New YouTube Lecture on DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems)
FOA has developed a new training curriculum on DAS that shows how systems are designed and installed. In our training program, we pay particular attention to the overlay of DAS on premises cabling systems as they use similar cabling architectures and components. To complement the DAS curriculum, we have added a YouTube video, FOA Lecture 40, DAS - Distributed Antenna Systems.
The FOA DAS YouTube video looks at the need for a DAS, how they are designed, focusing on how they fit into the standard premises cabling system. Several standards groups are working on DAS standards, but given their typical speed, one should probably not expect to see standards for 4-5 years and when available will probably be obsolete like the TIA standard for data centers.
In the meantime, you can get information and training from the FOA. The FOA CFOS/DAS curriculum will be available through FOA approved schools and will become a online self-study course on Fiber U soon.
FOA Lecture 40, DAS - Distributed Antenna Systems
New Edition Of Eric Pearson's Fiber Optic "Cookbook"
Eric Pearson of Pearson Technologies Inc. announced the availability of Professional Fiber Optic Installation, v.9. This recently updated training, field, and reference text is a comprehensive presentation of the information essential to successful fiber optic installation. This text assists the installer in achieving the three elements of success: low power loss, high reliability, and low installation cost. This text is the ideal tool for three types: those who wish to become professional fiber optic installers; for instructors who want to use the most comprehensive training manual available; and for those who want to pass the Fiber Optic Association CFOT and CFOS/C/S/T certification examinations. Continuously developed and tested over the last 24 years during both fieldwork and training presentations, this text includes both the information essential to understand the reasons for the installation rules and detailed procedures for installation, inspection, certification, and testing of cables, connectors, and splices.
The new edition, #9, will be available on Amazon.com starting January 1. 2015.
Where In California, The Largest State In The US, Is Landline Broadband Available?
Only in about 1/10th of the land area of the state, actually. Of course, that is where the vast majority of the people live, but farmers or others in remote areas must rely on satellite Internet.
Source: California Public Utilities Commission.
But Many California Schools Have No Problem With Broadband - They Are Now Connected On a 100G Backbone
On 18 November 2014, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) announced the completion of a 100-Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) upgrade for the core backbone of the California Research & Education Network (CalREN), the 3,800-mile fiber-based advanced network currently serving the Golden State’s research and education communities, including the California K-12 System, California’s Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and many private universities including Caltech, Stanford, and USC, as well as a rapidly growing list of other institutions.
More on CENIC.
Where Do Optical Internet Providers Run Their Links?
Here is a map from Cogent Communications showing their links.
According to their website, Cogent's network stretches over 190 markets throughout 38 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, with over 57,900 route miles of long-haul fiber and more than 27,400 miles of metropolitan fiber serving over 590 metropolitan rings. Cogent's end-to-end optical transport network consists of IP-over-WDM fiber links running up to 580 Gbps intercity capacity and 320 Gbps on metropolitan rings, located in Cogent's major markets throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
On the IP layer, Cogent's Tier 1, IPv6 and MPLS enabled network has direct IP connectivity to more than 5,130 AS (Autonomous System) networks around the world with over 58,300 Gbps internetworking capacity. Being a facilities-based carrier, Cogent takes advantage of full end-to-end control over its transport and routing technology to provide reliable and scalable service.
Cogent gained public attention as part of the "net neutrality" debate going on in the US. In a recent NY TImes article by Jeff Sommer, Cogent was identified as part of the Netflix "throttling" story: " Cogent’s story became part of the net neutrality debate last winter, when a big "plumbing problem" afflicted the Internet. Thousands of Netflix customers complained that TV shows and movies were being interrupted by slow data transmissions. A report by the independent Measurement Lab Consortium traced those blockages to the interconnections between Cogent’s plumbing and the “last mile” Internet pipes run by cable and phone companies like Comcast and Verizon.
To bypass those blockages, Netflix, Cogent’s biggest customer, announced on Feb. 21 that it would start paying Comcast for an improved connection to the Comcast network — in effect reducing its video traffic through Cogent. Netflix has since made a similar deal with Verizon. Still, Netflix has protested such arrangements, saying the cable and telephone companies violated principles of net neutrality by charging it for adequate access.
Cogent has protested strenuously as well. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Nov. 7, the company estimated that it would spend $5 million in legal fees this year to “defend net neutrality,” a cost that has bitten into earnings. It also said the dispute had hurt revenue."
More about Cogent here.
OTDRs - What Is The Problem Here?
FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley, the source of our almost monthly OTDR articles, sent us this trace with some comments.
Attached is a close up trace that indicates the end of the 3000 meter and the end of the 30 meter and the end of the 9 foot, 2 inch section indicated at about 3.1 meters. Pretty accurate autotest software placing markers at events but the 9 ft, 2 inch length was not detected in the "Full Auto" mode at a preset pulse width of 100 ns which is what autotest chose. If this event was a break in the fiber the "Full Auto" mode at 100 ns would locate it at approximately 2886 meters at the end of the 30 meters not at the break 9 feet, 2 inches further.
This situation occurred in the field where an open fiber was located at a splice point (Full Auto) and the splicers re-spliced it several (maybe 4-5 times.) They could not establish continuity. Turns out that with a very short pulse width and very accurate cursor placement (at last sample point of backscatter before climbing the fresnel) the fiber under test was four feet shorter than the mean average of the rest of the fibers. That led to determining the fiber was nicked by a box cutter razor used to score the buffer tube.
