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July 2022

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News     Technical    Worth Reading    Q&A    Training/FiberU    Resoures    Safety   About

Note we have changed the format to place articles in sections on one topic and all articles are dated so you know if we repeat one - which we often do when we think it's very important!


More FOA Guides For Color Codes
The First "Terabit City"
Certified Techs To Build Broadband
Fiber Optic History - The Movie
Everyone Uses Fiber U
Cross Reference To FOA Tech

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Broadband Funding Expands in Kentucky
Peabody HS Graduates First CFOT
IMSA Convention Hosts CFOT Fiber Training
New Teaching Tool Helps Train W4W
Beaver Causes Fiber Outage

Useful New Products
Maintaining A Fiber Optic Cable Plant
Interpreting Specs For Cable Plants
Mobile App Collects Fiber Test Data
Aerial Cables
- Good & Bad
Warning For Techs About Fiber Amplifiers
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Questions from our readers

Training/FiberU New FOA-Approved Schools, Fiber U MiniCourses, more
Resources New FOA YouTube Videos. 


About the FOA

FOA Certified Techs

CFOT Total

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?
Special offer - 1/3 Off Renewal

See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs Web Page has been updated and a new page added on Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field in this YouTube video.

Join The FOA eMail Newsletter List
Want to be notified when the FOA Newsletter is updated? Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter. You can also sign up from your cell phone: text "FOA" to 22828 (usual text message charges apply)

Trademarks: The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.

 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks
The fiber book is available in Spanish and French

FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA
                          Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book
FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book
                        on Fiber Optic Testing FOA
                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are now also available as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online
FTTH Council

The FOA Newsletter is edited by Jim Hayes - send your stories, leads, ideas, comments to <jim @>
Jim Hayes

Search the FOA Website With DuckDuckGo

Top Stories From The 2021 FOA Newsletters

The Archives: Past Issues.
Use these links to read past issues or use FOA's  Custom Search to look for specific topics on our website.
1/22, 2/22, 3/22, 4/22, 5/22, 6/22, 7/22,    
1/21, 2/21. 3/21, 4/21, 5/21, 6/21, 7/21, 8/21, 9/21, 10/21, 11-12/21,      
1/20, 2/20, 3/20. 4/205/20, 6/20, 7/20, 8/20, 9/2010/20, 11/20, 12/20
1/19, 2/19, 3/19, 4/19, 5/19, 6/19, 7/19, 8/19, 9/19, 10/19, 11/1912/19
1/18, 2/18, 3/18, 4/18, 5/18, 6/18, 7/18, 8/18, 9/18, 10/18, 12/18
1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17, 6/17, 7/17, 8/17, 9/17, 10/17, 11/17, 12/17 
1/16, 2/16, 3/16,  4/16, 5/166/167-8/16, 9/16, 10/16, 11/16, 12/16     
1/15, 2/15, 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15, 9/15 , 10/1511/15 , 12/15
1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, 6/14, 7/14, 8/14, 9/14, 10/14, 11/14, 12/14 
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/1312/13 
1/12 , 2/12, 3/12, 4/12, 6/12, 7/12, 8/12, 9/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12   
1/11 ,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10 ,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09 ,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
1/08 , 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08 
12/07 , 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07, 2/07, 1/07
12/06 , 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05 ,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04 , 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
12/03 , 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02

Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications active, you need to renew them when they expire. Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - an online store at Paypal - where you can quickly and conveniently use your PayPal account or your credit card to renew your certifications.

You can now renew with PayPal or a credit card
PayPal is available worldwide

Join FOA On  Social Media

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has 3 LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official page on LinkedIn - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

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

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

More Help On Color Codes (And More Free Stuff From FOA)

Last month we mentioned the FOA has created a pocket guide to fiber optic color codes that we are sending to new and renewed CFOTs. It has color codes for fibers and buffer tubes, connectors and premises cables inside and on the back, QR codes to take you directly to the FOA Guide and Fiber U.

FOA Color Codes Guide card 

The reaction was overwhelming. That's not surprising, as the FOA Guide page on Fiber Optic Color Codes is one of the most read pages on the FOA website and the Fiber Optic Color Codes minicourse on Fiber U very popular also. And, unsurprisingly, we got lots of requests for the cards. While we were sending them free to new and renewing CFOTs, we wanted to make them available to everyone, but we're not prepared to fill all the requests easily. So we came up with two alternate solutions.

Here's a do-it-yourself FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Color Codes card. Just download the PDF file, print it on a color printer and fold it up as shown. Then you have your own pocket guide to color codes. Make a bunch for your co-workers too.

Color codes U-print FOA Color Code Card

But we did not stop there. We know how many of you use your mobile devices on the job, so we created a version of the Color Code Guide you could download and use on your smartphone or tablet. It's a PDF file, so you just download it and save it on your device and it will be with you always.

FOA Color Codes Guide on iPhone 
FOA Guides to Color Codes - Fiber (L) and UTP Copper (R)

Then we realized that many of your also do structured cabling work, so it was a natural to add a Color Code Guide for UTP copper cabling.

Here are the links to download your own FOA Guides to Fiber Optic Color Codes
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (electronic version for your smartphone, tablet or PC) PDF  

And For UTP Cabling

FOA Guide to UTP Cabling Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to UTP Copper Cabling Color Codes (electronic version) PDF

Why Stop At Gigabits? Let's Design Fiber Networks For Terabits - It's The Future!

When discussing fiber infrastructure for cities, we mostly talk about "Gigabit Cities," which are certainly the state of the art today. GPON or 10GPON are the way to provide gigabit FTTH, and DOCSIS-3 or RFOG can provide similar bandwidth for CATV systems. 5G and WiFi 6 wireless promise almost as much bandwidth, although they are still unproven.

But fiber optic networks are good for 20-40 years at least, so what happens as time moves on? Is Gigabit good enough? Based on past history of the communications networks and the Internet, the answer is obvious, of course not. So doesn't it make sense to design fiber optic networks today that will be good in the future - the Terabit future?

Graph of Internet speeds from Netly Fiber.

Another issue that makes sense is "open access." If the owners of the fiber optic cable plant are not service providers, they can provide the connections to the users and allow multiple ISPs, CATV companies, telcos, etc. to colocate in their head end. If a customer wants to add or change service providers, only a simple patchcord change is needed. Open access networks are preferable for cities because it can allow more flexibility in offering services to citizens and for the city's own uses.

Can networks like this be built today? That's what a company called Netly Fiber has done in Solana Beach, CA. In June 2022, Netly completed their 2-year project of building a fiber network in Solana Beach that shows that with some forethought, you can build "Terabit" fiber optic networks today that should be good for the lifetime of the fiber.

(An aside: When Jack Demers, an entrepreneur in wireless, got interested in fiber over 5 years ago, he called FOA asking questions. He came to our office and spent most of a day discussing the work we had done with FTTH, starting with helping Verizon with FiOS and our recent work in the DIY projects like Southern Fiberworx and Connect Anza. We discussed a lot of topics that day and since then we have continued our conversations as Netly has gotten started and begun operations. And, for full disclosure, your editor, JH, is a minor shareholder in Netly.)

What exactly is Netly doing that is different? The multi-million dollar project took two years to complete and includes ultra-high speed dark fiber access for every residence, business, traffic light, and institution in the city. To achieve terabit speeds the Netly team took a bold approach and built multiple dedicated strands of fiber to each address located on city streets. Over 30,000 fibers are available for Solana Beach's 6,000 households.

Yes, every user in the city can have dedicated fiber back to Netly's head end. And the fiber network is open access; Netly is not an ISP, telecom or CATV company, they just provide the dark fibers and colocation space for service providers. Service providers locate their equipment at Netly's head end, patch into their customers' fibers and provide their services using whatever protocols they choose.

Netly Haed edn

Service providers' equipment (including splitters for PON networks) are placed in the Netly Edge Fiber Center (headend)

Does a centralized fiber infrastructure make sense? Most networks today are based on PONs, passive optical networks that use splitters to serve multiple users from a single network GPON OLT port over one fiber, with splitters placed along the network route. But will that architecture still work in a decade or two? Possible, as 10G is already here and 100G PONs using coherent transmission in R&D. And, then again, maybe not. In the future we may need direct connection to every user.

