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December 2013

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In This Issue - (INDEX)

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


OLAN Seminar in LA January 16
Fiber Optics - Live!
IBEW and FOA Partner on Training
Expanding Apprenticeship Programs
Why So Many Bad Installations?
Tapping Fiber - More News
Bad Cable - Bangkok
ANSI Makes Standards Available Free
GigaNews From Austin, TX - The Latest DSL Hype
Has Copper Ended Its Usefulness?

OLANs - Optical LANs
OTDRs - more info
More to read in Worth Reading and Q&A


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 
Tech Topics: More online information
Certification: New FOA OSP Certification
FOA Schools: New schools and programs
Events: Webinars, Conferences and Shows of Interest To Fiber Techs  
Webinars: Online seminars on useful topics 
Q&A: What you are asking the FOA?
Product News - New stuff
Worth Reading: News from around the world
Download This - Good applications material online

DIG SAFE - Call 811 before you dig!


JobsCurrent openings for Cable Techs, Fiber Splicers, etc.
Also 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: Previous Issues.
Use these links to read previous issues or use our "Google Custom Search" to look for specific topics on our website.
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/13
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

It's CFOT®  and Fiber U® The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA. With over 43,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs (July 2013) and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT and Fiber U required trademark protection. Now it's official!

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.

New FOA Reference Books (Available Printed or eBooks)
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are 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

Use our "Google Custom Search" to look for specific topics on our website.
FOA Home Page
Contact the FOA 

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


Looking for information on a particular topic?

Use the FOA's
Google Custom Search to search the FOA website and all back issues of the FOA Newsletter.

Join FOA at the Tellabs Free Southern California Optical LAN Seminar - January 16, 2014

You are invited to join FOA at the Tellabs Optical Enterprise Workshop. This event will be held on Thursday January 16th, 2014 at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles. During this half-day workshop you will have the opportunity to meet with experts from the industry, Tellabs executives, FOA and technical staff who will be discussing Optical LAN deployment and Campus Transport network design considerations.  We will be discussing strategies for designing future proof networks, Tellabs 10G PON, key features of their newly released products, and showcasing the world’s smallest optical network terminal (ONT), Tellabs Mini ONT.

Did you notice that - 10G PON?! This could be very interesting!

FOA will talk about the history and development of Optical LANs.

  • Hear how enterprises and government agencies seek innovative ways to lower IT costs, and why they’re choosing Optical LANs to deliver voice, data and video to workplaces.
  • Learn how to simplify architecture and management to securely deliver new applications & better integrated services
  • Learn how Optical LAN is more scalable to support bandwidth-intensive video, data and multimedia applications
  • Participate in panel discussions with industry and government Optical LAN End-User adopters
  • Interact with other interested parties from the government, enterprise and industry communities
  • Join Tellabs, FOA and other infrastructure vendors for networking reception and showcase after the presentations   

If you have any questions regarding the event or need any assistance please send an email to     

That's Thursday, January 16 at the Omni Hotel, downtown Los Angeles.

Click Here To Register 

Fiber Optics "Live"!

Working with fibers the size of the human hair and light invisible to the human eye makes fiber "mysterious" and hard to understand. Drawings on how things like fiber work can provide a level of understanding, but nothing beats seeing it for yourself. After a lot of experimenting, we have come up with one solution that allows us to demonstrate how fiber works via "total internal reflection," how fiber attenuation is caused by scattering and how it is dependent on wavelength and how connector loss happens.

Want to see how fiber works? Look at this:

How fiber works

The secret to making it visible is to use a green laser pointer instead of the more common red one. In the plastic rod we used to simulate optical fiber, the scattering of the green laser pointer is much higher than the scattering of a red laser pointer, making it much more visible. This is, of course, exactly what we teach students - longer wavelengths of light (redder, right?) have less scattering and therefore less attenuation.

Using this simple idea, we have created three new YouTube video demonstrations we call "Fiber Optics - Live." You can view them here:

How Light Travels In A Fiber  
Fiber Attenuation  
Connector Loss   

If you teach communications or IT to high school or younger students, you can use these videos to show how fiber works and, if you are interested, duplicate these experiences in your classroom.

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

FOA is pleased to have been able to assist the NJATC in the development of this new text. FOA has been a NJATC training partner for many years, including offering instructor training at more than 16 of the NJATC's summer National Training Institutes. A majority of IBEW NECA contractors do fiber optics and low voltage, especially for applications that combine electrical and communications cabling like smart grid, alternative energy, traffic controls, data centers, etc.

Is It Time To Expand Apprenticeship Programs?

Since 2008, the number of apprentices has fallen by nearly 40 percent, according to the Center for American Progress study.

“As a nation, over the course of the last couple of decades, we have regrettably and mistakenly devalued apprenticeships and training,” said Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of labor. “We need to change that, and you will hear the president talk a lot about it in the weeks and months ahead.”

A NY Times article focused on the new program in South Carolina that is benefiting companies like Tognum and BMW from Germany where apprenticeships are a way of life.

"But experts in government and academia, along with those inside companies like BMW, which has its only American factory in South Carolina, say apprenticeships are a desperately needed option for younger workers who want decent-paying jobs, or increasingly, any job at all. And without more programs like the one at Tognum, they maintain, the nascent recovery in American manufacturing will run out of steam for lack of qualified workers.

Read the report from the NY Times.

And a quote from the LA Times:

John Gardner, President Lyndon B. Johnson's secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, said it best:

"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy; neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."

Why So Many Bad Installations? Is It Bad Training Or None At All?

After we posted the horrible-looking connectors from another installation in last month's FOA Newsletter, we got several more "horror stories" about bad installations.

One of our FOA Certified Instructors sent us videos from a troubleshooting expedition in a building. He was leaving to fix another problem at an installation in an elevator shaft installed a month ago where some one tore out the fiber not knowing what it was.

Another of our FOA Certified Instructors sent us these micro-photographs of several connectors from an installation at one of his customers.

The "technician" that was hired as a contractor to do the installation was "certified" in fiber optics - NOT by FOA! He took 3 days to install 36 connectors. He provided no test data on the connectors. These are what he left as finished fiber optic connectors.

Bad  connectors

After discovering the problem, the user came to an FOA CFOT class and learned how to do the work themselves. They replaced all the connectors in the photos above and a lot more.

No trained and certified tech should do poor work like this! But we know there are "training" organizations in the field today that offer one day courses with certification and others that never teach hands-on skills. One certification organization appears to have no requirement for "hands-on" training. Nobody but the FOA certifies instructors. All this only leads to problems for the poorly-trained person and their customers and creates a bad image for the industry.

Too many times, we hear from FOA approved schools that they have had to re-train people who attended other fiber optic training courses.

FOA was chartered in 1995 to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. We are a non-profit education organization. FOA is not a school - it does not train students - instead we have over 200 approved schools worldwide that train and certify students. We do train and certify all FOA instructors - the only fiber optic organization that does that - so we can ensure the quality of our instructors. We do set standards for training - our KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) define what a student must know and skills they must demonstrate to their instructor in order to be certified. FOA certifications are recognized by many organizations like the
US Department of Labor.

If you are considering hiring a fiber optic tech or contracting with an installer, ask them about their training and certifications as well as customers as references. Of course we recommend you ask for CFOT Certification.

