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January 2019


    
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FOA Newsletter - Features


In This Issue - (INDEX)

Click on "RETURN TO INDEX " after each section to return you to this INDEX so you can find things easier.

Features

FOA For 2019
FOA Certifications Hit 75,000
FOA Certifications Updated
FOA Certification Now Last For 3 Years
FOA Books, Curriculum Updated
More And Better Information On Fiber Optics
Another New Book On Tech
Annual Technology Update
Looking Forward To 2019 With Caution
Worth Reading - News Summary
FOA-IMSA Partnership
Flow Chart For Troubleshooting Connectors
More


FOA Certifications: 

CFOT Total

Sections 

FOA Facts - about the organization

New @ FOA  
Fiber U - free online self-study courses
Publications: FOA Textbooks, NECA/FOA 301 Installation, eBooks
More "Quickstart Guides" - OTDRs
 videos: New FOA YouTube Videos
Online Reference Guide: Many new pages
Certification. Updated:  FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools: New schools and programs
Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
FOA Fiber FAQs Page
Product News - New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world
Download This - Good applications material online

Like Crossword Puzzles? Try These.

DIG SAFE - Call 811 before you dig!


Jobs
JobsCurrent openings for Cable Techs, Fiber Splicers, etc. (More on the FOA Linked-In and other social media)
See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs Web Page has been updated and a new page added on Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field in this YouTube video.

Join The FOA eMail Newsletter List
Want to be notified when the FOA Newsletter is updated? Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter. You can also sign up from your cell phone: text "FOA" to 22828 (usual text msg charges apply)


CFOT Renewals
Renew your FOA certification online - plus get a discount on the new FOA books and an extra month free. Details here.


The Archives: Past Issues.
Use these links to read past issues or use FOA's  Custom Search to look for specific topics on our website.
1/19
1/18, 2/18, 3/18, 4/18, 5/18, 6/18, 7/18, 8/18, 9/18, 10/18, 12/18
1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17, 6/17, 7/17, 8/17, 9/17, 10/17, 11/17, 12/17 
1/16, 2/16, 3/16,  4/16, 5/166/167-8/16, 9/16, 10/16, 11/16, 12/16     
1/15, 2/15, 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15, 9/15 , 10/1511/15 , 12/15
1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, 6/14, 7/14, 8/14, 9/14, 10/14, 11/14, 12/14 
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/1312/13 
1/12 , 2/12, 3/12, 4/12, 6/12, 7/12, 8/12, 9/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12   
1/11 ,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10 ,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09 ,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
1/08 , 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08 
12/07 , 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 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
Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

fiberu.org

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.


 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks
The fiber book is available in Spanish and French

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction Guide

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are now also available as free iBooks on iTunes.
Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print


FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online
ANSI Logo
APOLAN Logo
IMSA
FTTH Council

The FOA Newsletter is edited by Jim Hayes - send your stories, leads, ideas, comments to <jim @ foa.org>
Jim Hayes


Search the FOA Website With DuckDuckGo




Time To Renew Your FOA Membership/Certifications?
To keep your FOA certifications and membership active, you need to renew every year (or two or three - longer times save you money.) Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - an online store at Paypal - where you can quickly and conveniently use your PayPal account or your credit card to renew your certifications.

You now renew with PayPal (or a credit card)
 
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Best Wishes For A Happy And Prosperous 2019!


Welcome to 2019

There's a tradition we all like where at the beginning of a new calendar year we look back at what was important in the prior year and what we think we can expect in the new year. Of course, we all realize that looking ahead is risky, especially these days, so we generally spend a lot more time analyzing the past than guessing about the future.

We'll start by giving you an update on the FOA.

FOA logo (R)

FOA For 2019


FOA Certifications Hit 75,000

FOA reaches 75000 certifications

In the very last week of 2018, FOA certified technicians crossed the 75,000 mark. The hundreds of schools around the world offering FOA certifications have continued to educate what we think are the best fiber techs anywhere. Of course, many FOA certified techs have more than one certification, so the total number of certifications is much, much larger.

Updated Certifications

  We continue to expand our certification offerings, adding "Fiber For Wireless" last year, and fine-tuning our current offerings to keep up with the changes in fiber optic technology and applications. In the last year we've updated our CFOT, CPCT and CFOS/O certification programs and their FOA references online and in textbooks.

The CFOT fiber certification update includes adding more information about new technology and products like SOCs (splice-on connectors), microcables, as well as expanding the information on OSP and premises applications. The CPCT premises cable program has been updated to cover the new technology in areas like passive OLANs and data centers.

The biggest change in FOA programs was to the CFOS/O Outside Plant (OSP) Specialist program. We were asked to cover more about OSP construction so we integrated the material from the FOA OSP Construction Guide written by FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha into the course. To make room for the new material, we changed the prerequisites of the course to require a CFOT, instead of covering basic fiber tech in the OSP course.

FOA Certifications Now Last For 3-Years

Beginning in 2019, all FOA certifications issued or renewed will be for a period of 3 years. Most certification bodies worldwide have standardized on 3 year certifications. FOA has been working with a number of organizations that use our programs but have standardized on 3 year certifications. FOA has decided that it is time to change our policies to align with the majority of other organizations.

Remember that FOA certification renewals include all the certifications one individual has for one price. FOA does not charge for any additional certifications, so, for example, if a CFOT also has specialist certifications like the CFOS/T or CFOS/S, they are included at no additional cost when the basic certification is renewed.


Want To Be A Guinea Pig And Save?
As part of our program to adhere to international standards for certifying bodies and to ensure FOA certified techs are up to date on the latest technologies and applications, FOA is also considering adding a short online course based on our annual "Fiber Update" as a future requirement for renewal. This course would cover new technology and applications that FOA thinks all technicians should be familiar with. Over the next year we will be testing this concept by offering it to selected individuals. You may be one of those selected! Watch your email for your renewal notice.


More & Better Information On Fiber Optics

FOA continues to be the place to find technically-correct, non-commercial information on fiber and cabling technology. People around the world rely on FOA for technical assistance. First they go to the FOA Online Guide. Last year more than one million unique visitors downloaded more than 4 million pages from the FOA website.

FOA Guide

You've probably noticed how popular the FOA Guide is - whenever you search for a fiber optic topic FOA seems to always be at the top of the results. That's good for you but can be frustrating for us sometimes - when we're searching for information - we don't want to just get our own website!

FOA Guide And Fiber U Expanded For More OSP
Here at FOA we get many phone calls about OSP construction. How deep should fiber optic cable be buried? What kind of aerial cable works for my application? How do I transition from OSP to premises? And many more. So we've expanded our OSP coverage to include much more on the construction processes. Our best coverage of construction came from our Master Instructor Joe Botha in South Africa who teaches construction. We previously published his course notes as a book on OSP construction and have now added it to our FOA Guide online.

We have updated the free online self-study OSP course on Fiber U to include OSP construction and created a separate OSP Construction course on Fiber U with it's own certificate of completion.


Updated Books
FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics  FOA Reference Guide To OSP Fiber Optics

Many textbooks are behind the technology because they are rarely updated. FOA really keeps our textbooks up to date. We did a major update a year ago and another was just completed. The The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics has been updated to reflect new components like OM5 fiber, testing for fiber characterization and more information on installation.

