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July 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

Lennie's Guide - 25th Anniversary Edition
Progress of FTTH/FTTB
A Sky Full of Satellites
Bye, Bye Night Sky
5G or 5 "Gee Whiz"?
Fighting Misinformation
Fix What You Got
Why Not Fiber
More On High Fiber Count Cables
IMSA CFOT Course
POF 2019
Bend Insensitive SM Fiber
FOA Guide Updates
FOA School Offers Toolkit With Online Training
Worth Reading
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
 "Quickstart Guides"
 videos 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


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.

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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

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

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FOA master instructor Tom Collins will be teaching a combined IMSA/FOA CFOT course at the IMSA Forum & Expo in New Orleans August 18-22. 

More information on the IMSA Conference classes here

If you are attending the IMSA conference, visit the FOA booth to get a free copy of the new "Lennie Lightwave's Guide."

















There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth







































There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth















































There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth




























































There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth


Introducing Lennie Lightwave's Guide - 25th Anniversary Edition

FOA has reprinted "Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.

Lennie 25th Anniversary

At the first "Fiber U Fiber Optic Installer's Conference" in 1993 at the Sheraton Music City hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, Lennie Lightwave was introduced as the mascot of Fiber U. Everybody loved Lennie and he (as a life-size cardboard cutout) became a popular part of the Fiber U conferences.

Original Lennie with Friends

The original Lennie with friends.

Lennie showed up on lots of the Fiber U training materials, advertisements and the next year, 1994, on the cover of a new printed booklet, an introduction to fiber optics called "Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optic Installations."

"
Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optic Installations" became the #1 source for beginners trying to get started in fiber optics. "Lennie's Guide, " as it was known, was a hit. In the next 5 years, more than 60,000 copies were printed and distributed. Lennie's Guide also became a website in 1994, one of the earliest commercial websites, in fact. And in 1997, it was used as the basis of the first "Fiber U Online," one of the earliest web-based training websites.

No wonder Lennie was once called "the best known guy in fiber optics" by a magazine editor.

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the introduction of
Lennie's Guide, FOA decided to print a 25th anniversary edition. We thought about reprinting the original Lennie exactly as it first appeared, but decided to make it just as relevant as it was 25 years ago and update it to the latest fiber optic technology. But if you're curious, here is a couple of scans from the early Lennie.

Lennie inside

Len-shiva

Don't you love the funky typestyle and the crude bitmap graphics?

Many of you have used the current online version of Lennie's Guide on the FOA website. Now you can have a slick printed version - real paper - you can hold in your hand and read. Leave a copy on your desktop to impress your friends, or on the table in your company's reception area instead of out-of-date magazines. Give them to your customers and employees to help them learn fiber optics. Use it to prepare for FOA certifications. FOA will be giving them away at conferences like the IMSA Annual Conference or the IBEW/eTA National Training Institute later this summer.

You can get your own copies of
Lennie Lightwave's Guide at Amazon.com, only $9.95 each US$.

Or visit FOA at a trade show. We'll be at NTI in Ann Arbor and IMSA in New Orleans this summer.



Each month FOA reads hundreds of articles in magazines and online to keep up with tech news. We also get lots of information sent to us from our contacts worldwide and newsletters. That becomes the basis of much of what we write about in the FOA Newsletter. While we report on it, we also sometimes make "editorial comments," connecting the dots to help you draw conclusions that might not be obvious if you did not read as many different viewpoints as we do. Sometimes things just need more analysis and explanation...like this month. It could be we're editorializing. JH/Editor.



Progress Of FTTH/FTTB Connections (in some places, not so much in others...)

Spoiler Alert - if you are in the US, UK, Germany or a lot of other major countries, not so good.

FTTH Progress 

This slide was presented at Fiber Connect LATAM 2019 by Eduardo Jedruck of Commscope. Click here for a larger version where you can read the country names.

Many countries in the world are making great progress in connecting their people to high speed Internet over fiber optics. But the bigger, richer, more tech oriented countries are lagging further behind. Is that because they are moving on to focusing on or investing in 5G wireless? Or is it swarms of satellites?

If you read the news, you would think that nobody, at least in the US, is doing FTTH anymore, it's all 5G wireless or satellites.