If you are planning on taking a fiber optic training course, ask the training organization these questions:
  • How long has the organization been teaching fiber optics?
  • How long is the class? Days/hours?
  • Is the instructor certified as an instructor? By whom?
  • How much time is spent on hands-on training? What kinds? Is it useful to you?
  • Which certifications does the training organization offer? Are those certifications accepted by national organizations like the US Department of Labor.
  • Always ask for references from past students.

More News Below!  

  FOA Newsletter - Features

Tapping Fiber - More News

The NY Times reports that NSA was able to eavesdrop on the communications of Google and Yahoo without getting near their highly secure data centers. The Times reports that NSA simply tapped fiber carrying data to/from the data centers - we know how easy that is, don't we? - and when it was first done, the data was not even encrypted - but now it is!

Read the NY Times report 

Answer to the question we would like to never hear again (we answered it twice in the last month):

While the industry always says "connector" loss, it is actually "connection" loss. As we explain in the page on termination and splicing....

See Q&A below 

More "Bad Cable" Photos - This Time Bangkok

Cables in  Bangkok

See more from Bangkok here.

ANSI Makes Some Standards Available Free

Often standards are not free. Groups like TIA develop standards but charge what seems like very high prices for them. For example, a set of TIA 568 standards can cost as much as $2000. Groups like TIA charge for standards because it costs money to have technical meetings to develop them and the participants are unwilling to underwrite all the costs themselves.

However, many standards get incorporated into government documents and are required therefore to be made freely available to bidders or contractors. A big debate has been raging for years whether that meant they should be easy to get but paid for or available at no cost. When the US government asked for comments on this topic, FOA responded saying that standards to be relevant should be available to all at no cost.

In March 2012, Public.Resource.Org began publishing, for free online, standards that have been incorporated by reference into U.S. regulation. These were posted regardless of copyright, and there are over 1,000 to date. In 2012 and 2013, a number of standards developers acted to enforce their copyright. Some sent cease-and-desist letters to Public.Resource.Org, and some (remember this is America where we have more lawyers than engineers) have filed lawsuits.

ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) has been vocal in examining these issues and has been a major factor in developing a solution. Ansi developed the ANSI IBR Portal. This new site provides free online access to read-only versions of voluntary consensus standards that have been IBR-ed into U.S. federal laws and regulations.  Unfortunately, TIA does not yet seem to be included, but many ISO/IEC and UL standards are.

he ANSI IBR Portal is worth exploring. Read their announcement here.

And Don't Bother Buying This Standard

TIA TSB-4979 is entitled "Practical Considerations For Implementation Of Encircled Flux Launch Conditions In The Field." It says nothing but "buy a new source with EF output or a commercial mode conditioner," so manufacturers of these products can now reference this standard in their sales pitches. It says nothing about how mode conditioning has been done for decades, e.g. the "mandrel wrap" method, in spite of the fact that IEC has recommended that option in another standard (IEC document 61282-11) and TIA work on HOML (higher order mode loss, see "Progress On Mode Conditioning For MM Fiber Testing" in the FOA October 2013 Newsletter) indicates a mandrel provides appropriate conditioning.

New Pages in the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

What do you do when you need to test fiber or cable on a reel? Here is anew page on Bare Fiber Testing  

Couplers or splitters are used in FTTH and OLANs. How do you Test Splitters? 

Tapping fiber has become a big topic in the news. How do you tap fiber?   
The page on Optical LANs (OLANs) has been expanded with new material and links.

What's A Network? A simple explanation of network types and operation has been added to the FOA Online Guide.

We have updated the "Datalinks" page

GigaNews From Austin, TX

City may change rules to allow Google to attach fiber to AT&T’s poles 

Here’s how AT&T is going to build its gigabit service in Austin  

And if you want to read an objective post mortem on the Australian NBN project, read this from IEEE Spectrum Magazine. - The Latest xDSL "Hype"

" capitalizes on existing copper to deliver fibre speeds at lower costs." From Teldac.

" ITU membership has reached first-stage approval of, the new ITU broadband standard capable of achieving access speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s over existing telephone wires. Within 250-metre range of a distribution point,’s fibre-like speeds..." does not offer "fiber speeds." We've heard this claim probably 4,321 times in the last 30 years! This next gen version of digital over copper struggles to get to 250m on "clean" copper while fiber loafs along at these speeds and is only limited in upgrades by the demand of the customer.

When you tell us G.Fast gives you the possibility of 100G-1Tb/s over many km of copper, we'll consider claims of "fibre speeds."

And according to Wikipedia, becomes the 21st iteration of DSL. As we say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" At least DSL keeps engineers and marketing types in jobs...

Has Copper Ended It's Usefulness?

If you read some of the news, you might think so. Major newspapers in the US and elsewhere have been running articles asking "Is the end of the landline near?" After hurricane Sandy in the NE US last year, several phone companies tried to avoid rebuilding landlines because of the cost and offered cellular wireless service instead. Here at FOA, AT&T offered that option one week, with hardware that connected our wired phones in the office to cellular service. The next week they offered to upgrade us to U-verse DSL. Verizon, as we reported in the October 2013 FOA News, is offering their FiOS FTTH service free to people who still use copper landlines because it reduces their maintenance costs.

Certainly the cost of maintaining copper is an issue, but there may be another problem - switching equipment. Maintaining POTS lines in older areas can be a costly affair. Many of the POTS switches are decades old themselves, often manufactured by long defunct companies, so spare parts and trained service techs are scarce if available at all. Think about fixing a 1990 Oldsmobile! (For our overseas readers, that's a old car model dropped by General Motors more than a decade ago.)

Updating older copper to DSL at least makes it easier to keep the landline system going, but still at a high cost. Switching to wireless is another option, but then you lose your phone that always works in power outages because it is powered by the line itself. At least it works until the batteries at the central office or local switch run down. For areas of the world that were never wired for landlines, cellular is a way of life, as it is for most of the younger generation everywhere.

But the real problem is OTT Television - OTT means "over the top" - downloaded IPTV from your Internet connection that bypasses CATV or Satellite TV or even broadcast TV. OTT TV requires fast connections to be useful. FTTH can handle OTT, some DSL versions can handle it, some cable modems on HFC (hybrid fiber-coax) CATV systems can handle it, but most other systems are simply incapable of handling the massive amount of IPTV traffic that consumers now expect.

Continuing using older landlines will not happen if OTT IPTV continues to grow, and it seems that is a foregone conclusion. The upgrade to FTTH is inevitable, it seems, so consumers can have their mobile smartphones outside the home and sufficient bandwidth in the home supplied by FTTH.

The issue, as always, is cost. Competition trumps cost as has been shown in Austin, TX, where the arrival of Gb Google Fiber prompted AT&T to say we can do that too. Even Verizon has responded to Google by promising near Gb speeds in the entire FiOS area. But many other areas of the US and the world have a long way to go to get those kinds of service.

The concise history of the American phone system, and maybe an epitaph for the landline, from the Washington Post. And more on the demise of the landline from US National Public Radio.

Marketplace on NPR, talking about landline phones: "The world's biggest copper mine lies under our feet."

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

Fiber Optic Installation Banner

FOA gets 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?

