July, 2006

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Previous Issues: 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,

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FOA Textbook published in Spanish
The FOA's textbook, The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual, is used by our approved schools around the world to teach fiber optics. While most technicians working with fiber optics use English as a technical language, we have heard from many instructors that the book would be more useful if it were available translated into local languages, especially Spanish, due to the growing market in Latin and South America. The FOA, working with Delmar Publishing and Francisco Castro Cabrera of Mexico City, who is starting up our new FOA chapter in Mexico which will service Spanish-speaking countries, has produced the first textbook for fiber optics in Spanish. Translations were done by Francisco Castro with review by Patrick Sullivan who teaches fiber optics in Spain.
Now we have our textbook in Spanish, we have also translated our CFOT exams and will have other FOA materials available in Spanish soon, greatly facilitating the training of fiber optic technicians in Spanish-speaking countries.
Contact us if you need more information.
Book Details: Manual Del Technico De Fibra Optica, Published by Thomson Delmar Learning, ISBN 1-4180-6121-2
If you are getting started in fiber optics and Spanish is your native language, you can download an introduction to fiber optics in Spanish here.

Sooner or Later...

As a participant in a panel discussion on providing broadband connections to rural customers recently, audience members wanted to know if they should go ahead with fiber optics or continue to use copper. It was mentioned by a participant from the government that the agency that funds rural expansion will only fund communications future projects that plan to offer more than 45 Mb/s capacity to allow for HDTV transmission and that really means that only fiber is acceptable.
I told the audience that here in California, the AAA advertises "Sooner or later, you'll break down and join AAA!" I thought the fiber optic business should adopt a similar motto: "Sooner or later, you'll break down and install fiber!"


Verizon Selling FiOS At Shopping Centers
While on a recent visit to Boston, we ran across a Verizon FiOS kiosk at the Burlington Mall shopping center. It had several computers connected on FIOS and knowledgeable personnel manning the kiosk. Literature (right) explained FiOS technology and services well. According to the signs in the kiosk, FiOS service is available in over 35 towns in the Boston suburbs, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
What's a FiOS install like? See Dan Bricklin's description at http://www.bricklin.com/fiosinstall.htm.
Trivia: Who is Dan Bricklin? He's the guy who co-developed "Visicalc," the first PC spreadsheet and the "killer ap" that led to the widespread adoption of PCs by business!
More Trivia: What does "FIOS" mean? FIber Optic Service? According to Wikipedia, Verizon's Trademark (No. 3001081) application says FiOS is a Gaelic word for "knowledge".

"Holey Fibers" May Carry Multiple Channels
Holey fibers are a subject of much R&D, but primarily for trying to create fibers that are higher bandwidth or have particular characteristics to modify transmission parameters. A UK defense contractor has another idea. A holey fiber has been fabridated with 37 holes sized exactly to be singlemode at 850 nm. A number of VCSEL sources were aligned with individual holes to transmit separate signals, in effect creating a parallel transmission link over a single fiber. Their goal was to create a faster link between IC chips at lower power that copper interconnects, but one suspects it could be a contender for 10 or 100 Gb networks. Read more at http://fibers.org/articles/news/8/7/2/1.

NEW-FOA Technical Bulletins
How do you design and manufacture fiber optic systems? Choose and install one to serve your communications needs? Troubleshoot problems? The FOA Fiber Optic technical Bulletins will provide step-by-step guidelines to help you. All are PDF files you can print and use.
Designing and manufacturing fiber optic communications products for manufacturers.
Choosing, installing and using fiber optic producst for users.
Troubleshooting fiber optic cable plants and communcations systems.

FTTH Conference To Be Held In October
The 2006 FTTH Conference & Expo will be held in Las Vegas at The Venetian Resort · Hotel · Casino on October 2 ­ 5, 2006. As usual, the FTTH Council will have many informative technical sessions and a lively trade show.

The 2006 FTTH Conference & Expo will attract over 2,500 FTTH leaders and decision makers from across North America, Europe and Asia to hear keynotes from industry visionaries, learn from over 50 track sessions and meet with 170 exhibitors representing the latest services and technologies.

Hiromichi Shinohara, Director of NTT Access Network Service Systems Labs, will open the conference on October 3rd. Mr. Shinohara has been engaged in research and development of fiber optic cables, broadband networks and optical access systems since joining NTT Laboratories in 1978. The conference lineup of keynotes also include Robert (Bob) Ingalls, President of Verizon,s Retail Markets Group, Jeffrey Weber, Vice President, Product & Strategy, AT&T and featured speaker Jim Carroll, futurist, trends and innovation expert.