The news is full of stories about 5G - way too many to link here - and in the last few weeks stories about swarms of low Earth orbit satellites proposed by SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb, and I'm sure there are more.

It's hard to quantify the costs of all these schemes for communications, but estimates are hundreds of billions for 5G and tens of billions for satellites. Where is the justification for these speculative ventures over boring old fiber that we know works?

For those of us in the fiber business, we benefit from it all - every one of these schemes we talk about below need a gigantic fiber backbone to work. But why not spend some more money on connecting subscribers with fiber instead of this:

A Sky Full Of Satellites?

About a decade ago, there were two satellite Internet service providers, Hughes and Viasat. Both used large bus-sized satellites in geosynchronous orbit. That means the satellites were far enough from the earth that their orbits kept them stationary over a location on the planet. Both worked pretty well, except that they had limited bandwidth so they could not allow streaming video. But that made little difference to many users because they were in rural areas and got TV from a satellite TV service provider.

These new companies (
SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb) are proposing something different - thousands of very small satellites in low-earth orbit - a swarm is a good description - that connect to users as they pass overhead and then let the next satellite that is in range pick up the connection.

This concept is nothing new. Remember Iridium? It was the same basic concept, started in the late 1980s by Motorola and reached operation in 1998. It was a complete failure because the market for phones that cost thousands of dollars and service cost about as much every month was small. Think the very rich and governments.

Now 20 years later, satellites are cheaper, commercial companies are building and launching rockets at cheaper costs, so the idea is back in vogue. Some speculation is that the market for private rocket launches is too low to sustain a company, so these plans for thousands of satellites could justify their existence.

And we do mean thousands of satellites. Swarms. The FCC has already approved 4225 satellites for Space X (they are talking about 12,000) and Amazon has applied for permission to launch 3,236. OneWeb out of the UK has proposed 648 satellites. One startup, appropritely named Swarm, has already had its wrists slapped for launching several satellites without a license - and fined $900,000.

The people behind these ventures are beginning to realize that the market for their services is only rural customers since cities worldwide have fiber or wireless services or both. Is this a viable economic gamble?

And that's not the only negative point.

Bye,Bye, Night Sky

Astronomers are not thrilled with this idea. It has been bad enough to fight increasingly bright skies from city lights, making classic observatories like Lick in the Silicon Valley area, Mt. Wilson in LA. or Palomar further South in Southern California less and less effective. Now they are facing a sky full of satellites and many are complaining loudly.

Take a look at this article from NPR showing a recent photo from Lowell Observatory
in Flagstaff, AZ, USA by student Victoria Girgis. This swarm of SpaceX Starlink satellites obliterates the view of the stars. Astronomers are worried that if these plans go foward, it may be the end of ground-based astronomy.

Swarm

Starlink sattelites streak across a photo of distant galaxies taken by Lowell observatory - Victoria Girgis/Lowell ObservatoryI (courtesy of Lowell Observatory.)

From the NPR article: "Professional astronomers are trying to take lots of pictures of really faint things far out in space. While they've had to contend with satellites in the past, Starlink is something different entirely, says Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and the Smithsonian. The constellation will be made up of as many as 12,000 satellites. That's "potentially as many visible satellites moving around on a dark night as there are stars visible," McDowell says."

Not only that, but it may make finding constellations in the night sky impossible. You will look up and see points of light as bright as the stars - all the satellites - moving all over the sky.

(Full disclosure: Your editor, JH, was trained as an astronomer and worked in the field for 4 years before moving to electronics companies. He still loves looking at the night sky.)

5G or 5 "Gee Whiz"?

The trade press has been full of articles about 5G, articles loaded with claims that challenge one's sensibility. In fact the trade press appears to be getting tired of all the claims about 5G and is beginning to write articles challenging those claims. Some are very worthwhile reading.

In the midst of all this 5G news, the title of one article caught our eye and made us smile. "
"The ‘Race to 5G’ Is Just Mindless Marketing Bullshit" and subtitled "Buried beneath the hype around 5G rests a growing sense that wireless carriers are aggressively over-selling the technology’s potential."

Thus the title of this section. Definition of gee-whiz: designed to arouse wonder or excitement or to amplify the merits or significance of something especially by the use of clever or sensational language. Miriam-Webster Dictionary

Here in America, we have another word for this....