FOA has these pages on jobs, how to get trained and how to find them:

FOA's guide to jobs

What Training And Certifications Are Needed For Jobs In Fiber Optics? 

OLANs - Optical LANs

FOA OLAN Certification Ready For Beta Testing

OLANs are probably the most important new technology for enterprise networks since the introduction of structured cabling standards 22 years ago. For the last few months, FOA has been working with companies and groups interested in OLANs to create a certification for techs designing and installing them.

With OLANs, FOA has worked with leaders in the field to create technical materials on our FOA Guide website and YouTube channel already. We now have a curriculum ready our FOA-Approved schools which will make OLAN training available for those interested. Read More.

New Photos: San Diego Opens New Central Library With Optical LAN

What's NewWe've added more photos of the San Diego Library and its OLAN 

Tellabs has also posted a number of very interesting videos on the library.

SD Library

OLAN Resources

Over the last couple of years, we've written a lot about Optical LANs, either based on FTTH passive optical network (PON) or point-to-point (P2P) Ethernet architecture. The more we see of these types of networks, the more we appreciate their design and economy. But how about scale - how big can they get?
In November, we ran a picture story about the new San Diego Central Library which is using a Tellabs optical LAN using PON technology that was using about 1000 4 port drops. Now we hear another Tellabs customer has over 16,000 users. That must make it one of the biggest LANs in the world.

Here are more sources of information on optical LANs - BTW, they need a name - let's start calling them OLANs!

FOA Guide Page on OLANs and FOA YouTube Video



Cliff Walker's FTTO paper  

3M on POLs 

TE Connectivity 

APOLAN, trade association for Optical LANs website


New FOA YouTube Videos

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

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.

Cabling Project Management - FOA has created a new YouTube video on what's involved in a cabling (copper/fiber/wireless) project with advice for both the customer and the contractor involved in a cabling project. The intent of this video lecture is to help customer and contractor communicate effectively on a new project.

Read more 

Three Good Practice Tools For OTDRs, All Free

FOA OTDR Simulator
You may already know that the FOA has a free OTDR Simulator you can download from our website (go here for directions) that allows you to practice using an OTDR on your PC, seeing the effects of changing setup parameters and analyzing dozens of real world traces. But here are two more tools that can be good for practice.

AFS OTDR Online Demo
AFS has an online interactive demo of their new OTDR that allows you to see how an OTDR makes measurements. You use the yellow buttons in the center of the OTDR to set the markers to make measurements. Very well done. Go to for the demo.

Fiberizer OTDR App Available Free as "Cloud Service"
Fiberizer Cloud – fiber optic testing data management solution in the cloud. 
The new web service Fiberizer Cloud was developed from the view point of ordinary fiber optic engineers and their businesses. Now engineers have no need to store multiple copies of their OTDR traces on different PCs in tremendous number of nested folders; or to order expensive custom software. Fiberizer Cloud allows to store and analyze fiber optic testing data directly from the browser .

Currently Fiberizer Cloud registration is free and available here:

YouTube video on Fibrizer: (

"Fiberizer" APP Reads, Analyzes OTDR Traces
Fiberizer is a iPhone/iPad APP that reads industry-standard ".sor" format files and allows trace analysis on your iPhone or iPad. An android version is in the works too. Read more about Fiberizer. And here are more directions on its use.

Including FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley's tests on what the end of a fiber trace looks like with broken and cleaved fibers.
Frequently Asked Questions On OTDRS And Hints On Their Use  


Events of Interest

Lightwave Says "Passive Optical LANs Catch Fire*", Offers Free Webinar - WATCH ANYTIME

With bandwidth demands on enterprise networks increasing, network managers have begun to rely more heavily on fiber. Passive optical local area networks (LANs) have emerged as a particularly strong option for building and campus applications as a future-proof way to meet very high bandwidths today or to ensure an smooth evolution toward future all-fiber enterprise networks.

This special webinar by Lightwave again confirms the rising popularity of Optical LANs (OLANs) based on FTTH technology and emphasizes the importance of the new FOA OLAN training and certification.

Presented by Stephen Hardy, Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave
All live and on demand Lightwave webcasts are now available on any mobile device including iPads, tablets and phones!

Here is the announcement and link to sign up. You can sign up and watch it after it has been given.

*If you are not fluent in English slang, that means it's "hot" or very popular!


You are invited to join JDSU for a complimentary series of educational webinars. Each webinar, presented by a JDSU subject matter expert, lasts approximately one hour, including Q&A. Seminars are on Connectivity (May 23), Testing Fundamentals (June 20) and OTDRs (July 11)
Go here to see the seminars offered. 

Don't forget to download your copies of the JDSU Testing Textbooks.


FOA LogoWhat's Happening @ FOA

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has three LinkedIn Groups

FOA - for FOA members only, covers technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

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

FOA School Instructors - a closed group for instructors and administrators at FOA-approved schools

FOA Corporate MemberCorporate Memberships

FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Among other benefits, Corporate Membership gives companies access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees. Read more.

FOA Standards:

FOA now 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.

Available for comment is a new proposed standard for Datalinks.

Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide.

View the  FOA YouTube Video On FOA Standards 

Go to the FOA "1 Page Standards"

Free For FOA Members: NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

Because of its importance to users, contractors and installers of fiber optic networks, The FOA and NECA have agreed to make the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard available free to FOA members. It's specifically written to be used in contracts to define "installation in a neat and workmanlike manner."   FOA members can go here for instructions on how to download your free copy.

FOA is a member of:

NECA/FOA 301 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.


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.

Lennie & Uncle Ted Now Available As Free Books 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 Premises Cabling are now available free to iPad users who can download them from the Apple iTunes store.
Lennie's Guide has always been the world's favorite introduction to fiber optics. It was first published in the mid-1990s by Fotec, the fiber optic test equipment company famous for its "Fiber U" training conferences and more than 60,000 printed copies were distributed. Lennie was one of the earliest commercial webpages and is still online today (and as popular as ever) at Uncle Ted's Guide was created at the request of Lennie readers who wanted a similar simple introduction to "Cat 5" wiring. This latest version of Uncle Ted's Guide covers the all premises cabling topics - wiring, fiber and wireless.
You can find these free guides on Apple's iTunes Store: Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To Premises Cabling  
Reference Books for FOA Certifications available on Kindle and iPad/iPhone as well as printed
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book  FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book

We have created three new FOA books to be used in training for FOA certifications and as reference books for contractors, installers and end users of fiber optics. These books have full curriculum support, including free curriculum materials for teaching FOA certification courses. Because we are self-publishing these books using more modern "publish on demand" technology, they are easier to keep up to date, easier to buy and much, MUCH cheaper!
All are now available in print and electronically in Kindle and Apple iBook versions. The basic fiber optic book is also available as a self-study program in an Apple APP for iPad/iPhone/iPod.
Details on the new book each of the new books are at the book pages linked to the photos above.


FOA iPad Apps

The FOA has just released its second APP for the iPad, a free "loss budget calculator," FOA LossCalc.

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.

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.

More "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 



The FOA has many videos on YouTube, 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.

New FOA Lectures And Hands-On Videos

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.

Prepolished/Splice Connector Termination (Panduit OptiCam) 

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

2 New "Hands-On Hints" Videos:

Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 

Below is a list of all the current lectures and hands-on videos. We're looking for ideas for topics for future lectures. Send your ideas to <>.

