Moving your network into the future takes time, initiative and planning. But most of all, it takes knowledge. Both the installer and the end-user need to understand what is available and what is feasible.
Use the Web to keep up with the latest information Most fiber optic installers get started by taking a short class or seminar that covers the basics. That usually means a half-hour lecture each on fiber optic technology, how it is used for networks and the various components.
The best method for fiber ending Fiber is no longer the cable of the big guys alone. Things have changed and fiber is more affordable and more popular than in the past—it has even reared its head in the home networking market. Like the tortoise, fiber has taken the slow-but-steady approach.
Signs, sensors and nondestructive testing Most contractors, as installers of building cabling systems and those involved with telephone companies, CATV or utility outside plant installations, are familiar with fiber optics.
Where did these terms come from? Rarely do I present a fiber optic seminar without getting some questions on what some connectors terminology means, and often I’m questioned on how such a term originated.
Low loss is still a big issue Terminating optical fibers by attaching connectors with epoxy adhesive and polishing the ferrules seems like an anachronism. That was how we started almost 25 years ago, so surely better methods have been developed by now.
Careful documentation can help Gone are the days when all fiber optic cables were the same. Most building cables had 62.5/125 micron multimode fibers for LANs or security systems, while outside plant cables were all single-mode fiber.
You get what you pay for Every fiber optic cable needs to be tested for loss with an optical loss test set (OLTS). The OLTS simulates the actual network hardware that will run on the cable so the test results will show if the network will work properly on the cable.
They can be useful—but only if used correctly There are two distinctly different fiber optic applications: premises cabling and outside plant (OSP) cabling. Premises cabling deals primarily with short multimode cables in buildings or between buildings in a campus.
You have to admire the copper cabling people for their tenacity—they never give up. In spite of hearing for the last 15 years that copper has no future, they persist in developing new technology that allows copper, like the mythical Phoenix, to rise from the ashes as strong and viable as ever.
Generally, the dark side refers to Darth Vader and other not-so-good things. Leave it to the communications industry to turn something dark into something powerfully marketable and profitable—dark fiber.
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?
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?
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is an industry organization with paying members from the communications/telecom industry. They develop minimal performance standards for cabling and related hardware and installation standards for the users/designers.