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 2012
Every fiber optic installer should have familiarity with basic fiber optic testers and their proper use. Here are some basic test situations. Can you pick the right tester from the fiber optic toolbox for the job? Correct answers and explanations are in red. 1. Check the continuity of a fiber in a cable. A. Visual tracer/fault locator B. LSPM or OLTS C. OTDR D. READ MORE
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