How many times have we said something like this: "The use of "Full Auto" without training and a basic understanding can lead to a real mess in troubleshooting."
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.
Worth Reading: Fiber testing practices are constantly evolving
Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine, has written an excellent article on the challenges of fiber optic testing. The way Patrick states the problem is astute: "The medium has proven itself to be stable and reliable; verifying or certifying that reliability can be a challenge.
"Many a teacher or trainer in the cabling industry has countless stories about the frequency with which fiber testing is carried out incorrectly. In many cases, characterizing the performance capabilities of installed fiber involves far more than connecting and pushing the "auto" button on a test instrument. "
Patrick goes on to investigate some of the typical problems encountered in fiber optic testing and provides to references (including FOA) that can help you understand the issues and test properly.
Read more in CI&M.
More articles in "Worth Reading" and on the FOA Pinterest Page "Worth Reading"
FOA Certifies 50,000th Tech
The FOA passed a milestone in October, 2014 - our 50,000th certification!
Bradley Salmon, FOA's 50,000th certified tech, with Camosum College Instructors Trevor Curtis (L) and Gurbinder Dhade (R) in the Camosun lab.
Congratulations to Bradley, Trevor and Gurbinder - and thanks for your contributions to the FOA!
Clean Every Connector - A Lesson We Learned From Creating Lessons
In creating the fiber characterization curriculum, we got inputs from many experienced techs about the testing requirements. Everyone we talked to made a big point about cleaning and inspecting connectors before testing. Dirty connectors are a major problem with errors in testing. We've also seen that many installers think that if a connector, especially new connectors, has a "dust cap" on the connector, it does not need cleaning. WRONG!
The common name for the plastic caps on connector ferrules is "dust cap" and a friend says they are called "dust caps" because they are full of dust. Those plastic caps are made by the millions, popped out of plastic molding machines into barrels and stored until put into plastic bags. Whenever you remove one of them, clean the connector before testing or connecting it.
More on connector cleaning is here and here.
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.
Including more hints from FOA Master Instructor Terry O'Malley like 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
"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.
FOA Now Offers Fiber Optic Textbook and Web Pages In Spanish (French Online Guide available, textbook coming soon)
Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica
Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA
Este libro es una guía de diseño e instalación para redes de cableado con fibra óptica. Fue escrito como un libro de referencia para los instructores y estudiantes en clases para certificación CFOT FOA, así como una referencia para cualquiera que trabaje en el campo. Este libro ofrece una cobertura amplia de los componentes y procesos de fibra óptica que se utilizan en todas las aplicaciones y prácticas de instalación.
Disponible desde CreateSpace, Amazon.com y muchos otros libreros
Available from CreateSpace, Amazon.com and many other booksellers
Qué es la FOA (What Is The FOA, in Spanish )
Plus, FOA Now Offers Its Basic Fiber Optic Online Guide Website In Spanish
La guía básica de fibra óptica de la FOA ha sido traducida al español. Es la versión completa de la FOA Guía básica Online traducido por especialistas técnicos, incluyendo todos los dibujos. Por favor, lea o comprar una copia del libro impreso y nos dan su opinión sobre cómo podemos mejorarlo!
Si usted está enseñando a la fibra óptica, póngase en contacto con nosotros ya que estamos ahora traduciendo el programa de formación FOA CFOT también.
If you are teaching fiber optics, contact us as we are now translating the FOA CFOT training curriculum also.
OLANs - Optical LANs
Free Fiber U Optical LAN (OLAN) Self-Study Program
FOA has added a new Fiber U self-study program on Optical LANs (OLANs). As you know, this is a hot topic in the IT world, so FOA has created an online course that allows you to study about OLANs (FOA includes fiber to the desk, fiber to the office and passive optical LANs) on your own time and schedule. You will be guided to material to read, videos to watch and even have quizzes to check your comprehension.
OLANs on Fiber U
FOA OLAN Certification Released
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, Fiber U self-study program 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.
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
APOLAN, trade association for Optical LANs website http://www.apolanglobal.org/
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Events of Interest
Don't Miss These Seminars and Webinars:
Free Webcast: Best Practices for Deploying Preterminated Fiber-Optic Systems - Presented by FOA's Jim Hayes
Sign up here.
The popularity of preterminated fiber-optic systems continues to rise, as network owners realize the multidimensional benefits of these cablingsystems in several environments. Whether it is between servers inside a data center or between wireless towers outdoors, a preterminated fiber-optic cablingsystem offers efficiency in the fiber-connectivity process. These systems, however, do require careful forethought, planning, acceptance and, yes,installation. This webcast seminar, produced by Cabling Installation & Maintenance and delivered by Fiber Optic Association president Jim Hayes, describes the requirements and best practicesof deploying preterminated or “prefabricated” fiber-optic cabling. It covers the necessities of acceptance inspection, cleaning and testing, as well asproper design and installation techniques.
Sign up here.
