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the non-profit professional society of fiber optics

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Basic Fiber Optics - A Fiber University Self-Study Program

Lesson Plan. Basic Fiber Optics Level: Technician, CFOT

What You Will Learn In This Basic Self-Study Program:
  • What is fiber optics?
  • How is it used in communications?
  • How does a fiber optic link transmit signals?
  • What components are used in fiber optic cable plants?
  • How are fiber optic cables spliced and terminated?
  • How does one test a fiber optic cable plant or network?
  • What is involved in designing a fiber optic network?
  • How are fiber optic cable plants installed?

This lesson plan is designed to familiarize anyone just starting in fiber optics with the technology and processes involved in installation and improve the knowledge of the individual with some training and/or experience, such as FOA CFOTs. It is strictly focused on the practical aspects of fiber optics, not intended to try to teach the theory, just the things one needs to design, install, test and use fiber optic networks. We also try to explain the variety of the components and technological approaches used and how to choose among them.

One of the most important points of this program is to include the latest technology. Too many courses teach obsolete theory and practice, out of obsolete textbooks! This course is intended to be kept up to date and will teach differences between applications (telco/CATV/LAN, etc.) so the student can intelligently work in today's environment.
Many courses are criticized because they are too specific or prejudiced to one application, technology or manufacturer. We will explore the spectrum with you and tell you where to go to find out more.
This program has been developed as a cooperative effort of many volunteers from the FOA. If you have comments or suggestions on how to improve it, please contact us at

How This Self-Study Program Works

This Fiber U self-study program will divide the basics of fiber optics into a number of smaller topics. Each topic will have a brief introduction to the subject, telling you what you should learn from that lesson, link you to FOA YouTube video lectures and will then link you to several pages on the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics or Chapters or Sections in the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics printed book for you to study. Most of the pages will have online quizzes for you to test your comprehension, as will each chapter in the textbook. For each section, you should take the quiz and check your answers, returning to the study materials to find out why you missed any questions. When you finish all lessons, you will be well-versed in the basics of fiber optics and ready for more!

Learning More and Developing Skills

If you are just getting started, you should consider attending an FOA-Approved school where you will be trained in hands-on labs to develop the skills needed to be successful in fiber optics.

Reference Materials

All lesson plans include FOA YouTube video lectures on the topic. For the reading, you can take this Fiber U Online course using either of these online or printed reference materials.

FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics
FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics
FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics textbook

Lennie Lightwave
 Let's get started!

Lesson Plan:

Read the materials linked on each lesson plan and take the quiz.

Lesson 1: Introduction, The Basic Overview, Standards, Safety  
Lesson 2: Fiber Optic Jargon - The Language of Fiber Optics     
Lesson 3: Fiber Optic Communications   
Lesson 4: Fiber Optic Transmission Systems and Components   
Lesson 5: Optical Fiber    
Lesson 6: Fiber Optic Cables  
Lesson 7: Termination and Splicing  
Lesson 8: Fiber Optic Testing  
Lesson 9: Fiber Optic Network Design  
Lesson 10: Fiber Optic Network Installation  

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit tothose interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as aoverview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOAand the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Thoseworking with fiber optics in the classroom, laboratory or field should follow all safety rules carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any ofthis material.


Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

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