Fighting Misinformation

"Misinformation is everywhere. These scientists can teach you to fight BS."  That's the title of an article in the Washington Post on June 24, 2019. The article is all about two professors at the University of Washington, Carl Bergstron and Jevin West, who have started a very popular course to help students identify and call out misinformation. The course is called "Calling Bullshit."

I suppose if the Washington Post can do a serious article on this topic, we can too. Ed.


Perhaps you have heard about this course already; it's been on quite a few news shows besides the article in the Washington Post. And be sure to watch the YouTube video of one of their lectures here  or this one which explains Brandolini's BS Asymmetry Principle "The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

The timing of this article in the Post is particularly relevant to the news today. I'm not talking about the "fake news" centered on politics, I'm talking about the hype about 5G, and to a lesser extent AI, IoT, autonomous vehicles and a number of other tech topics.

Remember our comments in last month's newsletter in an article about why we could not understand some writing on tech topics? In the end, we said "And what I could read often left me befuddled. For those of you not familiar with American slang, befuddled is a bit like confused or not able to think clearly. I literally read terms like "actionable intelligence," "hyperbolic visions," "parallel technologies" and my favorite, "disruptive analysis."

Don't miss the Dilbert cartoon from June 27 - jargon cancelling headphones.

We searched the phrase "how is hype different from bullshit" and one of the first results was a presentation by Ian Bogost at a conference at Wharton Business School. The quote I like is from Princeton Philosopher Harry Frankfurt's book "On Bullshit" a NYTimes bestseller.

On BS

(Seriously - check it out on Amazon - it has been a NYTimes bestseller and it looks great sitting on your desk next to your copy of my book "Delusional Management."Ed.)

Frankfurt argues that bullshit has nothing to do with truth. Rather, bullshit is used to conceal, to impress or to coerce. Unlike liars, bullshitters have no use for the truth. All that matters to them is hiding their ignorance or bringing about their own benefit.

Ever hear the saying "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."?

Sounds like hype to me. Others agree. Witness Karl Bode's article at Vice titled "The ‘Race to 5G’ Is Just Mindless Marketing Bullshit" and subtitled "Buried beneath the hype around 5G rests a growing sense that wireless carriers are aggressively over-selling the technology’s potential."

Of course there is nothing new under the sun. Only a few years ago, we were transitioning from 3G to 4G/LTE. Here is an interesting quote from a report on 4G from Grudi Associates in 2012: "While most people are aware of the terms, few have any idea what 3G, 4G and LTE actually mean. To complicate matters further, there are no industry or governmental requirements regulating how the terms can be used in advertising. That leaves it up to the carriers to apply the labels as they see fit. That is what creates the confusion and controversy. Some of carriers define some of the terms differently, which makes it very difficult for customers to compare “apples to apples.” They go on to point out: "AT&T sets a much lower standard than Verizon Wireless for the speed of the devices and service it labels as 4G. The vast majority of AT&T’s 4G service is far slower than Verizon’s 4G service – as little as one quarter the speed or less. The reason is that most of AT&T’s 4G technology is different from, and inferior to, Verizon Wireless’s."

And what did Verizon say about 4G LTE? "With 4G LTE technology, businesses can address mobile workers’ requirements for fast, reliable access to in-office business applications and services—including video conferencing, powerful wireless applications and direct access to files and customer-specific applications—on the go." (See for yourself -it's still online - https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/articles/4g-lte-enables-business/)

Remember back in January, AT&T changed the "LTE" logo on some of their phones to "5G E" and got so much kickback from their competitors? They produced a slick web page telling us how great "5G Evolution" was.  Well, Tech Republic reports that AT&T's purported upgrade to "5G E" is actually slower than the LTE networks of Verizon and T-Mobile, according to an OpenSignal report published recently.   Fundamentally, and by AT&T's own admission, 5G E is LTE. An AT&T spokesperson previously confirmed to TechRepublic that this service is delivered using the LTE Advanced standard.