The centralized fiber network Netly uses is really cheap insurance for the future. If you are using GPON on Netly's cable plant today, you put your OLT in their head end along with the PON splitters and connect to every user on their dedicated fiber. If the architecture changes to direct connection to the user in the future, a simple change of equipment is all that is needed.

Is centralized fiber affordable today? Netly thinks so. But they are utilizing state-of-the-art products and technologies.

Based on his analysis of the market and new developments in technology, Jack developed a unique business plan for Netly. The notion of centralized fiber with a connection to every user makes sense today because fiber is inexpensive and this architecture reduces the need for numerous fiber distribution hubs and pedestals for splitters or other equipment scattered around the service areas. And centralized fiber architecture is ready for terabit applications.

For the cities on the Southern California coast Netly was interested in, all were somewhat urban but mostly suburban in geography. Underground installation would be required in areas where aerial cables were not permitted, so using microtrenching made sense for the installation method.  Working with Corning, Netly chose a microcable that could be blown into microducts. Each trench route has a microduct with six ducts in a row. When only one duct was used, 288 fibers in the microcable were available, but each route could be expanded to 6 of the 288 fiber microcables for 1728 fibers total.

Netly installation

Netly microtrenches then installs 6 microducts.

Netly's microtrenching technique deserves a mention also. Where possible, that is there are no conflicts with other buried utilities, they trench at the joint between the road pavement and the curb, minimizing damage to either. Drops are done in small handholes near the curb, leaving an installation that is almost undetectable. And installation is quick, making for minimal disruption in a neighborhood.

Besides a unique model for the FTTH cable plant, Netly has used a different model for their financing. Netly is funded by private investors who believe this is the best model for FTTH networks and offers the greatest potential for future growth.

The next Netly city will be Folsom, CA.

Netly founder Jack Demers and the staff. Note the FOA logo - we're a Partner.

Interesting Reading: 

The NTIA Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) - Only Certified Techs Allowed

Last month in the FOA Newsletter we reported on the "NTIA NOFO" and how it basically says that broadband networks it funds must be based on fiber optics. The document also talks a lot about the workforce that is required to install this fiber optics and the funding available to pay for training. For example, from Page 57:

An effective plan for compliance with federal labor and employment laws can include a subgrantee’s binding commitment to strong labor standards and protections for the project workforce (including contractors and subcontractors), which include:

Use of an appropriately credentialed workforce (i.e., satisfying requirements for
appropriate and relevant pre-existing occupational training, certification, and licensure);

The NTIA NOLO also states (page 24):

Eligible Entities that receive Initial Planning Funds may use those funds for the following planning and pre-deployment activities:

Training for employees of the broadband program or office of the Eligible Entity or
employees of political subdivisions of the Eligible Entity, and related staffing capacity or
consulting or contracted support to effectuate the goals of the BEAD Program;

and (page 33) a very important topic:

In drafting its Initial Proposal, an Eligible Entity should keep in mind that it may allocate grant funds for the following:

Training and workforce development;

What Does This Mean?

Each state's broadband office and every contractor interested in working on these programs needs to think about the workforce they will use. This US program will require many more fiber optic techs than are currently available and those who are currently available will need to confirm their credentials. Getting more qualified techs in a job market where there are currently two openings for every person looking for a job is not going to be easy.

The states can create their own training programs
to help develop the workforce for their projects at the state technical and community colleges - or even high schools - with the help of the FOA as did KY and OH. States like KY recruited workers needed retraining - even laid off coal miners became fiber techs. Now is the time to begin work on setting up courses and recruiting candidates.

Like the actual projects, the money available for training will attract a lot of "trainers" of various quality, and we already see some preparing to sell their programs and even create new certifications. But only FOA already has the proven experience, hundreds of schools, dozens of programs and certifications recognized worldwide  to create the programs needed. (See the number of FOA certified techs to the left.)

The best evidence of the FOA work helping developing broadband projects is the results in Kentucky where FOA helped organize the workforce development program 6 years ago that has provided trained fiber techs for building of Kentucky Wired. See the article below on how successful Kentucky Wired has been.

Fiber Optic History - The Movie

FOA recently created a timeline of fiber optic history to show how the technology and applications of fiber optics has developed in its 50+ year history. That seemed to be a perfect topic for one of the FOA video lectures, so we created Lecture 73 in the FOA series of lectures on fiber optics. This history of fiber optics is narrated by FO President Jim Hayes whose voice you probably recognize from other FOA lectures. Jim is a good choice as narrator because his involvement in fiber optics starts in 1977/78, about the time of the first field trials in the US and UK and includes the founding of the FOA out of the original Fiber U training conferences.

FOA's History of Fiber Optics

In addition, Jim was active himself in the early history of fiber optics, starting one of the first fiber optic test equipment companies and helping write the first standards for fiber optics. So besides the general history, Jim adds a few stories of his own work in the field and has some interesting tales to tell.

FOA Lecture 73, The History of Fiber Optics - A Timeline video is available on YouTube.

Who Can Use Fiber U? Everyone Does Use Fiber U

In last month's FOA Newsletter, we ran an article talking about how everyone can use the free online learning courses at Fiber U. This month, as we close out the books on the FOA's financial year, we noted a startling statistic - the number of people taking courses and then getting their Fiber U Certificate of Completion TRIPLED in one year! We were astounded. But in today's world, lots of people are taking online courses, and Fiber U with it's 2 dozen great courses - all free - is what people want and need.

See for yourself: 2 dozen free online courses at Fiber U.

Cross Reference To FOA Technical Reference Materials

The FOA has created what is probably the world's largest knowledge base on fiber optics. FOA has printed textbooks, online technical information in the FOA Guide, more than one hundred videos and has free online learning at Fiber U. Generally for a given topic, like basic fiber optics, FOA will have the material printed in book form, online as technical web pages, covered in several videos and will use those to create a Fiber U course. With 11 textbooks in 4 languages, almost 1,000 pages of technical information on the FOA Guide, 100+ videos and two dozen online courses at Fiber U, all this can make it difficult to find the right information.

Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
To help this, we have created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.
Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Videos
We have also rearranged the 100+ FOA videos in similar categories on the Contents Page of the Online Guide, making the videos, especially the lectures, much it much easier to find a video on a particular topic. 
FOA Videos Guide.

FOA Newsletter Sections

News     Technical    Worth Reading    Q&A    Training/FiberU    Resoures    Safety   About


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Governor Announces Broadband Expansion Funding For Kentucky

Required reading for every state's broadband program managers.

In 2016, when FOA first traveled to Kentucky to host a statewide meeting on fiber optic workforce development to support the new "Kentucky Wired" program, Kentucky had the lowest Broadband availability in the US. Recognizing this problem, the state authorized spending  $360million to build a backbone network to connect all 95 counties in the state, then rely on local public/private partnerships to build out connectivity to everyone.

FOA hosted this meeting because we knew that local techs to build the network were going to be scarce. FOA only had a handful of CFOTs in the state of Kentucky at the time, but we had a school in the Kentucky Community and Technical College system, Gateway, that had been an FOA school for years.

That started a very successful program that now has programs at 9 KCTCS schools and has supplied many of the techs who worked for contractors like Team Fischel and Ledcor to build the Kentucky Wired backbone. Many of those workers were retrained workers from disappearing jobs like coal mining as well as young people looking for well-paying technical jobs with future potential.

FOA's kentucky Wired Summit

FOA's Kentucky Wired Summit in 2016

The story of that historic meeting in Lexington, Kentucky should be required reading for every state's broadband program managers. Workforce development will be a problem as US government funding begins, but Kentucky shows how the problem can be solved, with FOA help. The issues FOA. the state officials, KCTCS officials and representatives of the contractors brought up then are the same issues we face today.

The Report On the 2016 Kentucky Wired meeting is here.  

The news is that Kentucky Wired has successfully connected all the counties and local build-out has begun. Partnerships, even with AT&T, are being made to built FTTH networks around the state. In June, Governor Andy Beshear announced that the state awarded 46 new grants totally an additional $89 million to build networks in 35 more Kentucky counties to connect 34,000 families and businesses. That brings the total value of local grants to $203 million.

Details of the Kentucky Fiber Optic Build-out Grant Program.  (Vendors take note, it lists all the recipients in detail.)

Not only have the 9 KCTCS schools thrived in their fiber optic programs, Team Fischel has also become a FOA school using the FOA training programs with their own employees everywhere.

Peabody High School Certifies First CFOT

We've written before about Dale Larocque's Peabody, MA High School FOA CFOT program. They just graduated their first student from the program, certified as a FOA CFOT, Vedant Patel.