The
FOA Reference Guide To Outside Plant FIber Optics has been expanded to include an extensive section on outside plant construction taken from Joe Botha's OSP Construction Guide textbook. This additional material is being added to support the new FOA CFOS/O OSP tech certification program which now includes of OSP construction.


Another New Book On Tech (Warning: Shameless Self-promotion)

Delusional Management book

As the author/editor of the FOA series of books, website and this newsletter, I'm kept very busy. But late last year I managed to finish my first book on high tech business called Delusional Management. It's part learning management by analyzing what others do wrong, part some history of the tech industry, including fiber optics and part memoir of 50 years in high tech. And some humor. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Jim Hayes


Annual Technology Update

We have covered a lot of new tech in the FOA newsletter this year which we will summarize here, but we have reprinted the new tech articles in a single page which we call The 2018 Fiber Optic Year Update. You can go there to read the complete articles we'll summarize here. These are the topics we've talked to people about the most over the last year.

Singlemode fiber for any application: OSP has been SM for almost 35 years now, but multimode has remained popular for premises applications for it's lower cost links with inexpensive sources. At first it was cheap LEDs, but they maxed out at a few hundred megabits/s. VCSELs took over for the gigabit+ links but are limited to about 25 Gb/s. As links get faster, the choice is parallel optics over multiple fibers or WDM over two fibers. While WDM over 2 multimode fibers has been offered, it seems to be gaining little traction. WDM over singlemode seems to be the most popular option. A Leviton survey of fiber use showed OS2 singlemode fiber more popular than OM4 or OM3 multimode fiber and OM5 for multimode WDM getting little support. And don't forget that passive OLANs based on FTTH GPON technology can create LANs cheaper to build and operate than traditional LANs. Passive OLANs at 10G are now possible.

Think Micro: microcables, microducts and microtrenching. We don't have numbers but we certainly can say that these come up in discussions we have all the time, especially in metropolitan areas. We've even seen microtrenching used in rural areas where it's faster than traditional underground construction.

SOCs: splice-on connectors. We've been pleasantly surprised at fast students learn how to terminate using SOCs and small low-cost fusion splicers. What surprised us even more was the response to our survey of connector termination methods showing SOCs have already passed prepolished/splice (mechanical splice) connectors in usage. A lot more users are splicing pigtails on singlemode however, showing how proven techniques are the most widely used.

People still think you strip the cladding when you strip fiber. We still hear this falsehood a lot, even from some techs and instructors who should know better. We wrote an extensive article showing how companies perpetuate this myth by using drawings on their websites that make it look like the core and cladding are separate. Repeat after us: in a glass fiber the core and cladding are one solid piece of glass and you can't strip the cladding - you strip the primary buffer coating.

Fiber For Wireless. The big
communications providers seem to have totally turned their attention to small cells and the next generation of wireless. The laws of tech news seems to require every article on communications talk about 5G, especially this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. This is a quote from the CES website: "With 5G, carriers and mobile operators are transforming industries, enabling everything from smarter homes and businesses to self-driving cars." That's a good trick since 5G is in the early stages of definition and any so-called 5G devices are experimental and field trials are just beginning. Be that as it may, service providers need to install a lot of fiber to support small cells today and 5G when it becomes real.

FTTH: For the last few years, FOA has been talking about do-it-yourself (DIY) FTTH. We have talked to so many groups, companies, cities, etc. deciding it's time to do it themselves that we've lost count. One day last week, we spent 3 hours on the phone with two groups looking to get started right now. While the big guys are focused on 5G, maybe they will leave these groups alone and let them build the networks they need.

And A Few New Topics That Puzzled Us Last year...

Dangling Fiber: A lot of cable being installed for wireless and broadband is still aerial. recently we've gotten questions from city managers on something which has been bothering us too - why are aerial installations so messy? When FPA worked with NECA tp create the ANSI/NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard, it was to define installation in a "neat and workmanlike manner." Surely we can do better than these:

aerial storage  Aerial

Urban Cell Towers
This cell tower is in a commercial area of Santa Monica, CA next to a major freeway. Similar towers are placed in areas around Los Angeles. Why is this tower puzzling us?

urban cell tower

Late last year we attended a citizens meeting on small cells. We expected to find a crowd interested in when they could get better cell service in their neighborhood, because cell service in a high tech town like Santa Monica is terrible - or worse. But the crowd that attended the meeting was almost entirely focused on the health issues of small cells. The self-described expert the city brought along to explain the program and small cell technology was pretty terrible too. When you have a group focused on health issues, saying "the government/FCC says it's safe" is not reassuring or accepted.

In talking with some of the attendees. we tried to explain small cell technology in comparison to WiFi which they understood. Most already had dozens of WiFi access points in their neighborhood ore even building and they were mostly comfortable with that.

But at the meeting we questioned why the city had cell towers like these. It seems likely they are limited in height by building zoning. The problem with this approach we pointed out was that 1) the low height limits the coverage of the site and 2) it actually exposes citizens to more potentially harmful radiation. Those antennas are 50-100 times more powerful than a small cell and having them so close to the ground increases the exposure to people on the ground nearby.

We have not gotten a reasonable answer to why they are like this. Raising them would improve coverage and reduce exposure. We refuse to accept the aesthetics argument - all the ones we've seen in the LA area are in commercial areas where aesthetics is not a reasonable concern. Any city people out there want to comment on this?

Looking Forward To 2019 With Caution

We've have always said we don't do forecasts because we know they are always wrong, but we are willing to share our opinion. The watchword for 2019, in our opinion is CAUTION. We're headed into a year dominated by news of trade wars, government shutdowns, Brexit, Internet/social media companies acquiring and selling your personal data, hacking not just for greed but for political manipulation, companies whose marketing strategy is disruption without legal or ethical intent. We're ten years out from the last big recession and many economists and some financial indicators are indicating that another is coming.



There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth






New:

The FOA 2018 Update Page covers all the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter in 2018. Now you can review all that new tech at once.

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQ s = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us (which first ran in this newsletter) and adds tech topics of general interest.

This months "Good Questions" has some unique questions including one about how fiber optic cable can catch fire from the signals it carries!




Worth Reading - News Summary

ConEd in NYC uses fiber to enhance reliability after Hurricane Sandy disaster. Watch.

Fibre Channel (the storage area network - SAN) has new standard for 64G on both MMF and SMF. Read.

21 Terrifying Cybercrime statistics. Read.

Early 5G Network Gear Won't 'Talk' to Device Chipsets. Read

CTIA WIreless Industry Statistics. Read.

Converging Cellular And WiFi Using Small Cells. Read. (See FOA News 11/18 for more tech on this subject.)

Broadband blimp makes first test flight. Read FOA instructor Terry O'Malley helped test the fiber tether

Thorlabs flies fiber experiment in space. Read. Earlier FOA Article on these experiments.

Kentucky Wired could go live in 2019. Read. Search the FOA Newsletter for more articles on KY Wired and FOA involvement.




