lines.

There is a website called "Common Ground Alliance" that focuses directly on this issue. Here is how they describe themselves:

Damage Prevention is a Shared Responsibility
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is a member-driven association dedicated to ensuring public safety, environmental protection, and the integrity of services by promoting effective damage prevention practices.    In recent years, the association has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to all underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders.

Of special interest is their "Best Practices" Manual, available for downloading. If you do OSP installs, please get yourself a copy and read it.

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.

Home Tech - Needed To Take Advantage of FTTH

Once a home has a broadband connection, which we hope is fiber to the home, but could be DSL or Cable Modem, the usage of all that bandwidth depends on distribution within the home. The in-home connections can be UTP or Coax copper, wireless or fiber. But architects and home builders must learn how to build homes to take advantage of broadband connections. The FOA, in conjunction with the Structured Cabling Association, have started working with home builders to bring them up to speed. You can see the first tutorial we have jointly developed at the SCA website.





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:

Now In Spanish: FOA Textbook & Text For FOA Advanced Certifications
The FOA's textbook, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, is used by our approved schools around the world to teach fiber optics. Book Details: Manual Del Technico De Fibra Optica, Published by Thomson Delmar Learning, ISBN 1-4180-6121-2
If you are getting started in fiber optics and Spanish is your native language, you can download an introduction to fiber optics in Spanish here.
Eric Pearson's book that is used for the CFOS/I reference book, Successful Fiber Optic Installation, is also now available in Spanish.
Contact the FOA for more information.

NEW-FOA Technical Bulletins/Tech Topics
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?
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.
Designing and manufacturing fiber optic communications products for manufacturers.
Choosing, installing and using fiber optic producst for users.
Troubleshooting fiber optic cable plants and communcations systems.
New Tech Topics
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10G Ethernet.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on General Topics and Testing
Fiber Or Copper? Making decisions, overview and LANs
How do you clean connections?


Bob Ballard of FOA-Approved School BDI Datalink has a neat website with some good technical content. Be sure to pay particular attention to these pages: and

Like Good Technical Videos? Try NECA/IBEW/JATC's Electric TV.

Job Openings

Job Title: Product Manager, Telecommunications AX-0428
Axsun Technologies currently has an opening in our Billerica, MA location for a Product Marketing Manager, for which we are seeking your help in filling. Below is a job description for the opening.

Interested candidates should contact Julie Cincotti via email at
The Product Manager is responsible for technical product management activities in the area of Telecommunications components and modules. This individual will provide a main point of contact between external customers (customers and sales reps) and internal customers (manufacturing, engineering and finance) for the products of interest.
* Manage customer requirements for products, and ensure those requirements are communicated clearly to engineering and manufacturing
* Manage input from customers, field and sales personnel to define customer requirement for new products or new releases of current products
* Refine and manage the product strategy with engineering, R&D, sales, finance, and customer audiences
* Develop, deliver, and manage communications supporting key messages and the positioning of Axsun's value proposition
* Provide business justification for new and derivative product developments utilizing the Axsun Product Lifecyle Process
* Initiate customer contacts through pre-sales efforts and lead communications, presentations, product demonstrations and technical discussions
* Represent the company at trade shows and industry forums
* Manage the customer relationship, including post sales support and support of customer's ongoing business with product changes and communicating reliability and performance data
* Responsible for achieving target profit margins for assigned product area

* BS degree in engineering or science/ other advanced degree a plus
* Minimum of 5 years professional experience with a high technology company in product management, technical support or other customer facing position
* Experience in telecom components and subsystems highly desired
* Demonstrated ability and thorough understanding of product management requirements in taking hardware products through release, including regulatory, documentation, supporting software and packaging
* Strong understanding of OEM business models as they apply to high technology products
* Demonstrated ability to work cross functionally, including the ability to quickly understand and explain complex optoelectronic technologies and products.
* Strong communication skills, excellent leadership and interpersonal skills

Engineering/Manufacturing fiber-optic components and sub-systems


Job Description:
Support an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers on different
project assignments focused on the design, modeling, test and transfer to
manufacturing of fiber-optic components and sub-systems. Primary
responsibilities include supporting laboratory product integration and low
volume manufacturing, development of hardware for fiber optic communication
systems, implementing design methods and techniques for components and
system testing of high-speed digital and optical modules and sub-systems and
development of mathematical models for performance analysis. Additional
responsibilities include support of proposal teams, working with customers
on product definition and completing tasks according to schedule, budget,
cost and design objectives.

