May, 2004

Previous Issues: April, 2004, March 2004, January, 2004, December, 2003, November, 2003 October 2003 September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, March 15, 2003, October, 2002 , August, 2002, May, 2002

What Is The FOA Doing For You?

When you join the FOA or renew your certification, do you ever think about what the FOA is doing to help you? We get that question here at the office occasionally, especially when some of our early CFOTs ask what happened to the newsletter we used to mail. So we thought this newsletter was a good way to let you know what we're doing here at the FOA.

What is the FOA up to?
We're here to promote professionalism in fiber optics by training and certification and to promote the use of fiber optics in general. That means we're helping schools train their instructors and offering certifications. We're also working with TIA and NECA on standards that help others use fiber optics successfully. We co-sponsor tradeshows and seminars like the VDV Expo. We write about fiber optics to increase the awareness among potential users. We even developed a science fair project which is posted in Tech Topics on the FOA Website.
Perhaps most importantly to our members, we keep a database of CFOTs and provide ID cards to our members so they can assure their customers that they have been certified by the FOA. With over 12,000 CFOTs, the FOA CFOT represents the world's largest pool of qualified technicians in fiber optics.
And for all you who have your CFOT, we're scouting the news and industry for interesting and useful information that will help you keep up to date on the technology and hopefully find more jobs. Some of that information is on the Tech Topics page of our website. Some is linked from our Links page. And every month, our newsletter is updated with the latest technology, rumors, jobs, etc.

Where do your annual renewal fees go?
You renewal pays for the FOA to maintain a database of CFOTs so if you need verification of your certification, a quick call, email or fax to our office is all that's needed. We also process ID card replacements at no charge for our CFOTs.
You also support our staff to produce the monthly newsletter, work on standards, provide seminars or sessions at trade shows, etc., all of which enhances the stature of the FOA and thereby the value of your certification.
In recent uncertain economic times, the FOA decided to change from a mailed newsletter to an online version to keep costs low and renewal fees low. This saved a lot of money and allowed us to change its frequency from quarterly to monthly. We suggest you note on your calendar to check it once a month. We think you will find it very useful.

More Push For Fiber To The Home From Non-Telcos
FTTH is perhaps becoming more "real." A recent posting on the SCTE (Society of CATV Engineers) mailing list discussed the efforts of an investment company proposing to several New England towns that they would finance building FTTH networks and pay the town a franchise fee. The financiers would then rent bandwidth to content providers like CATV companies and Internet access providers. This group in NE is The Merton Group ( Another company building FTTH networks is Wave7 Optics ( Find out more by visiting their websites where you can find out what they do, and in some cases, where.
Even the RBOCs appear to be more active in FTTH as they realize that others are going to beat them to it, and as one VC (venture capitalist) said during the fiber bubble - "Whoever brings fiber to the home will be the last."

What's The Lifetime Of Fiber?
Depends on who you ask and in what context, according to a study by Technology Futures summarized in Fiber Optic News ( Based on "physical mortality" - i.e. the technical ability of the fiber to continue meeting specs and avoiding hazards like "backhoe fade," the lifetime is about 30 years. The FCC allows 25-30 year depreciation of the cable plant while ILECs used 15-20 years, more in line with TF's estimated of technical obsolence caused by demands for bandwidht and new network technology.

Singlemode Fiber Types
There are several designations used to describe various types of SM fiber that are often confusing. Here are the ones in common use today.
 Description  SMF Type ITU Spec.
 Standard Singlemode Fiber  B1.1  G.652
 Cutoff Shifted Fiber  B1.2  G.654
 Low Water Peak Fiber  B1.3  G.652
 Dispersion Shifted Fiber  B2  G.653
 Non-Zero Dispersion Shifted Fiber  B4  G.655

Fiber Makes Concrete Walls Source Of Illumination
Website OPTICS.ORG reports Hungarian architect and inventor Áron Losonczi has created a new type of building material - concrete walls with imbedded optical fibers that transmit light. A wall made of "LitraCon " - the name he has given this material - has the strength of concrete but thanks to an embedded array of glass fibers can bring light into a room and display a diffuse view of the outside world. A building made of this material could create light and airy spaces rather than the usual darkness of concrete walls.

Tech Puzzler
Your OTDR showed you exactly where the break was where those pesky gophers chewed thorugh your cable, but when you dig at that point on the cable, the cable was OK there. What happened and what do you do next?
Answer below

POF World

Plastic optical fiber (POF) is finally making inroads into the fiber optic industry, riding on the rapid adoption of automotive networks like MOST and Flexray and consumer electronics applications like 1394. This summer, IGI will offer a POF conference, POF World ( and the FOA will be presenting a half-day seminar on POF technology and installation. Check out the program and come see how POF is impacting the fiber optic market.

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

Plastic Optical Fibers (POF)

Wavelength-Division Multiplexing

Fiber Amplifiers

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.

Interested In Advanced Certification?

If you think you might, download and print yourself a FOA Logbook to keep track of your experience and traning. It will help you qualify for the CFOS certifications.

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
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
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

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 OTDR measures the length of the fiber, not the cable. Since the cable has about 1% extra fiber to prevent fiber damage during pulling, the cable will be 1% shorter than the fiber, so you should dig again about 1% of the indicated distance closer to the OTDR.