FOA Lecture 1: Fiber Optics & Communications 
FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics 
FOA Lecture 3: Optical Fiber 
FOA Lecture 4: Fiber Optic Cables 
FOA Lecture 5: Splices and Connectors 
FOA Lecture 6: Fiber Optic Splices 
FOA Lecture 7: Fiber Optic Connectors 
FOA Lecture 8: Fiber Optic Installation 
FOA Lecture 9: Fiber Optic Network Design, Part 1
FOA Lecture 10: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 2 
FOA Lecture 11: Fiber Optic Network Design Part 3 
FOA Lecture 12: Fiber Optic Testing Overview 
FOA Lecture 13: Testing Fiber Visually 
FOA Lecture 14: Testing Optical Power 
FOA Lecture 15: Five Ways To Test Fiber Optic Cable Plants 
FOA Lecture 16: Insertion Loss Testing 
FOA Lecture 17: OTDR Testing 
FOA Lecture 18: OTDR Setup 
FOA Lecture 19: OTDR Measurement Uncertainty 
FOA Lecture 20: Other Fiber Optic Tests 
FOA Lecture 21 Visual Fault Locator Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 22 Mode Power Distribution in Multimode Fibers Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 23 Total Internal Reflection in Optical Fiber Demonstration 
FOA Lecture 24 Copper, Fiber or Wireless? 
FOA Lecture 25 FTTx 
FOA Lecture 26: Loss Budgets  
FOA Lecture 27, Fiber Optic Datalinks 
FOA Lecture 28, Fiber Characterization  
FOA Lecture 29, Plastic Optical Fiber (POF)  
FOA Lecture 30, OLANs, Optical LANs
FOA Lecture 31, Wavelength Division Multiplexing  
FOA Lecture 32, Fiber Amplifiers  

Hands-On Fiber Optic Videos show how it's actually done
Using an OTDR  
Visual Inspection of Connectors With A Microscope 
Fiber Optic Connector Polishing Technique 
Prepolished Splice Connector Termination (Unicam)  
Prepolished/Splice Connector Termination (Panduit OptiCam) 
The Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket (Cell Phone)   
Insertion Loss Testing   
Fusion Splicing  
Mechanical Splicing   
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 1, Setup & Tools  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 2, Jacketed Cable Prep  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 3, Adhesive Prep  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 4, Stripping Fiber  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 5, Connector Attachment  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 6, Polishing  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 7, Inspection  
Fiber Optic Termination, Part 8, Distribution Cable Termination   
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 1 Introduction  
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 2, Zipcord
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 3 Distribution Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 4 Breakout Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 5 Loose Tube Cable
Fiber Optic Cable, Part 6, Armored Cable

Lectures On Premises Cabling
The FOA has added more videos to our YouTube Channel, thefoainc. These are an introduction to premises cabling, covering applications, types of cabling, standards and installation practices for copper (UTP and coax), fiber and wireless. Like our lecture series on fiber optics, these provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in short videos, typically 5-10 minutes in length, on each subject. Watch for more.

Premises Cabling Lectures  on YouTube

"Hands-On" UTP Cabling Videos show how it's actually done
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 1, Tools
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 2, The Training Board
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 3, UTP Cable
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 4, 66 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 5, 110 Block Punchdown
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 6, Jacks
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 7, Testing
UTP "Cat 5" Cabling, Part 8, Plugs and Patchcords 
Lectures On Instructor Training
A new section of the FOA YouTube channel is all about teaching fiber optics and premises cabling. It's designed to help instructors working toward FOA CFOS/I instructor certification but is also useful to anyone teaching fiber or premises cabling.

FOA Instructor Training and Certification Playlist (all videos)  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 1 -Introduction   
FOA Instructor Training - Part 2 - About The FOA  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 3 - FOA Approved Schools  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 4 - Instructors  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 5 - Curriculum  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 6 - Teaching A Course 
FOA Instructor Training - Part 7 - Hands-On Labs  
FOA Instructor Training - Part 8 - FOA Resources  

View all the FOA YouTube video Lectures.  


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

We have been updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information.

What do you do when you need to test fiber or cable on a reel? Here is anew page on
Bare Fiber Testing  

Couplers or splitters are used in FTTH and OLANs. How do you Test Splitters? 

Tapping fiber has become a big topic in the news. How do you tap fiber?   
The page on Optical LANs (OLANs) has been expanded with new material and links.

What's A Network? A simple explanation of network types and operation has been added to the FOA Online Guide.

We have updated the "Datalinks" page.

Three new "Quickstart Guides" for fiber optic testing: cable plant & patchcord loss, power and OTDR

Learn More About OTDRs - Download a Free OTDR Simulator
More and more installers are being asked for OTDR testing but using these instruments is not easy. They are hard to set up properly and complicated to interpret the traces. Using the autotest function can lead to disastrous results! The FOA has a good tutorial on OTDRs on our Online Reference Guide and we added a free download of an OTDR simulator to the OTDR section so you can learn how to use an OTDR on your PC.

More New Info:

Links to manufacturers and distributors of fiber optic lighting products.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide has become very popular - perhaps the most popular technical website ever, typically with over 360,000 users downloading about 1.75 million pages in 2011! We continue updating materials regularly, keeping it as up to date as possible.

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.


School News

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.

Great Video About An FOA School And Their Training 
BDI Datalynk trains at the Unversity of Central Florida. UCF created this incredible video on the BDI Datalynk program.  It shows the power of what they offer on campuses around the US.
Watch the video here:
For more information, contact Bob Ballard, CFOS/I, BDI DataLynk, LLC, A Vietnam Veteran-Owned Company, Ph: 512-785-9024 

New Schools
The FOA welcomes the newest additions to our listing of FOA-Approved Training Organizations:

Gipson Fiber Optic Services, Inc., FOA Approved School #337

Orange County JATC,
FOA Approved School #646

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

It's Now A Lot Easier To Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization
FOA-Approved School Map Zoom to CA
Most phone calls we get regarding finding a FOA-Approved training organization want to know two things: what school is closest to me or what school offers the certifications I need. That can be difficult, since the FOA has almost 200 training organizations we have approved worldwide!
We've been looking at ways to make it easier, and we think we've got a good solution. In fact we have two solutions.
First we have added a sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools.
You can also use our FOA Google Map Application to find FOA-Approved schools.

Here are links to the sortable table of all the FOA-Approved schools and  FOA Google Map.

What Should A Fiber Optics or Cabling Tech Know and What Skills Do They Need?
The FOA has been updating its lists of KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) for fiber and cabling techs. The updated list is now on the website for your information and comments - as fiber and cabling KSAs evolve as new technologies develop.
KSAs for fiber and cabling techs.



Good Question! Tech Questions/Comments Worth Repeating

"Connector Loss" or "Connection Loss"
Q: I
have always counted the loss of a connector as .75 dB (568B-3) and 1.5 for a mated pair. Is that correct?
A: While the industry always says "connector" loss, it is actually "connection" loss. As we explain in the page on termination and splicing ( When we say "connector" loss, we really mean "connection" loss - the loss of a mated pair of connectors, expressed in "dB." Thus, testing connectors requires mating them to reference connectors which must be high quality connectors themselves to not adversely affect the measured loss when mated to an unknown connector. This is an important point often not fully explained.  In order to measure the loss of the connectors you must mate them to a similar, known good, connector. When a connector being tested is mated to several different connectors, it may have different losses, because those losses are dependent on the reference connector it is mated to."
The TIA spec of 0.75dB is for a mated pair of connectors. If you have been passing connectors tested @ 1.5dB may have some very bad connectors in your cabling!

