FOA Guide 

FTTH Project Management

    Most information about fiber optics, including the information in the FOA textbooks and the FOA online Guide, is written for the technician who designs, installs or tests the network. But many times, if not most of the time, the success of a fiber optic project depends on those overseeing the project. This includes the manager of the organization for whom the network is being built, the planners behind the project, financial managers and particularly the people who supervise and evaluate the installation itself. After the project is done, there must be managers and supervisors who ensure the project runs smoothly, delivering the communications that keep users satisfied.

    In this section on fiber optic projects, FOA ties together topics covered in many pages in the online FOA Guide and in chapters in some of our current textbooks, to provide a reference for those who manage the personnel we mention above. Here the focus is on the project from conception to completion; managing the people who design, install, and operate it. We provide guidelines for all phases of the project, including enough technical details that managers can understand what technicians are doing and reporting about the project. We recommend linking to the FOA Guide "Jargon" page, a page about the “language of fiber optics,”  that helps everyone speak the same language when discussing fiber optic projects.

    Don’t expect this section to provide all the answers; we don’t even know all the questions! Every fiber optic project is different and unique. The communications needs, the geography of the cable plant, local laws, codes and regulations, and even the available technology, which is ever changing, will all be unique to your project. Our hope is that we provide sufficient background that you can understand your own project well enough to manage it successfully.

What Is Involved In A Fiber Optic Project?
A fiber optic project begins with a need for communications and ends with an installed fiber optic cable plant and an operating network that fills that communications need. Between those two points are a number of stages:

•    Concept
•    Selling the project to decision makers
•    Getting financing
•    Designing the project
•    Installing the project
•    Accepting the built network
•    Operating and maintaining the network

    Each of these stages breaks down into many smaller projects with one thing in common - they require a thorough understanding of the project and careful management to ensure the end result is what is expected. This page is aimed to provide resources for the manager of the project and the people building the project to allow them to have a mutual understanding of what will be happening as the project moves from concept to completion.

Focus On The Cable Plant But Don't Forget The Rest
    The FOA's expertise in in fiber optics and we generally focus on the fiber optic cable plant. What is a "fiber optic cable plant"? It's a term we use all the time in fiber optics to cover the installed fiber optics that can transmit your communications signals. It's permanently installed between the two points which you require communications between. It's what you connect your communications electronics to with patchcords on each end.

    The cable plant includes all the fiber optic cable between those two points. That cable may be buried underground or installed aerially on utility poles. It may even have segments that run under water - streams, rivers, lakes or oceans. Cables come in a maximum length of about 5-6 km on a spool from the factory, so longer lengths will require splicing cables together. Splicing is also required where points along the route require connections (drops) as well as from end to end.

    At the ends, the cable plant will be terminated in connectors to allow making connections that can be changed as needed. Hardware is required for every splice and termination to protect the cable plant, splices, terminations and connected equipment, and these may require underground storage in manholes or above ground storage in pedestals, huts or buildings.

    Designing and building a cable plant means carefully and completely defining the entire route of the cable plant, where every splice, drop, termination and piece of hardware is to be placed and what components will be used for every bit of the cable plant. It's a big job to design, but it must be done correctly to allow installation to be done according to the needs of the users.

    Once finished, the cable plant must be fully documented so it can be operated, maintained, and repaired if restoration becomes necessary.

    At the same time, the FTTH equipment must be chosen, purchased, installed in the CO/head end, and personnel trained in operating and maintaining it. Decisions will include more than just the choice of vendors; like the type of equipment (e.g GPON or EPON), bandwidth (1G or 10G), and the models of equipment appropriate for the scale of the proposed network.

     One more detail - the network will need a connection from the OLT to the Internet. You must find a service provider (or two for backup) and determine the speed of the connection needed for the projected number of subscribers. Perhaps this should be done first because it is really important.

Fiber Optic Project Management (For Managers)
     The FOA, as part of the fiber optic industry and especially in our role as educators, most of our focus has been training installers of fiber optic cable plants and networks in fiber optics. But what about the people for whom they work or build the networks? FOA is concerned with their education too. What do network managers, project managers, supervisors, network owners, IT personnel, facilities managers, network designers, estimators, inspectors, etc. need to know about fiber optics to ensure the success of their project?

