April, 2005

Previous Issues: 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


FOA Board Member Visits High School Vocational School
One of the goals of The Fiber Optic Association is to educate people about fiber optics. Tom Collins from the FOA board of directors recently visited the Campbell County Area Vocational Center located in Northern Kentucky to make a presentation to the students.
The presentation included the FOA PowerPoint ( www.thefoa.org/ppt/ )as well as discussing job opportunities in the fiber optic industry. The students were from the Electrical, Information Technology, and Construction programs and they saw the instant connection to their field
of study. Two instructors from Campbell County Vocational Center are currently attending a Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) program held at Gateway Community and Technical College. They will be attending the Train-The-Trainer program this summer held at
Gateway and will be qualified as Certified Fiber Optic Educator (CFOE).
For our industry to grow we need to encourage our brightest students to enter the fiber optic industry and the FOA visit was the first step in reaching our goals .

Fiber Optics Must Be "Hot" Again
Or maybe it's just hyping another stock. A 16 page brochure (right) was included in a recent Los Angeles Times newspaper touting the stock of a fiber optic company. The brochure was a paid promotion (inside the rear cover, they offered to do the same for other companies). The company has no revenues, and appears to have simply acquired some technology for FTTH/FTTN from Lucent. Yahoo Business says " After teetering on the verge of a sale, Amedia Networks (formerly TTR Technologies) is still searching for business. The company had an agreement with Macrovision to develop and sell copy protection products for CDs, DVDs, and other optical media, but then sold its assets to Macrovision. Prior to ceasing operations as a part of the purchase agreement, TTR Technologies developed technologies that prevented illegal reproduction of software, music, games, and other media for software and entertainment companies. In early 2004, the company entered into an agreement with Lucent to develop optical fiber routing equipment that delivers data over the Internet and changed its corporate name to Amedia Networks."
I guess if they're going to hype companies like this, brokers must be hot on fiber optics again, or maybe they just figure the public has a short memory...
Reminds me of a deal I was once approached about. Back in the late 1990s a "investment banker" from NYC kept driving his Porsche up to Boston to woo me to join him in a "can't lose" deal. He had acquired the assets of a bankrupt technology company and he wanted to merge into this worthless shell a number of viable but small fiber optic companies. All were too small to take advantage of going public themselves, but he figured the total entity could be positioned as a player in the fiber optic market and stage a public offering. These were the days that any comapny with fiber optics, web-based business or communications was going public and being overvalued by orders of magnitudes. We would merge our company into the shell and go public. But the deal was good for him and bad for anyone stupid enough to go along with him. All the business owners got for their investment was stock in the shell. After the IPO, he could sell out, but the others were locked in for years. In the finance game, this is known as a rollup and they have a history of screwing naive small business owners.
All in all, I didn't know whether he was stupid enough to think I'd buy into this scheme or if he thought I was stupid enough to go along with it. But it sure was fun stringing him along and seeing how far he'd go! He never figured that out...

New CFOT Exam Will Include NECA/FOA-301 Installation Standard
The new FOA CFOT exam will include questions from NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables. Schools should be including information from the standard in their classes already. A copy of the standard will be given to all CFOTs when they renew their CFOTs this year.

Does Glass Flow?
Is it really a liquid? I don't know how many times I've heard this popular myth, but it seems to come up every time I visit an old building with glass that has a wavy texture. When I heard this myth again recently, I did some more searching on the web and came up with some links that provide technical answers .
Much of the old window glass was made by glass blowers who blew large globes or cylinders that were flattened and cut for use as windows, hence the rounded panes with the dimples and the wavy surface. The next process developed flattened glass between rollers, still not giving good optical surfaces. The modern process, called the Pilkington Process for it's inventor, produces flat plate glass by "floating" molten glass on molten metal, then letting the glass cool enough to solidify and be removed as a sheet. Here's more information on glass.

FOA Agains Sponsors VDV Conference
The FOA is again sponsoring the NECA VDV Conference, but it's been renamed The IBS Conference, where IBS stands for Integrated Business Systems. IBS is not to be confused with ITS, or information transport systems, the new TLA (three letter acronym) BICSI is using. Obviously the cabling industry is having an identity crisis.
But the NECA show will include technical sessions and exhibits on fiber optics and low voltage cabling, and the FOA will be there. This year, it's in New Orleans, September 17-20. See NECAshow.org for details.

The Third Edition of Fiber Optic Technicians Manual To Be Published August, 2005
We've finished the third edition of the Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, and sent it off to the publisher. It's due out in August, 2005. Updates include new material on fiber choices (e.g. laser-optimized fibers), termination processes, testing, high speed networks, etc. to bring it up to date as of the end of 2004. THe next edition will also be accompanied by a Lab Manual for instructors to use in teaching hands-on exercises.