AT&T isn't the only one doing some questionable promotion. The advertisement below showed up in the LA Times a couple of weeks ago. There has been a lot of press recently about the health effects of wireless communications, especially at the higher frequencies that are being touted for 5G. So if the public impression is that wireless radiation causes cancer (see
here and here), what better way to counter it than by running ads that 5G might help cure cancer. Of course the real solution is not wireless but fiber like Verizon's FiOS, which Verizon promoted previously. But Verizon seems to have pushed FiOS FTTH aside.

Verizon ad

Those ads, by the way, cost Verizon a lot of money - maybe $200-400,000 based on LATimes ad rates. And they ran TV ads during the NBA finals on the same topic that probably cost over half a million dollars. Enough to connect thousands more new FiOS subscribers.

Fix What You Got Before Moving On?

Another article that caught our attention was titled "Forget 5G- Our 4G Network Lags the World" which says "The U.S. ranked among the top five nations following South Korea, Japan, Norway and Hong Kong with 93% 4G connectivity. It remains far behind in metrics such as download/upload speeds, video experience and latency, according to data collected by Opensignal, a UK-based firm which specializes in measuring wireless coverage mapping and metrics."

When you realize that 5G is still not a standard and still undergoing feasibility field trials, doesn't it make sense to keep the 4G/LTE networks working properly before abandoning them? No, that would be too easy. Besides, as this article points out, there's 6G coming too! The Race to 5G...and 6G: As carriers reveal their 5G plans, some in the industry are already looking ahead to 6G.


And finally: Google internet balloon spinoff Loon still looking for its wings Reuters


Why Not Fiber?

All these satellite and wireless schemes still require lots of fiber, so FOA CFOTs will find plenty of work no matter what happens. But it makes us wonder what could happen if all that money went into simply connecting everybody on fiber.




There's more below....

.. plus some really interesting technical questions discussed in depth






New:

The FOA 2018-19 Update Page covers all the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter in 2018-19. 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 from our readers.




Dealing With High Fiber Count Cables - Continued Updates

Continuing our ongoing research on high fiber count cables, last month we were invited to visit Corning's OSP test and training facility to experience the processes of installing these cables for ourselves. We had the opportunity to handle some of these cables ourselves and see how experienced techs worked with this cable.

Once you get a chance to handle this cable and see how big, stiff and heavy it really is, you understand that it's quite different from any fiber optic cable you have worked with, with the possible exception of some hefty 144/288 fiber loose tube cable that's armored and double jacketed. With a bend radius of 15X the diameter of the cable, the minimum bend radius of a 1728 fiber cable is 15" (375mm) and that's a 30" (750mm - 3/4 of a meter) diameter. Just the reel it's shipped on is outsized - it should have a ~750mm (30 inch) core and will be probably ~1.8m (6 feet ) in overall diameter. 3300 feet (1km) of this cable will weigh 550-750kg (1200-1700 pounds.) and the reel will weigh another ~300-400kg (700-900 pounds). Will that fit on your loading dock? Can you handle a ton of cable? (Metric or English)

I tried bending one of the 1728 fiber cables and (with the manufacturer’s OK) tried to break it. The 1728 fiber cable I was bending took an enormous amount of muscle to bend, and when I got down to about an 8 inch radius, it broke, with a sound like a tree limb of similar diameter cracking. In the field, that would have been an expensive incident.

The stiffness of these cables affects the choice of other components and hardware. You will not fit service loops into a typical handhole, you need a large vault like the one shown in the photos taken at Corning. You will also need close to 100 feet (30m) of cable for a service loop. You may need to figure 8 the cable on an intermediate pull and that will require lots of space and a crew to lift the cable to flip it over.

This 1728 fiber cable is stiff, does not easily twist and only bends in one direction because there are stiff strength members on opposite sides of the cable. Placing it into a manhole or vault and fitting service loops into it is not easy. In this case, it helped to have two people and one was the trainer. You need to have a "feel" for the cable - how it bends and twists - to make it fit. The limits of bend radius, stiffness and unidirectional bending makes it necessary to work carefully with the cable to fit loops into the vault. Sometimes it's necessary to pull a loop out and try in a different way to get it to fit. But it can be done as you see at the right.

cable handling
 
Pulling the cable out of conduit in the vault without damaging it also requires care. You can see in the back the orange duct coming into this vault. When pulling the cable, it's important to not kink the cable while pulling it out of a duct. A length of stiff duct can be attached to the incoming duct to limit bend radius. Capstans, sheeves and radius cable sheaves need to be chosen to fit the required cable bend radius. A a radius cable sheave with small rollers can damage the cable under tension and are bot a good choice unless the rollers are used with a piece of conduit to just set the bend radius.