     The responsibility for the success or failure of any project ultimately lies with the project manager. We've seen quite a few instances of fiber optic project problems caused by improper management and many of the help calls we get at FOA indicate the manager's lack of knowledge of fiber optics. Some of the problems they call us about are amazing. An IT manager for a large metropolitan area found that the cable plant he had installed didn't work because it had 4,000 bad connectors. Another sent us OTDR traces submitted by his contractor for documentation that showed the cables were too short to test with an OTDR. In one big project, contractors subcontracted to firms that had no fiber experience who were digging up and breaking underground utilities daily.

     These kinds of problems can be cured easily if the managers have some basic knowledge of fiber optics. They do not need a typical FOA fiber optic training course because those courses are based on KSAs – the knowledge skills and abilities needed by installers. What they need is just a basic understanding of fiber optic network design, installation, testing and operation.

Who Is a "Manager"?
     The manager may be the supervisor of a crew of installers building the network, of course, or the manager of a contracting company. There is the communications or IT manager who works for the owner of the network, specifies the communications requirements, and has responsibility for the operation of the network after construction. The buildings or facilities manager overseeing the locations where the project is installed may be involved in its installation, operation, and maintenance. In some cases, it would include the inspector overseeing the construction and approving it. In this category, we include anyone who is involved with the network and has responsibilities that include the fiber optic network itself.

     Here at the FOA, we get lot of calls from those kinds of people asking questions that show they need to know (and want to know) more - at least enough to make intelligent decisions regarding the project that affect its success. This article will cover what we think the bosses need to know based on what they have asked us.

The Basics - What Does A Manager Need To Know?
     Fiber optic communications is quite simple. Instead of sending signals as pulses of electricity or radio waves, fiber optics uses pulses of light transmitted down a hair-thin ultra-pure strand of glass. Cables holding tens, hundreds or even thousands of fibers can be run underground, aerially on poles or even under water. Construction of a fiber optic cable plant is similar to that of any other cable and there are thousands of trained and FOA-certified techs available to build fiber optic networks.

     Managers need to know the basics, the jargon, and how to communicate with suppliers, contractors, and installers. Forget the physics and optics - not even installers need to know the technology that makes fiber optic communications possible. Managers do need to learn about fiber optic components like the types of fibers (singlemode or multimode) used in various networks to ensure the proper ones have been chosen for the installation. We prevented a manager recently from ordering tens of miles of outside plant cable with the wrong fiber - multimode not singlemode. Hopefully a salesperson, distributor or manufacturer would have questioned his choice but if not, he would be stuck with a large amount of virtually worthless cable.

     They should also learn about cables and their applications. We've seen specs for direct burial armored cables that were to be pulled through conduit and non-armored cable designed into a project for direct burial. We've seen indoor cable specified for outdoor installation and outdoor cable specified for premises installation. You must know what the proper cable choice for the installation is.

     Fiber optic connector compatibility is another important issue. Twice recently I have been asked by managers about the difference between two types of connectors - PC (physical contact) and APC (angled physical contact) connectors - and whether they are compatible. They certainly are not and they may be damaged by mating to the wrong type. But try to find that advice on a manufacturer's or distributor's website - they expect everyone to know that already.

     Those can be expensive mistakes! A few minutes learning the basics from books or online at Fiber U or the FOA website can answer those questions and prevent some big problems. Or just call us at the FOA – that's what many people do.

    Don't believe the classic "myths of fiber optics." I once jokingly threatened physical harm to the new editor of one magazine I write for if he ever published another article that said "fiber optics is fragile because it's made of glass, is much more expensive than copper cables and is very hard to install."

     Let's kill off those myths once and for all. The pure glass in optical fiber is many times stronger than steel and fiber optic cable is much more flexible than coax or twisted pair copper cable. Even 30 years ago, fiber had the bandwidth and distance advantages that made communications over fiber optics cost only s few percent as much as over copper or microwave radio. Today we can put almost one million times more communications over fiber than back then. And finally, there are more than 100,000 skilled installers who have installed millions of miles of fiber and will attest to the fact that it's just another skill to learn.

The Design
     It is at the design stage that the manager has the most important role in the success of a fiber optic project. This is not a time to delegate without oversight. The manager must be able to evaluate options presented and make decisions based on the input of many others.

     If someone who works for you is designing a fiber optic network, they need to know whether it provides the communications capacity you need for today and over its projected lifetime. Are there enough fibers for spares and future expansion? Can the network support drops to new user locations? Has the network been designed optimally for both performance and cost? Are all the components chosen appropriate for the network? Is the network secure and are you prepared to restore outages? One good test is to create a scope of work (SOW) and send out a request for proposal (RFP) to some experienced contractors for comments.