Vedant, Peabody HS

We asked Vedant to tell us a bit about himself. "I really enjoy learning how things work from inside, learning how computers are able to do math of millions of numbers in just milliseconds, I also enjoy building things up from scratch, gathering different materials to assemble them all into one big product. As soon as I walked into Mr.Larocque’s classroom the first time, I immediately knew this was the class for me. Also big thank you to Mr.Larocque for putting so much faith and trust in me, would not have gotten this far without his support."

Congratulations, Vedant, and kudos to Mr. Larocque.

FOA encourages more High Schools to consider fiber optic training programs. Today, we need more trained technicians, not just for fiber optics, but also the electrical and IT fields.

IMSA Convention Hosts IMSA/FOA CFOT Certification Training, Fiber Optic Sessions

IMSA Convention

FOA is the fiber optic certification partner of IMSA, the International Municipal Signalling Association. The IMSA convention for 2022 will be held in Orlando on July 24-27 and offers an IMSA/FOA CFOT certification course as well as several other seminars on fiber optics. FOA has been working with IMSA for several years and we have learned that these are serious fiber techs. Many work for cities as installers and inspectors where they must be familiar with all aspects of fiber optics.

The CFOT class this year will be taught by Sam Garman, VP of Atlantic Transportation Systems, Camp Hill, PA and officer of the IMSA New Jersey Section. Sam was trained and certified as a FOA CFOS/I Instructor by Tom Collins of Techtricians, FOA Master Instructor who has been conducting IMSA/FOA CFOT certification classes. (See below for another of Tom's courses.)

FOA will be at the
IMSA conference trade show in Booth 125, represented by Stacey Mueller, Program Director at About Phase Academy - offering training in the transportation infrastructure industry including FOA certification courses as well as the IMSA/FOA CFOT certification classes. It you are at the IMSA show, stop by and visit with Stacey.

Training For "Warriors For Wireless" Uses New Training Tool

Tom Collins, FOA Master Instructor, does a lot of training and likes to try new tools to make training better. He's been using WiFi connected instruments like the OTDR to allow students to operate the OTDR from their mobile devices. In a recent course for the Warriors For Wireless organization, Tom introduced a new tool, a fiber optic network simulator from M2 Optics in Raleigh, NC that had been donated to Warriors for Wireless.

Tom's report, "Our recent Warriors 4 Wireless fiber optic class used a new training aid, the M2 Optics Inc. Fiber Lab MSP trainer with our OTDR. The trainer has one event that contains a splitter with a PON system. The unit is a hard case with multiple runs of fiber with splices. It’s portable but sturdy enough for the road. We utilized the trainer in all three of our courses, the CFOT, CFOS/Testing, and CFOS/Wireless. Students seemed to like it and it can be incorporated into all of our lab modules. Student tested and instructor approved!"

M2 Optics Simulator

Designed specifically for OTDR training and demonstrations, M2 Optics customizes the Fiber Lab MSP to each user’s specific requirements. Offering a wide range of fiber types, lengths, and events, the integrated MSP unit brings the field network experience into the classroom. Go to the M2 Optics website to learn more. Special discounts are available for FOA training schools.

Warriors 4 Wireless is a charitable organization existing solely to help veterans find decent paying careers in the growing 5G wireless workforce. They have invested well over $3,000,000 of contributed funds to assist veterans joining the telecom workforce and have connected over 3,100 veterans to telecom career opportunities. Let them help you!

For more information, contact Tom Collins at Techtricians

Beaver Causes Power And Internet Outages In Northwestern B.C., Canada

Beaver causes power and Internet outages

A beaver was the cause of a June 7 outage which left many residents of northwestern B.C. without internet, landline and cellular service for more than eight hours. The beaver gnawed its way through a tree which then fell on both BC Hydro lines and a Telus fibre-optic cable line strung along BC Hydro poles between Topley and Houston.

The resulting power outage affected only 21 customers but the fibre optics damage affected Telus customers in Burns Lake, Granisle, Haida Gwaii, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Thornhill, Houston, Topley, Telkwa, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.  CityWest, the utilities company owned by the City of Prince Rupert, also had its customers affected because it uses the Telus fibre optics line.

BC Hydro official Bob Gammer said crews identified a beaver as the culprit because of chew marks at the bottom of the downed tree. The lines are located in a swampy area and with the high water levels, there was some difficulty accessing the site, he added. “It's unusual, but it does happen every once in a while,” Gammer said.

Read more at  CTV News, Vancouver, B.C., Canada   


On fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

The FOA Update Page covers all the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter recently. Now you can review all that new tech at once.


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

Sponsored Content

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To optimize your fiber optic network, splice-on connectors (SOCs) are a great place to begin. Check out our latest blog update for a detailed comparison between SOCs vs. other
field-installable connectors.

Read more in the Sumitomo BLOG.

(Every month, FOA gets dozens of technical questions and the most interesting ones end up in the Good Question section below. These two, however caught our eye and deserve featuring in our Technical section.)

Managing And Maintaining a Fiber Optic Cable Plant During Its Lifetime.

Q: Are there guides / recommendations for optic fibre cable life cycle management? (outside plant) including rehabilitation / replacement timelines together with factors that may alter those timelines ( such as seismic activity, extreme weather, human activity-induced fibre cuts etc) also including typical performance deterioration over the life cycle, and the performance levels at which replacement / rehabilitation happens. Or does it happen (and is it normally expected) that operators replace entire sections of fibre (say 400 km) as part of routine maintenance?

A: There is a saying here in the US that in fiber optics “the most common cause of failure is “backhoe fade” in underground cables and  “target practice” for aerial cables.” In other words, damage caused by humans. We know of many fiber optic cable plants that have survived natural disasters like earthquakes - in fact there is a lot of work today using regular cables used in communications to monitor for seismic activity. Fire can be a problem in remote areas, but often it’s because the poles are burned causing the cables to fall.

Over the years we have questioned cable manufacturers about the lifetime of fiber optic cable. They don’t like to make definitive statements but we have been told that based on the cables installed in the past that 40 years is a probable lifetime for most cables. There are certainly cables in use today that are over 30 years old already. The glass fiber is not a problem, it’s the protection from the cables that will eventually fail. Installation techniques can have an effect on the longevity. For example splice closures should be sealed properly to prevent ingress of moisture or dirt. Cables should not be installed with bends below the rated bend radius or with excess tension.

FOA has always told users that fiber optic cables do not need maintenance (, a response to some people advocating periodic inspection and cleaning of connections, for example. That’s just more likely to cause damage.

When an accidental break in a cable occurs, we have guidelines for restoration (, and planning for restoration when building the cable plant is very important.

Someday you will certainly want to replace cables, often well before the lifetime of the cable, but generally because you need more fiber or the older fiber will not support the network speeds you want for upgrades. Planning for more fiber by installing more cables can be eased by installing spare underground ducts when first installing cables - here in the US, we call this “Dig Once” ( Testing fibers for higher speeds is called "fiber Characterization” ( and is routinely done when speeds above 10G or certainly 100G are considered for older fibers.

Knowing that the lifetime of fiber optic cable plants are ~40 years, it makes sense to plan ahead for future applications, installing lots of fibers, leaving lots of open duct space and choosing network architectures that will not obstruct upgrades. See the article on Netly's network above.

Interpreting Customer Spec For Cable Plant Loss

Q:  I am currently being challenged by my customer on some testing parameters and  was wondering if I can receive  your input regarding the EIA/TIA-598B standard.

A: The customer spec: l. Rated attenuation: 0.35dB/km and 0.25dB/km at 1310nm and 1550nm, respectively

As we read the customer spec, this section “L” below refers to the cabled fiber attenuation coefficient of the cable as supplied to the contractor, not the installed fiber after splicing and termination. Thses are typical specifications for today’s high quality fiber. It is also slightly lower than specifications noted in most standards today, e.g. 0.4 dB/km at 1310 nm is more common. See in the table at the bottom of the page, noting OS!/G.652 fiber specs.

After installation, splicing and termination, the total loss of a fiber link includes the losses from splicing and termination, plus any passive devices like PON splitters that may be installed in the link. When calculating the loss budget ( to compare to actual test test results, splices may be calculated at 0.15-0.3 dB each and connectors at 0.3-0.75 dB each, adding to the end to end loss and affecting the calculation of dB/km.