FOA - IMSA Partnership Adds New Training Opportunities

IMSA, the professional society of municipal traffic engineers, has partnered with FOA to offer the CFOT program to its members. IMSA is in the middle of the technology changes that are affecting cities - intelligent traffic signals, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, etc. which all depend on a robust fiber optic infrastructure. With this partnership, we have current FOA instructors teaching IMSA-FOA CFOT classes and IMSA instructors being trained to become FOA Certified Instructors. The IMSA Western Section has been active at developing instructors using some members very experienced in fiber optics like Mike Fong who works for the city of Santa Rosa, California (FOA News 8-2018) and Jose Gonzalez, an IMSA Director who works for the city of San Ramon, California, shown teaching a CFOT course in Santa Fe Springs, California in December.

IMSA CFOT class




Brian Teague of Microcare/Sticklers created this flow chart for inspecting, troubleshooting and cleaning fiber optic connectors:

cleaning decisions





Resource For Small, Private FTTH Systems

Phil Trubey worked with his homeowners association to research and develop a FTTH network. In doing this, he researched FTTH thoroughly (including FOA). He's created a website to share what he learned. FTTH.Build is an informational site for HOAs and small communities on how to build your own Fiber To The Home gigabit Internet network.

This web site is to help Home Owners Associations and other small communities who are looking to build their own fiber optic network to provision gigabit Internet for their residents. It assumes that you are on your own, and no telecom carrier is interested is building out a fiber network for your area. Methods described here are applicable to communities ranging in size from a couple of hundred residents to 20,000 or more residents.

Visit http://ftth.build



TIA Fiber Optic Tech Consortium Has New Website

TIA FOTC

The TIA FOTC, a group of TIA companies that promote fiber use, has a new website with lots of information on the organization, it's webinars and white papers. It also has a section on member news that includes new products and applications.
https://www.tiafotc.org


New Section Of The FOA Guide - The FOA Guide to OSP Construction

For most certifications, the FOA has focused on what happens after the cable has been pulled or placed - cable preparation, splicing, termination and testing. In our CFOT, CFOS/O OSP and CPCT premises training programs, we discuss installing cables prior to those processes in general terms. But there is a lot of construction, especially in outside plant (OSP) networks, that precedes the splicing, termination and testing of the cable plant.

Several years ago, FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha of Triple Play Fibre Optics in South Africa began teaching a course on OSP construction and kindly allowed the FOA to publish the textbook for his course as the FOA Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction Guide. This book has been quite popular, since it covers fiber optic cable plant construction from site survey to complete cable installation for underground, buried and aerial cable plants.

FOA has just completed an update of Joe's material and created a new section of the FOA Guide on OSP Construction. We've expanded some sections to include more on cable pulling, blowing and aerial construction with lashed and ADSS cables. The FOA has extensive material available in our textbooks and online FOA Guide on what is involved in the fiber installation process (cable installation, preparation, splicing, termination and testing), so consider this the textbook for the construction processes that occur before the typical FOA CFOT-certified techs begin their work.

lashing cable

Included in this new Guide is comprehensive information on new techniques like air-blown cables using microcables and microducts. It also covers aerial cable installation more thoroughly than is typically found in websites or literature.

installing cable
Microcable training at Triple-Play Fibre with a midspan figure 8.

The audience for this new section of the FOA Guide includes the management of organizations owning or installing fiber optic cable plants, designers or estimators of the cable plant, as well as the actual CFOT certified techs doing the installation work. It is intended to provide background information on the entire project and in conjunction with the other FOA information on basic fiber, OSP fiber, design and testing, provide complete information on all stages of a fiber optic communications project.

The FOA Guide to OSP Construction


Also new - FOA Guide section on inspecting and cleaning connectors.



New Free Fiber U Course On OSP Construction 

Now that we have the FOA Guide on OSP Construction, we can do a free Fiber U online course on the subject. The new Fiber U Course On OSP Construction includes a review of fiber optic technology for those just getting started or looking for an update, a lesson on project preparation, then covers underground construction, underground cable installation, aerial cable construction and installation, then leads you to the next steps in OSP construction, splicing, termination and testing.

This Fiber U course is aimed at managers of fiber optic projects, either with the network owner or the contractor building it, want to know how this construction is done and how it needs to be designed, estimated and construction. It is also appropriate for installers and contractors who are involved in the construction process also.

Take the free
Fiber U Course On OSP Construction here.


As we researched products and installation practices for the new OSP Construction sections, we came across some interesting products and services. See
OSP Construction below.



STOLEN OTDR


Stolen OTDR

This
Yokogawa AQ7275 OTDR S/N C3RL18030F  was stolen from the FOA in Santa Monica around July 26-27. Since the thief probably doesn't know what it is, it may show up on eBay or Craigslist or other online markets. If you have any information on this OTDR, contact the FOA at info@foa.org.



New FiberNext Job Board And Savings Club For CFOTs

FiberNext
FOA Approved School FiberNext has created an online job board for fiber techs and a special "savings club" for CFOTs.

Job Board
The Job Board was designed to help connect employers with fiber technicians and other fiber optic professionals. It is a place where employers in the fiber optic market can post job openings and a place where fiber optic professionals can post that they are looking for employment. Please feel free to post an opening or browse for your next job or employee. https://fibernext.com/job_board.php

Savings Club
FiberNext, besides being an FOA approved school is also a distributor. FiberNext invites FOA CFOT®s to join the “FiberNext CFOT®  Club to get special savings on selected fiber optic products.  Visit https://fibernext.com/cfot_club.php to sign up today ”


Recycling Fiber Optic Cable

We received this note from Steve Maginnis, LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling on recycling fiber optic cable:

We have 3 Processors gearing up to accept fiber optic cable (FOC). As we all know, all FOC is not the same. Several truckloads of “typical” FOC scrap from FOC mfgrs and “typical” FOC and Coax cable have been studied and tested.

Therefore, today you can begin contacting me with the type FOC material or scrap you toss to the landfills today. We need to quantify the expected feedstock. Our expectation for quantities is quite large (tons) but there is a capacity limit. And I do have several processors that can take ALL materials and others that can accept LIMITED types of FOC material and quantity.

Contact:
Steve Maginnis
LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling
(Visit our new website)
sm@LD4Recycle.com
803.371.5436



Safety On The Job

Safety is the most important part of any job. Installers need to understand the safety issues to be safe. An excellent guide to analyzing job hazards is from OSHA, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Here is a link to their guide for job hazard analysis.

Investigators Eye Fiber Optic Work in Deadly Wisconsin Gas Explosion

Firefighter killed, nine injured, and three buildings destroyed in downtown Sun Prairie, Wis.

A hole punched into a 4-in.-dia gas pipeline during fiber-optic line laying is blamed for an explosion that killed a 34-year-old fire captain and injured nine other people, including four firefighters, in downtown Sun Prairie, Wis., on July 10. The injured were treated at nearby hospitals and have since been released. The blast destroyed three buildings, including the Barr House, a tavern at 100 Main St. that was owned by the deceased fire captain, Cory Barr.

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison said at a news conference that after the leak was initially reported at 6:20 PM CDT, first responders established a 300-ft-dia "hot zone" in the area and evacuated about 65 people before the explosion occurred. "The rapid response of firefighters, EMS and police saved a lot of lives," Garrison said. "This could have been a lot more tragic than it was."