Corning also showed us a new feature of their RocketRibbon Cables. A high fiber count cable has a lot of fibers, even a lot of ribbons, so identifying ribbons can be a problem. In addition to printing data on each ribbon, Corning now tints the ribbons with color codes to simplify identification. Great idea.

tinted ribbons

More on high fiber count cables and our continuing coverage.



Get IMSA/FOA CFOT Certified

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FOA master instructor Tom Collins will be teaching a combined IMSA/FOA CFOT course at the IMSA Forum & Expo in New Orleans August 18-22. More information on the IMSA Conference classes here.

If you are attending the IMSA conference, visit the FOA booth to get a free copy of the new "Lennie Lightwave's Guide."


POF 2019

The 28th International Plastic Optical Fibers (POF 2019) will be held at Keio University Hiyoshi Campus, Yokohama, Japan from November 20th to 22nd. Objective & scope of the conference is to discuss the latest developments of POF and a variety of POF related applications. During the conference, there will be Special Session featuring lectures by world’s leading experts and demonstrations over the advantage of POF in occasion of 10th anniversary of Keio University Photonics Research Institute (KPRI).
More on  POF2019 in Yokohama.



Another view of Bend-Insensitive Fiber (SM)

These photos came from a reader via social media. Can you spot the BI-SMF?

BI-SMF

That's the bend-insensitive SMF on the right. See the light colored ring of the lower index "trenches" that create the BI characteristics of the fiber?



   

More Than 100,000 FOA Certifications

ribbon splicing
Ian Gordon Fudge of FIBERDK teaches ribbon splicing on a high fiber count cable (see additional photo below)

FOA keeps track of the number of individuals we have certified each month and puts that in a graphic you will find in the left hand column of this newsletter and on several other pages about FOA certifications. Of course, we also have a database of every person who has taken an FOA certification, so we can look up anyone who has had an FOA certification since the FOA started 24 years ago. This month while we were updating our database of those who have FOA certifications, we noticed how many of those individuals had also received other certifications. So we searched our database and were surprised at the results.

FOA has more than a dozen specialist certifications with splicing, testing, premises cabling, design, outside plant (OSP) and fiber to the home (FTTH) being the most popular. We searched our database and found out that FOA has granted over 102,000 certifications to the 77,000+ individuals who hold FOA certifications. Many of our CFOTs and CPCTs have taken additional training either through FOA approved schools or through our Work-to-Cert program and qualified for these specialist certifications.

FOA is continually updating the materials in our certifications and references like the FOA Guide and courses on Fiber U to keep them current. We've just updated splicing and connectors, for example. If you want to upgrade your skills and get certified, look at the FOA specialist certifications.

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.

V2X

Interested in the infrastructure of smart cities as they deal with the future of connected and automated vehicles? This comprehensive educational conference combines presentations, panel discussions and tutorials, along with visionary keynote speakers, to provide an end-to-end understanding of the infrastructure requirements and business opportunities in V2X systems. The meeting is run by SmartGig Media who ran the excellent SmartGig Cities conferences a couple of years ago. FOA plans to attend because this is one big aspect of the evolution of metro communications and relates to the interest of our new certification partner IMSA, the traffic engineers.

Learn more


Welcome To The Latest FOA School

Energeon, Alicante Spain, FOA-Approved School #770

Specializing in training for FTTH.



 Dealing With High Fiber Count Cables - Continued Updates

May 2019

We've had a continuing feature on high fiber count cables in the FOA Newsletter and we now have some interesting photos to show you. Corning generously sent FOA some samples of 1728 and 3456 "RocketRibbonTM" cable. We took some photos and must admit that these cables are fascinating updates on the traditional fiber optic cables.

high fiber count cable


Here are Corning RocketRibbon 1728 fiber (bottom) and 3456 fiber (top) cables. To get an idea of these cables size, look at this photo:

cable

The 3456 fiber cable is 32mm diameter, 1.3 inches. The 1728 fiber cable is 25mm, 1 inch diameter.