     FOA has a complete textbook on fiber optic network design, but the basics are summarized in the FOA Guide online.

Construction And Installation
     Fiber optic cable plants can be installed outside (called "OSP" for outside plant) or indoors (called "premises"). The OSP cable plant can be installed underground, aerial or under water. All have various techniques that can be chosen depending on the geography of the route or local requirements, for instance that all cables must be placed underground. Premises cabling is often a mix of fiber optics and copper cabling. It will be covered by codes like the NEC to ensure safety for those inside the building.

The Contractor
     How do you evaluate contractors? The top of the list of requirements is experience in similar jobs backed by great references. Are their designers, managers and installers properly trained and certified? How much personnel turnover do they have? What's their plan for on-the-job training (OJT) for new recruits? Are they fully equipped for the job? What other jobs are they qualified for? Electrical construction and fiber optics are often done by the same contractor - although by different divisions of the same company - and may yield more efficient construction when electrical services are required in communications facilities.

     If the contractor is chosen in a bid process, don't blindly choose the lowest bidder. Include in the RFQ (request for quotation) requirements for the bidders to include lots of information about the company that will allow evaluation of their ability to complete the job properly, including company history, personnel, structure, financial history, worker credentials, experience and of course references.

     We've seen jobs go to the lowest bidder where the contractor installed thousands of splices and connectors improperly, submitted erroneous test data, got paid and disappeared, leaving the network owner holding the bag. In another case of improper installation, the contractor went bankrupt when forced to redo the job correctly.

Finding Workers And Workforce Development
     After financing, finding enough qualified workers to build your project is probably the next biggest problem. The fiber optic industry is growing so fast that there is a big shortage of qualified installers and finding good installers is very difficult. These people can also be expensive, so some contractors subcontract work to anybody, qualified or not. Several projects got caught using landscapers to install fiber after they cut several fiber optic cables already in the ground in one city and laid cable on the top of the ground in tall grass – not buying it at all – in another city. A top priority should be finding qualified workers or training them yourselves.

See “Workforce Development” below.

Evaluating The Quality Of An Installation
     If the contract covers both electronic equipment and fiber optic cable plant, the number one concern is if the communications system works as planned. Under any circumstances, the quality of the fiber optic cable plant needs to be evaluated independently.  Every step of the way should be documented and inspected to ensure that the network was installed in a "neat and workmanlike manner." The installation needs to be completely tested to confirm it meets the design goals and documentation of the test results presented along with the other project documentation. Fiber optic testing is a complex process that requires a trained and experienced tech to perform properly.

     Too many networks have inadequate documentation, insufficient to evaluate the installation, allow moves, adds and changes (MACs) or restoration in an emergency. Many managers and installers think the documentation is created after the network is built, but that's completely wrong. Network documentation starts when the idea of the network is conceived, evolves through the design, creation of the scope of work (SOW), RFP and RFQ (request for quote), installation and testing. Documentation should be one of the legal requirements of the contract for network installation. The installer should get the final payment only after they submit all the documentation required, not before.

     Documentation must include the route of the cable plant and the type of installation (aerial, underground, etc.) and location of every component of the fiber optic cable plant including cables, splices, terminations, pedestals, manholes/handholes, etc. The documentation must include the path of every cable, every fiber in the cable (with color codes) and the test results from testing each fiber. If that sounds like a lot of work and a lot of data, it is, but that's what's necessary to determine what has been installed and if it was installed according to the plans. That data will be invaluable when changes need to be made to the cable plant or restoration must be done in event of a cable break.

     There are software aids for documentation. Geographic information systems (GIS) are now widely used for for both aerial and underground utility locations and can be used to also locate the fiber optic cable plant. Other software for documenting the cable plant are available or one can create their own with database or spreadsheet programs. For premises cabling, software similar to that used for designing electrical systems are readily available and may be useful for some OSP applications. They offer the advantage of helping with estimating too.

There is more information on project paperwork from the FOA Guide. And when do you know the cable plant installation is complete?  There is a page on project "deliverables."  

Operating A Fiber Optic Network
     Everyone who converts to fiber learns fast that fiber needs virtually no maintenance. Fiber should be installed, tested, locked up and forgotten unless you need to modify the network or repair damage. Most damage to the network is caused by poorly trained techs working with cables they don't understand, so ensure that anyone who touches your network is trained properly. Another major problem is damage outside your control - underground cables suffering what we in the industry call "backhoe fade," or for aerial cables what a utility out West referred to as "target practice".

