Issue: May 15, 2002

Officers and
Board of Directors
John Highhouse, President
Jim Hayes, Treasurer, President-Elect
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
Eric Pearson, Director of Certification
Douglas Elliott, exPresident
FOA Staff:
Jim Hayes, newsletter editor
Dan Hayes, newsletter production

FOA Board of Advisors
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
Tony Beam
Dave Chaney
Douglas Elliot
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, Treasurer, President-Elect
John Highhouse, President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Bob Mason
Eric Pearson
Paul Rosenberg
Dan Silver
Richard James Smith
Dominick Tamone

Jim Hayes Elected FOA President
Jim Hayes, founder and first President of The FOA has been elected again to the post starting June 1, 2002. Since the beginning, Jim has been very active in organizing and running The FOA. Originally trained as an Astronomer and Physicist at Vanderbilt, University and Lick Observatory, Jim has been involved in high tech businesses since 1968. He became aware of fiber optics in 1978 and founded Fotec, the fiber optic test equipment company, in 1981. Jim has lofty goals for the FOA in the next few years. Here's his comments:

The FOA has grown from a wild idea by a bunch of fiber optic activists in 1995 to an organization that is a major force in the fiber optics industry. To date, we have certified over 8,500 members as CFOTs and have over 60 approved schools adding CFOTs to that number rapidly. We've gotten involved in industry standards and our latest, most ambitious program of creating a trainer certification program.
As I reassume the Presidency of The FOA, I've developed a number of goals for us the next year:
Set up online storefront for membership, renewals, certification applications, logbooks, logo merchandise, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual and other books, etc.
Keep the FOA website ( up to date, add technical content, instructor's corner, online museum
Publish 3 newsletters in the next year and focus on an email newsletter
Add corporate memberships
Recruit more schools to offer certification
Roll out "Train-The-Trainer" program being developed by John Highhouse and Tom Collins
Promote CFOS advanced certification programs, including getting more schools to offer advanced courses and certification testing
Finish update of NECA/FOA fiber optic installation standard
Look to more FOA involvement with industry conventions, meetings, standards and seminars.

I realize this is an ambitious program, but with the momentum we have built up already, I feel it's doable. We do, of course, need help and volunteers are always welcome. Contact me directly at if you want to offer your assistance.


TTT and Instructor Certification Program
One thing schools tell us continually is that there are not enough qualified instructors to teach fiber optic classes. The FOA has been working on this problem and are now readying a instructor's training program to alleviate the shortage.
The FOA is not a training organization itself. We have approved schools that train technicians, installers and designers, offering the FOA certifications. We have helped develop training programs given by organizations under NSF grants and worked with schools to set up programs.
Now FOA Board members John Highhouse of Lincoln Trail College and Tom Collins of Northern Kentucky Technical College, both seasoned teachers as well as fiber optics instructors, are preparing a one week program to teach instructors how to teach fiber optics for the CFOT exam. It will be one week of class covering curriculum and how to teach it with laboratories. Instructors who complete the two week program will be "CFOI's" - Certified Fiber Optic Instructors.
This year, we will do a trial run July 22-26 at Northern Kentucky Technical College in Highland Heights, KY (near Cincinnati) with some experienced instructors, then in 2003 will offer the program in several locations. If you are teaching fiber optics or want to, this is a great opportunity. If you are currently teaching fiber optics and are interested in being a "guinea pig," contact Jim Hayes at

Advanced Certification
What is the goal for a CFOT looking for advancement? Get your CFOS certification. The FOA "Certified Fiber Optic Specialist" program offers experienced technicians recognition for their accomplishments in termination, splicing and testing. In all, there are three specializations which can be taken separately.
Each Specialist certification requires a combination of experience and knowledge. The experience can be verified from the CFOT logbook or confirmation by employers or customers. Then there is an advanced exam, proctored by one of our approved training schools, that tests in-depth knowledge of each practice.
If you have your CFOT and want recognition of your professionalism, contact the FOA office for an application or see the FOA website (

Tech Topics - More Website Updates
The FOA website,, has had lots of useful information added, now including "Tech Topics," a series of technical papers on various topics of interest. The list of approved schools is kept up to date and the jobs listings is available both in new jobs and an archive of past postings, along with a list of search firms working in fiber optics. Take a look often as news items are also posted, for example, we'll announce our storefront on the website first.

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, 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.

Logo Merchandise
We are going to offer a select number of logo items including hats, t-shirts, jacket patches, etc. to be sold over our online store in the near future. The items we offer are going to be determined by the requests of our members, so let the FOA office know what you would like.