Design & Deployment Best Practices for Reliable Industrial Fiber Optic Networks
Presented by Robert Reid, Panduit
Available anytime (https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/727/137229)
Avoid EMI while achieving longer distances and higher performance utilizing fiber optics for EtherNet/IP networks across manufacturing zones and devices. In this webinar, you'll hear about physical layer best practices and understand proper fiber media selection for each physical layer in the EtherNet/IP network. We will review design recommendations and considerations to help you successfully deploy a robust and secure plant-wide implementation of EtherNet/IP
TIA FOTC offers regular webinars and archives them here so you can watch anytime.
See the Light® Fiber Optic Training Program
Webinars, seminars and certification training classes.
Corning offers a library of more than 200 hundred videos that help our customers with everything from product preparation and installation to proper testing procedures. Our free Video Library Tool provides direct links to individual Corning videos, and allows you to filter by topic or area of interest. Register to download the Video Library Tool.
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What's Happening @ FOA
FOA has three LinkedIn Groups
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
FOA School Instructors - a closed group for instructors and administrators at FOA-approved schools
Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)
FOA is now offering corporate memberships to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc. Corporate Membership gives companies discounts on memberships and direct certifications and access to special FOA materials for educating customers and employees. Read more.
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.
What Is A Fiber Optic Cable Plant?
In a recent standards meeting, that issue was discussed with some disagreement as to what constituted a "cable plant." It seemed to be a perfect topic for another FOA "1Page Standard," so a draft version is now uploaded for review (FOA Standard FOA-6, Fiber Optic Cable Plant). Feel free to review it and comment to the FOA at email@example.com.
Available also is a new standard for Datalinks.
Look for the "1 PageStandard" web page and in the FOA Online Reference Guide.
Go to the FOA "1 Page Standards"
Free For FOA Members: NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard
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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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 Program Offers Option Of Certificate 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 an online course.
We have just added a basic fiber optic course that anyone can take online, and when finished, there is an option to take an online exam that will provide a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion" when the exam is completed successfully. The course is still free but there is a small fee to cover costs to take the exam and get the certificate of completion.
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, click on the Fiber U Basics of Fiber Optics - Online Certificate Course and get started.
Lennie & Uncle Ted Now Available As Free Books on iTunes
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 http://lennielightwave.com. 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
FOA Now Offers Fiber Optic Textbook In Spanish (French coming soon)
Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica
- Reference Books for FOA Certifications available on Kindle and iPad/iPhone as well as printed
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.
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FOA iPad Apps
The FOA has just released its second APP for the iPad, a free "loss budget calculator," FOA LossCalc.
FOA LossCalc estimates the optical loss of a fiber optic link. This will save time for the installer of a fiber optic link needing to know whether test results are reasonable and/or make a "pass/fail" determination. It can also help the designer of a link to determine if communications equipment will operate over this link.
By choosing the type of link (singlemode or multimode) and specifying the length of the fiber and numbers of connections and splices, it will calculate the end to end loss of the link. The app has default specifications for singlemode and multimode links or the user may create custom setups with specifications appropriate for any application. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foa-losscalc/id476262894?mt=8&ls=1
Self -Study in Fiber Optics
Our 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.
FOA "Quickstart Guides"
In our continuing quest to help people understand how to test fiber optic cable plants and communications systems, we've created two more "QuickStart Guides to Fiber Optic Testing." They are simple, step-by-step guides on how to test fiber optic cable plants, patchcords or single cables using insertion loss or OTDR techniques and optical power from transceivers. It's as straightforward as it can get - what equipment do you need, what are the procedures for testing, options in implementing the test, measurement errors and documenting the results.
It can't get much simpler.
Send anybody you know who needs to know about fiber optic testing here to learn how it's done in a few minutes.
Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants And Patchcords
Testing Fiber Optic Cable Plants With An OTDR
Measuring Optical Power In Communications Systems
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The FOA has many videos on , 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.
Two New Applications Videos
To accompany new FOA certifications in FTTA and Data Centers
FOA Lecture 37: FTTA (Fiber To The Antenna) and Data Center Cabling
FOA Lecture 38: Data Center Cabling
FOA Product Demonstrations
In the June FOA Newsletter, we talked about the new #M "disposable" cleaver, the Easy Cleaver, which is provided free with 3M connectors and mechanical splices that need cleavers. We got samples of the Easy Cleaver from 3M and tested them ourselves, and they work great. You can see for yourself how they work in this FOA YouTube Video about the Easy Cleaver.
We also tested the new Ripley/Miller FO-CF Center Feed Fiber Stripper and used it as an opportunity to show the other three common types of strippers, the Miller, MicroStrip and NoNik and how they are used. So you get a review of how to strip fiber and a product review of the new stripper in this FOA YouTube video about fiber strippers.
New FOA Lectures And Hands-On Videos
How to Talk Fiber Optics - an introduction to fiber optic jargon - the perfect place to start learning about 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.
What's A "Network"
That's a common question from fiber and cabling people. Even though they may be installing the cable plants for networks, often the nature of networks is not something they have been exposed to, other than perhaps the catch-all "star network" description. But what is a network? What does it connect? How does it connect users and how does it allocate the bandwidth to them? How do various network types vary?
We've been working on some new YouTube videos on networks, starting as we usually do on a new subject with the basics. We have these three videos online now, but watch for more.
Fiber Optics - Live! A series of videos that use lab demonstrations to show how optical fiber works.