Deborah Guastini
MRI of Research Triangle Park
Durham, NC 27713
919-572-2292 - office
919-572-6556 - fax

Senior Draw Tower Engineer , Phoenix, AZ

A worldwide, world-class leader in advanced medical technologies seeks a Senior Draw Tower Engineer to join their team. This opportunity is based in Phoenix, AZ with a manufacturer of laser surgical fiber optic assemblies, fused silica capillary columns and arrays, microfluidic devices and micro-optics as well as bulk specialty fiber optics (silica core, step index, multimode), and flexible fused silica capillary. 

Design, develop, troubleshoot and manage the activities of the draw tower manufacturing department. This position is responsible for practicing all quality procedures and complying with all company polices.

1. Directs the design, selection and installation of new equipment *
2. Establishes equipment specifications and manufacturing techniques to enhance productivity *
3. Directs tower activities to meet production, quality and cost goals *
4. Prioritizes production schedules based on delivery dates, equipment efficiencies and material supplies *
5. Develops and administers schedules, procedures and manpower requirements for the area *
6. Maintains production equipment to minimize downtime
7. Oversees operators to insure proper equipment operation, maintenance and repair
*Essential Functions

Education: B.S. in Engineering preferred

· Minimum 5 years industrial experience in optical fiber draw
· Functional knowledge of draw tower components
· Familiar with automation and verification techniques

· Strong troubleshooting methodology to determine root cause of problems
· Evaluate personnel to ensure efficient operation
· Communicate effectively with all levels of manufacturing and senior management

Kristi LaBrecque
dSquared Consulting, LLC
Office: 602.441.4260
Mobile: 602.510.2058
Fax: 602.288.7828


Information Technology Specialist
The Network Technician reports to the Director of Technical Services and is a member of both the Enterprise Services Team within the Information Technology department and the Telecommunications Team.
This highly skilled seasoned technician applies a broad and in-depth working knowledge of IT network infrastructure to a wide variety of assignments through the application of technical concepts, practices, and procedures. This position works in the field to support the campus data, voice, and video infrastructure systems. Under general direction, serves as the on-site technician to install, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain network equipment. Completes requests for new service, determines methodology for installing network equipment, determines appropriateness of moderate equipment changes or modifications, installs and terminates fiber optic cable, terminates copper cabling, test links, and installs other computer equipment as required. Use current industry standards and operating procedures to establish work methods incorporating innovative approaches to complete work assignments.
Green River Community College is located on a 168-acre wooded site near Auburn, Washington, about 30 miles from both Seattle and Tacoma. The college opened in 1965 and enrolls over 9,000 students, includes 11 instructional divisions and 50 vocational programs, and employs over 1000 full and part-time staff. Green River Community College recognizes that embracing diversity maximizes faculty and staff contribution to our goals and provides the best opportunity for student achievement.
An application packet can be requested by email ( or by phone at (253) 288-3320.

Human Resources
12401 SE 320th Street
Auburn, Washington 98092

Additional information about Green River Community College at:

ADC Looking For CO Techs
DC Power Installers and Equipment Installer Level III Candidates. We are looking for individuals who have proven success working in a Central Office environment. Candidates should have the ability to lead others and to travel extensively.
We are currently looking for a Central Office Equipment Installer, level III for Newark, N.J and surrounding areas.
Equipment Installers are responsible for the installation of equipment used in voice, video, fiber optics and data telecommunications networks. Level III Installers also, analyze, plan, layout and assign installation activity to other installation personnel. Act as subject matter expert on provisioning, activating and testing ADC and OEM electronic equipment.