Fiber Optic Connector Ferrule Materials (12/13)
Q: Recently my Company is working on a Project with the need to install Fiber optic cables for our customer. May I know if your Organization has any comparison chart/table for the different types of ferrule used? If yes possible to send it to us? We are looking at the comparison between metal and ceramic in particular.
A: Practically all fiber optic connectors today use ceramic ferrules for a number of reasons:
1. They have about the same expansion coefficient as glass so they work better over temperature changes
2. They adhere well to the adhesives used for termination so the bond to the glass fiber is better
3. They polish easily and provide a better finish.
Metal connectors are mostly used for very high power systems like laser surgery or cutting. In fact one of the most popular one uses no adhesive - it crimps to the fiber.
FOA has lots of information on connectors in our Online Guide: - see the “Connectors and Termination” section. Note particularly the information on the different methods used to attach the connectors.

Testing Bare Fiber (11/13)
Q: How Do You Test Bare Fibers or Unterminated Cables On A Reel Before Installation?
A: There are two ways to test the loss of fiber on a reel without connectors. See the FOA page on Testing Bare Fiber.
One is to do a "cutback test" using a light source and power meter. It is shown here (  in the section "Testing Fiber Attenuation." You also need "bare fiber adapters" which are available from many distributors.
The second way is to use an OTDR, a long pigtail (a cable with a connector to adapt to the OTDR and a bare fiber on the far end. It should be fairly long, `1km) and a mechanical splice to temporarily connect to the fiber to be tested. Then just take a regular OTDR trace (see and look for the attenuation and any faults in the fiber.

Microscope Magnification (11/13)
I am doing a lot of fiber optic jumpers for control systems,  either single mode or multimode. I want to get a scope to inspect the ends after I clean them would you recommend a 200X,  400X handheld or one similar to a Noyes OFS 300 200C?
A: We prefer to use lower magnification and have a wider view so I can see more of the ferrule to determine its condition. You can see the fiber effectively at 100X but 200X may be better. 400X may be too much for most tasks like inspecting for cleanliness, but may be good if you are polishing SM for good reflectance. We've used the Westover units for years because they offer two different methods of illumination - direct and at an angle. If you are doing a lot of patchcords, I recommend a video microscope. I've used the Noyes unit that interfaces to a PC to create the FOA Microscope Inspection YouTube video here: and it works well.

Testing MM Fiber For 10G Networks (11/13)
Is testing 10g MM fiber is different than testing regular MM fiber?
A: Assuming it's OM3 or OM4, it should be tested like other 50/125 fibers - insertion loss. Theoretically, that means that it should be tested with sources or mode conditioners that create a EF launch according to the current TIA OFSTP-14 standard.
At the TIA meeting in Philadelphia in October 2013, the TR-42.11 committee responsible for OFSTP-14 agreed to modify the document to require EF only for that case and at 850nm only, not for any other multimode fiber type nor at 1300nm. Data was presented by Fluke that showed that mandrel wrap conditioning would bring most sources into EF compliance. The committee is working toward a solution that calls for a mandrel wrap tested by HOML - higher order mode loss. HOML measures the power before and after the mandrel wrap and looks for a specified power loss due to the mandrel wrap.

Bi-directional Testing
Q: I am wondering why you would need to perform bi directional insertion loss testing? I would assume that you should get the same results testing from either end?
A: That's an interesting question when you are talking about insertion loss.
For OTDRs, the answer is obvious - the differences can be quite large due to the different backscatter coefficients of fibers which causes joints to be gainers as much as 1/3 of the time.
For insertion loss, the likely directional measurement errors are generally smaller, primarily due to the different conditions of the connectors on the reference cables and the variations in the diameters of the fibers at joints.
Those errors may be smaller than some simpler issues like source wavelength, a major contributor for loss variations in long singlemode and most multimode cable plants. By source wavelength, we do not mean 1310nm vs 1550nm for singlemode or 850nm vs 1300nm for multimode, we mean that international specs for test sources allow significant variations, e.g. 1310nm lasers can have wavelengths from ~1280-1330nm and 850nm LEDs can vary from 820-880nm. If you look at the loss variation due to the variation of attenuation coefficient of the fiber, the potential for error is large.
In my 30+ years of working with standards committees, I've found that they tend to focus on certain issues and ignore others when writing standards. The committees have, for example, focused on mode-power distribution in MM testing but ignored issues like source wavelength and core diameter (which I have been adamant at presenting data to TIA committees here in the US to point out the real world issues.) Strangely enough, long SM runs are sometimes not even tested for insertion loss.
So to finally answer your question, you will likely not get the same result when testing insertion loss in the opposite direction, but the measurement uncertainty due to direction is only part of a larger number of potential errors that probably do not justify the time and cost of bidirectional testing.
One could probably argue the same way on OTDR testing, but many people are confused by the large numbers of gainers one sees in a long concatenated link.

Recycling Cabling
Who can I contact regarding recycling cable I am removing from a building?
A: Here are some people who say they recycle fiber optic cable or at least know how to do it:

Tech Hint: Did You Know You Have A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?
Yes! That old mobile phone has a camera which may be 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 sent us some photos showing how this works. See below or the video now on YouTube. Update: You should check out your old cell phones before you recycle them. We've found older models use sensors which are better at infrared than the newer ones which take better pictures. This is a good use for your old cell phones hiding in the drawer!

Fiber Cleaning
This is a topic we keep reminding everybody about, and here is why:
From a contrator in the Middle East: Here some samples of the connectors for SM fiber already installed in the system we were testing.
dirty connector   dirty connector
As you can see, the dirt is large compared to the size of the fiber (dark gray), and the core (not visible here) is only 9/125 of the overall diameter of the fiber! More on cleaningSee Product News below for links to vendors of fiber cleaning products.

See news about Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube by ITW Chemtronics below.

Measurement Uncertainty: Everyone testing fiber optics should understand that every measurement has some uncertainty - whether you are measuring loss, length, wavelength, power, etc. Knowing that uncertainty is very important to interpreting the measurement. It's worthwhile to read and understand the issue of measurement accuracy covered in this page of the FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.


Worth Reading or Watching:

What Is The FOA?
Hear FOA President Jim Hayes tell the FOA Story in a 2-part interview by Sound & Video Contractor Contributing Editor Bennett Liles. It tells about the FOA history, goals and achievements.
Part 1:  
Part 2

Networks Today: 80% on cable, 20% wireless, Networks Tomorrow: 20% on cable, 80% wireless
Dimension Data this week released its annual Network Barometer Report 2013, which evaluates the readiness of enterprise networks to support critical business operations. The announcement, made during the Cisco Live user conference in Orlando, Fla.

(The gentlemen looking at a bundle of copper cables must be illustrating the industry's nostalgia for old copper technology!)

You can download the Dimension Data report here.

How Is Fiber Manufactured?