For example, 10km fiber with 4 splices and two connections (the ends) would have a total loss of:

Fiber: 10 km @  0.35 dB/km = 3.5 dB
Splices: 4 @ 0.15 dB each = 0.6 dB
Connections: 2 @ 0.3 dB each = 0.6 dB
Total link loss = 4.7 dB
If you calculate dB/km for the installed link, it becomes 0.47 dB/km, even though we used the lowest loss specs for splices and connections.

As stated above, the spec you called out refers to the cabled fiber only and should be verified by the test documentation supplied by the manufacturer on the reel.

The loss of the installed link should be calculated in the loss budget for the link as designed using the given fiber spec plus reasonable specs for splice and connection loss.

Testing should be done with a light source and power meter (OLTS) and a second test with an OTDR per OFSPT-7 or FOA Standard FOA-1 (OLTS) and FOA Standard FOA-4 (OTDR).

Mobile App Collects Test Data And Stores In The Cloud

ECSite is an app for mobile devices that captures and stores data online for making reports, making reports faster and easier. The app maker already has setups for EXFO, Fluke, Anritsu and AFL OTDRs already, simplifying use. Watch the video or go to the ECSite website for more information.

OFS Develops New Aerial Cable Management System

OFS Sherpa

OFS has introduced an interesting option for installing aerial cable. It's a molded rubber gadget that snaps onto an existing aerial cable to allow installing other cables. One version snaps onto ADSS cables to allow running smaller square or round cables like drop cables for FTTH. Another version is for neutral power cables or metallic messengers to allow simple installation of ADSS cables. It might be a easy way to add cables to an existing aerial span.

See more about the OFS Sherpa cable management system here.

The Right Way To Mount A Splice Closure And Store Service Loops On  A Pole

Pole in Rolla, MA

Notice the bracket bolted to the pole, neat service loops and secure mounting of the splice closure.
(Photo by Milt Murry taken in Rolla, MO.)

Without Comment:


See the video for yourself (LinkedIn posting)

And The Perils Faced By Aerial Cables

perils of aerial cable

Watch the video of the crash from a doorbell camera in San Pedro, CA.

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration


FOA recently received an inquiry that was a new one; whether techs working on restoring OSP links should be concerned about eye safety if the link used fiber amplifiers. To answer this question, we had to do some research on fiber amplifiers. The short answer is YES, you should be concerned. The long answer is more technical and includes details that every OSP tech needs to know.

See "Fiber Amps And Restoration" in the FOA Newsletter Archives..

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget Calculator

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We've created a online Loss Budget Calculator that does the work for you. Just input your cable plant data and it calculates the loss budget. It works on any device, especially smartphones and tablets for field use and even allows printing the results.

                        Loss Budget Calculator

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

Worth Reading

Each month we read hundreds of newsletters and online articles. These are the ones we think you will find "worth reading."

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optic History  and the new FOA Video "The History Of Fiber Optics"

Fiber or copper?  AT&T PR photo from the mid 1970s

The FOA's History

Worth Reading (And Watching):

July 2022

Vermont not waiting for federal BEAD grants, funding broadband development now. ILSR.

Four Wind Farms Constructed at once. T&D World.
Wind power needs lots of fiber optics - OPGW.

Lightwave Magazine Summer 2022

Lightwave's Summer Issue
focuses on fiber in the CATV industry and more.

Multilink’s SpeedFlex Push Fiber Up to 12 fibers in a cable you push into conduit or staple to a wall.

Reports of the Pay Phone’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated - The New Yorker 

Worth Watching: Conocimiento Esencial: ¿Por qué la fibra óptica? 
creado por FiberWizards 

June 2022

Recruiting And Training Today's Fiber Optic Workforce - Learn the fundamentals to recruit and train new fiber optics - by FOA's Jim Hayes in ISE Magazine.

Explosive Fiber Broadband Expansion Drives Need for Fiber Technician Training Programs - Telecompetitor - As fiber sees record-setting deployment levels, the demand for fiber optic technicians is stronger than ever.

NTIA Notice of Funding Opportunity   Information from the funding source on applying for US broadband funding

2023 National Electrical Code® - Revisions to Cable Requirements from CCCA. Requirements for some fiber optic cables are moved from Article 770 to new Article 727.

May 2022

Google Video On Their Undersea Cables YouTube Slick but interesting video on how undersea cables are designed, built and used.

2022 Submarine Cable Map depicts 486 cable systems and 1,306 landings that are currently active or under construction. Telegeography.

RTI Telecom Magazine from  Brazil, in Portuguese. A revista RTI do mês de abril já está disponível online e recomendo a leitura de alguns artigos: 

April 2022

CENIC Technology Roundtables - Videos of past webcasts on wIreless and CATV broadband with fiber coming soon. Some of the best reviews of state of the art technology from California's state of the art R&D and education network.

Construction Without Disruption - FOA President Jim Hayes' column in ISE Magazine

State of California Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative - California ALL program

March 2022

Every State Has a Chance to Deliver a “Fiber for All” Broadband Future: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Pew Charitable Trusts has released a couple of new tools for state broadband offices preparing for the influx of federal funding. ILSR

PEW Charitable Trusts has a broadband initiative that aims to help local networks get started.

February 2022

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

Building Broadband During Component and Worker Shortages - Broadband Communities - Completing broadband builds requires competent fiber optic techs, but training them requires understanding how they learn - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

Worth Reading - Magazines, Websites and Newsletters

  dpPro Magazine

The latest Issue of dP-PRO, the "call before you dig" magazine, is online. It's the 2022 Special Locate issue. 

dpPro sponsors the annual digging safety conference each year - next year in Tampa.

Safety conference 2023

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin America. Jose Enriquez, editor of  Todo Fibra Optic magazine has many years experience in the fiber optic industry so he knows the industry well. FOA will be working with him to share our extensive technical materials in Spanish.

Read their newsletter here.


All issues and subscriptions.

José Manuel Enriquez Mora, Editor
Todo Fibra Optica LLC
+52 222 302 8224

1995-2020 - FOA's 25th Anniversary!

As part of celebrating 25 years of serving the fiber optic industry as its primary source of technical information and independent certifying body, FOA thought it appropriate to create a short history of the organization and how it has developed  to help the fiber optic industry. We also wanted to recognize the contributions many people have made to the organization over the years that made FOA what it is today.

The FOA history is now archived on the FOA website where you can read it anytime or link to it.
Updated info - dB, total internal reflection and science projects,

Worth Reading - News Summary - Past Links Worth Repeating

1983 Video of AT&T's First Test Of A Submarine Cable System From the AT&T Tech Channel archives (worth exploring!)

Richard Epworth's Optical Fiber History from his work at STL from 1966 with Charles Kao.

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: Article 800 provides specific requirements  by Michael Johnston,  NECA Executive Director of Standards and Safety in EC Magazine

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History

In the August 2021 FOA Newsletter, we published a lengthy article on rural broadband and compared it to rural electrification in America in the last century. Much of the comparison was based on an article written in 1940 by a USDA economist, Robert Beall, called "Rural Electrification." 

If you are interested in or involved in rural broadband, we recommend you read the article "How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History" in the August 2021 FOA Newsletter and read the Beall article also.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cable -
Steve Maginnis
LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling
(Visit website)

Sumitomo's Ribbon Splicing Guide - download from one of the leaders in splicing.

"Who Lost Lucent?: The Decline of America's Telecom Equipment Industry"
This is a MUST READ for managers in telecom or any industry!

This long and well-researched and annotated article in American Affairs Journal should be mandatory reading for every high level manager in a telecom company - or any other company for that matter. To summarize the article, today, America has no major telecom equipment company and fears the major suppliers of equipment who are all foreign, especially the Huawei from China. This article explains how America got into this deplorable state.

OFS also has an excellent website and blog of tech articles worth browsing.

IEC 60050 - International Electrotechnical Vocabulary - An extensive dictionary for fiber optics in English and French. Highly technical - this is one definition: "mode - one solution of Maxwell's equations, representing an electromagnetic field in a certain space domain and belonging to a family of independent solutions defined by specified boundary conditions"

If you are interested in restoration - aren't we all? - you should also read this article in dpPro magazine by FOA President Jim Hayes: Damage Protection Requies Looking Overheas As Well As Underground - dpPRO Magazine - about the problems with aerial cables. His previous article for the magazine was New Techniques for Fiber Optic Installation.

