The "Fiber U" Conference
What Is A Fiber U Conference?
Fiber U was created in 1992 by Jim Hayes of Fotec as a fiber optic training conference with these goals:
• Provide a introduction to fiber optics to the novice tech and network user
• Provide advanced seminars and training on state of the art equipment for the experienced fiber optic tech
• Provide a forum for manufacturers to introduce potential customers to their advanced products and train those people in their use.
• Have a instructor training track to develop more competent instructors.
Unlike typical training seminars taught by one instructor, Fiber U combines lectures by many highly knowledgeable instructors and uses manufacturers to provide hands-on training on their equipment. During the 1990s, dozens of Fiber U conferences were held as a standalone conference and as part of major trade shows and meetings. Conferences had up to 250 students and 40 vendors, taking over complete hotels and filling conference areas - even parking lots - with training sessions.
Photos from past Fiber U conferences.
What Training Is Offered At Fiber U?
Fiber U offers a range of training, mainly aimed at installers of fiber optic networks, but special sessions for designers or users of these networks. Special “train-the-trainer” sessions for instructors are usually also included. Classroom sessions are generally lectures with all students provided with copies of the lecture notes, including instructor comments, with room for the student to make notes.
Typical classroom sessions may include:
• Introduction to fiber optics
• Splicing and termination
• Choosing the proper fiber and cable
• Testing and troubleshooting
• Designing networks
• Installing fiber optic networks
• Understanding standards
• Restoration of link outages
• How to teach fiber optics and premises cabling
Hands-on training sessions are conducted by manufacturers using their own equipment (typically the latest models, a major draw for many students) and students are often sent home with samples of products and other training aids like videos or manuals. Typical sessions may include:
• Handling fiber optic cabling (direct burial, installation in conduit, armored, ADSS, bend-insensitive)
• Fusion splicing
• Correct installation of splice closures
• Testing (insertion loss with light source and power meters, OTDRs, specialized tests for CD, PMD, SA.
• Cable pulling and lubrication
• Vaults and manholes
Who Does Training at Fiber U?
Fiber U is an opportunity to bring to a training conference many experts in the field to share their knowledge. Some are trainers from FOA approved training organizations but manufacturers will bring their own experts to train attendees on their equipment.
How Long Does Fiber U Last?
Fiber U can last from 3-5 days, depending on the number of participants. Generally it starts with morning lectures (probably two, separated by a short break) and afternoon hands-on sessions (3-4 sessions separated by breaks to allow students to move between sessions.)
Since Fiber U typically involves a large number of students and dozens of manufacturers, space selection is very important.
For general lectures, an auditorium large enough to hold all the students is needed and it must have a very good sound system so all speakers can be understood easily throughout the facility. It may have a lecture room setup but writing space/desks for students is highly preferred. Some smaller more specialized lectures may be able to use smaller meeting rooms set up classroom style with tables and chairs for 2 students each.
Hands-on sessions will typically require rooms for each manufacturer or setups in a large exhibit area separated by enough room (and often curtains) for sound isolation. Hands-on training generally requires a room set up classroom style with tables and chairs for 2 students each. Hands-on rooms will need adequate power outlets for the equipment being used for training.
In prior Fiber U conferences, manufacturers brought to the meeting large OSP installation equipment like splicing trailers and pulling machines. Parking lot space works well for these companies. Some OSP manufacturers may prefer being in tents outdoors. Tents are needed for weather protection.
Photos from past Fiber U conferences.
Fiber U Live!
Fiber U returns @ OSP Expo, September 13-14, 2001
Some of you may remember the famous "Fiber U" training conferences of the 1990s where dozens of vendors and hundreds of students converged for a week-long training conference. Now Fiber U is part of the FOA. This year we've been invited to work with OSP Magazine to present seminars at their annual conference. We'll have sessions on Fiber Optics in SmartGrid, Wireless and Gigabit FTTH, plus a special session with vendors training on their latest products - just like the old days!
OSP Expo, September 13-14, 2001 will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Click on the image for more info.
Learn more about fiber optics at the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics: www.foaguide.org
(C)2011, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.