May, 2009

In This Issue
AT&T To Spend $17-18 Billion in 2009, Add 3,000 Jobs

Comments: What's Up  At Google?

Updated Certifications, CFOS Requirements

What Are People Saying About The New FOA Premises Cabling Certification?

Splicing Sections Added To Updated Reference Website

FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide It keeps expanding- adds two new splicing sections and "Google Custom Search"

Tech Topics: New Listings of International Standards.  See Tech Topics Below.

Q&A: Followup On Using Old Cable. Loss Budget Calculations For OTDR Testing and OTDR vs Fusion Splicer Readout Differences.

Product News:  Motorola introduces LAN based on FTTH GPON. See "Product News" Below

Worth Reading: Too late for fiber to the desk? Fiber and Communications: The Future: OFC Plenary Presentations.  See "Worth Reading" below
FTTH: Do-It-Yourself FTTH in Norway. All-Fiber Networks Now Reach 4.4 million Homes 
Looking For Jobs - Instructor in San Diego, ADC looking for techs. See "Jobs" Below
This Month's "Tech Puzzler"
FOA Home Page
NEW: Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Looking For a FOA-Certified Fiber Optic Installer? Use the FOA Installer Database  Free! Almost 1000 CFOT's listed. 
CFOT's register online to create your listing.

Want to know more about fiber optics? Looking for specific information? Study for FOA certifications? Here's the largest technical reference on the web:
The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Contact the FOA

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

It's now CFOT®  
® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) is now a registered trademark. With over 25,000 fiber optic techs holding CFOTs and the CFOT being recognized worldwide as the foremost certification in fiber optics, the FOA realized the value of the CFOT required trademark protection. Now it's official!

AT&T To Spend $17-18 Billion in 2009, Add 3,000 Jobs

AT&T Inc. has said it plans to invest $17 billion to $18 billion in its infrastructure in 2009 despite the recession and will add 3,000 new jobs. The carrier says it’s still seeing increased demand for mobility, broadband and video – and especially for mobility, with a veritable explosion in demand expected once the economy turns around. It wants to capitalize on what growth areas there are (wireless and IP). And it wants to be ready for the future.

“We expect demand will only escalate when the larger economy rebounds, and AT&T’s continued strong network investment will help ensure that we’re fully ready to support the next wave of economic growth said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We recognize the continuing importance of investing in critical network infrastructure, which plays a key role in driving commerce, innovation and job growth.”

AT&T said it will nearly double its U-verse residential fiber footprint, hoping to pass 30 million homes in 2011, up from 17 million today. The carrier will continue to expand its DSL reach as well to cater to those looking for “affordable broadband.”

It all adds up to AT&T expecting to see data traffic on its core network growing more than 50 percent year-over-year, so its global IP backbone is getting a cash infusion too, including investment in subsea fiber-optic cables.

Read More.

Quotable Comments:

What's Up At Google?
Last month we discussed the impending entry of Google into the telephone business. Clifford Holliday, a writer and analyst for IGI, has been working on a report on Google and telephone. Mr. Holliday spent many years as the VP in charge of technology planning in the Business Development department of GTE so he knows the telephone business. Here's his comments:

"In 2007, Google purchased a small startup called Grand Central. Grand Central provided a service that allowed calls to follow a user to different phones, and visual voicemail. In early March 2009, Google announced that it had now rebranded the service to Google Voice and added a number of new features. Early reporting on the features included free calling within the United States, extremely cheap international calling, and many advanced call- and phone-management capabilities. Although not yet available to the general public (it is said that it will be in a few weeks), the threat is clear. Google is indicating that it will give away the entire voice business (at least within the United States) just to get an added advertising platform. How big a market can we expect for Google Voice? Is this a threat to mainstream telephony? What are than main issues impacting the telecom market today?"

Good questions!

FOA CPCT Certification
What are people saying about the new FOA CPCT Premises Cabling Certification covering fiber/copper/wireless?

You have done a fine job, I found the test to be right on the money with today's need's.
Questions were geared to real world applications. 
We needed this in the industry.
This is only one of  the reasons FOA certification shines. 
This is practical instruction for our industry.

While most premises cabling certifications only cover "Cat 5" unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cabling, the FOA CPCT covers premises cabling the way it is being used today - not ten years ago! Now most premises networks use fiber backbones,  UTP cables to the few desktops now being used and cabling to wireless access points for laptops and other WiFi- connected devices.

