Jim Hayes

Fiber Optics Columnist and Freelance Writer

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.

Articles by Jim Hayes

June 2006
Recently, we received a phone call from a fiber optic instructor we know asking an unusual question. Can you run single-mode fiber to the desktop? Of course, we told him, why not? His confusion was based on his understanding of the TIA-568-B standard for structured cabling, which only includes single-mode fiber or multimode fiber in the backbone and multimode fiber only to the desktop. READ MORE
May 2006
While wandering the aisles at a trade show for consumer electronics, I was surprised to find several vendors selling fiber optic cables. READ MORE
April 2006
The optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) has been an important tool for fiber optic testing and troubleshooting since its invention 25 years ago. We have discussed this several times in this column and in other Electrical Contractor articles, so I hope you are already familiar with them. READ MORE
March 2006
Most cabling installers have only a vague notion of what goes on the end of the cables they install or how the equipment works, especially when it comes to fiber optics. Sending signals using light instead of electricity must seem magical to someone who has not studied fiber optic communications beyond the cables. It is not complicated, just different. READ MORE
March 2006
Industry standards make the world go ’round. No kidding. Without standards, communications and networking would never work. Telephones allow you to talk to anyone in the world, assuming you speak their language. Standards are the “language” of networks and communications. By adhering to standards, manufacturers know their products can work with other products. READ MORE
February 2006
Most customers for fiber optic installation expect the installer to be more knowledgeable about and experienced with fiber optics than they are. That is not just because most users are new to fiber optics or rarely contract for fiber optic installations, but because they have other things to worry about, like running a large computer network, security system or their own business. READ MORE
January 2006
Those involved in fiber optics are incurable optimists. Market forecasts always show upward trends and promise that fiber is going to replace copper wire or rebuff wireless and whatever other alternative methods of communications are currently being hyped. Even the bubble bursting in 2001 caused only a short pause in the optimism. I have to admit that things are looking up. READ MORE
December 2005
Optical fiber, like copper wire for communications, needs to be kept dry to maintain its performance. On wire, moisture causes high impedance and crosstalk. In fiber, it adds to the attenuation and may make fibers brittle and more susceptible to damage. READ MORE
November 2005
Many fiber optic specifications and tests refer to wavelength because most parameters have some wavelength dependency. Attenuation, for example, is caused by absorption and scattering. Absorption occurs at certain wavelengths and scattering gets less significant at longer wavelengths. What exactly does all that mean? Let's start by defining wavelength. READ MORE