Lightwave/KMI Executive Briefing (preconference): The Market Dynamics of FTTX and Video Service Provision
This Executive Briefing will examine the dynamics of today,s FTTX market, particularly as it relates to the provision of video services. The briefing will examine the demand and technical requirements for various video services; explore consumer perceptions of video services, including who provides them and how they are provided; highlight how current and future equipment and architecture choices can affect video service delivery (and vice versa); and provide examples of how carriers have implemented video services via their optical access networks. Speakers will include market researchers and analysts and representatives of the service provider and vendor communities
Don't miss the premier FTTH event of the year. See http://www.ftthconference.com/ for more details and online registration.

Further Consequences Of The High Prices of Copper
We covered the extreme increase in the price of copper recently and how it is another good reason to consider fiber optics. But the high price of copper has a dark side...
While in New York City recently, the papers carried an interesting story. Three homeless men were arrested for starting one of the largest fires ever in NYC. They were stealing copper wire from abandoned buildings and were told it was higher priced without insulation. So they piled the wire outside one of the buildings, doused it with gasoline and torched it off. As the fire got out of control, it burned a bunch of abandoned buildings.
Three men were arrested in Lake Tahoe for cutting down phone lines to steal the copper and disrupted communications in the area.
And one person was killed trying to cut down a live high voltage power line to steal the copper.

Tech Puzzler
What connector is this? We're going to run a few months of having you try to identify fiber optic connectors, some common, some obscure. Recognize this one? It's still used in some process control and military applications. Why are there two versions?
Answer below

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

New Professional Society for Structured Cabling Recognizes Importance of Fiber Optics (and Wireless)
The new Structured Cabling Association, Inc. (http://www.scausa.org/) is a professional society aimed at installers of "structured cabling" or premises cabling. Structured cabling has been focused on so-called "Cat 5" or UTP cabling for years, while network speeds have left UTP behind. Now most backbones for LANs are fiber optics and every network seems to have wireless. The SCA, founded in part by FOA activists Tom Collins and Jim Hayes, intends to make structured cabling training and certification more relevant to today's world.

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

Job Openings

Check Recent Job Openings In Previous Issues of The FOA Newsletter


FOA CFOT Renewals Get Free Copy of NECA/FOA Installation Standard
Every CFOT renewal will now receive a free copy of NECA 301-2004, Installing And Testing Fiber Optic Cables, produced by The FOA in cooperation with NECA (The National Electrical Contractors Association). This is an important reference document for defining the installation and testing of fiber optic cable plants in a "neat and workmanlike manner."
The FOA feels this is such an important document that we are giving a free copy (normally priced at $15) to every active CFOT when they renew their active status.
The FOA has also sent free copies to all FOA-Approved schools. The new FOA CFOT exam to be used after August, 2005, will include questions from the standard. Schools should be including information from the standard in their classes already.


New Tech Topics

FOA Tech Bulletins - for those designing FO communications products or installing cable plants. Download all three.

Does Glass "Flow"? Is it really a liquid?


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on General Topics and Testing

Fiber Or Copper? Making decisions, overview and LANs

What Happens When You Mate Mismatched MM Fibers?

New PowerPoint Presentation Introduces Fiber Optics - in English or Spanish!
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 http://www.thefoa.org/ppt/

FOA Certification Top Choice

The FOA CFOT and CFOS programs continue to gain momentum in fiber optics. Over 15,000 CFOTs have been certified by over 120 schools as the FOA completed its 10th 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 125+ organizations, welcoming new additions like the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Corning Cable Systems for their installation training programs and NASA's Goldstone Tracking Station. The complete list of FOA-Approved schools is at http://www.thefoa.org/foa_aprv.htm.



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!


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

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)1999-2006, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

Tech Puzzler: SMA
Amphenol developed the SMA from the "Subminiature A" hence SMA, microwave connector. The model 905 had a machined ferrule exactly 1/8 inch in diameter that mated in a machined adapter. When the adapters were not precise enough for better fibers, a necked-down ferrule that mated with a Delrin adapter for better insertion loss performance. These connectors are still in use on some military and industrial systems.
Want help identifying fiber connectors. See the FOA Tech Topics Connector ID page.