Those who have experience in the field of premises cabling, even if they do not have a CFOT, can apply for the CPCT certification directly to the FOA. To facilitate preparing for the CPCT exam, the FOA has created the Premises Cabling section on the Online Reference Guide and created a
 CPCT Study Guide for the exam.

FOA Revises Advanced/Specialist Certifications
As part of the annual review process, the FOA enlists the assistance of dozens of experts to review our certifications and exams. That allows us to keep them up to date and even flag changes in our reference materials, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual and Online Reference Guide.
We have just completed our review for 2009 and have made some changes that should interest our FOA members and schools.
FOA CFOTs with the proper experience can now more easily apply directly to the FOA and, if qualified, take the certification exam online locally with a designated proctor.
Manufacturers' trainin, e.g. OTDR or fusion splicing training, will qualify as experience. Shorlty, you will be able to study using an online study guide. If interested, download a FOA Logbook and document your experience.
FOA schools should look at the CFOS certifications as the requirements for teaching classes has been clarified to include  classroom and lab
requirements. Now more courses will qualify for CFOS training, including, for example, OTDR training for CFOS/T or prepolished/splice connectors for CFOS/C. Check out the new CFOS page or contact the FOA for details.

New Sections on Splicing on FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide
The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide keeps growing. This month, we added advanced sections on fusion splicing and mechanical splicing. Like the other sections, it's complete but written to be understandable, profusely illustrated and readable on your PC or iPhone or other web-enable device.

These sections are updated to support the revised FOA Specialist Certifications (CFOS). Now those interested in the
FOA Specialist Certifications can study for their exams online. Watch for a CFOS study guide online.

The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide is now available for use. It's not complete - we expect it to never be "complete" but always expanding!  We want you to contribute and give us feedback on how we can make it better!

Wanted: Links To Technical Materials
Next, we're soliciting links from fiber optic manufacturers and other organizations that have created technical materials that would be of interest to our readers. If you have technical websites you want to share, go here for our guidelines for submission.

FOA Offers "Google Custom Search  to Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide

custom searchThere's so much information on the FOA 
Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide that even a well-organized Table of Contents isn't enough and when the material is always changing, an index is impossible to maintain. So the FOA is using the latest technology in search, Google Custom Search, which will allow you to search just the FOA Tech Topics and Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide for any topic you want to find more about. Try it!  

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Featured School: Long Beach Job Corps
long beach job corps
Jaime Cabrera, the Telecom instructor at the Long Beach, CA Job Corps, with two of his students. They are learning how to terminate cables with Corning Unicam connectors, using equipment and supplies donated by Corning. Job Corps is a US Dept. of Labor nationwide training progam created by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

Good Question! Tech Questions Worth Repeating

Followup: Old Cable (
A recent call to the FOA asked if the problems they had with splicing and testing some premises singlemode cable might be due to its age.)
We Asked For Feedback From Manufacturers
We contacted some of my friends in the cable business and described the problem to them. Their reaction was similar to mine. If it was outdoor cable, there was probably no problem, but indoor cable could have been damaged by improper storage or by sitting on a reel for that long. Furthermore, one suggested that during the time that cable was manufactured, just after the telecom/dotcom market went “bust,” fiber optic the market was flooded by cheap, poor quality singlemode fiber and cable, some of it manufactured overseas.
Out of curiosity, I did some searching of the inventory of a couple of surplus cable dealers and found some cable just like the cable that was causing problems. 10,000 feet of it to be exact. But no mention of the age of the cable.
Certainly when times are tough, it’s tempting to find the cheapest suppliers. But just like we’ve been seeing counterfeit cables that may not meet spec or flammability codes, old cables from surplus may not be suitable for use any more. Unless the actual history of the reel of cable is known, using it is taking a big chance, since the total installation labor costs may be for naught.  And, as is often the case, there is some question where the blame lies. It may end up in the courts and if that happens, we know everybody loses but the lawyers.
From April: Old Cable and Another OTDR Mess

Link Loss Budgets And OTDR Testing
We have always said that you need a link loss budget calculation for a cable plant in order to determine what are PASS/FAIL results when testing, but a reader asked us a question recently that clarified an important point.

Q: What happens when you test with an OTDR with its limited distance resolution? Specifically, if you have singlemode fiber terminated with fusion spliced pigtials, you cannot see the both splice and the connector losses. Or what if you have a patch panel with connections using short patchcords?
A: For insertion loss testing, you simply sum up all the loss contributors and get a total for the cable run. In the case of an OTDR, you are analyzing each event.
So if you have a connection point where both fibers were terminated with spliced-on pigtails, you should analyze the event as the sum of 2 fusion splices and one connection, not each individually. A patchcord termination would be two connection losses, plus splices if the termination was by splicing on pigtails.
But even if testing with an OTDR, remember an end-to-end insertion loss test is required too!