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 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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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.
New FOA Guide page on Metrology- the accuracy of measurements
Le Guide de référence pour la fibre optique de la FOA est maintenant disponible en français.
Updates for new FOA certifications in FTTA and Data Centers
What do you do when you need to test fiber or cable on a reel? Here is a new page on Bare Fiber Testing
Couplers or splitters are used in FTTH and OLANs. How do you Test Splitters?
Tapping fiber has been 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
There's so much information on the FOA Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide that even a well-organized Table of Contents isn't enough and when the material is always changing, an index is impossible to maintain. So the FOA is using the latest technology in search, Google Custom Search, which will allow you to search just the FOA Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide for any topic you want to find more about. Try it!
Go to The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.
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The FOA welcomes the newest additions to our listing of FOA-Approved Training Organizations:
Jeff Moser, Instructor and Charles Headington, Training Director
San Luis Obispo Electrical Workers JATC
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
CFOT, FOA Approved School #648
Find a listing of all the FOA-Approved schools here.
Find A FOA-Approved Training Organization
Most inqiries 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.ce.ucf.edu/Program/2583/Fiber-Optics-Network-Certification-Courses-Non-credit/
For more information, contact Bob Ballard, CFOS/I, BDI DataLynk, LLC, A Vietnam Veteran-Owned Company
www.bdidatalynk.com, Ph: 512-785-9024
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Good Question! Tech Questions/Comments Worth Repeating
Real Questions From FOA Newsletter Readers
Storage of Optical Cale
Q: I would like to know that the procedure for long time storage and preservation of fiber optic cables.
A: The preferred guidelines are fairly simple - store the cable on the reel in a indoor dry location where the temperature is moderate - say 10-40deg C- and humidity is also moderate. Have the spools sitting on the edges or on a spindle (see Nexans guidelines here).
Multimode Fiber at 1550nm
Q: Is there a reason why wavelength 1550 would not work on M.M optical fibre?
A: 1550nm will work on MM fiber. It has not been used very much because 1550 is mostly used for it's low loss that allows longer distances which is more appropriate for SM fiber. Many years ago (late 1980s) NASA used 50/125 MM fiber at Cape Canaveral with 1550nm sources to go relatively long distances (~15km) over MM fiber because they had shorter links that were patched together.
Q: We are looking at running a OTDR test across a pair of fibre’s but instead of running a OTDR test from A-B and then B-A, we are looping the fibres at exchange B and doing the OTDR test at on F1 &2 at Site A. We have launch cords and trail leads on Fibres one and two but I’m wondering what length of fibre should the loop be, would 50m be acceptable. Typically the sites are 10-20km apart.
A: Loopback tests are a good way to simplify OTDR testing. On a 10-20km run, the loopback needs to be long enough to allow both connections on the far end to be seen, so it depends on the pulse width of the OTDR. I suspect 50m is too short - I’d say use 500-1000m to ensure all the data is valid.
OTDRs On Live Networks
Q: I want ask you about OTDR measurment on live network. Is it mandatory to disconnect the far end patch cord before taking OTDR measurment . On our back bone network will an OTDR power is afect or damage line cards?
A: It depends on the network equipment - we would not recommend testing with equipment connected as OTDR pulses are very high power and will overload receivers. Do not take a chance!
Q: Is there a guide published by FOA that provides insight as to the process of fiber optic manufacturing? It's my understanding that the guide stresses quality and controls to ensure performance and reduce product loss?
A: We do have a guide for manufacturers. It is mostly aimed at communications systems and components manufacture. Here is a link to download it.
How Long Does Termination Take?
FOA received a request from a consultant recently wondering if we had information on the termination times for fiber optic cables. After some looking in our archives, we realized we had a document online that compared times for various fiber optic termination processes. The paper was written after several FOA instructors did a comprehensive time and motion study on termination processes. The document is about 15 years old but still relevant.
You can read it here in the FOA Online Guide.
Q: I would like to ask a question about GPON security...is it possible to eavesdropping of the shared broadcast traffic from the OLT
A: GPON signals downstream are encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.
Q: I have a 62.5 micron fiber and 50 micron connectors. We only need 62.5 capability. I have the tools to put the connector on the cable but will this cable work?
A: There are several ways to interpret your question.
1) If you are talking about adhesive/polish connectors, the hole in the connector is the same for 50/125 and 62.5/125 micron fibers, so the connector itself is the same.
2) If you are talking about prepolished/splice connectors where you cleave a fiber and insert it into the connector without polishing, you must have connectors with the proper size fiber or you can incur 2-4dB loss going from 62.5 to 50 micron fiber. See this page in the FOA Guide: http://thefoa.org/tech/fib62-50.htm
More info on termination can be found on the FOA Guide:
Fiber optic connectors: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/OSP/term.html
And you can search the FOA Guide with our Google Custom Search: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/contents.html#Test
Testing Connectors (From A Patchcord Maker)
Q: What are the chief defining standard(s) that specifies connector and assembly IL (insertion loss) and RL (return loss or reflectance) for both SM and MM fiber?
A: The description on our Guide is here: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/conntest.html
FOTP-34 covers connector testing as a qualification test for the type of connector - basically a "destructive" test for connector manufacturers.
