Fiber U

Lesson Plan: Premises Cabling (Copper, Fiber Optics and Wireless) - Introduction and Overview - Online Course With Certificate of Completion

Intended For:
  • Those already working in or just getting started in premises cabling
  • Designers, contractors and installers of premises cabling
  • Users of premises cabling and communications systems involved in designing and managing networks
  • May be used as preparation for the FOA CPCT Exam which covers the same basic material in this course 

  • Novice - wanting to know about premises cabling
  • Technician - enhancing their knowledge, preparing for FOA CPCT exam
  • CPCT (review) - enhancing and updating their knowledge

What You Will Learn In This Basic Self-Study Program:

  • What is meant by premises cabling
  • How premises cabling is used in communications
  • How premises cabling depends on industry standards, including TIA and ISO standards for structured cabling
  • How copper and fiber cables and wireless are used in premises cabling
  • Why wireless is not wireless
  • How copper and fiber optic cables are installed and tested

Get your certificate of completion for taking the "Fiber U Premises Cabling" online self-study program. See below.
This self-study course may be used as preparation for the CPCT Certification Exam

    What is premises cabling? Premises cabling refers to cabling installed on the premises - indoors - typically in commercial buildings but also in multi-dwelling units and residences. It includes copper cabling and fiber optics, plus wireless communications connected on the copper or wireless cabling. Most premises cabling is covered under industry standards for "structured cabling" that covers unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables (often called Cat 5 for one of the grades of UTP) and fiber optic cables. In the Fiber U/FOA universe, we add in indoor wireless networks which are now extremely important to those using premises communications networks, but focus mostly on the cabling necessary to support WiFi and cellular networks indoors.

    This self-study program is designed to offer basic training in premises cabling to anyone just starting in communications wiring or fiber optics and improve the skill level of the individual with some experience. It is strictly a practical course, not intended to try to teach the theory. Leave that for the university classes.

    We emphasize the practical aspects of copper and fiber optic networks and cable plant design, installation, test, and troubleshooting. We cover how wireless fits in the communications requirements of typical networks and how it is supported by copper and fiber cabling. We teach the basics first, then provide exercises to develop installation skills.

    We try to be general. We try to help the student understand the variety of the components and technological approaches used and how to choose among them. Many courses are too specific to one application, technology or manufacturer. We want the student to understand the variety of applications, components and processes and learn 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 premises cabling 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, and will then link you to YouTube Videos, several pages on the FOA Online Reference Guide to Premises Cabling or Chapters or Sections in the FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling 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.

Get a "Certificate of Completion" When You Complete The Course
After you complete the Fiber U
Premises Cabling 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.

Fiber U CoC

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

Reference Materials:

You can take this Fiber U Online course using any 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 Premises Cabling textbook
FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling

FOA YouTube Videos  
YT Video

You can begin with Uncle Ted's Guide To Communications Cabling, a basic introduction to cabling for novices. It's also available
as a free iBook on iTunes  
Uncle Ted's Guide

Basic Skills Lab - skills for installation

BSL workbook

Lennie Lightwave  Let's get started!

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

Lesson 1: Introduction, Overview of Cabling, Standards, Cables  
Lesson 2: Cabling Jargon - The Language of Cabling, Terms and Definitions     
Lesson 3: Communications Networks and Applications 
Lesson 4: Copper Cabling   
Lesson 5: Fiber Optic Cabling    
Lesson 6: Wireless  
Lesson 7: Designing Premises Cabling Systems 
Lesson 8: Premises Cabling Installation  

How to get your Fiber U Certificate of Completion  

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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