May, 2005

Previous Issues: 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


There Is More Than One Way To "Skin" A Network
According to the MIT Technology Review, the latest technology for network communications is using the electrical fields of the human skin. The technology was developed at MIT several years ago but is being commercialized by NTT (Nippon Telephone and Telegraph) in Japan. The transceiver uses an optical receiver coupled to a very sensitive photonic electric field sensor. Not only can this technique allow various devices like medical devices or headphones on a person's body to communicate, it can also allow communications to others or objects, such as subway turnstiles, point-of-sale systems, security devices, etc. that the wearer touches.
Science fiction - bah! The truth is stranger.....

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.
CFOTs Will Receive Free Copy of NECA/FOA-301 Installation Standard When Renewing
All FOA CFOTs will now be sent a free copy of the NECA/FOA-301 Installation Standard when they renew their CFOT. This standard, which normally sells for $15, will be provided to all active CFOTs when they renew their certification to keep them informed on the latest standards for fiber optic installation. This is another service provided for our CFOTs by the FOA.

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 for details.

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 ( )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 .

 The third edition of The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual will be published by Delmar around August, 2005. ISBN No. 1401896995. Following publication, the CFOT Test will use the new edition. At the same time, a laboratory manual with hands-on exercises will be available.  

Keep up with the latest news on FTTH at FTTHblog

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 or online at

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

Secondly, we've put our TTT seminar online, in both PPT and PDF format at

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 15,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 120 schools as the FOA completes its 10th 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 115+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at

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

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 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
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.