These are cables made from conventional "hard" ribbons, not the "flexible" ribbons used on some cable designs. As a result of using hard ribbons, the fibers are arranged in regular patterns to get high density.

cable

These are the tubes of ribbons from these cables. Each of those tubes of ribbons has the equivalent of 24 ribbons of 12 fibers each (actually 8 X 12 fibers and 8 by 24 fibers stacked up) for 288 fibers total. The 1728 fiber cable has 6 tubes and a center foam spacer, with 144 ribbons total. The 3456 fiber version has 12 tubes and no spacers, 288 fiber ribbons total.

What amazes us is the density of fibers.

cable

We calculated the "fiber density" of this 3456 fiber cable based on 200 micron buffered fibers and determined that 54% of the cable is fiber. Compare that to a typical 144 fiber loose tube cable, which is about 14% fiber or a 144 fiber microcable which is about 36% fiber.

Looking at the end of this cable reminded us of nothing so much as this PR photo from AT&T from their intro of fiber in 1976:

cables

Not the fiber, the dense cable of copper pairs!

Of course the cable is much lighter than copper but much heaver than you are used to with fiber - it weighs 752 kg/km or about 1/2 pound per foot. And it's stiff. Very stiff. The minimum bend radius is 15 times the cable diameter or 480mm (~19 inches), about a meter or yard in diameter.

As we noted in the photo above, Ian Gordon Fudge of FIBERDK taught some data center techs how to handle a 1728 fiber Sumitomo cable with a slotted core. Ian sent FOA this photo to illustrate the number of fibers in the cable he was using for training. Impressive!

Fiber DK

Here is the slotted core that separates the flexible fiber ribbons
in the Sumitomo cable:

slotted core


Continuing...

We ran this first in the March 2019 FOA Newsletter and asked for feedback. We have some feedback and have been talking to people in the industry also. We thought we'd share some of what we've been told and see if others agree. Feel free to comment!

High Fiber Count Cables may not be for everyone. Maybe only for a very few. A single cable that has as many fibers as 12-144 fiber cables (1728 fibers) in a cable with a diameter of only twice that of a conventional 144 fiber cable can present challenges.
  • First of all, the cost - it's high. Fiber may be inexpensive but with so many fibers, the cable becomes expensive. You do not want to waste cable at this price. Engineering the cable length precisely will save lots of money.And it's worse for higher fiber counts.
  • Likewise, making mistakes when preparing the cable for termination can be expensive.
  • The cable may require special preparation procedures to separate fibers for termination. Most use new methods of identifying cables and bundles.
  • Besides skill, the tech working with high fiber count cables needs lots of patience.
  • Splicing multiple cables at a joint can get complicated keeping all fibers straight.
  • These cables will generally use 200 micron buffered fiber and often a flexible ribbon instead of a typical rigid ribbon structure to reduce fiber sizes. This may complicate splicing as the methodology to splice the flexible fibers and splice 200 micron fibers to regular 250 micron fibers is a work in progress.
  • Splicing 200 to 250 micron fibers may be easier with the flexible ribbon designs which make it easier to spread fibers to the same spacing.
  • We've heard the splicing time for flexible ribbons is about twice that of conventional rigid ribbons. So if you use that table below, you may need to double your ribbon splicing estimates when working with flexible ribbons.
Agree? Disagree? Comment?

ORIGINAL Article: March 2019

FOA has recently gotten several inquires about these new high fiber count cables - 1728, 3456 or even  6,912 fibers. Like this one from Prysmian with 1728 fibers:

Prysmian 1728 fibers

We've been looking for directions on how to deal with high fiber count cables. Several contractors tell us ribbon splicing is the way to go, and most of these cables now use a version of the new ribbon types that are flexible. We've  put together this table from some articles on splicing ribbons:
ribbon splicing

Is that realistic? We've heard the flexible ribbons may take twice as long as the conventional ribbons.