We are currently looking for DC Power Equipment Installers, Level IV to cover installation projects in the Northeastern part of the country. DC Power Equipment Installers are responsible for the installation of equipment such as batteries, rectifiers, PBD's, BDFB's and associated infrastructure used in telecommunications networks. Analyze, plan, layout and assign installation activity to other installation personnel. Act as subject matter expert on provisioning, activating and testing 24 and 48 volt DC electronic equipment. Candidates should have experience programming DGU(s), LMS(s), Milleniums, Galaxy(s)s, etc.
Candidates are invited to post their resumes on our web site, Once there, Candidates can view open jobs and apply to them by clicking on the "careers" link. 
Kevin Geathers,
Sr. Staffing Specialist
ADC Telecommunications
1-800-833-8843 x 6317

Verizon Openings In Newport News, VA

Verizon: Fiber Network Field Technician (Outside Field Technician)
Openings in the following areas: CA, TX, WA, OR, VA, MA, NJ, RI
Take your career to new heights at a company that's a leader in global communications: Verizon. We offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance your career while contributing in an enthusiastic, team-oriented environment.
Primary duties include, but are not limited to:
Install, remove, rearrange, program, test, troubleshoot and maintain fiber network services.
Install and configure routers, set top boxes.  May assist with installation of PC software as needed and ensure proper configuration of the customer's PC.  Interact with the Fiber Solution Center as needed.  May install appropriate inside wire/cable.
Install, maintain and repair outside and inside fiber equipment/facilities including inside wiring and fiber jumpers at the distribution hub.
Interface with customer to negotiate the placement of equipment; may assist with account registration, e-mail, and web access, and training the customer on how to use the new equipment.  Ensure customer satisfaction.  Respond to inquiries and provide follow-up, as necessary.
Interpret schematic work order drawings to determine job specifications and installation needs.  Order and/or obtain required equipment.  Effect problem solving where appropriate.
Utilize various test equipment to analyze equipment trouble and take appropriate maintenance action.
Requires high level of customer contact to ensure customer satisfaction.
Climbing poles and ladders; lifting 75-100 pounds on a regular basis; pushing, reaching, bending and stooping; manual dexterity; good sense of balance; and good color vision.
Must have a current/valid California Drivers License and a clean driving record.
Qualified candidates must pass all company required tests, a pre-employment drug screen and a background check. In addition, candidates will be required to successfully pass a legally required DOJ Criminal Records Check/screening process (fingerprinting).
Candidates must be able to work any shift given, including days, weekends, holidays and overtime as required.
Verizon offers:
Hourly rate for this position is $12.87-28.55.  Wage credit may be granted for related work experience and/or college degree.
Benefits include medical, dental, life insurance, 401(k) with Company match and paid vacation
interested candidates should go to to apply AND schedule themselves for testing.
Thank you for showing an interest in Verizon!
Verizon is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer supporting workforce diversity. m/f/d/v. Principals only! 


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


Tech Puzzler
How many different ways are there to set a "0 dB" reference for insertion loss testing? For the answer, see below.
Answer below

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.

New Professional Society for Structured Cabling Recognizes Importance of Fiber Optics (and Wireless)
The new Structured Cabling Association, Inc. ( is a professional society aimed at installers of "structured cabling" or premises cabling. Structured cabling has been focused on so-called "Cat 5" or UTP cabling for years, while network speeds have left UTP behind. Now most backbones for LANs are fiber optics and every network seems to have wireless. The SCA, founded in part by FOA activists Tom Collins and Jim Hayes, intends to make structured cabling training and certification more relevant to today's world.

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 CFOT Renewals Get Free Copy of NECA/FOA Installation Standard
Every CFOT renewal will now receive a free copy of NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors Association). This is an important reference document for defining the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants in a "neat and workmanlike manner."
The FOA feels this is such an important document that we are giving a free copy (normally priced at $15) to every active CFOT when they renew their active status.
The FOA has also sent free copies to all FOA-Approved schools. The new FOA CFOT exam to be used after August, 2005, will include questions from the standard. Schools should be including information from the standard in their classes already.

FOA Certification Top Choice

The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 20,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 160 schools as the FOA enters its 12th year. 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 160+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems and AFL for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at


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!



To Contact The FOA:
The Fiber Optic Association
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421

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)1999-2007, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

Tech Puzzler:

There are three ways to set a "0 dB" reference for insertion loss testing in order to accomodate the different connectors on cables, patchcords and test equipment. For example, if all connectors are SCs, a single cable reference (OFSTP-14, Method B) works. If you are testing a plug and jack connector like a MT-RJ or FiberJack, you probably will have to use a 3 cable reference (OFSTP-14, Method C). Test sets with different connectors from the cable plant, say LCs in the cable plant, can use a 2 cable refrerence. (OFSTP-14, Method A). All three methods are generally acceptable as long as the method is documented, as the results differ. See this for more info.

See the Lennie Lightwave for a complete tutorial on OTDRs and more.