The owner of the fiber-optics network is Verizon Wireless, which confirmed in a statement that it had contracted with Bear Communications "to provide a fiber backhaul for our networks." It added that no Verizon employees were present at the job site. "Verizon does contract with local providers in various markets to provide fiber backhaul for our networks," the Verizon statement said. "While we have not been contacted about the investigation, both we and Bear are prepared to work with law enforcement, public safety and public officials as they investigate this tragic situation."

Read the story in ENR. And the final report by the NTSB details the mistakes made by the contractor.

FOA also has lots of information on safety: FOA Guide, YouTube video and a Safety Poster


Best Practices Guide For Underground Construction

Best Practices - CGA

We assume you are familiar with the "One Call" and "Call Before You Dig" (811) program, but are you also familiar with the people behind it - the Common Ground Alliance and their Best Practices website?

CGA is a member-driven association of 1,700 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders.

Officially formed in 2000, the CGA represents a continuation of the damage prevention efforts embodied by the Common Ground Study. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and completed in 1999, this Study represents the collaborative work of 160 industry professionals who identified best practices relating to damage prevention.
Any best practice or program endorsed by the CGA comes with consensus support from experts representing the following stakeholder groups: Excavators, Locators, Road Builders, Electric, Telecommunications, Oil, Gas Distribution, Gas Transmission, Railroad, One Call, Public Works, Equipment Manufacturing, State Regulators, Insurance, Emergency Services and Engineering/Design.

Read the CGA Best Practices Guide here.

Here are all the CGA resources for damage prevention.

Should Your Company Become An FOA Corporate Member?



A Short (Pictorial) History Of Modern Telecommunications

FOA has been asked a lot of questions about how modern telecommunications developed. We've been adding information about the history to some of our seminars and recently to our curriculum presentations. The FOA history follows the development of modern communications through Bell, Marconi, De Forest, Shannon, Kao and the personnel at Corning and Bell Labs who have made modern communications possible.

Morse  Morse and his telegraph

We think you will find A Short History of Modern Telecommunications interesting. Next we'll add articles on LANs and structured cabling and the development of fiber optics.

Trivia for photographers: this photo of Morse was taken not long after photography began in America - the early 1840s. The original is now on display in the Getty Center in LA as part of an exhibition of early American photographs.





FOA Facts

FOA is a non-profit professional society whose members are all certified techs - mostly CFOT®s -Certified Fiber Optic Technicians - but also may be CPCTs - Certified Premises Cabling Technicians or corporate members involved in fiber optics.

FOA is a "virtual organization" - we have no "brick and mortar" presence. We operate over the Internet with operations centered in California, with active workers and volunteers in locations as diverse as Texas, Ohio, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Denmark, South Africa, the Middle East and many more.

Being a virtual organization, FOA has very low overhead, allowing us to offer cost-effective certifications and many free programs to support our industry.

CFOT Total
As of today, FOA has certified this many techs. About 90% come from our schools but many experienced techs have become FOA CFOT-certified directly through our "Work-to-Cert" program.

FOA has almost 200 approved training organizations in about 40 countries around the world around the world.

FOA CFOT Logo

FOA has 14 fiber optic certification programs covering every aspect of fiber optic network design, installation and operation.

Primary Certifications: CFOT (basic fiber), CPCT (premises cabling), CFOS/O (outside plant, taught with CFOT included) and CFOS/D (fiber optic network design).

Skills Certifications (for installers and techs, requires CFOT): CFOS/S (splicing), CFOS/C (connectors/termination), CFOS/T (testing), CFOS/FC (fiber characterization).

Applications Certifications (for techs or anyone, including managers and supervisors): FTTH (fiber to the home), CFOS/L (optical LANs), CFOS/DC (data centers), CFOS/A (fiber to the antenna), CFOS/DAS (distributed antenna systems) and CFOS/W (fiber for wireless)



(what you are reading)

FOA monitors the trade press, websites and other resources continually to look at what's happening in many technologies that affect fiber optics. We're tracing technologies as diverse as wireless, IoT, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, energy, or anywhere fiber is used to bring news to our readers.

FOA continually updates our technical materials, online and printed, and our curriculum to ensure our readers have access to the latest technical information and our schools teach the latest technology and applications. Our printed books are being updated right now.

FOA Guide
FOA created the FOA Online Guide as a non-commercial trustworthy technical reference almost a decade ago so the industry would have a reliable technical reference. In the last year, over 1million visitors downloaded about 4 million pages of technical information.

fiberu.org

FOA offers free online self-study programs at Fiber U. In 2017, the number of online sessions doubled to 200,000. Many of those are preparing for FOA certification programs - taking courses at our schools or using the "Work-to-Cert" program. Some of our schools are requiring Fiber U programs as prerequisites for their classroom courses so they can spend more time on hands-on activities.

videos

FOA offers over 100 educational YouTube videos that have been viewed 2.4 million times.

FOA offers its training programs to other organizations at no cost to help them train their members properly in fiber optics. For example, FOA has been working with the Electrical Training Alliance (IBEW/NECA) for over 20 years, training their instructors for their apprenticeship programs. We work with many other organizations and companies to provide the materials they need.

FOA has about 300 corporate members - companies in various aspects of the fiber optic industry worldwide that we list online and offer discounts on certifications and renewals.

FOA provides speakers for many conferences and even presentations for use by other organizations to educate people on the aspects of fiber optic communications.

FOA has a program to provide
classroom materials for STEM teachers (science, technology, engineering and math) introducing K-12 students to fiber optics and creating science projects.

FOA provides forums for discussion on various social media. Our LinkedIn groups have about 5,000 members each. If you are not joining us on social media yet, please do.

Find us on Facebook  FOA on LinkedIn  videos 
Pinterest  Twitter

New From FOA


Interested In A Career In Fiber Optics?

Careers in fiber optics


FOA has created a new YouTube video to introduce students to careers in fiber optics. It was made for showing to high school and junior high students interested in tech careers but anyone interested in a possible career in this field will find it interesting. If you have kids in school or know teachers, let them know about this too. Watch the FOA Careers In Fiber Optics Video on YouTube and visit the
FOA Careers In Fiber Optics web page at www.foa.org/careers/.




Dig Once

The word on the "Dig Once" program is getting out - FOA is getting calls from cities asking us for information and advice. It helps that the current Administration is trying to convince cities of the advantages of installing ducts or conduits when they dig up a street so they don't have to do it again. Here are some links for more information.

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/otps/exeorder.cfm
From the Council of State governments: http://www.csg.org/pubs/capitolideas/enews/cs41_1.aspx
From the city of San Francisco: http://sfgov.org/dt/dig-once
An article about Dakota County, MN: https://muninetworks.org/tags/tags/dig-once

And the one to download and hand out:
A “How To” Guide from The Global Connect Initiative: https://share.america.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/6.-GCI-Dig-Once.pdf

Useful Online Resources

We often have contacts give us online links for useful information which we like to share with our readers. Here are two:




Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards


Fiber in Finger

Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultants
1-844-440-0047
www.fiberoptictraining.com



Another Source Of Articles On Fiber

FOA President and editor of this newsletter Jim Hayes has also been writing a column in Electrical Contractor Magazine for more than 15 years now. Electrical contractors do lots of fiber work and this column has covered some toics they are interested in including installation processes, network design, fiber applications and in the last year, a lengthy series on dark fiber - what it is, how's its used and how it benefits the growth of communication. A recent web site redesign makes it easier to browse all these articles - just go to http://www.ecmag.com/contributing-authors/jim-hayes and you can see all of them.