Here's links to some of the information we've been reading and watching online:
Corning sticks with solid ribbons in high density cables.
Corning ribbon splice closure for 1728 fibers.
Directions from Corning on ultra high-density cabinets
Designing a high fiber count cable with flexible ribbons - SEI.
Fujikura (Japan) Highest density Optical Fiber Cable.
OFS Presentation on 200micron buffer, bend insensitive, high fiber count cables.
Ribbonizing 250 micron loose tube fibers for splicing, AFL Fujikura. (video).  (Written instructions too.)
Splicing AFL "SpiderWeb ribbon cable.
Ribbonizing 250 micron loose tube fibers for splicing, Sumitomo. (video).  
Procedures for ribbonizing and de-ribbonizing fibers.  (Telonix)
Some things you need to know about splicing 200micron buffered fibers.

Some things you need to know about the new ribbon cables (Prysmian)
More coming

We'd like more  information for a future story on these cables, new ribbon types and how installers deal with them. Share your experiences - email us at jim @foa.org.


FOA 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. When you go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.

Basic Fiber Optic Jargon, OSP Fiber Optic Jargon and Fiber Optic Jargon for managers.

FOA has a new page on Restoration
 
The updated Fiber Characterization page in the FOA Guide goes in to more depth on why fiber characterization is important, what tests need performing and how to interpret results.

Practically every page in the section of the FOA Guide on Fiber Optic Testing has been reviewed and updated, much of it based on the new FOA textbook on testing. This includes pages on measuring power, fiber attenuation, connector or splice loss and cable plant loss. Browse through the testing section and see what's new.

We've started with a page in the FOA Guide on Fiber Optic Network Management that describes what our advisors think is important and created a page to introduce them to the language and technology of fiber optics which we call "Fiber Optic Jargon - Illustrated." Over time, we'll be expanding this section and create a Fiber U self-study course also.

FOA has created a new section of the FOA Guide on OSP Construction.

Inspecting and Cleaning Connectors.
Dirty connectors are one of the major problems in fiber optics, causing high connector loss, high reflectance and contaminating transceivers. Network operators claim that 15-50% of all network problems can be traced to dirty connectors causing connection problems.
FOA Guide section on inspecting and cleaning connectors.

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

FOA School Offers Toolkit With Online Training

Slayton tool kit

Slayton Solutions (FOA Approved School #156) is offering a simple fiber optic tool kit that includes a 29-piece set of fiber optic tools and a power meter along with training videos and online instruction for only $499. 29 Piece Kit includes all tools and devices a technician needs to install fiber optic connectors and test optical power.  Information on the kit is available on YouTube. You can contact them for more information at  slaytonsolutions@sbcglobal.net or https://www.fiberopticsinstitute.com







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.




Worth Reading - News Summary

The True Cost of Telco Damages (what backhoe fade or target practice can cost)

Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pole Attachment Policies and Issues, June 2019.

5G Features

A Big 5G Investment Cycle? Don't Hold Your Breath. "Based on our analysis, we believe that the conditions for an acceptable return on investment (ROI) on 5G infrastructure are poor. Moreover, the 5G investment ROI looks drastically lower than the ROI associated with prior wireless investment cycles -- specifically 3G and 4G." Why? It all comes down to flagging revenues in a saturated market.

5G Was Rushed to Market – It Shows.   But now, here in the middle of 2019, today's 5G networks in the US don't inspire much confidence.

How Should Building Owners Be Preparing for 5G?   


AT&T Has Become a New Kind of Media Giant.  AT&T has $200Billion of debt to service and a declining cellular market. (Chairman) Stephenson also must think about the phone business, though, because it remains his biggest business by far—and it’s not growing, putting AT&T’s stock price and its financial future under pressure. Fortune Magazine.
Fiber and lasers replace spark plugs in engine. Laser Focus World

Eight New Communities Become Fidelity Communications' Gig Cities (MO, AR, OK)  

Quayside, Toronto’s Google-linked smart city, draws opposition over privacy, costs,   Sidewalk Labs is proposing a data-driven city of tomorrow. Critics launched a protest campaign.

Ckearfield-FOA Certification Training Clearfield is now offering their customers an FOA CERTIFICATION course. This course provides a basic understanding of fiber optic technology, as well as Clearfield product knowledge and how Clearfield’s integrated product systems work together in a fiber network.