Reflectance is described on that page and here also: http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/reflectance.html
Testing an assembly like a patchcord is covered under FOTP-107 http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/FOTP-171.html
Basic Tests For Fiber Optic Cable Plants
Q: I did some research and I noticed that there is a bunch of tests that can be done to fiber optics and I was wondering if there is a list of primary tests that can be done as a basic test.
A: Fiber optic testing does have a hierarchy of tests.
Here is a link to a page on the FOA Guide site that explains the technical,details: http://thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/OFSTP-14.html
- At the top of the list is "insertion loss" testing which uses a light source and power meter to test the fibers in the same way that a communications system transmits over the fiber. It is a simple test and the equipment needed is inexpensive.
- Techs will also use a microscope to inspect the fiber optic connectors for dirt and damage, a big issue for fiber.
- The instrument called an "OTDR" takes a snapshot of the fiber using a technique like radar. Most outside plant cables are tested with an OTDR and the data ( the snapshots are called "traces") stored for future reference. OTDRs are more expensive and require more training to use properly.
FOA also has information just for users of fiber optic networks, see http://thefoa.org/tech/guides/UG3.pdf
Relative vs. Absolute Power Measurements
Q: I am thinking how to minimize uncertainty when doing relative measurements. I am mostly interested not in absolute power but rather a relative one, that is measuring loss not absolute power. Will any source of error be smaller or maybe vanish as a result of ratio? What can I do to reduce the uncertainty of the ratio of powers?
A: When measuring relative power, e.g. when measuring loss, the issue is relative power and depends on the linearity of the meter. The linearity of the meter can be affected by two issues - the slope of the calibration curve and the offset where the meter autoranges. Most meters read power over a large dynamic range, 1,000,000 to 1 (60dB) is not uncommon, and that is beyond the range of the electronics in the meter. To get this kind of range, the meters have a range switch controlled by the microprocessor that changes the gain in the amplifier attached to the detector. The amplifiers are linear and dB is calculated by the microprocessor so it does not matter if you measure in dB or W and calculate dB yourself. Calibration of the meter should include looking at the autoranging points to ensure minimal nonlinearity. Look at this graph:
When the meter measures two power levels away from the autorange point, the error is simply the error in the calibration slope, which will be proportional to the range measured. For reading of a few dB, the error is usually very small, ~0.0x dB. If the measurement includes the autorange point, the error can be higher, depending on the amount of error in the autoranging.
This argues for having your meters calibrated by a factory-approved facility who knows where the autorange points are and can carefully calibrate around them. If you just check calibration at low and high points, you may miss autorange problems.
How to Clean POF (plastic optical fiber)
Q: I heard that plastic fibres such as PMMA can suffer damage from cleaning from an alcohol solution. Are there alternate cleaning solutions available for these types of fibres."
A: You can use a 10/90 mix of isopropyl alcohol/water. Typically use with a lint free swab. (from out POF consultants)
Testing Bare Fibers With OTDR
Q: We are starting to test some OPGW cables. We have an OTDR but we don’t find some reusable connectors. If we have to test an OPGW with 48 fibres, we can’t set up 48 SC connectors!
Are there some reusable connectors in the commerce?
A: I assume you mean you need to test with a bare fiber on the OPGW. For testing bare fiber, use a splice, not a connector. Have a long pigtail on the OTDR as a launch cable, long enough for the test pulse to settle, say 100-500m, then use a splice for a temporary connection. You can fusion splice the fibers then cut the splice out or use a removable splice like the Corning Camsplice (http://catalog.corning.com/opcomm/en-US/catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?cid=&pid=17929&vid=18219)
If you use a mechanical splice, you need a high quality cleaver just like with fusion splicing and after several uses, you need to add more index matching gel or liquid - mineral oil works OK. See the FOA page on Testing Bare Fiber.
Is A Flashlight Test Adequate?
Q: I contracted a firm to install an OM3 of 200 meters. On one end I have an SFP 1000SX ,on the other a 1000SX converter from optical to UTP. We made pings but they never reached, and I didn’t see the laser at the extreme of the fiber. They promised me to send me the certification they supposely made ,though they assured me the fiber is ok, because WITH A FLASHLIGHT THEY SENT WHITE LIGHT FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER AND IT WAS VISIBLE. I saw the light too, and I thought the culprit was my switch or my SFP. I want to know: is this a good demonstration that the fiber is ok?
A: A visual continuity test is not adequate - your eye is not calibrated! The power of the lamp is unimportant as each eye’s sensitivity is different. And your eye probably cannot see the light from a 850nm VCSEL source - most people’s eyes are not sensitive at that infrared wavelength. The installer should have tested the link with a light source and power meter (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/OFSTP-14.html) and given you the loss in dB. The connectors should also be inspected with a microscope to ensure proper polishing and cleanliness (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/testing/test/scope.html). If the SFP output is -6dBm, what is the power at the receiver? 1000base-SX is supposed to work with 4.5dB loss (see http://www.thefoa.org/tech/Linkspec.htm). The fiber loss should be ~0.6 dB, so you must have >4dB connector losses! That says bad installation! The 1000SX link should work over 200m if the fiber has been properly installed.
Q: I have some 62.5 mm and sm inside fiber plant over 20 years old. When is a good time to upgrade?