Using The FOA Logo & Certifications
The FOA is often asked by members if they can use the FOA logo on business cards, stationery or the side of their truck. Absolutely! Members are encouraged to use the logo and their certifications (CFOT or CFOS) to show their professional status.
We have placed high resolution logos on the FOA website for you to download and use. Those who have passed the CFOT exam can refer to themselves as "CFOT" or "Certified Fiber Optic Technician" and those with advanced certification are "CFOS/T, C or S" or "Certified Fiber Optic Specialist, Testing, Connectorization or Splicing."

FOA Identification Cards
In our March mailing for the annual meeting, we included an identification card for each member. These cards were a "trial run" that were missing some important data that we'll include in the future when you renew, like CFOT or member number and an actual expiration date.
It's your record of your membership and certifications and will serve as a reminder of your renewal date. We left space on the back for a passport-sized photo so you can sign it, add a photo and laminate it.

FOA Online Store
We are working to set up an online storefront for membership, renewals, certification applications, logbooks, logo merchandise, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual and other books, etc. It will greatly simplify renewing your membership and allow you to buy training materials, logo merchandise, etc. online with a credit card. Watch the FOA website,, for details.
Corporate Memberships
The FOA is finally going to accept corporate memberships. Companies joining the FOA will be listed on our website, participate in our newsletter mailings, and be able to offer memberships and certifications to their employees. If your company is interested, have them check the FOA website or contact the FOA office.

Tech Topics

Most GbE Networks Are VCSEL Based
Estimates say 80-90% of installed Gigabit Ethernet networks use 850 nm VCSEL transceivers (1000Base-SX). The remainder are based on 1310 nm F-P lasers (1000Base-LX) which cost at least 50% more. We have been told that 850 VCSEL transceivers are less expensive than 1300 lasers already. 10 Gigabit Ethernet will also use these same devices, but with the imminent availability of 1300 nm VCSELs, at a much reduced price from current 1310 lasers, may shift interest to the longer wavelength devices.

Pirelli Offers SM Fiber For 850 VCSEL Use
We all know that fiber does not have infinite bandwidth. It sure seemed so, fifteen years ago when telephone systems were running 405 Mb/s over SM fiber and LANs were 10 Mb/s over multimode. But today, with telcos looking at 40 Gigabits/second and LANs moving from 1 Gb/s to 10 Gb/s, fiber is being stressed to its limits in some applications.
It's the LAN especially where technology is being pushed. A desire to run high speed applications over legacy multimode fiber or adopt new multimode fibers (so-called "laser grade" fibers) to take advantage of cheap 850 nm VCSEL sources has kept the LAN applications focused on multimode. But Pirelli has a different idea - run cheap 850 nm VCSELs over singlemode fiber!
It's an interesting idea. Cheap lasers and cheap fiber (SM is about 1/3 the cost of MM due to its simpler construction and higher volume) offset the higher termination cost. You avoid the high cost of 1310 nm laser transmitters too. The SM fiber even has lower loss at 850 nm, about 2 dB/km, due to the lower levels of dopants.
But we're not home free. At 850 nm, SM fiber supports two modes or rays of transmission. Pirelli has optimized a SM fiber, called FineLight', for DMD (differential modal delay) at 850 nm which should increase the bandwidth, but the unknown is the effects of modal noise. Modal noise is caused by the interaction of out of phase modes which you can see in the speckle pattern of a 650 nm visual fault locator in a singlemode fiber. If the modal noise is not a problem and VCSEL sources are well-aligned enough for efficient coupling, this may be a dandy idea.

FOA Stuff- April, 2002

FOA Presentations At VDV Expo Enthusiastically Received

The FOA again co-sponsored the NECA Voice-Data-Video Expo in Las Vegas in March, provided technical sessions for the conference. Overall attendance at VDV 2002 was very strong, topping 2001s record crowds. Attendance at the technical sessions was also strong and the presentations, focusing on fiber vs. copper and estimating FO networks, were well received.
The FOA will again be a sponsor of VDV for 2003, same time, March 10-12, 2003 and place, the Las Vegas Hilton. We're already planning on some new fiber track seminars that we think you will find enlightening. Plan now to join us.


New Job Postings On FOA Website

In spite of the slump in the fiber optic industry, the FOA website has been a good source of jobs. We've recently updated the site to make postings easier and more current. Take a look at and see how you like it.
We’re also considering two other ideas: posting RFQs and RFPs on fiber optic jobs for you to bid on and creating a email list for news. If you like these ideas or have some of your own, email us at with your comments.


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