Manufacturing fiber at OFS

OFS invites you on a tour of their multimode fiber manufacturing facilities in this new 5-minute video. You will see their highly automated manufacturing operation in Sturbridge, Mass., including their patented MCVD preform fabrication process to fiber draw and final product testing. With a technological heritage dating back to AT&T and Bell Labs, OFS has been manufacturing high-quality multimode fiber since 1981.
Watch the video here.

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

The August, 2012 FOA Newsletter presented a review of where we see the most active areas in fiber optics now and where the jobs seem to be most available. You can read this article here.  If you are looking for a job, the FOA also has a web page on looking for jobs and a LinkedIn group for CFOTs where jobs can be posted,plus a jobs section in this newsletter.

More On Fiber Use In Wind And Solar Power

Craig Bowden, FOA Master Instructor at FiberNexxt in NH, presented a program at the New England Fiberoptic Council recently on fiber in wind power. His presentation is available for downloading here. It's full of good illustrations and photos that tell the story.

Want To Know Where Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Run?

There is a good map online by TeleGeography you can access here.

Confused By Standards?

You are not the only one! As Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, once said at a conference "The wonderful thing about standards is we have so many to choose from!" But the Siemon Company, an active participant in standards activities for decades, has tried to give some order to this chaos with a new website Standards Informant where they cover the TIA, ISO /IEC and IEEE standards that affect cabling and networks. If you need to keep up with standards, sign up for their email newsletter too.

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.

Videos on Firestopping: These free videos from UL and the International Firestop Council are good tutorials on firestopping. Go here to view the videos.

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

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

Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube
ITW Chemtronics has three fiber optic cleaning videos on videos covering Dry CleaningWet-Dry Method, FiberWash and Combination Cleaning. They are good explanations of cleaning processes - the Wet-Dry is especially interesting.

A Documentary Treasure on the History of the Internet
15 minutes of a rarely-seen BBC documentary demolish the myth that ARPAnet was inspired by nuclear war, and explain the far more intriguing truth.

Ensuring Distance Accuracy On OTDR Measurements

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.


Webinars and Websites of Interest (Archives)

CI-M Logo
CI&M magazine often does webcasts on interesting topics in premises cabling. FOA President Jim Hayes has done several for them  too. Here are the archives of all recent webcasts:

Broadband Properties Webinar Archives
Broadband Properties Magazine
Lots of interesting webinars, mostly on FTTH. Go here.

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

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

Multimode Fiber Characterization Launch Condition Considerations - new ap note from JDSU  

JDSU Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing – Volume 2 PublishedJDSU Fiber Optic Testing Volume 2
The second volume of the JDSU series on fiber optic testing has been published.  Volume 1 focused on Basic Fiber testing and Volume 2 is geared toward fiber optic installers, project managers, telecom technicians and engineers who need to understand fiber networks. Volume 2 also covers Chromatic Dispersion, Polarization Mode Dispersion, Attenuation Profile and Fiber Link and Network Characterization. A 3rd volume, a glossary of fiber optic terms, is also available for download.
This is a "MUST HAVE" for all fiber optic techs. Download your free copies here.
We used this book as one of our references in creating a new page in the FOA Online Reference Guide on chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD).

Careers in Fiber Optics: Brian Smith. A 1998 book on fiber optic jobs is a bit dated, but a free overview is on Google Books and worth a look at it online.

Good Technical Websites

American Polywater ( has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Here is a rundown on some new material on their site.

Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and  “Calculators.”


" Heard on the Street" is a monthly online newsletter from Frank Bisbee of Communications Planning Corporation  that covers the telecommunications and cabling businesses. Each month includes news from manufacturers, trade associations and professional societies like the FOA. You can read the current issue and back issues online.

JDSU Webinar series
JDSU has announced the See the Light webinar series, a four-part program designed for anyone involved in the installation, maintenance, and repair of fiber optic systems. It begins with fiber inspection and cleaning and then covers the basics of fiber testing. The webinar series then continues with the more advanced optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) and fiber local area network (LAN) testing challenges. More information on the series.

IGI is offering a series of webinars on topics of interest to those in the communications industry. You can join them live ir download from the archives. IGI WEBINAR ARCHIVES UP AND RUNNING - VISIT TELECOMBRIEFINGS.COM TO DOWNLOAD!
IGI, a major market research and technology reporting company (the "Active Optical Cables" below)  is offering a a free one year subscription to one of our fiber optics newsletters to FOA members.  All they have to do is to send IGI an e-mail stating which newsletter they would like to get. See for a listing of IGI Newsletters.


FOA Tech Topics - 

A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket?  (See the video on Corning on YouTube )
Yes! The camera in your 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 too. 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 phone into the toolbox.


Product News

Recycling Communications Cable
FOA was contacted by a company that recycles electronics communications equipment and cabling. CommuniCom recycles cable/metals/e-waste for Telcos and CATVs. They also recycle Fiber Optic Cable and associated Materials (the fiber scrap). And, they reclaim OSP abandoned copper cables (abandoned from road moves or FTTx growth). This is a huge part of our business. They do the work (permitting/locates/labor) for free and we revenue share back with our clients (telcos).

Contact Steve Maginnis
803.371.5436 (cell)

Micro-Trenching, Cable Removal
Nano-Trench offers products for micro (or I guess they call it nano-) trenching and their website is very informative. They also have Kabel-X, a method of extracting copper cables from old conduit. Both websites are informative and interesting. Watch this video on the cable removal process!

Protecting Pedestals From Rodents
Pedestals and underground vaults can be damaged by rodents who come up through the base and damage cables. Uraseal "Drain N'Seal" foam deters mice from taking up residence in your pedestals. They have some good videos on using their product.

Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

As much as 70% of the problems associated with deploying fiber result from something as simple as dirty connectors according to JDSU. Telephony Online.

US Conec's videos on cleaning fibers - show's the results of proper cleaning.

  • Westover 
  • AFL
    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads




    FTTH Notes:

    Many States In the US Restrict Municipal Networks

    As reported in the website "Community Broadband Networks," many municipalities are creating their own networks, including FTTH like Chattanooga and Clarksville, TN, etc. But in 19 of the US states, there are laws that handicap municipalities or outright ban their offering "telecom" services. (See the list of laws compiled by Optica here.) Obviously, these laws were passed to protect the (usually monopoly) telecom and CATV providers who do not want competition. But they also make it difficult or impossible for many areas to get broadband.

    Does anybody know if these laws prohibit a municipality from building a fiber network and then leasing it to an Internet service provider? Obviously, FTTH needs good lawyers too.

    FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units)

    When we talk about FTTH, we often assume we are installing the fiber to a “home” where it terminates in a optical line terminal (OLT) and services (voice, data and video) are delivered inside the subscriber’s "home." But since we may have detached single-family homes, row houses or living units in a large building, the situations can be quite different, requiring different architectures and installation practices. To clarify the options for fiber in MDUs, FOA has created a new page in our FTTx section of the FOA Guide to explain the options.

    FTTH in MDUs

    FOA Guide: FTTH in MDUs   

    Google Map Shows Worldwide FTTx Projects

    One of the better sites to track FTTx projects is this Google maps application that shows projects on a world map with details on the project.