A: When you need to or have to. If it's working OK, there is no need to upgrade!
"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 (http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/term.html) 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 loss....you may have some very bad connectors in your cabling!
Changing From OM2 to OM3/4 Fiber
Q: We have a system currently that is comprised of OM2 fibre with LED transceivers. There is a proposal to change the fibre to OM3 and I have been asked to look at how the change will affect the transceivers currently fitted which will remain the same until a later upgrade. From looking around on various forums I can see that OM3 is optimised for lasers, however the existing hardware will remain as LED. My understanding is that OM3 is simply fibre manufactured to a better standard than OM2 with significantly less internal defects. This leads me to think that switching from OM2 to OM3 fibre would not have any negative effect on the existing hardware and would probably reduce the overall link loss. I am also looking at whether we can use the same connectors, again looking on the internet I can see that the physical dimensions are the same, however are some connectors only certified to OM2?
A: The difference between OM2, OM3 and OM4 fiber is the "modal" bandwidth potential of the fiber at 850nm. OM2 and OM3 fiber is optimized for bandwidth with 850nm VCSELs and has no bandwidth advantage with 1300nm LEDs. The optimization is done by more careful manufacture of the graded index profile of the core of the fiber, nothing else. There is no reason to use OM3 or OM4 fiber with an LED transceiver as the LED cannot be modulated at high speed and the LED bandwidth in any of these fiber is limited by chromatic dispersion which is not significantly different in any of the higher grade fibers. The attenuation coefficient of these fibers is not enough different to justify replacement either. See http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/fiber.html for more info on fiber. They all use the same connectors. Fiber optic connectors are not a factor in the bandwidth of the fiber.
Microscope Magnification (11/13)
Q: 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyumH8CiUPQ&feature=youtu.be and it works well.
Q: 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!
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.
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 cleaning. See Product News below for links to vendors of fiber cleaning products.
See news about Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube by ITW Chemtronics below.
Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube
See news about Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube by ITW Chemtronics three fiber optic cleaning videos on YouTUbe covering Dry Cleaning, Wet-Dry Method, FiberWash and Combination Cleaning. They are good explanations of cleaning processes - the Wet-Dry is especially interesting.
- 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: http://www.westoverfiber.com/Support/downloads.php
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.
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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: http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/fiber_optic_association_part1/index.html.
Part 2 http://svconline.com/podcasts/audio/inside-fiber-optic-association2-0924/index.html.
What Happens To Old Fibers?
In a recent web search, we found this article from Corning, reprinted from a IWCS presentation in 1995. It discusses extensive tests on a 1984 cable installed in the northern US to see how it had degraded in almost 10 years. It is interesting to see how the fiber survived OSP exposure. Read it here.
Australia's Standard Is Comprehensive Guide To Customer Cabling (Get your copy free)
In answering a recent technical questino, Trevor Conquest in Australia pointed to the Australian Standard "Installation Requirements For Customer Cabling." When we checked, it is on the web and can be downloaded. It's a big book - 220 pages - full of details for fiber and copper installations. We recommend you download yourself a copy - go here.
Demystify fiber inspection probe technical specifications - From EXFO
The intent of this application note is to promote a better understanding of video inspection probe specifications and features. Properly understanding the key specifications and features will greatly facilitate the decision process involved in acquiring such devices. Understanding the key aspects of fiber inspection probes will also help users understand how fiber inspection probes operate, thus enabling them to maximize the full potential of these devices. Read more.
Where In The US Do Contractors Need Licenses For Fiber Optics?
We often get asked where in the US do contractors doing fiber optic installations need licenses. We found a good website for that information, the NECA -NEIS website. You might remember NECA-EIS, as they are the partner with the FOA in the NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard. NECA is the National Electrical Contractors Association and NEIS stands for National Electrical Installation Standards. They have a very easy to use map and table that gives you data on every state in the US, so mark these pages for future reference.
http://www.neca-neis.org (See “State Regulations”)
http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=state_regs (all electrical licensing)
Low Voltage: http://www.neca-neis.org/state/index.cfm?fa=specialty_licensing
How Is Fiber Manufactured?
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.
Want To Know Where Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Run?
There is a good map online by TeleGeography you can access here.
Benchmarking Fusion Splicing And Selecting Singlemode Fiber
We've been asked many times "How long does it take to splice a cable?" It's not a simple answer as it varies with the number of fibers in the cable and the work setup, including whether one or two techs are working at a job site. FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha of Triple Play in South Africa did his own analysis based on decades of experience both splicing cables and teaching others how to do it properly. This is one of the best analyses we have seen because Joe includes prep times as well as splicing times and differentiates between one tech and two techs working together. He adds some other tips on fusion splicing too. This should be mandatory reading for every tech and given to every student! Here is Joe's splicing analysis.
Joe also has an excellent writeup on how to choose singlemode fiber that helps understanding the different types of G.6xx fiber. Read it here.
And you will want to read Joe's report on splicing different types of SM fiber, including bend-insensitive (G.657) fiber. Read it here.
