Fiber U

Fiber Optic Network Design

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Fiber Optic Network Design - For Network Designers and Managers

When you finish this Fiber U Course, you may take an online exam for your Fiber U Certificate of Completion.

Intended For:
  • Technicians already working in fiber optics or just getting started
  • Designers, contractors and installers of fiber optic cable plants
  • Users of fiber optic cable plants and communications systems involved in designing and managing networks
  • May be used as preparation for the FOA CFOS/D Fiber Optic Network Design Specialist Certification

  • Managerial - wanting to know about fiber optics network design
  • Technician - enhancing their knowledge, preparing for FOA CFOS/D exam
  • CFOT (review) - enhancing and updating their knowledge

Objectives: From this self-study program you should learn:
What is involved in designing a fiber optic network
  • Defining communications system needs
  • How to create a plan to install the project
  • What paperwork and documentation will be needed for the project
  • How to choose components appropriate for communications systems
  • How the proposed routing of the cable plant affects component choice and installation
  • Using loss budgets to ensure the communications systems will work over the fiber optic proposed cable plant
  • How to determine what should be tested and documented
  • How to manage the installation

This self-study program is designed to introduce the designer or manager to the process of fiber optic network design and the implementation of that design in a real world project. It is intended for those interested in the process and/or studying for the FOA CFOS/D Fiber Optic Network Design Specialist Certification, either as a contractor, installer or end user.

Before any fiber optic project is started, it is necessary to know what communications systems or networks will be needed by the user and which locations the cable plant will connect. With that information, the designer can begin investigating what communications equipment will be necessary and the routing of the link, deciding what installation type and components like cable and hardware are appropriate and what processes will be used for the installation. This self-study program will cover these topics for both premises and outside plant (OSP) fiber optic installations.

While we find many people think of "design" as drawing or CAD, that is not covered in this course. Certainly it is important to create good drawings as part of the documentation for a project, but that follows what is included here: understanding the communications needs and how to design a fiber optic network to provide for those needs. Designers need to know how to create drawings as well as other project paperwork, but there is so much variation in how that part of the project is done - whether manual drawing or computer graphics - we leave that to each individual designer.

Managers have responsibility for the network overall, including the design, installation and operation. They must approve the design, oversee the paperwork that defines the network, obtain inputs from installers or contractors for design and pricing, let contracts, oversee the installation, approve the installation and operate the system. Managers must also be prepared for network restoration planning and, if necessary, the restoration itself.


Student Assignments
Students will be instructed to read the references, watch videos and take the quizzes (Test Your Knowledge) to complete the course. Typical networks   are included as design "Case Studies." A number case studies are included where typical networks are described and students will design the networks on paper and answer questions on the case study.

Fiber U Certificate
Get a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion" When You Complete The Course
After you complete the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics online self-study course, you can now take an online exam and, when you pass the exam, get a "Certificate of Completion" for this course. You should complete all lessons including taking the quiz ("Test Your Comprehension") at the end of every lesson. When you think you are prepared, you can take an online exam for a nominal fee ($20) which will give you
a "Certificate of Completion" for this course.

If you are working on FOA certification, print out (PDF) your completed case studies from Lesson 8 and save along with your Fiber U Certificate of Completion for your application for certification.

How To Get Your Certificate of Completion For This Course 

When you finish all lessons, go here to take the Fiber U Design Certificate of Completion Exam  

Please note: receiving this Fiber U Certificate of Completion does not include FOA certification or membership but it does become documentation of your knowledge of fiber optics and should be part of your portfolio of documented knowledge, other training and work experience that can qualify you to apply for FOA direct CFOT certification through the FOA "Work to Cert" program.

More details on getting a Fiber U Certificate of Completion are on the last lesson. Read more about the Fiber U Certificate of Completion program.

For more information on the FOA and its certification programs, go to the FOA page on certification.

For information on the FOA "Work to Cert" direct certification program for those with industry experience, go here.

FOA Certification

FOA offers a specialist certification in fiber optic network design (CFOS/D) that is available to any CFOT. Many FOA schools teach CFOS/D courses. Current FOA members with appropriate industry experience may apply to take the online course for credit toward their requirements for the CFOS/D certification and apply for the certification exam. Contact the FOA for more details and an application.

Reference Materials For The Fiber U Design And Management Course

Online FOA Reference

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics  

FOA Guide

Reference Textbook

FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optic Network Design  

Fiber Optic Network Design

With optional reading in these FOA textbooks:


FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics

FOA Guide


FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics 

FOA Guide

FOA Outside Plant Construction Guide 

FOA OSP Construction Guide

FOA YouTube Videos, with individual links as appropriate

Extra Credit Reading
Assignments beyond the basics required for the course will be listed as extra credit.

Lesson Plans
Lesson Plan No. 1: What is Fiber Optic Network Design And Management?  
Lesson Plan No. 2, Planning the Network  
Lesson Plan No. 3, Choosing Components  
Lesson Plan No. 4, Reviewing the Design, Loss Budgets 
Lesson Plan No. 5, Requirements For Testing 
Lesson Plan No. 6, Writing Project Specifications and Documents, Estimating 
Lesson Plan No. 7, Planning and Managing Projects 
Lesson Plan No. 8,  Design Case Studies  

Fiber U Certificate

How To Get Your Certificate of Completion For This Course 

When you finish all lessons, go here to take the Fiber U Design Certificate of Completion Exam  

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit to those interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Those working 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 of this material.


Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

(C)2015-19, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.