    FTTx Map of the world

    Click on the map above or here to view the interactive web map.
    Testing FTTH
    JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR:
    Want To Learn More About FTTx?
    The FOA has created a special FTTx resources section of our website with a FTTx links page with lots of links to news, market reports, technical articles and vendor technical and product information. Here is a great place to start learning more about FTTx.
    FOA's CFxT FTTx Certification Program Explained
    Read the Broadband Properties article about the FOA FTTx certification program. Read the article about FOA President Jim Hayes being honored for his work promoting FTTH.

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

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

    See for more information

    National Fiber Optic 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.   

    Download This!

    There are tons of technical application notes and videos on the web, and occasionally we recommend some you should download. The JDSU fiber testing guide is really worthwhile, as are the ADC FTTx book and Westover video on fiber inspection and cleaning, linked below.
    JDSU Testing Book
    JDSU offers a free download of their Testing Guide from the Lightwave website. This is one great book which explains some basic fiber technology, but the real value is the last half which deals with OTDR testing. Not only does it give the usual info, but it covers important topics like measurement uncertainties and anomolies like ghosts and gainers.
    I was in the testing business for 20+ years at Fotec and think this book is one of the best fiber optic testing texts available. It's complete but comprehenisble! I used to believe that premises techs did not need OTDR training, but now OTDR manufacturers are pushing their use in premises networks. Unfortunately, the limitations of OTDRs in premises applications can cause extreme problems for those who are not aware of their limitations. So knowing hows OTDRs work is essential information to every tech. 
    Download yourself a copy and read it
    Westover Application Notes And Cleaning Video
    Westover has several application notes on inspecting and cleaning fiber optic connectors. The video is a big file (50+MB) but a good tutorial.
    Download page:


    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

    Join FOA on 
    FOA on LinkedIn

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

    Job Openings


    Applicants should have experience in splicing fiber optic cables in the air, underground, and indoors.  Additionally, experience terminating fiber with mechanical connectors, epoxied connectors, and fused on pigtails.  Must have attention to detail when setting up splice locations, termination points, and general fiber optic construction.  Prefer experience working in a production based environment for small to large projects and testing for acceptance, trouble identification, and fiber characterization.  Additional preference given to applicants with experience using the latest equipment and that can adapt their experience to Spligitty Fiber Optic Services’ preferred processes. 
    The ideal applicant(s) will have a good work ethic, be hard working, and willing to learn. Applicant must have a standard driver's license, a clean driving record, and pass a pre-employment drug test. Travel may be required in some areas.

    (Be sure to remind them if you have a CFOT!)

    Wage: DOE

    Positions available as listed:
    (2) In Washington
    (2) In Montana
    (2) In the Greater Salt Lake City area, Utah

    Apply by emailing Michael Hill at  Please provide your resume and a contact phone number.

    Optical Connectors - Principal Engineer- (9/13)

    Position Overview:  
    The Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) group which supports and develops leading edge manufacturing technologies and plays a central R&D role within the company, is seeking an enthusiastic, innovative, and goal-oriented individual. The candidate should be proactive in problem solving and possesses technical leadership and communication skills that will lead and transition new technologies from the laboratory to the business units to help maintain and grow my client as the global leader in connectivity.  The position is in Harrisburg, PA.
    Responsibilities & Qualifications:
    Work with business units development engineers and manufacturing organizations to transition successful technology to large-scale manufacturing and the end-user market
    Ability to be a technical expert, lead projects or serve as a team member of complex, large, or high impact projects
    Develop creative and innovative approaches for manufacturing processes
    Troubleshoot technical problems, determine and execute resolution plans
    Create and/or contribute to project scoping, planning, budgeting and schedules
    Ability to perform proficiently in all phases of the project from concept to transfer
    Works on technically complex and high impact projects and deliverables, where ingenuity and basic business understanding is required. Applies advanced/expert knowledge of specialized discipline(s) and methods to support internal/external customer needs
    Independently researches broad, diverse, complex issues outside technical capability; selects most efficient methods/techniques to achieve objectives. Simultaneously handles multiple, demanding, unstructured assignments and solves complex high impact problems requiring expert specialized skill, multi-disciplinary knowledge, and basic business understanding. Responsibility includes definition, completion, technical quality, and securing consistency across assigned area(s)
    Applies knowledge in a broad range of topics within technical discipline, reflecting in-depth knowledge of 1-2 sub-specialty areas
    Demonstrates advanced/expert knowledge in a single or multi-disciplinary area, and balances constraints/opportunities of 2-3 adjacent technical disciplines with primary technical area(s)
    Assist in developing long-range plans for incorporating new processes and selecting new equipment
    Keep-up-to date with latest manufacturing technologies through conducting independent literature searches, conferences, networking and implement these innovative technologies within the organization
    Use engineering principles in assessing viability of new technologies
    Provide recommendations to internal businesses about innovative manufacturing technologies that will be implemented for production
    Transfer new processes from the laboratory to the manufacturing environment and establishing robust high quality manufacturing principles

    Qualifications required:
    Ph.D., preferably in Polymer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, with exceptional academic achievements or relevant work experience, or an M.S. degree with work experience, and be familiar with mechanical design and injection molding methodologies.
    Candidates with prior knowledge in fiber optics connector manufacturing are strongly encouraged to apply.
    Ability to communicate effectively throughout all levels within the organization. Excellent multi-tasking and organizational skills
    Proficient in Microsoft word software including but not limited to: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Project
    Preferred CAD experience with AutoCAD, Pro/E, or SpaceClaim
    Preferred FEM experience such as ANSYS, Moldflow
    Preferred statistical software experience with Minitab
    Strong analytical thinker with excellent problem solving skills
    Knowledgeable and hands on experience in injection molding or other plastics related processing (extrusion, thermoforming, compression, blow molding, compounding), secondary operations, value added operations, automation, assembly, mold design, utilization of high end precision machining equipment, additive manufacturing
    Preferred characterization experience or knowledge of AFM, SEM
    Preferred material analysis experience or knowledge of DSC, TGA, DMA
    Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and guidance
    Demonstrate ability to work within a team environment
    Solid fundamental understanding of: polymer structure property relationships; polymer properties in regarding to physical, electrical, chemical and other properties; heat transfer of various materials; fluid flow of polymers
              Willingness to travel domestically and internationally.
    The MUST HAVES for this position are:
    PhD degree or MS degree
    Preferably in Polymer Engineering but also Mechanical Engineers will be considered
    Experience with injection molding process
    Experience with optical connector molding
    Experience with polymer characterization techniques
    Solid understanding of polymer structure-properties relationships
    Some design experience (for example design for manufacturability)
    IF you or a friend/colleague are interested in one of these (or similar) great job opportunities, please respond with resume and cover-letter explaining why you are a fit and for which position. Resume submissions, referrals and suggestions are always welcomed.

    Best Regards,

    Nicholas Meyler
    GM/President, Technology
    Wingate Dunross, Inc.
    ph (818)597-3200 ext. 211

    Field Application Engineer – Optics (Menlo Park, CA)  (9/13)

    The Data Communications business unit of my client has an opportunity for a Field Application Engineer in Menlo Park, CA to support a key customer at their location. The business unit has determined that, for key customers, having knowledgeable engineering presence on-site is critical to long-term success in supporting the customers’ product and design needs and in advancing the Company’s interests.

