December, 2004

Previous Issues: 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

No November Newsletter!
No time last month, as we were working overtime on the third edition of the Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, due out next summer. Updates include new material on fiber choices (e.g. laser-optimized fibers), termination, testing, networks, etc. to bring it up to date as of the end of 2004. Look for the book intro from Delmar in June.

NECA/FOA Installation Standard Published
NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors Association), has been approved and published. This second revision of the document now is an ANSI-approved "American National Standard" of the NEIS (National Electrical Installation Standards" expands the original standard to cover much more detail, describing the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants.
Users now have a reference document for defining the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants in a "neat and workmanlike manner." Contract documents can be written simply to say:
"Fiber optic cables shall be installed in accordance with NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables"
Copies of NECA 301-2004 can be obtained from NECA by calling the NECA Order Desk at 1-301-215-4504, fax to 1-301-215-4500, email or online at

Two Models To Help Understand Fiber Optic LANs
There are now two models available for users to evaluate models for FO LANs. The TIA Fiber Optic LAN Section has a model that was created by a multi-vendor consortium to allow fiber/copper comparisons. Now Corning has created a model also that goes beyond cost to include more detailed design data and technical requirements for 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks. Access to the Corning model requires registration with Corning.
If you are considering a FO backbone or fiber to the desk installation, these can be valuable resources for your design work.

What's The Reaction To Our Proposal For A Standard FO Connector For Premises Cabling?

Last summer we proposed that the fiber optic industry again look at the idea of a "standard connector" - not a connector for every application, which is not realistic, but a small duplex connector for patch panel to equipment connnections. We have publicized the idea and gotten lots of interest.

What Is The Reaction To The FOA Proposal?
We received lots of positive feedback on the idea, but lots of skepticism that any new connector would be accepted and developed by manufacturers. That's understandable, as bringing a new connector to market is a very expensive process, even when it's basically a repackaging of some standard parts. But many responses we have received indicate that a new "de facto" standard exists - the duplex LC. Practically all transceivers for gigabit and 10 gigabit networks already are in the LC format. Furthermore, the MT-RJ has termination and technical problems (like singlemode performance) plus is very hard to test, so it is fading. None of the other SFF connectors seem to have made any real impact on the US market either.
What do you think? Is the LC the new de facto connector standard?

What do you think? Send your comments to

UCLA Research Yields Silicon Lasers

Why is this so important? It means that lasers can be integrated with the circuitry that drives all the systems and networks that communicate over them. It's been a major roadblock to integrating fiber optics into electronic instruments from the beginning. Driving copper cabling is simply an electrical process, easily added to ICs, but low cost silicon ICs have until now not been capable of generating optical signals. Realize, of course, this is just the beginning, and it will take years for the process to become commercial. But when it does, fiber will finally be able to compete with copper on a more even basis.

Read More

FOA Website Expands To Support Fiber Optic Educators

Instructors' Home Page And New Online Train-The-Trainer Program
The FOA has always focused on creating better educational opportunities in fiber optics - it's our charter: we're a non-profit educational organization. We've done two things recently to expand that commitment - both here on the FOA website.

We have over 120 schools and hundreds of instructors teaching at those organizations, and we'll notify them about these new web pages, but we invite any instructor interested in fiber optics to dig in and use these pages too.

First, we've created a home page for instructors where we'll cover topics just for them, like our TTT program and resources just for instructors. It's at

Secondly, we've put our TTT seminar online, in both PPT and PDF format at

Our online TTT program is the beginning of qualifying for the FOA CFOS/I Instructor Certification. Soon we'll have the program set up for instructors to register to begin qualifying for the certification.

FOA Proposes TIA-568 Standard Revision
Work has begun on the third revision of the TIA-568 premises wiring standard and the FOA is providing considerable input to the fiber optic sections. The FOA board, members of which have over 20 years experience in fiber optics on the average, reviewed the 568B standard and discussed these issues at length, then produced a document with our recommendations. You can read the whole PDF document here.
Jim will be attending TR-42.8 meeting in January to work with the committee in developing 568C and representing the interests of our organization and our CFOTs.

Tech Puzzler
What was the miniture version of the Biconic connector called? The "full size" one was the LA-1A.
Answer below

FOA Certification Top Choice

The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Almost 14,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 120 schools as the FOA completes its 9th year. Since our founding in July, 1995, we have dedicated ourselves to promoting fiber optics and professionalism in fiber optics personnel, focusing on education and certification. We are continuing to add new schools and more CFOTs as users of fiber optics learn that a CFOT is the indication of a professional, well-trained fiber optic technician. Now with FTTH (fiber to the home) finally taking off, demand for CFOTs is rising and schools are responding by expanding programs rapidly.
The FOA now has approved programs at 114 organizations, welcoming new additions like Corning Cable Systems for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at

New Tech Topics

New PowerPoint Presentation Introduces Fiber Optics
The FOA has created a short PowerPoint presentation that introduces you to fiber optics and talks about job opportunities in the field. It was intended for instructors to introdcue studnets to the field, but it's a good introduction for anyone. It's about 3 meg file so it takes a while to download and you need PowerPoint to view it. See

How Optical Fiber Is Made

Singlemode Fiber Nomenclature

Plastic Optical Fibers (POF)

Wavelength-Division Multiplexing

Fiber Amplifiers

Proposed Fiber Optic Cable Jacket Color Codes

The Effect Of Termination and Splicing on Bandwidth

FOCIS - Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standards

Calculating Link Loss Budgets

Specifications for Fiber Optic LANs and Links

EAI/TIA 568 B.3 For Fiber Optics

What Loss Should You Measure When Testing Fiber Optic Links?


Don't miss Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with some tests on connectors.

New sections of "Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics" covers loss testing of fiber optic cables and OTDRs.


Your Name, CFOT - It pays to advertise!

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

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

Remember To Renew Your Certification !

Remember to renew your FOA certification. All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding your qualifications if needed. If you forgot to renew, use the online application form or the FOA online store to renew NOW!

Want To Get FOA Email?
We have been asked if we could send the FOA newsletter by email or post it on the website. We are looking into that and will definitely get one started soon. When you renew your certification, you will be asked if you are interested in email newsletters and if so, you will be asked to give your email address for us to use in a mailing list. If you want to get started now, send an email to with the subject "eMail List"
Note that The FOA never releases its mailing lists for any use! Your data is always safe with us.

To Contact The FOA:
The Fiber Optic Association
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421

Officers and
Board of Directors
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
Eric Pearson, Director of Certification
Tom Collins, Gateway Comm. College
Van Ewert, AESA
Bill Graham
Karen Hayes
FOA Staff:
Jim Hayes, newsletter, website editor
Karen Hayes, Administration

The FOA is managed under contract by:
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421
FOA Board of Advisors
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
Tony Beam
Dave Chaney
F. Douglas Elliot, Past President
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
John Highhouse, Past President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Bob Mason
Eric Pearson
Paul Rosenberg, Past President
Dan Silver
Richard James Smith
Dominick Tamone
Tom Collins
Van Ewert
Elias Awad

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

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(C)1999-2004, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.


Tech Puzzler: The miniature Biconic was the LB-1B. It was used on the fiber optic backplane of the #5ESS switch.