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

January 2004
Since the fiber optic “bubble” burst a couple of years ago, employment ads for fiber optic installers have been scarce. But are real jobs still available? If so, where are they? Is the outside plant market dead? What about premises applications? What technologies are driving new installations? READ MORE
December 2003
Every year around Christmas, stores roll out artificial trees made with optical fibers. You know the ones—they glow and shine colored light out the ends of the branches. Who would think that these trees are made of a type of optical fiber that offers easy-to-install cheap communications links? Plastic optical fiber, generally referred to as POF, is a large-core fiber made of very pure plastic. READ MORE
November 2003
One often needs a fast fiber optic termination. It’s not just when you are doing a large number of connectors, as in a computer facility or a telecomm room; sometimes it’s when you only need to do one or two, such as repairing a damaged connector or terminating one or two fibers at a location, as is often encountered with video systems or fiber to the desk. READ MORE
October 2003
My first thought in writing this column was that the title was wrong.It should be “Why Do People Still Install Copper?” In the fiber optic business, we’ve suffered from the copper industry’s harping that fiber is fragile because it’s made of glass, hard to install and too expensive. READ MORE
September 2003
Whenever tests are performed on fiber optic networks, the results are displayed on a meter readout in dB. Optical loss is measured in dB while optical power is measured in dBm. Loss is a negative number (like -3.2 dB), as are most power measurements. Confused? Many fiber optic techs are too. Let’s see if we can clear up some of the confusion. READ MORE
August 2003
Nowhere does the adage “the right tool for the job” make more sense than in fiber optic installation. The right tools can make installation easier, quicker, better and less expensive. This includes cable installation tools, termination and splice tools, and test equipment for both outside plant and premise applications. READ MORE
July 2003
In outside plant fiber optic installations, every cable installed will be tested for end-to-end loss with a source and power meter and an OTDR trace will be taken of each fiber. Yet OTDRs—optical time domain reflectometers—are rarely used in premises applications. Why is that? READ MORE
June 2003
For almost 15 years, one had only two choices if installing fiber. The de facto-standard multimode fiber had a core/cladding size of 62.5/125 microns and was rated for use with FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) or Fast Ethernet, both 100 Mbps networks that used inexpensive LED sources as transmitters. READ MORE
May 2003
Two measurements of optical power required Compared to Category 5e or Category 6, fiber optics wire is easy to test. A “flashlight test” can make sure the fiber has continuity and is correctly identified. A fiber optic power meter and test source are used to measure the light loss and the loss is compared to the expected loss to insure the installation was done correctly. READ MORE