How much fiber optic cable is manufactured each year? CRU Reports - unsurprisingly China is by far the largest market today

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance weekly newsletter has lots of interesting articles and links.

The Open Technology Institute at New America just published “The Cost of Connectivity 2020,”

US Ignite and Altman Solon issued “Broadband Models for Unserved and Underserved Communities

Universal access to broadband is a cornerstone to a strong economy, Achieving universal access will require community partnerships. by
Alfreda B. Norman, Sr. VP,  Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

FIBER TO THE FARM: The co-ops that electrified Depression-era farms are now building rural internet. Be sure to check out the high-tech equine installation equipment.

Next Century Cities Newsletter - News from cities around the US including Detroit and New York plus small

Infrastructure Get Some Respect, NY TImes "On Tech"   "The magic of the internet requires a lot of very boring stuff behind the scenes. "

DIRT Report On Damage To Utilities Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual DIRT report provides a summary and analysis of the events submitted into CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) for the year 2018. The complete report is available for download here. In addition, there is an interactive dashboard that allows users to filter the data more  by factors contributing to damages.

Structured Cabling News - a website and weekly newsletter about cabling.

The Internet Master Plan for New York City. The New York City Internet Master Plan is a comprehensive framework for the infrastructure and services that provide connectivity to New York City residents and businesses. This Master Plan will guide City actions and public-private partnerships to transform New Yorkers’ access to this essential infrastructure for generations to come.

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

The Future Of Work Is Skills - So Stop Worrying About Degrees - The reality is the future of work is about skills, not just degrees. (FOA Newsletter Feb 2020)

The job market is hot. So why are half of U.S. grads missing out?  

VIAVI Books On Fiber Optic Testing (2 volumes) - They're back!

books  book 2

Besides the FOA reference materials, two JDSU/VIAVI textbooks, Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing, Volumes 1 and 2,  were used as references for some of the FOA courses and are recommended for instructors and students. The books are available from VIAVI as eBooks and the everyone should download them and recommend them to others.Download yours now. Volume 1. Volume 2. Viavi Books

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

Guidebook To MPO Testing OptoTest offers this complete guide to MTP®/MPO testing. In this guide, you will learn all there is to know about the different test methods, equipment options, troubleshooting, and best maintenance practices to ensure that you have the best testing experience. Go here to download the book.

50th Anniversary of The Development of Low Loss Fibers
A history of the development of low loss fiber, a fascinating story by Jeff Hecht on the OSA (Optical Society of America) website.

How OFS Makes Fiber

Interesting YouTube video on how fiber is made. Perhaps a little too much "show biz" but fascinating. If you have ever seen fiber manufacture, look at this video. You will be amazed at how big preforms have become!

How Nexans Makes Copper Cables - compare the process to fiber - don't most of the machines look similar?

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

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

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

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

Another Source Of Articles On Fiber

FOA President and editor of this newsletter Jim Hayes has also been writing a column in Electrical Contractor Magazine for almost 20 years now. Electrical contractors do lots of fiber work and this column has covered some topics they are interested in including installation processes, network design, fiber applications and a lengthy series on dark fiber - what it is, how's its used and how it benefits the growth of communication. A recent web site redesign makes it easier to browse all these articles - just go to and you can see all of them.


When readers ask us questions, we genrally refer them to FOA resources where they can find the answer to their question and many more. We first send them to the FOA Guide which is the table of contents for the FOA technical resources. There they can find pages indexed by topic and a search engine for the FOA website. It also links them to FOA videos and courses on our free online learning site Fiber U.

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQs = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us (which first ran in this newsletter) and adds tech topics of general interest.

Good Question!

Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers 

July 2022

Also see the two important questions above in the Technical section.

Test Source Variations
Q: When we plug in the patch cable to use as a reference to get ready for our insertion loss test, our power meter gives us different readings each time we plug in and unplug the cable.  Is this normal?
A: If you plug a reference cable into a source, it is likely to have some variation in coupling each time so the power out of the cable is different. Once you plug the cable into the source and a reference set with the meter, you should not remove the cable until you finish testing.

Test Source Modulation Options
Q: Our light source user’s manual listed the following: “In the actual project, it is necessary to load the audio carrier in the optical signal to identify the optical fiber. The equipment contains three carrier frequencies, which are 270Hz, 1KHZ, and 2KHz.” Can you tell me if I need to be concerned about setting this to a certain value?
A: Sources often have an option to modulate the source for use with another instrument called a “fiber identifier.” Then it offers the output as DC or CW (a steady unvarying signal) or modulated at 270HZ,1 or 2 kHz. When testing loss the DC or CW setting should be used.

June 2022

Differences in OTDR Traces
What causes the differences in otdr traces for fibre cores that are in the same cable?
A: Several things can cause the fibers  in a cable to have differences in their OTDR traces:
Differences in fiber from different production batches including fiber that may come from different preforms.
Differences in stress on the fiber caused by inconsistent cable design and manufacture
Of course differences in splices including stress on fibers in a splice closure and terminations including stress on fibers in racks and panels.

"Mining" Cables In Data Centers
Q: Is there any documentation out there on best practices for DC cable mining? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A: This has been a topic in premises cabling since first proposed by NFPA  for the NEC twenty years ago. FOA has gotten this kind of question before for many different circumstances, but I must admit that I know of no recommended procedures or standards for the removal of abandoned cable.

Cable “mining” often refers to the removal of underfloor cable, may apply to cables in trays and is hard to get information online - search for “Cable mining” and you get links to sellers of cables designed to be installed in mines (coal, salt, minerals, etc.) underground!

The biggest problem with removing unused cables is identifying the cables to remove. Underlloor cables are particularly bad, it seems, since you have generations of abandoned cables, often poorly marked, sometimes mixed with power cables. With metallic cables, you can sometimes use an ancient telephone tool, a “toner” to trace cables, With fiber you just have to be careful that you identify the cable before you cut.
It’s always better to remove small sections, especially if you can tug on the cable and verify it each time before cutting. We’ve seen photos of an early data center with cable trays 2 feet deep by 4 feet wide full of about 4,000 fiber optic cables. After seeing that you understand why the new high fiber count cables (1728, 34456 and 6912 fibers) are desirable!

Calibration of Fiber Optic Power Meters
Q: Why does this tester sold so cheap show the same value for 1310 and 1550?

Power meter calibration
A:  We’ve purchased and tested several of these inexpensive meters based on questions from our instructors and readers. They have a similar “feature” - they are not calibrated to international standards of optical power, so when you measure dBm, the result at any wavelength may vary considerably from a meter by a major manufacturer who does calibrate properly.

However, these meters have a menu item that allows you to calibrate them yourself. We've calibrated all the ones we tested to match our calibrated instruments and after that they work OK.

Interestingly, they show loss as negative dB, which is how we think it should be. Some large, famous manufacturers manipulated the standards to make loss a positive number, so if you measure gain, it is considered a fault.   

May 2022
Designations For Fibers
I'm currently working on a project involving optical fiber with VMS signs, CCTV cameras and other ITS equipment. I was wondering if there is a standard or a good practice which describe the typical assignation for each optical fiber on a 6 fibers cable for example?  By that, I mean :
- fibers number 1 and 2 : VMS;
- fibers number 3 and 4 : CCTV;
- fibers number 5 and 6 : spares
There are several ways people assign polarity on duplex links. The way you suggest is the most common I believe. Use the odd number fibers to transmit in one direction, even number fibers to transmit in the other direction and document the color codes.

Storing Fiber Optic Cable On Reels
is there a "standard" for how to store a fiber optic cable reel?
A: This is another detail that has not in my knowledge ever been included in a standard. However manufacturers usually put a note on the reel to keep it upright - standing on the edges of the spool sides, not flat on one side of the spool.  If the fiber is to be stored for a period of time, it should be stored in a cool dry place and the ends sealed with electrical tape.
(Photo storing cable on reel)

Optical Power Of FTTH Signals
I wanted to know on a fiber to home what is the optimal signal strength  I should receve at? I have a leg that is 21 km long I receive at 1490 at -22 dBm is that to low, everything looks good on my traces
A: The specifications for GPON are here.
The standard for GPON calls for receiver power at -13dBm max to -28dBm minimum, so -22 dBm is OK.

