Fiber U Free Self Study Programs

Fiber Optics For Wireless Networks

Self Study Lesson Plan: Fiber Optics For Wireless Networks
Level: Intermediate

Fiber For Wireless

Fiber Optics For Wireless Networks

Includes Fiber Optics And Cabling As Used In These Networks:

Cell sites
Fiber to the Antenna (FTTA)
Small Cells
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
Intended For:
Anyone new to how fiber optics is used in wireless systems who wants to learn how they work
Designers and installers involved in wireless projects with fiber optic cabling
Managers and supervisors involved in wireless projects
May be used as preparation for the FOA CFOS/W  Exam which covers the same basic material in this course 

Objectives: From this self-study program you should learn:
The technology and architecture of wireless networks
How cabling connects all elements of a distributed antenna systems
What types of cabling (copper or fiber) are used in wireless networks
Issues in designing and installing fiber optic cabling.

It will help to have a basic understanding of fiber optics, e.g. training and a FOA CFOT certification or at least a familiarity with fiber optic technology.
For an quick, simple overview of fiber optics, you can use one of these three options: 1) the Fiber U self-study program Fiber Optics in Communications and How It Works, 2) the FOA YouTube Videos Fiber Optics and Communications and How To Talk Fiber Optics or 3) Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics  (online) also available as a free iBook on iTunes 

For more comprehensive preparation, see the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics self-study program or the printed FOA textbook FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics.

NOTE: If you have already completed the Fiber U courses on DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) and FTTA (Fiber To The Antenna), you can skip those lessons in this course.

Fiber U Certificate of Completion
When you finish, you can take an online exam on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion."


Wireless traffic is growing at a phenomenal rate. AT&T says their cellular data traffic has grown >80,000% (that's >800 times) between 2007 (the introduction of the iPhone) and today. The landscape is covered with cellular towers but the majority of cellular connections (70-80% for both voice or data) originate inside buildings, so wireless coverage inside buildings has become more important. Cellular wireless signals often cannot penetrate walls and even windows in large buildings, requiring low-power cellular antennas placed inside buildings to provide reliable service. The technology developed for these low power distributed antenna systems (DAS) inside buildings has been expanded to similar low-power sites outdoors on street light poles, traffic signals, utility poles, buildings, etc.called small cells. These small cells are being developed as 4G cellular technology but are a cornerstone of 5G planning.

The 49ers stadium has over 700 cellular antennas as part of its DAS

There are other reasons for cellular systems inside buildings or structures. Sometimes the number of users inside a building like a convention center or sports facility exceeds the bandwidth of a single cellular system. In many areas, local laws specify the need for public safety radio signal coverage (fire, police, emergency) inside every building that requires indoor antenna coverage.
Auto or mass transit tunnels are also obvious applications for cellular distributed antenna systems.

Small cells are being built to accommodate the higher data usage of the smartphone and tablet users primarily in an urban environment. These cellular customers are now watching video on their portable devices, causing a similar problem to users streaming video on the wired Internet - video requires many times more bandwidth than web browsing, email or texting. Only by both reducing the number of users per site and increasing the bandwidth can this kind of traffic be accommodated. To indicate the size of the problem, several football stadiums with about 1000 DAS antennas have reported that the attendees during a game downloaded and uploaded over 3 terabytes of data during a game.

WiFi has been a staple of the Ethernet LAN for business and home for many years. The speed has increased to a point that customer devices like laptops no longer have wired Ethernet ports. Now you can use WiFi indoors on many cell phones if cellular signal is poor or unavailable. Designing a LAN cabling system now requires designing a backbone cabling system, a few drops to wired users like engineering or graphics users and careful site selection for WiFi access points for maximum coverage for everyone else.

WiFi has migrated from coffee shops and restaurants to outdoors in many metropolitan areas. Some line of sight WiFi is used in metro areas where it is too difficult or expensive to install fiber optic cabling. In rural areas, sometimes the only connections to the Internet are  using line of sight WiFi.

In this course, you will learn about all these applications and more.

For each lesson plan you will be instructed to read the references or watch videos and take the quiz (Test Your Knowledge) to complete the "classroom" part of the course.

Lesson Plans
Read the materials or watch the videos linked on each lesson plan and take the quiz.

Lesson 1Introduction:  - How Wireless Networks Use Fiber Optics
Lesson 2: Fiber To The Cell Site And
Fiber To The Antenna
Lesson 3: Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
Lesson 4: Small Cells
Lesson 5: WiFi - Enterprise, Urban and Rural

Fiber U Certificate of  Completion
When you finish all the assignments and case study, you can take an online exam on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion." The exam cost is $20US.

Go here to take the Fiber U "Fiber For Wireless" Certificate of Completion exam. Here are detail directions if this is your first time taking a
Fiber U 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.


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