Making the most of your FTTX investment (10G PON by ADTRAN)

5 Best Practices for Utilizing GIS Data.   (White paper) American City & County


Substandard Contractors - Fiber Optic Knowledge Doesn't Always Trickle Down  (EC Mag)

Preparing For WiFi 6.  (Siemon white paper on cabling for IEEE 802.11ax))

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 almost 20 years now. Electrical contractors do lots of fiber work and this column has covered some topics they are interested in including installation processes, network design, fiber applications and 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.



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?





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 Consultan


FOA Facts

FOA is a non-profit professional society chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. FOA is mostly known for  certifying 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 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.

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


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/.

ts
1-844-440-0047
www.fiberoptictraining.com





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

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.

 FOA Basic Fiber Optic Textbook 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



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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 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

APC Connectors
Q:
Why NOT make the use of APC connectors the new standard for all adds, moves and changes to any campus, MDU or similar application using single mode cable?
A: There is absolutely no reason not to use APC connectors other than the cost is higher and one must be careful if they are used in a cable plant that also has PCs or UPCs because they are incompatible. We recommend them all the time for short links like data centers, passive optical LANs and FTTH where runs of singlemode fiber are short. In fact they are very common in these networks today.

GPON
Q
What is normal Range for good power in an FTTH fiber?
A: The GPON specification for downstream power from the OLT is OLT transmitter power should be 0 to +6dBm and link attenuation in the range of 13 to 28dB, which says receiver power the ONT must be a maximum of 13 dB less than +6dBm or -7dBm and a minimum of 28 dB less than 0dBm or -28dBm, so -7 to -28dBm at the receiver.
Upstream, the similar calculation is ONT transmitter -4 to +2dBm  and the receive power at  theOLT is -11 to -32dBm.
See http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/appln/FTTH-PON.html for the full specifications for GPON.

T
esting Cable Before Installation
Q: Does the FOA publish a standard for assessing single-mode fiber optic cables, prior to use on a specific project?
A: The ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 fiber optic installation standard covers this in Section 4.1. It recommends visual inspection and testing if there is any suspicion of damage to the cable. Many contractors will test a couple of fibers with an OTDR before installing any cable, just for assurance. It requires an OTDR with a pigtail launch cable and a mechanical splice.


Cable Bend Radius
Q: We are working on project where we need to know difference between short term and long term bend radius for fiber optic cable?
A: The bend radius for cables is generally specified under two conditions - under stress, e. g. when being pulled, it is a radius 20 times the cable diameter. Relaxed, after installation, it is a radius 10 times the cable diameter. The relaxed specification, 10X, is considered a long term specification. Some of the new high fiber count cables have different specifications, sometimes 15X or 20X under either condition. Check with the manufacturer for their specific cable.

OTDR Resolution
Q: 
If testing a 40KM link with 1KM launch and receive cords should I be able to see the connector and cassette splice on each side? My OTDR setup is at 64KM, 300ns pulse and 10 second test at 1310/1550/1625. It shows as a single event so far but with the pulse width at 300ns won’t that combine the events into one event during analysis?
A: You will not be able to resolve a connector and splice close together, especially on a long link like that. 300ns is almost 60m pulse width! You will see an even of the splice and connector combined.


Transmission Wavelength Compatibility
Q:
We are looking at the specs for  two devices, A and B. The spec sheet of Device A lists it is capable of MM in 850nm wavelength. The spec sheet of Device B lists it can do MM at 1300nm. If I connect these devices via MM patch cord, what is the impact due to different wavelengths? Will the transmission suffer significant loss or since both are multimode, wavelength is irrelevant?
A: Fiber works at either wavelength, but transceivers do not. The attenuation rate for MM fiber is ~3dB/km at 850nm but only ~1dB/km at 1300nm. But  850nm receivers use silicon photodiodes while 1300 nm receivers use InGaAs. The 1300 detectors are not sensitive at 850nm and vice versa. So while the fiber works fine, the electronics do not. They should only be used with like devices.

 



Older questions are now available here on the FOA Guide.



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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  

Testing Optical Power In Communications Systems 





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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

Send your job openings to info @foa.org and we'll run them in all our social media.


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   




 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.

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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.

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.


 
Contact Us
 
The Fiber Optic Association

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



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



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