OTDRs vs Fusion Splicing Machine Readings

Q: When we  fusion splice, the fiber  machine  shows  splice  losses of  0.00 to 0.04  dB, but tests with an otdr shows  splice losses of   0.2   to  0.3 dB. Why? 

A: There are several issues involved. The splicer uses a profile alignment system ( ) that estimates the losses based on software estimates of how well the fibers are aligned. It's just an estimate, as it cannot actually measure the loss, and issues like differences in the mode field diameters or  backscatter coefficients of the two fibers can make a big - and directional - difference in the losses measured by an OTDR (
With the OTDR you should measure both ways with the OTDR and average. I suspect the larger losses could be directional issues with the OTDR and if you measure the other direction you will get lower losses.

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

Worth Reading:

Fiber To The Desk?
Maybe it's too late. While copper and fiber were fighting it our to connect up the desktop in LANs, wireless found more bandwidth and solved the security problems so users can have what they want: mobility. With the majority of new PCs being laptops or netbooks and Internet connections for cell phones and web-enable devices getting faster, wireless is the winner. However, the backbones and many wireless access points are fiber connected and fiber is the medium of choice in data centers.

Read more from Network World.

See The Future Of Fiber Communications Through The Eyes of Others
The OFC Conference (Optical Fiber Communications) has posted their plenary session presentations online. They discuss three views of fiber optic communications and what changes are seen from the eyes of three diverse speakers. The presentation by Lawrence Lessing is particularly interesting.
OFC Plenary Presentations  

Good News or Bad News?
According to Lightwave, fiber penetration extends to 19.1% of U.S. commercial buildings with 20+ employees. Should we say "that's great" or "why are 80.9% of all US 
commercial buildings with 20+ employees not connected on fiber?
Read More in Lightwave.

Good Technical Website

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

Cable Installation using "Push" or "Push/Pull"
Polywater's new Pull-Planner™ 3000 Software allows a "pushing force" variable in pulling tension calculations.  Read a White Paper that quantifies the push contribution and compares calculation results to field experience. --

Pulling Cable Through Water?
Read a Product Spotlight on Polywater® + Silicone™, Polywater's new generation underground lubricant.  Continued reduction of friction when pulling through water is only one of the unique features of this lubricant. --

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


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

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

IGI, a major market research and technology reporting company (the "Active Optical Cables" below)  is offering a a free one year subscription to one of our fiber optics newsletters to FOA members.  All they have to do is to send IGI an e-mail stating which newsletter they would like to get. See for a listing of IGI Newsletters.

FOA Tech Topics - 
The new FOA reference website is now online. New sections have been added on fusion splicing and mechanical splicing.  Check out the current Table of Contents. 

Coming soon to a network near you  - 40 and 100 gigabit/sec Ethernet!
The IEEE is already working on specs for
40 and 100 gigabit/sec Ethernet and have approved a number of new PMDs (that's standards-speak for Physical Medium Dependent - i.e. cabling). A summary of the proposals is on the updated list of network specs at
FOA Technical Bulletins
How do you design and manufacture fiber optic systems? Choose and install one to serve your communications needs? Troubleshoot problems? The FOA Fiber Optic Technical Bulletins will provide step-by-step guidelines to help you. All are PDF files you can download, print and use.
Testing Update
Are there really 5 different ways to test optical fiber cabling after installation? Why so many? How do the measurements - and more importantly the measurement results - differ? What are the advanteages and disadvantages of each method?
Why are there 4 ways (maybe 5) to test fiber optic cables?
Do OTDRs and OLTS tests give the same results?
New Tech Topics
Industry standards updated to include international standards
Updated link specs for fiber optic networks - now includes 10G Ethernet.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on General Topics and Testing
Reference Guide sections on fusion splicing and mechanical splicing.

  • Product News

    Motorola Introduces LAN Based on FPON FTTH Network
    Motorola’s Passive Optical LAN (POL) system derives from the vendor’s experience supplying gigabit passive optical network (GPON) equipment for Verizon’s fiber-to-the-premises network. Motorola’s POL is an all-fiber enterprise LAN connecting any stationary Ethernet-based device or system across the enterprise into the wide area network. It supports cabled and wireless connections and is certainly something anyone looking to upgrade a LAN should consider. (One would assume that supplying millions of pieces of hardware to Verizon means they have gotten the price low!)
    Motorola PON LAN
    Read more from CED.