Emergency Restoration
     Like any other problem, restoring a fiber optic network failure is easier if you plan ahead. If you have damage, the most valuable tool you have for restoration is all the documentation on the network. With that you know exactly where the cable plant is installed and troubleshooting test results can be compared to the fibers when installed. Leftover components like spools of cable, splice closures or other hardware should be kept, stored with the documentation for use in restoration. And, of course, you need trained crews on 24/7 call, who have the skills to track down problem and fix them. If you don't have your own personnel who can do this, have a contract with someone who can and will respond quickly.

Getting Up To Speed
     How does a manager learn all this? You can learn by experience, of course, although that's often a painful way to learn. If your personnel are being trained, take a course with them. If you want to learn on your own, there is plenty of information on the FOA website and free self-study programs at Fiber U that can help you understand fiber optic project management.

If You Are Considering DIY FTTH Project, Here Are Things To Remember
     Legality: If you are in one of 18 US States, your state legislators have passed laws written by lobbyists for incumbent service providers that prevent municipalities, other governments, or coops from becoming ISPs. By the time you read this, all this may have been negated by local or Federal laws.

     Expect A Fight: Most independent FTTH projects, especially those proposed by municipalities or coops, will be opposed by the incumbent service providers. Experience has shown that they have no problems spending lots of money opposing the project and fighting dirty. Stay calm, tell your story, people are learning about what to believe. 

     Uniqueness:  Like most fiber optic networks, every FTTH installation is unique. It must be designed for the location it is to serve and choices on components and installation methods should be optimized for the system. Construction and installation methods may include every type of OSP installation. Suppliers familiar with FTTx can advise customers on what others  have done to make installations simpler, easier and less expensive. Most systems prefer to use as many factory-made components as possible as they are generally less expensive than doing the same work in the field. New installation methods should be considered as well to reduce costs.

     Consultants:   Be wary of consultants. Consultants can be extremely valuable in designing a FTTH system, as long as they have relevant experience, are up to date on new components and techniques and are highly recommended by previous clients. Unfortunately, we have seen problems with consultants, including over-designed networks with costs much higher than necessary, installation practices recommended that were unnecessary or ignore newer technology, systems designed around components that were higher performance (and price) than necessary, and in one case a consultant took the clients payment, went away for a year and came back with an admission that they could not design the network (but they kept the consulting fees.)

     Contractors:   As with any fiber optic project, the quality of the installation depends on the quality of the installer. Look for contractors with knowledge, experience and references. And preferably relevant certifications like the FOA CFOT. Be especially wary of subcontractors. Any subcontractors should have equal qualifications and be approved by the network owner. We have seen landscape contractors with no fiber training used as subcontractors for cable plant installation - one cut several cables to buildings that had been installed by a member of the FOA advisory board!

     Call Before You Dig!   Every day some major fiber optic cable is cut by a contractor. The jurisdiction issuing permits should help you with locating other buried utilities.  There is a service that helps you locate underground utilities that may be in your construction path. See the FOA web page on Digging Safely.

    What Fiber Do You Already Have?     Before you design or install a new fiber optic cable plant, inventory the fiber you have already and/or negotiate to lease fiber where others have cables with dark (unused) fibers. Also talk to other organizations who may need communications to see if they want to share costs or lease dark fibers or communications links from you. Cities, counties and states need fiber. Utilities need fiber. Fire and life safety organizations need fiber. Traffic departments need fiber. Cellular companies really need a lot of fiber.

    What Other Services Can Share The Fiber?   Consider what other services than FTTH you can carry on your fiber optic cable plant - cellular backhaul, traffic systems, security/surveillance systems, leased fiber, etc. to generate additional revenue. A few years ago a large American city sent out a RFP (request for proposal) for an urban FTTH network. The document dealt strictly with FTTH to connect the city's citizens with fiber and ignored all the other services the city had that already used or needed fiber - city communications, security/video surveillance, intelligent traffic management, public transportation communications, wireless networks(small cells and 5G), utility communications, etc., etc., etc.

     Dig Smart - Dig Once:    This same document also covered the difficulty of urban installation - digging up streets already filled with underground utilities, limited space for pedestals, few options for aerial cable and  other issues that are typical problems for urban fiber installation. No mention of "Dig Once" to make future installations easier. Share fibers. Use spare fibers. Use additional wavelengths in current fiber. Consider all the alternatives. Plan ahead - future proof is a myth, but one can make certain decisions that will make the future easier.     If you are considering using FTTH design software, ask to talk to customers who have used it. Determine what you need to know first in order to use it, e.g. GIS data on every utility pole, manhole or handhole, subscriber location, etc. and how much training it takes to become proficient. Will you use your personnel or hire outsiders, and how do you evaluate them.