    The resident engineer will serve as a technical resource for customers’ engineers and program / platform managers by providing technical expertise, design work, product application information, and general support for strategic customers. The resident engineer will be a significant interface between Company’s sales and engineering organizations and customers.

    Key Job Responsibilities:

    • Be the initial point of contact for customer’s local engineering group
    • Function as the technical interface between the customer’s engineers and the engineering community on all existing products as well as focus on new product development opportunities
    • Actively contribute to new product development opportunities for company at the customer with the ability to provide conceptual design
    • Interact directly with customer account(s) on a daily basis and coordinate the deliverables related to customer projects including new products, modifications to existing products, test studies, signal integrity modeling, and any other development efforts
    • Establish relationships with key customer engineering contacts and decision makers
    • Gain a solid understanding of customer’s product set and future roadmap
    • Gain a solid understanding of products and future roadmap
    • Use VOC (Voice of Customer) tools to understand the accounts’ technology, strategic direction, and electronic connectivity needs. Communicate these needs to internal Electronics teams to initiate projects
    • Support a cross-functional, global team specific to the customer. The team may consist of a Program Manager, Quality Engineering, Logistics, Procurement, Operations, and Sales.
    • Penetrate customers’ design cycle to be involved in the early stages of new product / platform planning
    • Work closely with internal engineering teams to insure that they are meeting the customers’ needs and be a conduit to the customer
    • Represent and be an advocate for the customer.
    • Support product & process qualifications
    • Support existing applications and products including tolerance analysis, application evaluation, and testing

    The ideal candidate should have the following qualifications:
    • BS degree in Engineering required (Electrical / Mechanical / Systems discipline preferred)
    • Experience with optical transceivers and testing methods / equipment (either as a designer, user, qualifier, etc)
    • Experience with both single mode and multimode transceivers
    • Familiarity with Ethernet, infiniband, and other high speed data protocols / standards
    • Experienced with 10G and above data rates
    • Familiarity with structured optical cabling
    • Familiarity with standard optical connects (mpo, LCD, sc, FC)
    • Demonstrated ability to document customer product concept in variety of electronic formats
    • Proficient in product data management tools
    • Demonstrated ability to provide effective project leadership
    • Demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize
    • Strong interpersonal & negotiating skills
    • Excellent oral and written communication skills demonstrated by the ability to communicate across all levels within and outside of the organization
    • Computer proficient including 3D Design Applications
    • Ability and willingness to travel as required, mainly regionally
    • Ability and willingness to be a remote-based employee with limited personal interaction with immediate supervisor
    • Successful candidates will have strong ability to work independently
    • Outstanding networking, influencing, and listening skills
    • Additional industry based skills a benefit:
    • At least 4 – 8 years of engineering experience in connector knowledge
    • Knowledge of general manufacturing processes of stamping, molding, plating, and automated product assembly desired
    • Experience in development engineering and participation in full product development cycle
    • Prefer candidates with some knowledge of electronics components, preferably in one or more of our product lines (connectors, electronics relays, wire & cable)
    NOTES (new information): There are two scenarios for this Field Applications position. We will certainly consider any highly-qualified designers who have optical transceiver and backplane experience, who wish to become field applications/customer-focused engineers. Also, we would consider junior Optical Engineers/Electrical Engineers who have recently graduated or are Post-Docs. Here are the outlines of the two categories we are looking for:

    Nicholas Meyler
    GM/President, Technology
    Wingate Dunross Associates, Inc.
    ph (818)597-3200 ext. 211

    Construction Company looking for a few good people. (Plainfield, IN) (9/13)

    CSU Inc. is looking for the following applicants. Individuals with experience in Horizontal Directional Drilling, Fiber Optics, Telecommunications or Water Main Installations. Top candidates have experience with one of the following skills: HDD Locating, Operation of a Directional Drill, Drop Plow, Vac-Truck, Backhoe, Mini Excavator or General Labor. Class A CDL a plus. We are also accepting applications for candidates that have a strong work ethic and would like to work in a fast paced environment. We offer Matching Retirement, 100% Paid Medical Premiums, Paid Vacation, Holidays and Incentive Plan. If this sounds like something you would be interested in please call 317-972-0802, go to and fill out an online employment application or fax your resume to 317-839-8597. We are located at 3919 Clarks Creek Road, Plainfield IN.
    POSTING DATE: 9/9/2013

    This position is responsible for planning, laying out, participating in, and supervising work on multiple job sites. This position performs supervisory responsibilities from pre-construction meetings to final walk outs. This position assists with the scheduling, supervision of field crews and communication with the project managers of their designated projects. The Superintendent is a working supervisor, meaning non-supervisory time may be dedicated towards Foreman activities.
    ·        Travels to job sites to ensure work is progressing to schedule and acts as a referral point for Foremen when questions arise.

    ·        Assists the Operations Manager to develop an effective plan and schedule for completion of project following a logical pattern for utilization of labor, material, and equipment in conjunction with construction/GC schedule.

    ·        Coordinates work of employees working on various phases of projects.

    ·        Forecasts, oversees, and actively supervises all assigned labor efforts, equipment & material requirements.

    ·        Tracks timeline of jobs to stay on schedule.

    ·        Reports to the Operations Manager about progress and any necessary modifications of plans that seem indicated, including any out-of-scope work is not completed until a change order has been issued.

    ·        Communicates regularly with project managers, customers and engineers.

    ·        Ensures project documents (as-builds) are complete, current, and stored properly.

    ·        Ensures all work is completed to applicable code in a safe manner.

    ·        Attends coordination, planning, & progress meetings on-site as required.

    ·        Plans and lays out work from verbal and written instructions; oversees the work of CSU personnel.

    ·        Other duties as assigned.

    Work under pressure and coordinate numerous activities and groups of people who need to cooperate to achieve maximum efficiency.
    David Staten
    Business Development

    Utility Contractor
    3919 Clarks Creek Road
    Plainfield, Indiana 46168
    Office: 317-839-8588
    Fax: 317-839-8597
    Cell: 317-612-4443   
    ~WBE Construction Contractor~

    FOA lists jobs and contracting opportunities on our LinkedIn groups. CFOTs are invited to join.

     Do listings in the FOA Newsletter 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."



     FOA Logo Merchandise

    New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
    FOA T Shirt
    The FOA has created a store on 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.


    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 36,000 CFOTs (December 2011) have been certified by over 250 schools. Since our founding in July, 1995, we have dedicated ourselves to promoting fiber optics and professionalism in fiber optics personnel, focusing on education and certification. We are continuing to add new schools and more CFOTs as users of fiber optics learn that a CFOT is the indication of a professional, well-trained fiber optic technician. Now with FTTH (fiber to the home) finally taking off, demand for CFOTs is rising and schools are responding by expanding programs rapidly.
    The FOA now has approved programs in place at 200+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems and AFL (and their new acquisition "The Light Brigade" for their installation training programs) and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at


    Understanding FOA Certifications
    To answer questions on FOA certifications, we have several web pages:
    Overview of FOA certifications
    Training Requirements - What Schools Are Teaching
    Reading these will help you understand what each FOA certification covers and how to prepare for them.

    Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

    The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files 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 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.



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

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

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

    Return to The FOA Home Page

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