Fiber Optic Education For Students At Any Age 

We hear about fiber optics all the time - it's in the news whenever we hear articles about high tech, the Internet and communications, and many communities are getting "fiber to the home." But few people really understand fiber optics or how it works. FOA is focused on educating the workforce that installs and operates these fiber optic networks but we're always getting inquiries from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers who want to introduce fiber optics to younger students in K-12 grades or technical schools.

We start with the FOA Careers In Fiber Optics Video on YouTube and visit the FOA Careers In Fiber Optics web page at www.foa.org/careers/. These are for students who think they might be interested in careers in fiber optics and want to know more about what fiber techs do.

Teachers for fiber optics
Using red laser light (a VFL here but a laser pointer works also) to show how fiber guides light.

FOA has begun developing a series of YouTube videos intended for teaching students in elementary, middle and high schools about fiber optics. The first FOA video is titled "Fiber Optics For Teachers." With this video, we show teachers how fiber works and carries signals and then explains simple experiments to demonstrate how fiber optics works in the classroom using some plastic fiber and a laser pointer. Since many teachers do not know where to get the fiber, the FOA offers to send them a sample for use in demonstrations in their classroom (USA only right now.)

At the end of the video, teachers are given directions on how to request samples of the plastic fiber from the FOA.

This video joins the "Fiber Optics Live" series How Light Travels In A FiberFiber Attenuation and Connector Loss that show how fiber works using simple experiments that can be duplicated in any classroom. More videos will be coming soon.

If you have kids or know some teachers who would be interested, please send them to the introductory video Fiber Optics For Teachers  and we'll be glad to help them get started with some entertaining programs for their classrooms.


Resources For Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools

Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.

 

If you have kids in school or know teachers who are interested, send them to the FOA page Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.






Should Your Company Become An FOA Corporate Member?

As all FOA individual members know, they join the FOA by becoming certified, mostly taking their CFOTs but some CPCTs,  either by attending a FOA approved school or joining directly based on field experience (our "work to cert" program.) Over the years, we've been contacted by manufacturers, contractors, consultants, and other types of organizations who ask about becoming members.

We don't certify companies or organizations, we told them, so we were not sure what we could offer as a benefit of membership. But then, companies asked about using our educational programs to train employees, how they could get listed on the FOA website as service providers or if they could get a quantity discount on membership or certification for all the FOA members working for them. That began to sound like a benefit for being an FOA corporate member. And providing a list of useful suppliers to the market could be a benefit to the industry as a whole.

So FOA has quietly been letting companies and other organizations join the FOA to take advantage of those benefits so we now have several hundred corporate members. We've put then into a database and listed them on the FOA website in map and list form. Here's the map.

FOA Corporate members

The online
map and list can be used to find suppliers and service providers.

The map, like our map of schools, lets you find the FOA corporate members close to you.  The table form lists them by category: Installer/Contractor, Component Manufacturer, Installation Equip. Manufacturer, Transmission Equipment, Services/Consulting, Distribution and Users of Fiber Optic Networks. You can sort the tables to find members meeting your needs, e.g. by location, certifications offered, etc. Click on any column heading to sort that column; click twice to sort in reverse order.

How Does An Organization Become An FOA Corporate Member?

Simple, just fill in the online application form. When your application is accepted, you will be asked to pay the one time membership fee - $100US. You will then be listed on the online  map and list, have access to exclusive FOA educational materials for your employees and get discounts on certifications and renewals. 




  


Events of Interest: FOA now posts events on our LinkedIn groups, Facebook page and other social media




FOA on LinkedIn


FOA has a company page and three LinkedIn Groups


FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
 
FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics


Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

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FOA Logo FOA Resources



FOA Standards:


FOA offers free standards for datalinks and testing the installed fiber optic cable plant, patchcords and cable, optical power from transmitters or at receivers and OTDR testing.
Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide.

View the  FOA YouTube Video On FOA Standards 

NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

NECA 301
Standards cover components and systems and how to test them, but rarely get into installation issues. The FOA NECA 301 standard which covers installation of optical fiber systems has been revised for the second time, adding considerable new materials. This standard is derived from FOA educational material put in standards form and approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner." The standard is available from NECA.   FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.


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Fiber U

Free Fiber U Self-Study Programs


FOA's "Fiber U" free online self-study programs help you learn about fiber optics, study for FOA certifications or use them to help create "blended learning" classes. There are two new free online self-study programs on Fiber U. Fiber Optic Network Design is for those interested in learning more about how to design fiber optic networks or studying for the CFOS/D certification. FTTx is for those wanting to know more about fiber to the "x" - curb, home, wireless, etc. - or studying for the CFOS/H certification.
Got to Fiber U for more information.

Fiber U Online Self-Study Programs Offer Certificates of Completion

FOA has been offering quite a few free online self-study programs on Fiber U, our online learning site. We are always getting questions about getting a certificate for completing the course online, so we have setup an option to take a test online and get a certificate of completion for these online courses.

Fiber U certificate

While it's not FOA certification, FOA will recognize a
Fiber U Certificate of Completion as background experience to qualify for applying for FOA certifications. We also intend to expand the program to more specialized topics as preparation for FOA specialist certifications.

If you have associates that want to get started in fiber, have them take this course online to get started. Go to  Fiber U and get started.


FOA Books And Publications

 FOA Basic Fiber Optic Textbook Now Also Available in French and Spanish

  FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA Text in French FOA text in Spanish FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book  FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Network Design  FOA Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction Guide

FOA Book on Fiber Optic Testing   FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optic Testing


Libro de Diseño para Redes de Fibra Óptica en Español - FOA Design Book Available In Spanish Online

Design in Spanish

La Asociación Profesional de Fibra Óptica (The FOA) ha traducido y hecho disponible en Español, la “Guía de Diseño para Fibra Óptica”. Esto para todos los interesados en estudiar para la certificación CFOS/D en su idioma nativo. Puede acceder a la traducción al libro de Diseño en línea utilizando este enlace. La versión impresa del libro estará disponible muy prontamente.


FOA has translated the FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Network Design book and made it available online to those studying for the CFOS/D Certification but whose native language is Spanish. You can access the Spanish translation of the Design book here. A printed version will be available in the near future.


Lennie & Uncle Ted Guides - Perfect For Getting Started

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides have moved  to the FOA website. Lennie is the place where many if not most fiber techs begin their education. FOA has just updated the two guides to ensure they stay relevant - more than 20 years after they were first written.

Lennie goes all the way back to 1993 when he was created as the mascot of the original "Fiber U" conference - the same Fiber U that is now the FOA's web-based training site. Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics was created as a beginner's introduction to fiber optics. Over 60,000 printed version of Lennie's Guide were given away and it became one of the first commercial web pages in 1994. Uncle Ted's Guide To Communications Cabling was written a few years later to introduce techs to "Cat 5" - UTP wiring - that had only recently been standardized in TIA-568.

Lennie and Ted's Guides are used in the current Fiber U online self-study programs and are still the best place to start learning about fiber optics.


Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online at the links here, can be downloaded as printable PDFs and are now also available as free iBooks on iTunes.

Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling

Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Communications Cabling   are now available free to iPad users who can download them from the Apple iTunes store. Of course they are still available online or for download.