    Cost Savings:   Fiber optic cable and components are not expensive, but labor is. Saving money on components may look good in first analysis, but more savings will come from optimized designs and efficient installation practices. More experienced contractors are more efficient and may save costs by their speed and efficiency.  And design for the future - if you dig a trench for anything, not just fiber but any underground utility, bury a number of fiber ducts for future use, install cables with more fibers than you need - lots more - fiber is cheap, installation is expensive. The program is called "Dig Once."

    Take Rates Are Important:   "Take rates" for new FTTH networks – the percentage of homes passed that become subscribers -  vary from low to high, depending on the satisfaction with the current ISP (Internet service provider.) When Google Fiber started in Kansas City, the take rate was high because the current service was bad, but in later cities when the local ISPs knew they were coming and improved their service and/or lowered their prices, the take rate was lower. Competition tends to drive take rates and take rates determine the economics of the system, Know your competition. Offering gigabit services are often the top selling point of FTTH. Every GPON network is a gigabit network, but subscribers can opt for slower speeds at lower costs.

Workers And Workforce Development
  Fiber optics, like any fast-growing technology, needs well-trained workers and an FTTH project is no exception. The FOA has partnered with a number of organizations to develop guidelines for hiring and retaining competent workers.  Here’s what we have learned:

First, here are some important questions to ask when hiring installers and other personnel:

Who hires your installers?  This seems like an obvious question but when you move down from the Contractor who hires the subcontractor, it is the subcontractor (or the sub-sub subcontractor if you are planning a large project) who hires the installers and other workers.  To complicate things even further, sometimes it is a placement agency that may provide temporary workers for your job.  

     How do you ensure that these workers are properly trained?  We have seen the results of poorly trained installers all too often.  Examples are given in other sections of this book. The only way to combat this is to identify and communicate directly with the actual hiring manager - contractor? subcontractor? placement agency? You might be surprised if you do some research how this is delegated to someone down the “chain of command”.

Here are some questions to ask:
     What qualifications are required? Is there a job description? Does the job description accurately reflect the technical requirements of the job. Read the contract carefully – is experience and/orcertification required for the techs?

     Along with technical skills required for the job, are they checking for “life skills” such as basic math skills and a 10th grade reading level as a minimum and basic computer knowledge? Remember how extensive the use of computers are in the field now. 

    Is the candidate evaluation done completely online or is there a face-to-face meeting before the hire?

     How are the candidates’ attitude and behavior assessed?  Are they checking references to determine items such as adaptability, reliability, integrity, having good judgment? Judgement is important especially when safety is critical.

     Are you reaching out to local technical schools? Contact local community colleges and tech schools about your worker needs and the job opportunities available to their graduates. If your local schools do not have fiber optic or telecom programs, what technical subjects do they teach that may produce good candidates? The FOA has Approved Schools all over the country and many have advisory boards seeking advice from local businesses on the need for specialized jobs and training.

     If local colleges or technical schools are interested in teaching a fiber program for telecom or IT, FOA has everything they need to start a program quickly. Many of these schools have Workforce Development departments which have access to US Dept of Labor and state job training dollars that can fund a program.

     You can develop your own workforce – train and promote from within using structured OJT – online learning combined with learning on the job. As the shortage of skilled workers become more acute, contractors are going to have to train their own people.   The reality of the workplace is that most training is “on the job” (OJT).

     OJT should be more than giving someone a set of tools and have them follow someone around the worksite to learn. The FOA has a program we call OJT to Cert where you can use Fiber U free online training with a designated supervisor who sets a timetable for achieving specific learning goals and conducts ongoing evaluations for an “OJT” candidate.  FOA certification could be achieved in one year.

     Hiring new people is not the only issue facing contractors.  Employee retention is a growing problem - contractors should not overlook the needs of existing employees to stay current with new technologies and develop necessary skills at all stages of their working career. Most of the workforce is now familiar with online learning like the FOA offers on Fiber U that can lead to certification.  For instance, the FOA has a Direct Work to Cert certification program for experienced techs. 

What Makes A Successful Fiber Optic Project?
    People call FOA for advice all the time. Most of the calls deal with technical questions about products, installation and testing. But in one call; a manager who was starting to plan a fiber optic project wanted advice on how to proceed. It was a long call! His basic question was “What does it take to have a successful fiber optic project?” We responded with 4 words: financing, commitment, expertise and patience. (This section is repeated from the introductory section on FTTH because it's important for the designer and managers of a FTTH project.)