April 2022

850 LED Test Source
Q: I need to test multimode fiber at 850 nm but sources are hard to find and expensive. Can I use a laser?
A: Multimode fibers should be tested with an LED. Lasers have several problems in multimode fiber that may cause untrustworthy readings. The problem is that LEDs are no longer used for transmission systems; every MM system now uses VCSEL transmitters, a surface emitting laser. As a result most LEDs at 850nm for MM have gone out of production. Two engineers I know who have been looking for them say there is now only a few sources and the price is much higher that of a few years ago. We've been buying used test sources on eBay for training.

105 Micron Fiber?
Q: I have a customer asking about 105um fiber. Does it exist? What is it basically used for? After FOA suggested a clarifying question to the customer: The fiber is for Power over Fiber(PoF). The construction is 105um fiber with 125um cladding. The question or assumption would be – The termination would be the same as 50,62.5 or 8.3um with a 125um cladding?
A: The people who do laser surgery and power over fiber use special step index fibers and SMA connectors. The power density can be very high so the heat can build up in the cable. SMA connectors or the metal ferrule swaged-on connectors are often used for their all-metal construction with the ability to withstand heat and sometimes the need to be drilled for special fiber diameters. Because of the high power, the polish needs to be low reflectance, so we’d recommend using a wet polish and end with a very fine polishing film - 0.3 microns or so. Like polishing SM for DWDM.
Cleanliness is very important for these applications. I remember a call from a doctor doing laser surgery who kept ruining cables because they were dirty and the high power literally exploded the dirt and pitted the ends. When that happens, sometimes they can be polished out but often they are ruined. The same thing happened to the 120 inch telescope at Lick Observatory when Joe Wampler tried using it to laser range to the retroreflector Apollo 11 left on the moon. Exploding dust pitted the aluminization on the mirror.

Gel Leaking From cables
Q: We have several instances where gel from inside the fiber optic cable has leaked into the splice closure. I have seen some information about sealing the ends of cables so that this doesn’t happen but cannot find a specific method or procedure for this or what to use for a sealant. Is this something that is common practice for outside plant cables? The gel creates a mess and definitely makes reentry for additional splicing more difficult. If there is a way to prevent or minimize this I would like our technicians to start implementing it.
A: When you install the cable, after inserting the cable in the splice closure and/or the budder tubes in the splice trays, seal the end with silicone RTV adhesive. It needs some time to cure but that should prevent the gel leakage. Or next time, order dry water blocked cable which will not have this problem.

Single Fiber DWDM
Q: Can you do bidirectional links on a single fiber with DWDM? (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing)?
A: A company Called Edge Optical Solutions sells multiplexers for bi-directional DWDM on one fiber  by using adjacent wavelength channels for each direction. It is good to ~400km with coherent transceivers but cannot use fiber amplifiers for repeaters.

March 2022

Maximum Fusion Splice Loss
Q: We have set 0.4 dB as our max for all losses per splice and my counterparts argue that customer quality will not suffer with a 1.0db-1.5db loss at a splice. What do you think?
A: We would argue that the issue with high loss splices is more one of reliability. Most fusion splices of singlemode fiber are 0.05 to 0.1 dB A splice that has more than ~0.2dB loss probably has some inclusion (dirt that got on the fiber after cleaving) or an air bubble with means the splice is deficient in strength and may fail over time. If the network is operating at high power with WDM and fiber amplifiers, the inclusions or bubbles may produce heat which can cause failures. At very high speeds or using coherent communications over long lengths, it might affect dispersion.

Another Way Of Expressing dB?
Q: Just wondering what to think about presenting dBm as a percentage of power, using either a linear measurement or quadratic equation ?
I recently came across this article : []  I realise it's Wi-Fi signals here, but can you compare this to anything concerning optical loss or gain , given we're still using dB and dBm ?
A: I had to read this 3 or 4 times to get the idea. Basically he suggests converting dB, a nonlinear log scale, to a linear scale expressed in %. Following his steps (assuming I understand his system) , 100% = 0 dBm (1mw), 90% = -10dBm = 1/10mw  = 10% of the original signal, 80% = -20 dBm = 1/100 mW = 1% of the original signal.. So 80% = 1% of the original signal. And that’s where it seems a bit nonsensical. 70% would be 0.1% of the original signal,,,
We fail to see what this “new math” accomplishes.

OTDR AutoTest
Q: Would we say that OTDR 'Smart' test capabilities are commonplace on newer models or only on some manufacturers meters ?
Maybe it's additional software that can be thought of as an upgrade ?
A: Some form of “auto test” has been available on most OTDRs for 20 years or more. Early versions were not very good; they usually just made a test under some average test conditions and reported the results. Modern OTDRs use more powerful computing power to make several tests and determine which conditions are best for the fiber being tested. By optimizing the range, pulse width, number of averages, etc. it can usually produce fairly good results. We don’t think the cost of the OTDR is an issue for new ones because users expect all of them to have a good auto test function. As to whether an older unit could be upgraded, that would depend on the manufacturer and if they still support that product. An OTDR less than 5 years old should probably be able to be upgraded.

February 2022

MM Splice-on Connector On Singlemode Cable
I encountered a situation where a MM mechanical connector was used on a SM fiber and passed on an OTDR test. The client and I are interested in understanding how these connectors could have passed?
The joint between a multimode and singlemode fiber should have vrey high loss, ~17-20 dB, depending on the mode fill of the MM fiber. However the short length of the MM fiber, ~10mm, might not be enough to cause the modes to fill in the short fiber in the connector, resulting in relatively low loss.
Eric Pearson, one of the most knowledgeable people on connectors expressed this idea then tested it with 100m singlemode connected to a second singlemode cable. The second singlemode cable has an OM3 LC unicam connector, An EXFO ftb-400 OTDR indicates a 2.09 dB drop. That is way too much to pass a test but nowhere near the loss that could be expected from the MM/SM joint. See the OTDR trace above.

November/December 2021

Fiber Optic Color Codes Reference Chart
Q: Has anyone made a fiber optic pocket reference chart that has cable color orders, frequencies, or other commonly used info on it?
A: The FOA has a page on its Online Guide that covers color codes ( It is the most popular page in the FOA Guide! It works great with a smartphone.

Underground Utilities Location
Q: From an OSP engineer: Is there a resource for underground utilities that we could use on our engineering designs? I know some counties offer this info but is there a single resource for all?
A: If you are in the US, the Common Ground Alliance (  , is a resource for designers and contractors looking for information on underground utilities. Their “CGA Best Practices” ( is the best reference for damage prevention.
Otherwise, the local authorities and utilities are the best source. The department that issues permits is usually the place to start.
Even with that information, it is recommended that the contractor do their own search using underground locating equipment before digging.
You may find this page in the FOA Guide on underground cable construction useful. ( )

Q: What is the importance of reflectance and all the other numbers in installing and trouble shooting a fiber circuit?
A: Reflectance has always been a secondary issue to connection loss but has some important issues that need consideration. There are two basic issues with reflectance, affecting with the output of laser transmitters and creating background “noise” in a fiber link.
Reflectance can interact with the laser chip itself, causing laser transmitters nonlinearities or random fluctuations in the output. The background noise is a secondary issue, but can be seen in ghosts in an OTDR trace. The light bouncing back and forth in the fiber that causes ghosts will be added to the signal at the receiver end, adding noise to the actual signal. Both these effects are more significant on shorter links, for example FTTH or LANs using PONs (passive optical networks). We always recommend using APC (angled physical contact) connectors on short SM links. And most short SM networks do use APC connectors.
FOA tries to stick to the definition that reflectance is the light reflected from a connection but some others call it “return loss.” Return loss has been defined generally as the combination of reflectance and backscatter from the fiber, and that’s how OTDRs measure return loss. Standards vary in the definition sometimes.
Here is a FOA Guide page on reflectance that gives the basics and explains how it is tested.

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  



The word on the "Dig Once" program is getting out - FOA is getting calls from cities asking us for information and advice. Here are some links:

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order:
From the Council of State governments:
From the city of San Francisco:
An article about Dakota County, MN:

And the one to download and hand out:
A “How To” Guide from The Global Connect Initiative:

Is There A Standard For Fiber Optic Installation?

Another question we get often is "Is there a standard for fiber optic installation." The answer is yes, but not from the usual standards groups you might expect. Over 20 years ago, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) asked FOA to help create a standard for installation. That standard, ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 has been updated three times already and is about ready for another update.

