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Welcome to Fiber U

Fiber U is the FOA online learning website. Here you will find free online self-study programs, tutorials, textbooks, videos, iPad apps and links to other FOA pages that will help you learn about fiber optics and premises cabling. For more information on the FOA and its certification programs, go to the FOA home page.

Join Us On LinkedIn
FOA has started a LinkedIn group on "Fiber Optic Training" where you will find discussions on fiber optic training, listings of training courses and even some free "instructor-led" courses. Join the FOA LinkedIn group on "Fiber Optic Training."

Self-Study Programs      Getting Started     Reference Books      YouTube Videos       Tutorials         Fiber U History

New at Fiber UOptical LAN (OLAN) Self-Study Program

Optical LANs (OLANs) are the next generation of LANs that use FTTH technology to create LANs that cost less, take up less space and use much less power. FOA has two new certification programs for OLANs: CFOS/L intended for the contractor/installer who is already FOA certified and CFAS/L, a new application specialist certification for designers and network users who need to know about OLANs but are not installers. CFAS/L certification is available online for qualified personnel. Read more about the FOA Fiber U OLAN self-study program.

New at Fiber UQuickStart

Need need to know how to test a fiber optic cable plant, patchcords or system electronics? Here are "QuickStart Guides" to fiber optic testing that can help you learn it in minutes!

Fiber Optic Cable Plant And Patchcord Testing  
Power Measurements in Fiber Optic Communications Systems 
Testing The Cable Plant With An OTDR  

FOA Self-Study Programs

Lennie Lightwave

Below are links to online self-study programs and tutorials for those wanting to learn more about fiber optics. In the future, we'll be adding more self-study programs, video and online webinar lectures and other education resources the FOA will provide free to help everyone learn more about fiber optics.

FOA "The Basics" Self-Study Programs

Basics of Fiber Optics And Preparation For The CFOT Exam
A 10-part series of self-study lessons covering the basics of fiber optics. You can use the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics or a copy of The FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, available in printed or eBook form. Study the reference materials and test your comprehension with the online quizzes. Additional reading is included for advanced study. 
Outside Plant Fiber Optic And Preparation For The CFOS/O Specialist Exam
Another 10-part self-study program on outside plant fiber optics, covering the outdoor networks used by telcos, wireless operators, CATV companies, utilities, etc. This program uses the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, OSP Section or a copy of The FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics, available in printed or eBook form. Study the reference materials and test your comprehension with the online quizzes. Additional reading is included for advanced study. Note: this is an expanded version of the Basic program above to include specific issues of OSP installations.

Premises Cabling And Preparation For The CPCT Exam 
This 8-part self-study program covers premises cabling, including copper (UTP and coax), fiber and wireless (or more precisely, cabling for wireless.) This program uses the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, Premises Cabling Section or a copy of the FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cabling, available in printed or eBook form. Study the reference materials and test your comprehension with the online quizzes. Additional reading is included for advanced study.

FOA "Specialist" Self-Study Programs

Optical LANs (OLANs)  And Preparation For The FOA CFOS/L Certification 
Optical LANs or OLANs, are a new way to build LANs using an all optical fiber cable plant and electronics derived from fiber to the home (FTTH). Sometimes also referred to as fiber to the desk or FTTD, POLs, POLANs, passive optical LANs or FTTO, fiber to the office, these are LANs (local area networks) that are based on optical fiber cabling, not copper, and are of great interest to many contractors, installers and end users. OLANs have been covered extensively in the trade press and are being promoted by many vendors, so there is plenty of interest in learning more about them. This course will provide an overview of the three types of optical LANs, their advantages over traditional LANs and how to design, install and test them.

Fiber Optic Testing And Preparation For The CFOS/T Exam
The Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing self-study program is aimed at everyone working in fiber optics. This 6 part series of lessons covers the full scope of fiber optic testing, one of the most complex topics in fiber optics. We've divided the course into lessons that cover an overview of fiber optic testing, test tools and instruments, visual testing, insertion loss, OTDRs and a catch-all final lesson covering a number of other topics. We use the FOA YouTube Videos for most of the lessons plus pages from our online guide to provide the basic materials for study but we also provide links to many additional topics that may apply to your particular applications. For those just interested in OTDRs, there is a separate program on that subject below.

Understanding OTDRs And Preparation For The CFOS/T exam 
This is a 4-part series on understanding one of the more important testing tools in fiber optics. OTDRs are valuable test tools but require more depth of understanding to use properly. This self-study program will review fiber optic testing, look at how OTDRs work and how their test data is analyzed. It also explains testing artifacts like "gainers" and "ghosts" that can be very confusing. This program uses the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, OSP Section or, for Lesson 1 only, a copy of The FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics, available in printed or eBook form. Part of this course is a free OTDR simulator you can download and run on your PC.

FTTx And Preparation For The CFOS/H Exam  Fiber To The Home, Premises, Business, Curb, etc.
This 6-part series will introduce you to the varieties of ways that fiber optics is moving closer or all the way to the subscriber. While some refer to it as FTTH (fiber to the home), we also have FTTC (curb), FTTP (premises) and even a new acronym, FTTW (wireless), and this self-study program will cover all the varieties. While all varieties of FTTx are covered, most of the course focuses on FTTH PON networks. Take this course and you will learn about all the options for FTTx, what network architectures look like, what standards exist, and get an overview of how they are installed and tested. A final session will cover design of FTTx and give you a design exercise to complete. This course is designed for everyone interested in FTTx. Those new to fiber optics or in management roles can use this course to familiarize themselves with FTTx technologies, while those with fiber backgrounds will learn how to implement FTTx from this course.