You can also find these free guides on the FOA website - go here for all the links: Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Communications Cabling  

Download PDFs of Lennie or Uncle Ted.


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FOA iPad Apps

FOA LossCalc
FOA Loss Calculator AppFOA LossCalc estimates the optical loss of a fiber optic link. This will save time for the installer of a fiber optic link needing to know whether test results are reasonable and/or make a "pass/fail" determination. It can also help the designer of a link to determine if communications equipment will operate over this link.
By choosing the type of link (singlemode or multimode) and specifying the length of the fiber and numbers of connections and splices, it will calculate the end to end loss of the link. The app has default specifications for singlemode and multimode links or the user may create custom setups with specifications appropriate for any application. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-losscalc/id476262894?mt=8&ls=1



Self -Study in Fiber Optics
FOA iPad AppOur first app is a self-study version of the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics. The FOA APP builds on the FOA basic fiber optic textbook to create an interactive learning environment that builds on the iBook electronic version of the book to add a guide to use for self-study and real-time testing that provides feedback on what you have learned and correct answers to questions answered incorrectly.
The FOA APP is priced at only $9.99, same as the iBook, so the self-study program is free. Download it from the Apple APP Store with your iPad or iTunes.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-guide/id434354283?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4



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videos


The FOA has many videos on videos, including two Lecture Series (Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling), Hands-On lectures on both and some other informational and instructional videos. For all the videos, go to the FOA Channel "thefoainc" or use the direct links below.


View a complete list of FOA Videos with links to each video on YouTube.


Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field.



Fiber Optics - Live!  A series of videos that use lab demonstrations to show how optical fiber works. 
Fiber Optics LIVE!


Cabling Project Management - what's involved in a copper/fiber/wireless project -advice for the customer and the contractor

Hazards Of Counterfeit Cable

You may have read the stories we have written about the counterfeit "Cat 5" cable made from copper-clad aluminum rather than pure copper. Recently we tried an unscientific burn test on the cable compared to a known good UL tested cable and posted a video on YouTube. You can see the results below.

Counterfeit cable flame test

Counterfeit Cable     Real UL-rated cable

The difference is obvious and the danger is real. Watch the video on YouTube: Premises Cabling Lecture 11: Counterfeit Cat 5 Cabling




View a complete list of FOA Videos with links to each video on YouTube.



View all the FOA Channel  on YouTube.  






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FOA Guide


What's New  in the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide?

We are continually updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information. Go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.


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.



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FOA Schools

New School:

Midwest Communications Technologies, FOA Approved School #378.


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


Find An FOA-Approved Training Organization


Most inquiries 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. The FOA has about 200 training organizations we have approved worldwide so finding the right one can be difficult! 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 to find FOA-Approved schools.

FOA Map

What Should A Fiber Optics or Cabling Tech Know and What Skills Do They Need?
FOA certifications are based on our KSAs - the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities that techs need to succeed. Read the FOA KSAs for fiber and cabling techs.



School News


Feedback

We always enjoy feedback, especially when it shows how great some FOA instructors are. These came from students of Tom Rauch, an instructor at BDI Datalynk:


"I took your fiber optics certification courses this past March. I just wanted to let you know that in two weeks I start working as a fiber optic technician with ___ up in ___. You mentioned on the first day of the course that there is always one guy in class who had rubbed his last two nickels together to be there and, in that instance, I was that guy. Now I'm going to be able to provide for my family like never before and I owe it to the certification that I received from you and BDI Datalynk. I just wanted to thank you again."

"Thanks to our tremendously knowledgeable and patient instructor Thomas Rauch, who was not only generous in sharing his wealth of information, but he did so with ease, humor and in a way that invited curiosity and participation. He was encouraging and proud of our accomplishments and helped us learn from our mistakes in a way that did not break our confidence, rather it pushed us to better results the next go around. The hands on labs were just AWESOME!" Just thought you should know what a class act you have representing you in his travels..... but then again you probably already knew that! : )

In almost 19 years at Verizon and having held numerous positions, I have gone through many training sessions. I cannot remember ever having been actually looking forward to coming back to class quickly after lunch, to get back to the hands on activities, and walking away with the sense of empowerment that the information presented was not only relevant but dead on point accurate! I will be signing up for the Outside Plant class on March! I can't say enough good things about Tom and his impact! Feel free to quote me, I can only imagine that he will open so many doors and change so many lives in the years to come, with his style of teaching! Great experience, awesome job!
"

IBEW and FOA Partner on Fiber Optic Training

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association(NECA) through the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) in a partnership with the FOA has published a new textbook for training IBEW apprentices and journeymen in fiber optics. The new textbook uses the material from the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics with new material and photos from other NJATC training partners.

NJATC FOA Textbook


Quote from one of our certified instructors: I want to thank you and your organization for all the resources you provide for the students and the opportunity to offer the certification to the students. The fact that you published the book yourself to get the cost down and the unlimited free resources on your website shows a commitment to the public that is second to none. I let it be known to the students that the FOA is the best in the industry at supplying knowledge and resources related to the communication industry. I look forward to passing on the information that you provide for the industry.


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Good Question! Tech Questions/Comments Worth Repeating

New: The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQ s = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us and adds tech topics of general interest.

Real Questions From FOA Newsletter Readers


Can A Fiber Optic Cable
Catch "Fire"
Q: While working on a cut-over of a dwdm circuit something has happened that I am now looking for an explanation. A transmission fiber emitted "fire" on that same fiber! We did not see any optical light we saw fire. About 5 cm of fiber burned and remained smoke. What phenomenon occurred? Are the dwdm amplifiers so powerful enough to generate fire? Unfortunately I could not get into the station to take the model of the equipment.
A: We’ve heard of high power WDM systems exploding dirt of the endface of fiber connectors and damaging them, but this is a new one. We contacted several technical people in fiber companies and found that this can happen if there was a crack in the fiber in the cable near the connector or lots of reflection perhaps caused by a very dirty connector that allowed the very high power to heat the cable enough for combustion. DWDM with many multiplexed signals and a fiber amplifier creates a lot of power confined to a very small core of the singlemode fiber. That power can ignite the acrylate coating on the fiber.

Installing ADSS Cable Underground
Q:
I'm installing an aerial run of ADSS cable and wonder if I can pull the cable under roads in duct installed by directional boring without splicing when I need to go underground.
A: Yes you can pull ADSS cable in ducts installed by directional boring without splicing. Just install the ADSS cable link to the pole where you need to go underground and "dead end" it at that pole. Drop the cable down, "figure-8" the cable to prepare for the pull, then pull the cable in the duct. If you go aerial on the other side, just continue the ADSS installation procedures.