Unlike most of those groups who charge you a fortune for standards, FOA covers the cost so
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 is available free from FOA.

                        301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

Download your free copy of
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 here (PDF)

Older questions are now available here.

/ FiberU

News and resources to help you learn more and stay updated.

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

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.
Free online training at Fiber U

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

FOA Network Of Approved Schools Continues To Grow

The need for more fiber optic networks to support broadband and wireless/5G networks has led to a strong demand for more trained and FOA-certified techs, and that has led to a demand for more training organizations. FOA has been adding new schools and certifying new instructors to meet the demand. Here are two new schools this month and more added recently.

New this month:
Western Wyoming Community College, FOA Approved School #401

Schools added recently:
Arrow For Engineering #774, Amman, Jordan
Team Fishel #399, Virginia

School 398, Telecom Tech, Colorado
School 396 Optconn, Boston, MA
School 395 Fiber Wizards (Knowledge on Demand LLC)
School 393, Carolina's Solution Group
School 394, Tri-County Career Center, Nelsonville, Ohio
School 388:  Global Com of Sterling, Virginia, USA
School 389. CWA-JATC Telecom Training Center, San Jose, CA
School 390  Northern Allied Communications, Nespelem, WA
School 391  Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, ID
School 392  Wallace Community College, Dothan, AL

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations

Need A Fiber Optic Course Onsite? Invite an FOA School To Come To You

FOA often gets inquiries from an organization that has personnel that needs training in fiber optics. Recent inquiries have included contractors, a manufacturer of high-reliability products using fiber optics and a cable manufacturer. In many cases, where there are several people needing training, FOA can recommend a FOA Approved School and Certified Instructor who will come to their location to teach a class. The advantage  is of course the savings in travel costs if the class comes to you, but it also offers the opportunity to customize the course to fit your needs, even use your equipment or work on your components, so the training is more relevant to those taking the class.

Contact FOA to discuss the idea of a custom, on-site class to see if it will better meet your needs.

FOA/Fiber U On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program

The FOA Fiber U OJT program combines online study at Fiber U with OJT with mentoring by experienced co-workers and their supervisor to help new employees develop into FOA-certified technicians in only one year.  Upon completion of this program, the trainee will be prepared to take the exam for the FOA CFOT (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and/or CPCT (Certified Premises Cabling Technician), the most widely recognized fiber optic and premises cabling certifications in the industry.


The FOA Fiber U “OJT-To-Cert” program  includes both fiber optics and premises cabling (copper, fiber & wireless), so it covers techs working in both outside plant and premises jobs. 

Like other FOA programs, the OJT-To-Cert program is free. If you and/or your company is interested in the FOA OJT-To-Cert program, contact FOA.

To explain how OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too. Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA "Work-To-Cert" Program

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

More techs have become comfortable with online conferences, webinars and training. Many have discovered that they can become FOA Certified using their experience in fiber optics and study for the FOA certification exams online at Fiber U. Thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Since FOA certifications are based on KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), current techs already show the skills and abilities required through their field experience. FOA provides free online self-study courses at Fiber U for the knowledge part to prepare you for FOA certification exams which you can also take online.

If you are an experienced field tech interested in certification, and FOA is the internationally recognized certifying body for fiber optics, you can find out more about the FOA "Work to Cert" program here.

If you are already a CFOT, FOA also offers many specialist certifications you can obtain based on your experience as a field tech. See what's available at
Fiber U.

Fiber U "Basic Fiber Optics" Online Self-Study Course Now In Spanish

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español

El sitio de aprendizaje en línea de FOA, Fiber U, tiene más de dos docenas de cursos de autoaprendizaje gratuitos sobre fibra óptica y cableado de instalaciones. Como era de esperar, el tema más popular es el curso "Fibra óptica básica", que se utiliza para iniciarse en la fibra óptica y como curso de preparación para realizar el examen de certificación FOA CFOT.

Ahora el curso básico de fibra óptica está disponible en español, utilizando el libro de texto FOA en español, la sección de la Guía en línea en español y la capacidad de YouTube para traducir subtítulos de video al español. El curso funciona exactamente como la versión en inglés con 10 lecciones, cada una con cuestionarios y una opción para tomar un examen de Certificado de finalización.

Para presentar el nuevo curso de español Fiber U, el examen Certificate of Completion es gratuito, así que dígaselo a sus contactos.

Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

New Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 

FOA has added a new course at Fiber U on Fiber Characterization. Fiber characterization is the process for testing long fiber cable plants for its ability for carrying high speed communications. With so many networks now operating at 100, 200, 400 or even 800 Gb/s, fiber characterization is important, especially on older fiber optic cable plants.The free Fiber U Fiber Characterization course is available in two forms, as a standalone Fiber U fiber Characterization Course with its own Fiber U Certificate of Completion and as a separate Lesson in the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing course. This course is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U MiniCourses: Got An Hour Or Less? Learn Something New About Fiber Optics.

FOA has introduced a new type of Fiber U course, the MiniCourse, a free online course you could take in a short time, perhaps as you ate lunch at your desk or took a coffee break. The topics of these courses should explain what they are about, and these are all very important topics to fiber optic techs.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

The courses have two components, video lectures and readings, that are complementary. As usual there is a self-test to allow you to check your comprehension. As with other Fiber U courses if you desire, you can take a short test for a Fiber U Certificate of Completion that costs
only $10.

All these free courses and many more are available at Fiber U.

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

As FOA moves more testing over to our digital online testing system at ClassMarker, we have access to more data about our testing, including what questions and topics on the tests are answered incorrectly most often. Having this data gives us an opportunity to evaluate the questions and how they are stated, but more importantly it allow us to help our instructors teach the subjects and us to change our curriculum and online courses to emphasize these particular topics. These are some of the topics that we have noticed are answered incorrectly more often in FOA and Fiber U tests.

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

1. OTDRs - particularly what information is in the OTDR trace.

2. The difference between dB and dBm

3. Loss budgets - both the concepts and doing the math

4. Insertion loss testing - single-ended or double ended for testing patchcords or cable plants, how to set 0dB references

5. Units of measure - fiber is measured in microns, wavelengths in nanometers, etc.

At FOA, we're working to add Fiber U MiniCourses on these topics and working with our schools to emphasize these topics in their classes.

If you are going to be taking a FOA certification course or test in the near future, these topics should be on your final exam study list.

What We Learn From Hands On Labs
We learn about students performance in hands-on labs from the feedback of our instructors and our own experiences too. One big problem is the use of hand tools. Growing up today, you learn how to use keyboards, mouses and touch screens, but decades ago, you also learned how to use basic hand tools. This is big enough of a problem that we're considering adding some video lessons on basic hand tools to prepare students for cable prep, termination and splicing that require the use of hand tools.

FOA Guide "Basics Of Fiber Optics" Now Available Online in Portuguese (6/2020)

                            Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

FOA has now translated the Basics of Fiber Optics textbook in our Online Guide into Portuguese, joining Spanish and French translations. For those speaking Portuguese, we have the technical information and for schools we also have curriculum available.

Here is the FOA Guide in Portuguese, Spanish and French translations.

Time To Learn - Online

Some schools have been closed during the pandemic, so FOA has been working with them to create new online learning experiences that can in some cases lead to certification online. FOA certifications are still based on the KSAs - knowledge from the classroom, skills from the labs and abilities judged by instructors or proven by actual experience.

Much of what we're doing benefits from the capabilities of "Zoom." Others have created videoconferencing apps, but none work so well, especially with limited bandwidth. We've seen remote labs that have an instructor showing students how to use the tools they were sent then watching them duplicate their actions. We have worked out methods to use Zoom to proctor FOA's online certification exams.

Blended Learning
While most FOA schools have suspended in-person training during this period, some are offering a "blended learning" option. That means that students sign up for a FOA certification course, take the classroom sessions on Fiber U with the assistance of a FOA certified instructor. Now online instruction can include reviewing the labs using the
Fiber U Basic Skills Labs, then when it's possible to attend classes at the school, complete the hands-on labs and take the FOA certification exam.

Offline Fiber U
FOA has also created offline Fiber U modules to allow students with poor or limited Internet access to use the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling programs without Internet access. Contact FOA for information on using this option.