    Financing: The story goes that someone asked Neil Armstrong what he was thinking about while sitting on top of the rocket ready to launch Apollo 11 to the moon. “Every part was made by the lowest bidder,” was supposedly his reply. (The same quote has been attributed to most early astronauts!)

    Fiber optics are not necessarily expensive; in fact, fiber has been used so widely because it is the least expensive communications medium in virtually all projects. But fiber optic projects may require a lot of construction which makes the project expensive. Like all other projects, it never pays to cut corners. Planning and running the project properly is what saves money, trying to cheapen the project. Not all jobs should go to the lowest bidder, unless they meet all the criteria for a qualified bidder. Likewise, one needs to ensure that when a project starts, there are funds available to complete the job properly, including some extra for unplanned changes or modifications.

     Commitment: Just like having sufficient finances to compete the project, one needs a commitment to finish the job once it is started. Changes of management or changes in governments often lead to confusion or even modifying a project in midstream. There is nothing wrong with making changes based on what learns as the project progresses; it may even involve greater efficiency or cost savings, but arbitrary changes may jeopardize the project's timetable, completion or even its usefulness.

    If the project is under the auspices of a government entity, changes in administration or management that causes changes in a project will invariably make it more expensive and may jeopardize the success of the entire project. Ideally, the personnel who propose, design and plan the network should see it to completion.

     Expertise: Fiber requires expertise and experience. It's obvious the installers need to know what they are doing, but in reality, so must the managers who work for the organization that is contracting for the work. There are many instances of projects where the managers signed off on the project when it was incomplete or improperly installed. The only way to properly manage a project is to understand every aspect of it well enough to know if it is being done properly and when it is actually complete.

    Planners, designers, contractors and installers should all be trained and certified as well as being experienced with good references. That holds doubly so for consultants. In many places, to be a consultant or cabling contractor means little other than registering as a business and advertising your services. Some of the problems we've seen with outside services, include consultants who took contracts, spent time on a project, then told the customer they could not help them with the project, but kept the money.

    We have seen contractors doing shoddy installations, ruining expensive fiber optic cable during pulling and leaving jobs half done but getting paid because the customer knew no better. One of the biggest problems is subcontractors. A contractor with good credentials gets the job but subcontracts some of the work to a contractor who will do the work at a lower price, but does not have the training or experience (or motivation) to do it right. In your contract with an installer, we recommend a clause giving the project manager responsibility for evaluating and approving all subcontractors.

    The manager must know better to prevent problems. FOA also has pages on what the manager needs to know. See the FOA Guide.

    Patience: From concept to acceptance, a typical OSP fiber project can take 2-5 years and a premises project 1-2 years. It depends on the size of the project, the time to properly design it, create project paperwork, get permits, buy components, hire contractors and properly install it.  Proper workmanship takes time and is not easily rushed. Saving time generally means cutting corners and that is often the cause of the problems encountered. Take your time, plan, design, select, install, test and document your network properly.

    And by the way, "future proofing" is a myth! Who would have known in 1990 how ubiquitous the Internet would be today? How reliant we could be on smartphones other mobile devices? How many workers would be working remotely or using videoconferencing for meetings? Technology moves too fast and is too disruptive for anyone to make reliable predictions. The IBMer who developed MRP - the original company organizational software - used to tell everyone, "A forecast is wrong from the moment it is made." Plan for the future, but assume you will upgrade, change directions, etc. driven by new tech and changes in the world around us.

The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook: For Planners, Managers, Designers, Installers And Operators Of FTTH - Fiber To The Home - Networks
FOA FTTH Handbook
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook Available in paperback or as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle  Available direct from, local booksellers and other distributors.

Technical Information on FTTX  From The FOA Online Guide
FTTH Introduction  
FTTH Architectures
FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units)  
FTTH PON Standards, Specifications and Protocols  
FTTH Design    (NEW)
FTTH Installation 
FTTH Customer Premises Installation  
FTTH Network Testing  
FTTH Case Studies: Do-It-Yourself FTTH  
FTTH Project Management   (NEW)

Migration from GPON to 10GPON  

Training & Certification
Fiber U Online FTTx Self Study Program (free)

FOA Certification Overview
FOA FTTx Certification Requirements
FOA-Approved Training Programs

 Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics


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