Reflective Events Causing Transmission Problems
Q:
I have a technical question about reflective events. I recently assisted to troubleshoot an intermittent SM fiber link for a customer. The cable was dug up a few years ago and a fiber contractor has (fusion spiced) a different chunk of cable into the link to repair it. When troubleshooting the link, I checked the cable with the otdr. I found that each of the 12 fibers had a reflective event at the fusion splice. This was only at the splice tube closest to me. The other fusion splices in the other tube were virtually invisible (as they should be). I'm a little puzzled as to why there are reflections at the fusion splices. I did a little research, but couldn't come up with a good answer as to what is a possible cause of the reflections. (The OTDR also showed a lot of ghosting on every fiber tested) (in some cases it recorded over 40 ghost events) Although I haven't been able to confirm that there is high Bit error rate due to the transceiver not providing these statistics, (except for 3 out of 10 pings fail) I am suspecting that High reflectance is possibly the cause of their unreliable fiber link.
A: Reflectance is a big problem in SM links, especially short links. If you are seeing lots of ghosts, I suspect the link is very short. Fusion splices can have reflectance if the splicer is improperly set and the fusion is incomplete or has bubbles. Those splices should have not only have reflectance but higher loss. The solution is to open up the closure, use a VFL to find the reflective events and redo the splices.

Blasting Near Fiber Optic Cables
Q:
We have a project where blasting is planned near fiber optic cables. We find no standards for this. Is it safe for the fiber or should we treat it like other utilities like gas and water?
A: FOA recommends considering fiber optic cables to be similar to gas lines when blasting nearby. We know of no standards for this but there are some descriptions of projects requiring blasting near fiber optic cable installations. Here is a pipeline company's guidelines for blasting. The guidelines seems to focus on staying 5m from the fiber optic cable and using careful blasting techniques.


Cleaning Connector Protective Caps
Q:
How do you clean LC Fiber Optic end caps (the cap that covers the cleaned fiber cable)? Is there a tool for that?
A: We assume you are talking about the small plastic protective caps on the connector ferrule. There is a joke in the industry that goes “there’s a reason they call them "dust caps’” they’re often full of dust.” The problem is these are plastic molded parts that are made by the billions for various purposes - some just fit fiber optic connectors. They come out of the molding machine and are dumped in barrels. No provision is made to keep them clean, plus they will have some mold release chemicals inside them that can attract or hold dust. Even static electricity is a problem.
We know no way to clean them nor to keep them clean. We recommend using them to protect the connector ferrule - in fact we’re trying to get people to call them “protective caps” - but after they are removed and before use (connecting to another cable or a transceiver or testing them) they need inspection and cleaning.
See these pages in the FOA Guide: Microscope Inspection And Cleaning of Fiber Optic Connectors  Cleaning Fiber Optic Connections

Directional Splice Loss
Q: I have a customer that is splicing a fiber distribution hub to their fiber plant.  The fiber distribution hub utilizes 100FT long fiber stubs of SMF G.657.A1 and the fiber plant uses SMF G.654.D.  The project has a contract fusion splice passing spec of 0.2dB loss, averaged bi-directional and also a one-way <0.3dB loss (either direction) specification; using an OTDR for measurements.
From my research, if the splices OTDR’s test results for the 2 directions are -0.2dB / +0.6 (average of +0.2), the network is not actually seeing a +0.6dB loss; but this is how the OTDR interprets the backscatter information… the OTDR being somewhat confused due to the bend insensitive fiber characteristics.
A: Correct - the directional differences are due to the mode field diameter variations in the two fibers.  G.654 is a large MFD fiber, ~12.5microns, compared to ~9 microns for G.657.A fiber. The OTDR measures based on backscatter which will be very different for the two fibers.

Markers For Underground Fiber Optic Cables
Q:
I have a general question about above ground markers for fiber optic cable in conduit.  Is there a recommended spacing for the markers?  Is there a standard to reference for this?
A: We asked some people who make them and they said the guideline is “line of sight.”  The rules for markers are mainly what information needs to be on them. Of course we also recommend adding marker tape about a foot above the conduit. I was curious if there were any legal issues and I found this interesting page from Cornell Law School:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/192.707
So I might  add to line of sight any crossings of roadways, rail ways and some markers for bridge crossings.
We have a new section on the FOA Guide: Outside Plant Fiber Optic Cable Plant Construction that may be useful.

Reflectance And Return Loss
Q: Help me understand measuring reflection little better. Why do we consider -55dB to be a better reading than, say, -25dB? If reflection and return loss are inverse readings and we had a 55dB return loss, would that positive reading for return loss be considered good?
A: Reflectance is measured as the ratio of reflected to incoming signal at a connection. The confusion comes because reflectance and return loss are inverse readings. Consider this:
If we have 1/1000 of the light reflected, the reflectance would be -30 dB (1/1000 = -30 dB) but the return loss would be 30dB since it is defined as 1000/1, the inverse, and is described as +30 dB.
Likewise, an APC connector would have a reflectance of -50 dB or a return loss of 50 dB.
However, return loss as tested by all OTDRs is not be the reflection from a single event but the total of all reflectance events plus total backscatter from the length of fiber being tested in the trace.
This is where most people are confused and misuse the terms.

Older questions are now available here on the FOA Guide.



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Worth Reading or Watching:

We are moving most of the articles in this section to the FOA's Pinterest Page "Worth Reading" - Go there for the latest links

Sign up at the FOA  Pinterest board Pinterest



FOA "Quickstart Guides"

In our continuing quest to help people understand how to test fiber optic cable plants and communications systems, we've created two more "QuickStart Guides to Fiber Optic Testing." They are simple, step-by-step guides on how to test fiber optic cable plants, patchcords or single cables using insertion loss or OTDR techniques and optical power from transceivers. It's as straightforward as it can get - what equipment do you need, what are the procedures for testing, options in implementing the test, measurement errors and documenting the results.
It can't get much simpler.
Send anybody you know who needs to know about fiber optic testing here to learn how it's done in a few minutes.

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants And Patchcords  

Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR  

Measuring Optical Power In Communications Systems 






Like Crossword Puzzles? Here's Some On Fiber Optics

EP crossword

Do you like crossword puzzles? How about one on fiber optics - or maybe a half-dozen of them? FOA Master Instructor Eric Pearson of Pearson Technologies has created a series of crossword puzzles on fiber optics that are keyed to the FOA CFOT reference materials and his book Professional Fiber Optic Installation, v.9. You can have fun and study fiber optics at the same time!

This months crossword puzzle is on "Optoelectronics and Splicing" - Download the crossword puzzle on 
"Optoelectronics and Splicing."

If you missed the earlier puzzles, here they are:
Download the PDF file of the crossword on "Light and Fiber".
Download the PDF file of the crossword puzzle on "Cables".
Download the crossword on "Connectors & Splices."

Older Fiber, Do You Know How Good It Is?

There's millions of miles of long distance fiber installed around the world and most of it likely to see an upgrade of the systems operating on it, probably in the near future. Twenty years ago, most of it was probably running at ~1Gb/s, ten years ago it was probably 2.5 Gb/s, recently it was likely to be 10Gb/s but now many are being considered for 100Gb/s or beyond. Can the fiber support such speeds? Can it be "repaired" or "modified" to make it possible to use it at higher speeds? If you own that fiber, can you say what it is worth without knowing its future upgrade capability.

In order to know the potential for upgrades on your cable plant, you need to test it. This process involves a number of tests and is called "fiber characterization." Greg Stearns of TTP-US, an FOA Corporate Member, performs these tests and has written a short article on why you need to characterize fiber and how its done. Read about fiber characterization from someone who does it often and can explain it well.

Download the paper here (PDF, 80kB).

Where In The US Do Contractors Need Licenses For Fiber Optics?

