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

December 2011
In order to install a cable plant that will meet industry standards and work with communications systems designed for using that type of cabling, it’s necessary to pick the right parts for the system. Each year, it seems the questions remain the same, but sometimes the correct answer changes! Can you pick the right parts? Correct answers and explanations are in red. 1. READ MORE
December 2011
Working with fiber optics puts some unusual strain on your vision. Experienced techs have learned to deal with it. They wear safety glasses to avoid fiber shards from cleaving fibers. Spotting those tiny glass fibers when splicing or terminating cables can be difficult until you learn to use a black work mat or other dark background that makes them stand out. READ MORE
November 2011
Dirt is the biggest problem in using fiber optics. When you are working with hair-thin strands of glass that must be mated in exact alignment, the tiniest specks of dirt can cause major problems. Dirt affects the loss of connections, the integrity of splices and the accuracy of tests during installation. READ MORE
November 2011
The cabling market appears to be flooded with cheap, poor quality and counterfeit cabling products. It takes a lot of knowledge and effort to keep from being defeated by these inferior and sometimes unsafe products. How well-armed are you for the battle? Answers and explanations are in red. READ MORE
October 2011
In fiber optics, there has been a lot of discussion about encircled flux (EF), much of it more confusing than clarifying. EF is simply a new way of looking at an old, well-known problem, defining mode control for multimode (MM) fiber testing. READ MORE
September 2011
A couple of years ago, several fiber manufacturers introduced optical fibers that were much less sensitive to bending. Normally, bending or stressing an optical fiber causes loss. In normal use, optical fibers had to be handled carefully and not be subjected to tight bends, kinks or pinching, which is a problem around patch panels and transmission equipment. READ MORE
August 2011
Recently, I read several articles about premises cabling in which the authors called unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling “Cat 5,” even though, over the last 20 years, we’ve seen UTP developed into enhanced Category 5 (Cat 5e), Cat 6, augmented Cat 6 (Cat 6a) and even the (maybe) future standard for Cat 7. READ MORE
August 2011
Fiber optic advocates used to point to the copper types and snicker. They’d note that, while copper cabling went through eight or nine generations of coaxial and unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cables, one fiber would have sufficed. But then along came gigabit Ethernet, then 10-, 40- and 100-gigabit networks. READ MORE
July 2011
Two different instruments that are often described as “works like radar” can test copper and fiber cabling. For copper, it is a time-domain reflectometer (TDR). For fiber, it is an optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR). These instruments are alike in some ways but different in others and are equally tricky to use. How well do you know these gadgets? Answers and explanations are in red. 1. READ MORE