Quiz Archives
Loss Budgets
The loss budget is one of the most important tools of the fiber optic designer and installer. Sometimes it’s called the power budget, but that is a bit different. How well do you understand loss budgets and power budgets?
Published: January 2016Jim Hayes
Is It Time to Upgrade That Cabling?
Cabling doesn’t deteriorate much over time, so its performance lasts. However, many users want to install new networks and systems that offer higher performance services. Will a new system work with the old cable? Note: Some of these questions may have more than one correct answer.
Published: February 2016Jim Hayes
The Latest Requirements
How well do you know the fire alarm requirements of the 2015 International Building Code and InternationalFire Code? Take this quiz to test your knowledge.
Published: February 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
FAQs to the FOA
The Fiber Optic Association (FOA) receives more than 1,000 questions each year. Can you answer these recent examples?
Published: March 2016Jim Hayes
Estimating Fiber Optic Jobs
Douglas Elliott, who wrote the estimating section of the Fiber Optic Association website, defined it as “An educated and complete evaluation of a proposed project, based upon calculations of the labor units, material costs and other related factors which totally encompass the project and thus predict its costs.” Making money installing fiber optic cabling systems requires the ability to accurately estimate costs. Fiber is somewhat different from electrical or low-voltage copper systems, but there are many similarities. How familiar are you with fiber optic project estimating?
Published: April 2016Jim Hayes
Fire Alarm Circuit and Pathway Requirements
How well do you know fire alarm circuit and pathway requirements of NFPA 72 2016?
Published: April 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
Cabling for LANs
There has been so much discussion about new applications for fiber and cabling that we might think the local area network (LAN) and its cabling have disappeared. That’s not true. In fact, cabling has changed a lot to keep pace with LAN speeds. Have you kept up with the state of the art in LANs?
Published: May 2016Jim Hayes
Interpreting OTDR Traces

The optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) is an extremely useful fiber optic tester with a price as big as its name. Some technicians only use its “autotest” function and never learn how to interpret OTDR traces. As a result, they throw away most of the information in the trace and often get erroneous test results. How well can you “read” an OTDR trace? Questions in this quiz refer to this diagram of an OTDR test using a 1-kilometer (km) launch cable.

Published: June 2016Jim Hayes
Interfacing Fire Alarms With Other Systems
How well do you know the requirements for integrating fire alarm systems with other equipment?
Published: June 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
Outside Plant Cabling Installation Safety
The potential hazards of outside plant (OSP) fiber optic construction may be greater than premises cabling. Workers operate heavy equipment, climb poles, dig trenches and work in all sorts of weather conditions. How familiar are you with the safety issues in OSP construction?
Published: July 2016Jim Hayes
Power Over Ethernet
I recently saw a presentation about copper cabling that didn’t mention its data transmission ability. The talk focused on power over ethernet (PoE), transmitting power over four-pair, category-rated unshielded twisted-pair cable to power wireless access points, voice over internet protocol phones, IP CCTV cameras and even light-emitting diode lighting. PoE has added to copper cabling’s lifetime and simplified many applications. How well do you know PoE?
Published: August 2016Jim Hayes
Fire Alarm Testing and Inspections
Testing fire alarm systems improves reliability and reduces unwanted alarms. Do you know what is required and not required in NFPA 72 2016?
Published: August 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
Fiber Optic Testing Accuracy
Installation techs use instruments to make measurements to verify their work and sometimes find measurements that do not agree. Let's test your knowledge of fiber optic measurement accuracy. (See my fiber optics column "Let's Talk About Precision: Fiber Optic Testing" for more.)
Published: September 2016Jim Hayes
Data Center Cabling: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Sometimes, things go wrong. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to do it right, such as in this (hypothetical) date center installation.
Published: October 2016Jim Hayes
How well do you know the requirements for emergency communications systems? Take this quiz and test your knowledge.
Published: October 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
Wireless: Distributed Antenna Systems
Distributed antenna systems (DASs) are used to bring good wireless coverage inside buildings and facilities that draw big crowds, such as sports stadiums. They are a major market for large contractors doing low-voltage work. It takes a lot of cabling to support a DAS, so let’s test your knowledge.
Published: November 2016Jim Hayes
Take Care
Now that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission have transitioned to the 2012 NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, it is a good time to test your knowledge of its fire alarm requirements.
Published: December 2016Thomas P. Hammerberg
What the Boss Needs to Know
Most of my writing and teaching about fiber optics and cabling has been aimed at installers. But their bosees—supervisors, facilities managers, etc.—also need to understand the project. If you are the boss, how well do you understand these projects?
Published: December 2016Jim Hayes