We often get asked where in the US do contractors doing fiber optic installations need licenses. We found a good website for that information, the NECA -NEIS website. You might remember NECA-EIS, as they are the partner with the FOA in the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard. NECA is the National Electrical Contractors Association and NEIS stands for National Electrical Installation Standards. They have a very easy to use map and table that gives you data on every state in the US, so mark these pages for future reference.

NECA/NEIS
http://www.neca-neis.org (See “State Regulations”)
http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=state_regs (all electrical licensing)
Low Voltage: http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=specialty_licensing

Benchmarking Fusion Splicing And Selecting Singlemode Fiber
We've been asked many times "How long does it take to splice a cable?" It's not a simple answer as it varies with the number of fibers in the cable and the work setup, including whether one or two techs are working at a job site. FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha of Triple Play in South Africa did his own analysis based on decades of experience both splicing cables and teaching others how to do it properly. This is one of the best analyses we have seen because Joe includes prep times as well as splicing times and differentiates between one tech and two techs working together. He adds some other tips on fusion splicing too. This should be mandatory reading for every tech and given to every student! Here is Joe's splicing analysis. 

Joe also has an excellent writeup on how to choose singlemode fiber that helps understanding the different types of G.6xx fiber. Read it here.
And you will want to read Joe's report on splicing different types of SM fiber, including bend-insensitive (G.657) fiber. Read it here.

Free - Mike Holt's Explanation Of The US National Electrical Code (NEC) For Communications Cables
Mike Holt is the acknowledged expert of the US National Electrical Code (NEC). His books and seminars are highly praised for their ability to make a very complicated standard (that is in fact Code - law - in most areas of the US) easily understood. Part of the appeal is Mike's great drawings that make understanding so much easier. Mike makes Chapter 8 of his book available free. It covers communications cables, telephones, LANs, CATV and CCTV, for premises applications. Even if you live in a region or country where the NEC is not the law, you may find this interesting.
Download Mike's Chapter Here

Good Technical Website For Installers
American Polywater (http://www.polywater.com/) has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and  “Calculators.” http://www.polywater.com/NNNBSL.pdf


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.



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FOA Tech Topics - 

A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?  (See the video on Corning on YouTube )
Yes! The camera in your old cell phone is sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter.  Chris Hillyer,CFOT/CFOS/I, Master Instructor, Northern California Sound & Communication JATC brought this to our attention.
IR Viewer 850 nm  IR Viewer 1300 nm

If you have an old cell phone, try it. Our experience is that older cell phone cameras have better sensitivity at IR wavelengths than newer phones, so you may want to toss that old flip phone into the toolbox.


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Product News


YOKOGAWA OTDR Has Extended range, High Resolution And Multitasking


Yokogawa OTDR

One OTDR manufacturer you don't hear as much about is YOKOGAWA (formerly ANDO) which is too bad - they make some of the best OTDRs, exemplified by this new model AQ7280. Need long range - how about 50dB. High resolution - 0.6m dead zone. Like touch screens, but for some functions want hard buttons, it's got that. Options for VFL, microscope, light source and power meter, etc. - it has that too.
But the unique aspect of the YOKOGAWA AQ7280 is it offers multitasking - you can let do a trace with long averages while you inspect connectors, make power readings, use the VFL or other functions.
More info on the YOKOGAWA AQ7280.

FOA thanks Yokogawa for a gift of an OTDR to use for R&D and teaching!



Have you read the FOA pages on cleaning?



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 Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: 811

See www.call811.com for more information

The Common Ground Alliance has an excellent "Best Practices Guide" online

Fiber Optic Asset Protection Summit by the "811" group.

The US Department of Transportation has a website called "National Pipeline Mapping System" that allows one to search for buried pipelines.   




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Employment/Job Listings



Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

Fiber Optic Installation Banner

The FOA was chartered to "promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards." Our focus on creating a professional workforce to properly design, install, maintain and repair communications network infrastructure has led us to work with groups in many different areas of technology that use fiber optics, way beyond the basic telecom applications that most of us think of first. FOA has probably worked with most of the potential applications of fiber optics, but we're always learning about new ones!
In addition, we get lots of calls and emails from our members looking for information about where the jobs are and how to train for them. FOA has created three ways to help you find jobs, train for them and apply for them.

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
FOA has created a 20 minute YouTube video that talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs are involved and the qualifications for the workers in the field. Besides telecom and the Internet, we cover wireless, cable TV, energy, LANs, security, etc. etc. etc. It's a quick way to get an overview of the fiber optic marketplace and we give you an idea of where the opportunities are today.

Watch the new FOA YouTube Video: Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

What Training Is Needed For The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
As you will learn from the video described above, the jobs in fiber optics are quite diverse. FOA has investigated these jobs to understand the needs of workers for those jobs and, when necessary, create curriculum and certifications to properly train workers. For example, the FOA FTTx certification was developed at the request of Verizon who needed specialized installers for their FiOS program. Now we are working with the industry on the OLAN (Optical LAN) program (see below).
We have summarized the jobs and required training in a new web page that has two uses - 1) If you have FOA certifications, what jobs are you specifically qualified for? - 2) If you are working in a specialized field or want to get a job in that area, what training and certifications will qualify you for those jobs?
What Training And Certifications Are Needed For Jobs In Fiber Optics? 

How To Find And Apply For Jobs In Fiber Optics
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.
If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs. 

We hope you find this useful. FOA tries to find new to increase the professionalism in our industry and helping qualified people find jobs is our highest priority - read the article below to see why! If you have feedback on how we can help you and our industry, contact us at info@thefoa.org.

Join FOA on 
FOA on LinkedIn

A list of 10 ways to get your resume noticed, from Marketplace on NPR   


Electrical/Low Voltage Workers in Wisconsin
Casey Healey, Business Agent for IBEW Local 159 in McFarland,WI suggested a link to the Wisconsin Electrical Workers on the FOA jobs website. They have nine IBEW locals that cover the entire state of Wisconsin. All nine locals use this website in search of low voltage technicians that are certified in copper or fiber. After an individual fills out the employment opportunities form on the website a representative from that person's area would be in contact with them to discuss job opportunities within the IBEW as a low voltage apprentice, trainee or a technician. In Wisconsin they teach the 3 year NJATC Voice Data Video apprenticeship program. WI JATCs use the books that FOA has written for the NJATC in their curriculum
.





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

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

"Your newsletter generated a significant number of applicants and we have filled the position."




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 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on Zazzle.com offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.
 

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 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!

Contact FOA at info@thefoa.org to get logos in file format for your use.

 


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 to renew NOW!

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



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Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.

To Contact The FOA:
 
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. (FOA) is the international professional society of fiber optics. FOA is chartered to promote fiber optics through education, certification and standards.


Privacy Policy (for the EU GDPR): The FOA does not use cookies or any other web tricks to gather information on visitors to our website, nor do we allow commercial advertising. Our website hosts may gather traffic statistics for the visitors to our website and our online testing service, ClassMarker, maintains statistics of test results. We do not release or misuse any information on any of our members except we will confirm FOA certifications and Fiber U certificates of completion when requested by appropriate persons such as employers or personnel services.
Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.
 
Contact Us
 
The Fiber Optic Association

http://www.foa.org or email <info@foa.org>
       



Time To Renew Your FOA Membership/CFOT?

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