Keep up with the latest news on FTTH at FTTHblog http://www.ftthblog.com/

NECA/FOA Installation Standard Published
NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors Association), has been approved and published. This second revision of the document now is an ANSI-approved "American National Standard" of the NEIS (National Electrical Installation Standards" expands the original standard to cover much more detail, describing the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants.
Users now have a reference document for defining the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants in a "neat and workmanlike manner." Contract documents can be written simply to say:
"Fiber optic cables shall be installed in accordance with NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables"
Copies of NECA 301-2004 can be obtained from NECA by calling the NECA Order Desk at 1-301-215-4504, fax to 1-301-215-4500, email orderdesk@necanet.org or online at http://www.neca-neis.org/

New Tech Topics

Does Glass "Flow"? Is it really a liquid?

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on General Topics and Testing

Fiber Or Copper? Making decisions, overview and LANs

What Happens When You Mate Mismatched MM Fibers?


FOA Website Expands To Support Fiber Optic Educators

Instructors' Home Page And New Online Train-The-Trainer Program
The FOA has always focused on creating better educational opportunities in fiber optics - it's our charter: we're a non-profit educational organization. We've done two things recently to expand that commitment - both here on the FOA website.

We have over 120 schools and hundreds of instructors teaching at those organizations, and we'll notify them about these new web pages, but we invite any instructor interested in fiber optics to dig in and use these pages too.

First, we've created a home page for instructors where we'll cover topics just for them, like our TTT program and resources just for instructors. It's at http://www.thefoa.org/instructors/index.html

Secondly, we've put our TTT seminar online, in both PPT and PDF format at http://www.thefoa.org/instructors/index.html

Our online TTT program is the beginning of qualifying for the FOA CFOS/I Instructor Certification. Soon we'll have the program set up for instructors to register to begin qualifying for the certification.

Tech Puzzler
What splice is less expensive if you are making a large number of splices?
Answer below

FOA Certification Top Choice

The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Almost 14,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 120 schools as the FOA completes its 9th 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 114 organizations, welcoming new additions like Corning Cable Systems for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at http://www.thefoa.org/foa_aprv.htm.

New Tech Topics

New PowerPoint Presentation Introduces Fiber Optics
The FOA has created a short PowerPoint presentation that introduces you to fiber optics and talks about job opportunities in the field. It was intended for instructors to introdcue studnets to the field, but it's a good introduction for anyone. It's about 3 meg file so it takes a while to download and you need PowerPoint to view it. See http://www.thefoa.org/ppt/

How Optical Fiber Is Made

Singlemode Fiber Nomenclature

Plastic Optical Fibers (POF)

Wavelength-Division Multiplexing

Fiber Amplifiers

Proposed Fiber Optic Cable Jacket Color Codes

The Effect Of Termination and Splicing on Bandwidth

FOCIS - Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards

Calculating Link Loss Budgets

Specifications for Fiber Optic LANs and Links

EAI/TIA 568 B.3 For Fiber Optics

What Loss Should You Measure When Testing Fiber Optic Links?


Don't miss Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with some tests on connectors.

New sections of "Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics" covers loss testing of fiber optic cables and OTDRs.


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. If you forgot to renew, use the online application form or the FOA online store to renew NOW!

Want To Get FOA Email?
We have been asked if we could send the FOA newsletter by email or post it on the website. We are looking into that and will definitely get one started soon. When you renew your certification, you will be asked if you are interested in email newsletters and if so, you will be asked to give your email address for us to use in a mailing list. If you want to get started now, send an email to info@thefoa.org with the subject "eMail List"
Note that The FOA never releases its mailing lists for any use! Your data is always safe with us.

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

Officers and
Board of Directors
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
Eric Pearson, Director of Certification
Tom Collins, Gateway Comm. College
Van Ewert, AESA
Bill Graham
Karen Hayes
FOA Staff:
Jim Hayes, newsletter, website editor
Karen Hayes, Administration

The FOA is managed under contract by:
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421
email: info@vdvworks.com
FOA Board of Advisors
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
Tony Beam
Dave Chaney
F. Douglas Elliot, Past President
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
John Highhouse, Past President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Bob Mason
Eric Pearson
Paul Rosenberg, Past President
Dan Silver
Richard James Smith
Dominick Tamone
Tom Collins
Van Ewert
Elias Awad

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

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(C)1999-2004, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.


Tech Puzzler: Fusion splices. Although the splicing equipment is costly, each splice is cheap, while mechanical splices use low cost equipment but each splice is more expensive.