Free - Mike Holt's Explanation Of The US National Electrical Code (NEC) For Communications Cables
Mike Holt is the acknowledged expert of the US National Electrical Code (NEC). His books and seminars are highly praised for their ability to make a very complicated standard (that is in fact Code - law - in most areas of the US) easily understood. Part of the appeal is Mike's great drawings that make understanding so much easier. Mike makes Chapter 8 of his book available free. It covers communications cables, telephones, LANs, CATV and CCTV, for premises applications. Even if you live in a region or country where the NEC is not the law, you may find this interesting.
Download Mike's Chapter Here.
Fiber Optic Cleaning Videos on YouTube
ITW Chemtronics has three fiber optic cleaning videos on covering Dry Cleaning, Wet-Dry Method, FiberWash and Combination Cleaning. They are good explanations of cleaning processes - the Wet-Dry is especially interesting.
- 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: http://www.westoverfiber.com/Support/downloads.php
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
JDSU Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing
Volume 1 focuses 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).
- Download yourself a copy and read it!
Good Technical Website For Installers
American Polywater (http://www.polywater.com/) has one of the best technical website for cable installers. Check out their website, especially “Videos,” “Engineer’s Corner” and “Calculators.” http://www.polywater.com/NNNBSL.pdf
Fiber Optic Safety Poster
We've had numerous requests to reprint our guidelines on safety when working with fiber optics, so we have created a "Safety Poster" for you to print and post in your classroom, worksite, etc. We suggest giving a copy to every student and installer.
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" 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.
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 http://www.igigroup.com/nl.html for a listing of IGI Newsletters.
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FOA Tech Topics -
A Fiber Optic Tester In Your Pocket? (See the video on )
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.
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.
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YOKOGAWA OTDR Has Extended range, High Resolution And Multitasking
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.
Need A Fiber Optic Cable That's Waterproof And Floats?
Linden Photonics can help you. The specialize in special underwater cables for towed vehicles or ROVs. Read more.
How To Make Space For More Cables In Full Conduits
Traditionally, underground fiber has been placed in plastic innerducts in conduit. About a decade ago, MaxCell "fabric" innerducts were introduced. They provided the protection needed during installation and greatly increased the availabe space in conduit. Recently, the company has introduced an interesting technique to remove plastic innerduct in place to make more space for cables in current ducts.
Here are photos from a MaxCell YouTube video showing what we are describing.
Before, with innerduct in place:
After, with the MaxCell innerduct and more cables:
We suggest you watch the overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf726tPAvt8&list=PLDfVYzTi8g93zg1ZYWE-bINEeADVgEMsC&index=1
Then watch some actual examples of the innerduct removal process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs0bfd79AYM&feature=youtu.be&list=PLDfVYzTi8g93zg1ZYWE-bINEeADVgEMsC
A Really Bright Visual Fault Locator
SKY Technologies recently sent us a VFL to evaluate. With a VFL, you need quite a bit of power to see splices and through some cable jackets, even MM orange (the cable in the photo) but especially other colors, so high power is an advantage. This VFL is the brightest we have seen - bright enough that you want to ensure it's aimed away from your eyes when you turn it on! It has CE and RoHS approval. Model FT650H-50B. Contact SKY for more information.
SKY Technologies Inc.
Switch For Testing MTP/MPO Cables - Now Available for 12 or 24 fiber MPOs
Fibernext has introduced a portable switch for testing multifiber MTP/MPO connectors. You can also watch the YouTube video here.
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
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.
Cleantex Alco Pads
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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.
FOA Guide: FTTH in MDUs
JDSU shows how to test a PON with an OTDR: http://www.jdsu.com/other-literature/PON-OTDR_fop_an_ae.pdf
- 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.
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Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Optical Splicer Technicians who have FOA certifications, for a project in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
These Technicians will be working on of of the largest National Broadband Rollout project in the Kingdom.
A Fiber Splicer is responsible for splicing, terminating and testing aerial and underground fiber optic systems, updating and maintaining project tracking information such as production sheets, red-line as-built and customer required paperwork. Additional responsibilities include performing all aspects of the assigned project in accordance with the clients’ standards and guidelines in the required timeframe.
JOB DESCRIPTION & RESPONSIBILITIES:
· Prepping and splicing of fiber optic cables in manholes and handholes
· Central Office fiber termination on distribution frames
· Fiber splicing at customer locations such as telecom rooms, risers, communication rooms…etc
· Read and interpret OSP design drawings and fiber assignment documents (GIS drawings, Fiber jointing schematics, GRANITE tables…etc)
· Update Fiber Jointing schematics with red-line as-buit information regarding fiber splicing
· Conduct complete fiber testing activities with OTDR, Power meter and fiber detection equipment
· Installation of optical splitters as part of a GPON network
· Coordination with clients OSP design teams
· Coordinating with clients customers for premises access, fiber termination activities, MDT, equipment re-location…etc
· Ensuring timely completion of projects as assigned.
· Performing other related activities as assigned including, but not limited to, telecom equipment installation, indoor and outdoor cable installation, etc.
Qualifications & Experience:
· Minimum of 3 years experience in Optical fiber splicing
· FOA/CFOT certification or equivalent
· Proficient in use of all fibre optic test equipment including OTDR, Power Meter, live fibre tester, etc.