Fiber Optic Network Design And Preparation For The CFOS/D Exam
This 8-part series is a series of self-study lessons on how to design a fiber optic network. It's not how to create drawings! It's about how to evaluate customer needs for communications links, choose equipment, design the cable plant, choose components, create a plan, manage the install and finish the paperwork. The final lesson is 9 case studies of various networks where you have to make the right choices. The course assumes you have a basic knowledge of fiber optics at the CFOT/CFospT/CPCT level.

FOA Certification Programs

Want FOA Certification?
Unless you already have field experience, you can't get FOA CFOT® or CPCT certified just by taking online courses because you can't develop hands-on skills needed for fiber optics on a computer! But using these self-study courses, you can prepare yourself for training at one of our hundreds of FOA-Approved schools around the world, refresh your knowledge from your own CFOT training or study for FOA exams if you are experienced in fiber optics and want to apply for direct certification.
If you do have field experience, you may qualify for the FOA direct certification program. Contact us for more information.

Study Guides For FOA Certification Exams
: If you have proper industry experience, you can apply for direct certification from the FOA. Here are quick self-study guides to help you prepare for the FOA certification exams.

FOA Resources

FOA iPad App - Self-Study in Fiber Optics

FOA iPad App
The FOA has just released its first App for the iPad, a self-study version of the FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics.

The FOA APP builds on the FOA basic fiber optic textbook to create an interactive learning environment. It builds on the iBook electronic version of the book to add a guide to use for self-study and real-time self-testing that provides feedback on what you have learned and correct answers to questions answered incorrectly.
The FOA APP is priced at only $9.99, same as the iBook, so the self-study program is free.

Download it from the Apple APP Store with your iPad or iTunes.

New Reference Books from The FOA 

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book   FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book   FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book
Basic Fiber Optics - Premises Cabling - Outside Plant Fiber Optics

We have created three  FOA books to be used in training for FOA certifications and as reference books for contractors, installers and end users of fiber optics. All three books are available in printed form from the FOA eStore or, or as eBooks on the Amazon Kindle or as Apple iBooks for the iPad/iPhone/iPod.
Click on the books above for more information and ordering instructions.


The FOA is using YouTube to host a large number of instructional videos including lecture series on fiber optics and premises cabling plus dozens of hands-on videos.

See the FOA Lecture Series and dozens of hands-on instructional videos and lectures about fiber optics and premises cabling on the FOA YouTube Channel - "thefoainc"

YouTube thefoainc page

Here is a listing of all the current FOA YouTube Videos 

Getting Started Guides

These two guides are simple introductions to the subjects. They will explain the applications, jargon, components and installation in a quick overview.

Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics 
Uncle Ted's Guide to Communications Cabling


These tutorials are online slide presentations with comments for self-paced learning.

What is fiber optics?
Fiber to the Home  

Virtual Hands-On Tutorials
Step-by-step review of common fiber optic processes:

Preparing Fiber Optic Cables for Pulling and Termination

Adhesive/polish connectors  
Anaerobic/polish connectors  
Hot Melt/polish connectors  
Prepolished/splice connectors  
Singlemode termination  

Mechanical splicing  
Fusion splicing (single fiber)  
Fusion splicing (ribbon splicing)  

Insertion loss testing  
OTDR testing  

Learn more about fiber optics at the FOA Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics: 

Fiber U History

Fiber U training

The famous "Fiber U®" (Fiber University) fiber optic training has returned, now part of The Fiber Optic Association. The Fiber U self-study courses are being updated and expanded with modern online-learning technology! FOA is working with groups to bring back the Fiber U training conferences too.

Fiber U began as a training conference run by Fotec, the fiber optic test equipment company started by Jim Hayes, now FOA President. Fiber U combined lectures by many highly knowledgeable instructors and had participating 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.

Fiber U also pioneered online training, starting in 1997 using techniques just like we use today which we learned from a teacher who was a summer intern at Fotec.

More on Fiber U Training Conferences.   

Photos from past Fiber U conferences.  

Lennie Lightwave has joined FOA too! Lennie has been called the most famous guy in fiber optics since Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics was published 20 years ago as a simple, easy to understand introduction to fiber optics. The web version of Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber Optics was one of the first commercial web pages ever and introduced many people to fiber optic technology. Now Lennie's Guide and Uncle Ted's Guide to Communications Cabling, the premises cabling equivalent, are still two of the most popular sites for getting started in the fiber optics and premises cabling business.

 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 a 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.

To Contact The FOA:
The Fiber Optic Association
1119 S Mission Road, # 355
Fallbrook, California 92028 USA
Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time, Monday-Friday
Telephone: 1-760-451-3655
Fax: 1-781-207-2421
"Fiber U" and the Fiber U logo and "CFOT" are a registered trademark of the FOA.

(C)2010-13, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.