Online Remote Labs
Alternatively, some schools are experimenting with "remote labs," where the students get sent tool kits and components and labs are conducted by videoconferencing. Before the labs, the students may watch demos by their instructor on videoconferencing and/or review the relevant "virtual hands-on" lessons in the Fiber U
Fiber Optics Basic Skills Labs  so they will already know the steps in the exercises.
And Fiber U has the new Fiber U DIY Basic Skills Lab lesson with directions on how to purchase inexpensive tools online and use them to learn basic fiber optic skills. Videoconferencing allows the instructor to remotely monitor their work and provide help as needed. Contact the FOA for more information.

FOA Zoom Exam Proctoring

Online Certification Testing
FOA has all its certification tests available online, both for use by our schools and by our direct "Work to Cert" applicants. All FOA certification tests require a proctor to oversee the applicant taking the exam. In this time of social distancing, getting a proctor can be difficult, so FOA now has procedures for online proctors administering the exam.
Contact the FOA for more information.
OJT - On-The-Job-Training
Many novices get a job and learn on the job. They usually have an experienced tech who helps them gain the knowledge and  learn the skills they need to perform their job. Thinking about this in relation to the 
FOA KSAs, the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by a fiber optic tech,  the tech will learn skills but not the basic knowledge that helps them understand the processes involved. FOA can offer help here with our
FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program, using our Fiber U online self-study programs. While the tech learns on the job, they become a Fiber U trainee, getting the knowledge they need, while working under their "mentor" at work. This is particularly good for contracting companies who need techs but do not have the usual training courses available. Interested in OJT programs? Click on the link below or contact FOA for more information.

FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program

FOA offers free online self-study programs at Fiber U. Many users are preparing for FOA certification programs - taking courses at our schools or using the "Work-to-Cert" program. Some of our schools are requiring Fiber U programs as prerequisites for their classroom courses so they can spend more time on hands-on activities.

FOA School Offers Toolkit With Online Training

Slayton tool

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

/ Resources


Planning A Fiber Optic Project?

The FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Projects includes this timeline and comments on project planning and implementation.

More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages? Here are directions.

FOA YouTube Video Describes On-The-Job Training (OJT) 

Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U
To explain How OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too.

More New Videos Including FTTH Series
As part of developing the new Fiber U MiniCourses, we added several new YouTube videos:

Lecture 56 explains the issues of cable bend radius limitations, typical cable specifications and how to gage the proper radius or diameter when installing or storing cable. Lecture 57 covers problems with dirty connectors and how to inspect and clean them.

4 New Lectures on FTTH - #63-66  Plus #70 on Rural Broadband

New Lecture on Fiber Optics at Electrical Utilities - #67

FOA Lecture 51 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 1 - Causes of Damage To The Network  
FOA Lecture 52 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 2 - Planning For Restoration 
FOA Lecture 53 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 3 - Troubleshooting And Repair
FOA Lecture 54 Fiber Optic Connector Identification - New and old
FOA Lecture 55 The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics. - Understanding dB 
FOA Lecture 56 Fiber Optic Cable - Bend Radius -  Important for Installers to Understand
FOA Lecture 57 Fiber Optic Connector Inspection and Cleaning -  Most Connection Problems Are Caused By Dirty Connectors
FOA Lecture 58 Fiber Optic Media Conversion  - Copper To Fiber Made Easy
FOA Lecture 59 Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access   - How to drop fibers from a cable with minimal splicing
FOA Lecture 60 How Fiber Works   - Animated explanations of how fiber transmits light
FOA Lecture 61 Fiber Optic Color Codes    
FTTH Series

Like all our YouTube lectures, they are all short and easy to understand.

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages?

Sign in with Google to get translations for closed captioning. Click on the settings icon (red arrow.) Choose "Subtitles".  English is the default language. Click on the arrow after "English (auto-generated) >". In the new window click on "Auto-translate" and choose the language you want. 

FOA Loss Budget Calculator On A Web Page 5/2020

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We recently discovered how to get a spreadsheet ported to a Web page, so we created this web page that calculates loss budgets. We have an iOS loss budget app, but with this web page, you can calculate loss budgets from any device, smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer that has web browsing capability.

FOA Loss Budget Calculator 

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

                      Guide We are continually updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information. When you go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.

Recent updates:

FTTH Updates: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated Architecture and PONs (10G)
Color Codes For Fiber Optics  

Fiber Optic Projects - the FOA Guide to projects from concept to operation

Coherent Communications Systems in the FOA Guide.

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

FOA Reference Books


NEW: FOA's FTTH Handbook:
We've gathered all our information on FTTH from the FOA Guide and past issues of the FOA Newsletter and edited it into a 112 page "FTTH Handbook." We even added a section on planning and managing FTTH Projects.
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                        text in Spanish FOA Text in French FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng
                          book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics
                          book   FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
Fiber Optics (4 languages), Premises Cabling, OSP fiber and construction, Network Design, Testing and FTTH

   The FOA has it's own reference books for everyone working in fiber optics - contractors, installers and end users as well as for use as textbooks in classes at educational institutions. They are available as printed books or Kindle at much lower prices than most textbooks since we self-publish and sell online, cutting out the middlemen. Click on the book images for more information. The Reference Guide To Fiber Optics is also available in Spanish and French (print and online) and Portuguese (online only.)

Click on any book for more information about it.

FOA has reprinted

Lennie Lightwave
Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.
Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online or as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

Resources For Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools
Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.



On Safety

The FOA is concerned about safety!
FOA considers safety an integral part of all our programs, curriculum materials and technical materials. We start all our textbooks and their online versions with a section on safety in the first chapter, like this: Before we get started - Safety First!
There are pages on the FOA Guide on Safety procedures Including Eye Safety  and. Digging Safely 

And a YouTube lecture: FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics
In our OSP Construction Section, these pages cover many safety issues including those related to the construction of the cable plant: Project Preparation And Guidelines, Underground Cable Construction, Underground Cable Installation and Aerial Cable Installation.
There is even a safety poster for the fiber activities: PDF Safety Rules For Fiber Optics
Other Safety Resources:

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: Dial 811. See for more information in the US. Here is their map of resources by states.

In Canada, it's "Click Before You" They also have a page of resources by US states and Canadian provinces.

The Common Ground Alliance has an excellent "Best Practices Guide" online

The US Department of Transportation has a website called "National Pipeline Mapping System" that allows one to search for buried pipelines.   

Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards
fiber in
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

Safety Leader Magazine

Safety Leader

Safety Leader, a new quarterly magazine, informs and educates electrical contractors on safety from various angles—electrical, workplace, PPE, regulations, leadership, line work, NFPA 70E, and more. Safety Leader is bundled with ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR in February, May, August and November. To receive Safety Leader subscribe to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine here or subscribe to the ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR newsletter here.

2023 Conference On Damage Prevention In Tampa
Safety Conference

Global Excavation Safety Conference

Tampa, Florida
February 14-16, 2023


The magazine, dp-Pro, sponsor of the conference, has also published it's latest issue with an article by FOA on "New Construction Techniques in Fiber Optics" and a overview of the FOA. You can read the magazine here.

When You Bury Marker Tape, Bury One That Will Work (July 2021)


Signaltape® provides a visual warning by ensuring tape is brought to the surface, alerting the operator to the presence of a buried utility. It includes a 3,000-lb. tensile strength aramid fiber membrane, which ensures the tape is pulled to the surface to alert the excavation crew. Signaltape comes in two sizes: 12″ x 1000′ or 6″ x 1000′.

FOA Corporate Members - Products & Services

List of corporate member information provided by FOA corporate members listed on the FOA website.


About The FOA

Contact Us: or email <>

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has a company page and four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

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

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

What is The FOA? 

The FOA is a, international non-profit educational association chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. 

Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and  leaders from education, 
industry and government as a professional society for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world's fiber optic networks.

Read More  

FOA History  

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optics  

FOA was 25 years old July 2020 - Read about FOA's history

Learn More About FOA's History.

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <>

The FOA Home Page

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

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.


Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <>
Phone: 1-760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2022, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.

Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

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

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

Contact FOA at to get logos in file format for your use.

Privacy Policy (for the EU GDPR): The FOA does not use cookies or any other web tricks to gather information on visitors to our website, nor do we allow commercial advertising. Our website hosts may gather traffic statistics for the visitors to our website and our online testing service, ClassMarker, maintains statistics of test results. We do not release or misuse any information on any of our members except we will confirm FOA certifications and Fiber U certificates of completion when requested by appropriate persons such as employers or personnel services.
Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.