    Used Test Equipment – Buy or Sell

    Have you read the FOA Tech Topics on Cleaning?

    More links on cleaning:

  • Westover 
  • AFL

    ITW Chemtronics

    Cleantex Alco Pads



    FTTH Notes:

    In Norway, You Might Have To Bury Your Own Cable To Get FTTH!
    A Norwegian triple-play provider has a unique solution to the pesky problem of digging up consumers' yards to bury fiber-to-the-home. Lyse Tele, an overbuilder that launched its fiber-based all-IP solution in 2002, installs the fiber right to the edge of a customer's lawn, then gives the customer instructions on how to bury their own fiber cable to the house.
    Read More From Telephony.
    All-Fiber Networks Now Reach 4.4 million Homes  as North American FTTH Deployment Continues

    WASHINGTON - The number of North American fiber to the home (FTTH) subscribers continues to grow at an annual pace of approximately 1.5 million and now stands at more than 4.4 million, according to a study released today by the Fiber-to-the-Home Council.
    Led by Verizon's massive investment in FTTH technology in the deployment of its FiOS service, the fiber to the home industry in North America also includes hundreds of smaller telephone companies and other network providers, municipalities, planned residential communities and cable television companies that are making the move to end-to-end fiber to deliver next-generation video, internet and voice services. 

    More: FTTH Council North America

    Where is Verizon offfering FiOS service? See this map.
    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.


    What Is The FOA?

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

     Digging Safely (Read the FOA Tech Topic)

    There is a new toll-free "call before you dig" number: 811

    See for more information

    National Fiber Optic Protection Summit: By the "811" group. March, 2008 in Vegas.


    Download This!
    There are tons of technical application notes and videos on the web, and occasionally we recommend some you should download. The JDSU fiber testing guide is really worthwhile, as are the ADC FTTx book and Westover video on fiber inspection and cleaning, linked below.

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

    Job Openings

    Instructor/San Diego
    "Private College looking for an Instructor to teach Cabling and Fiber Optic Classes".  Part and Full time positions available.  Campus located in San Diego, Contact Gary at 619.234.2181, Ext. 312

    Manufacturing/Test Techs
    ADC is looking for engineers with experience in designing, manufacturing and testing multi-fiber fiber assemblies.

    Tom Huegerich
    Office: (802) 753-1605
    Cell:    (802) 777-6721    
    Learn about ADC at

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

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

    David Swales, Jr.

    Also Check Recent Job Openings In Previous Issues of The FOA Newsletter


    Tech Puzzler
    What's the difference between these three OTDR traces of the same fiber event?

    Answer below

    FOA Logo Merchandise
    FOA has arranged with EmbroidMe to provide FOA logo merchandies. Identify yourself as a FOA-certified tech or instructor. The lab coats are super impressive for either cabling techs and instructors. Check out the selection.

    FOA Certification Top Choice

    The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 27,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 230 schools. Since our founding in July, 1995, we have dedicated ourselves to promoting fiber optics and professionalism in fiber optics personnel, focusing on education and certification. We are continuing to add new schools and more CFOTs as users of fiber optics learn that a CFOT is the indication of a professional, well-trained fiber optic technician. Now with FTTH (fiber to the home) finally taking off, demand for CFOTs is rising and schools are responding by expanding programs rapidly.
    The FOA now has approved programs at 200+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems and AFL (and their new acquisition "The Light Brigade" for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at


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

    Your Name, CFOT - It pays to advertise!

    The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

    Feel free to use the logo and designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!


    Remember To Renew Your Certification !

    Remember to renew your FOA certification. All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding your qualifications if needed. You must be a current FOA member and CFOT to participate in our online database of installers, contractors, technicians and consultants. If you forgot to renew, use the online application form to renew NOW!

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



    To Contact The FOA:
    The Fiber Optic Association
    1119 S Mission Road, # 355
    Fallbrook, California 92028 USA
    Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time, Monday to Friday
    Telephone: 760-451-3655
    Fax: 781-207-2421
    You can now renew your FOA certification online - and get an extra month free. Details here.

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

    Return to The FOA Home Page

    (C)1999-2009, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

    Tech Puzzler:
    The three traces are taken with different test pulse widths: 330 ns at top, 90 ns in the middle and 30 ns at the bottom. It's a slightly reflective splice  but the details get blurred by the wider pulses. For best results, choose the narrowest pulse that gives you adequate range. See here for more information.