· Good knowledge of the GPON network architecture and its related network components
· Experience with Optical fiber components manipulation of different types such as, but not limited to, Single and Multimode, ribbon fiber, micro cables, mechanical splicing, optical splitters, termination equipment, OTDR’s
· Able to work unsupervised and under restrained deadlines
· FOA/CPCT, FOA/CFOS or equivalent certification an asset
Splicing, FTTH, OTDR, OSP
Kiran G Madhav
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Senior OSP- "Materials, Standards & Guidelines Expert" in Saudi Arabia (11/2014)
We are hiring Senior OSP- "Materials, Standards & Guidelines Expert" for our OSP project in Saudi Arabia. The candidate must have 15+ years of experience and profound knowledge of all aspects of the OSP network (Standards, Guidelines, procedures, technologies, equipment, tools) for planning, design and implementation in OSP and Fiber.
Job Title: OSP Materials, Standards and Guidelines Expert
Position objectives Responsible for all OSP Materials standardization, Standards, guidelines and their related work procedures
Job Description and Responsibilities
• Conduct market analysis of OSP Design and implementation materials to find the best suitable for CUSTOMER’S framework
• With the support of CUSTOMER’S Management, Create and drive the functions of the OSP Test LAB to R&D purposes
• Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses optimal international materials
• Evaluate availability of materials with suppliers to best fit CUSTOMER’S deployment plan
• Update and maintain the standardized materials documentation and include the installation procedures
• Evaluate financial benefits of new standardized materials to reduce CAPEX and OPEX spending
• Provide training and support to all Regions to apply approved CUSTOMER’S materials and their guidelines.
• Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses international OSP Design best practices
• Continuously evaluate, review and update the OSP Design Standards and Guidelines to meet international best practices that meet CUSTOMER’S framework and optimize cost and quality of the network deployment
• Leverage a strong knowledge of technology trends for the selection of the most cost effective and best practice access network solutions.
• Provide continuous support and training for all OSP Design Standards and Guidelines
• Conduct Benchmarking if required to asses international implementation best practices
• Continuously evaluate, review and update the OSP implementation Standards and Guidelines to meet international best practices that meet CUSTOMER’S framework and optimize cost and quality of the network deployment.
• Provide continuous support and training for all design Standards and Guidelines
• Create and apply necessary processes and procedures to maintain and improve the work efficiency/performance
- MSc in Electrical/Civil Engineering or Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering with 15 + years’ experience
- Profound knowledge of all aspects of the OSP network (Standards, Guidelines, procedures, technologies, equipment, tools...etc) for planning, design and implementation
- Experience in a senior technical area of the OSP network
- Good Presentation, Time Management and English Language skills.
- Extraordinary technical writing skills
- Good knowledge on General GSM/UMTS PSTN Network.
- In depth knowledge of FTTx solutions and architecture, GPON as well as PtP
- 6-10 Year of experience with network planning/design for access networks
- Profound experience with access networks civil works planning / design
- Broad experience in working with OSP sub-contractors, design reviews and quality control.
Kiran G Madhav
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Technician (10/14)
TITLE: Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Technician II
DEPARTMENT: Outside Plant Fiber Splicing
SUPERVISOR: Outside Plant Fiber Splicing Supervisor
SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES: Perform various duties as instructed within the network with regards to outside plant construction, restoration, preventive maintenance, facility locating, customer service drops and record keeping.
1. Must be able to read splicing records and splice fiber as directed by supervisor.
2. Must have a functioning knowledge of testing and troubleshooting fiber optics.
3. Must be able to make as needed changes and document test results.
4. Must be able to read engineering drawings and correlate them to physical plant.
5. Must be able to assist in physical cable placement.
6. Must assist in the coordination OSP extensions and coordinate with other departments.
7. Perform detailed visual inspection of OSP construction to determine quality of work being performed and that it meets the company’s standards.
8. Other tasks or duties as assigned.
1. Responsible for maintaining existing fiber routes and facility locates as directed.
2. Responsible for maintaining all OSP equipment, i.e. fusion splicer, trailers, vehicles.
3. Will complete no less than 2 trainings classes per year as and when required.
High School diploma or equivalent required. US Dept of Labor approved technical certification in fiber optics preferred. Must have at least 2 years work experience related to the telecommunications industry with a focus on fiber optic splicing and testing. Must have a working knowledge of all types of outside plant construction. Must possess a high degree of interpersonal skills. Travel required.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS/WORKING CONDITIONS:
Must be able to perform all physical and mental job requirements with or without reasonable accommodation, including driving, moving heavy weights (up to 50 lbs.), distinguishing the fiber optic color code, bending, crawling, working in confined spaces, climbing, working on overhead equipment, use hand tools and specialized equipment, walking , standing, working in hot or cold and wet conditions.
Note: This is a brief description of the Outside Plant Technician’s responsibilities and is not limited to those described herein. Management retains the right to add, delete or modify any of these responsibilities at any time during employment.
Revised 7/3/14 MT
Those interested can apply at their website www.cspire.com/careers or can send their resumes to John Nordan email@example.com
Splicing Techs Needed In Western Canada
Technicians needed, Western Canada (BC /AB). This is primarily FTTH however any and all experience is welcome. Rate of pay is 30-35/hr on rotational shifts which means 2 weeks on 1 week off. We travel throughout Alberta and British Columbia so accommodations, and per diem are paid.
Candidates can contact us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact the contractor directly at the email listed - not FOA!
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