Trish Dawson, tia fols
In 1993, the Telecommunications Industry Association (tia--Arlington, VA) established the Fiber Optics lan Section (fols) in its Fiber Optic Division to educate end-users and network designers about the technical advantages and affordability that optical-fiber transmission brings to local area networks, and specifically to fiber-to-the-desk (fttd) applications.
And there are many benefits--some of which have been obscured by preconceptions and myths about optical fiber. In fact, glass optical-fiber cable offers the most reliable, easy-to-install, easy-to-test cabling solution available today. Plus, it is the only transmission medium with proven performance for high-bit-rate applications, enabling a clear migration path to all future protocols, including Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Synchronous Optical Network, and Gigabit Ethernet.
The deployment of multimode optical fiber has been spurred by advances on several fronts: Optical-fiber cable is less expensive; labor and installation costs are now comparable to those of installing copper; advances in connector technologies and electronics are lowering system costs; and new standards have evolved that allow designers to take advantage of the longer spans made possible by fiber to centralize electronics. In addition to technical advancements, the need to support higher-bandwidth applications has increased as more and more companies start to provide networks with Internet access and support for multimedia applications.
To communicate these benefits, fols has developed several resources for the industry. These include
- white papers and brochures that address the technical decisions about choosing your transmission medium;
- direct mail that updates interested parties on advancements in technologies and standards;
- presentations and seminars at trade shows and conferences to address issues about the use of optical-fiber networks;
- publication of articles in the trade press that detail installations or explain the implications of new technologies or standards;
- profiles of fttd installations;
- a directory of market research reports on the use of fiber for horizontal cabling;
- a suppliers` guide of manufacturers that offer components for fttd applications.
To make our advocacy group more effective, we would like to broaden our membership, and we invite companies interested in participating in the fiber revolution to join fols. Current members include: 3M, Allied Telesyn International, amp, Belden Wire & Cable, Berk-Tek, CommScope/General Instrument, Corning Inc., Lucent Technologies, Siecor Corp., SpecTran Corp., and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corp.
fols meets four times a year. As a member, your company is eligible to participate in any or all of our three committees: the Standards Committee, the Communications Committee, and the Membership Committee. These committees typically convene monthly via teleconference. To become a member of fols, your company must be a member of tia. In addition, there is a voluntary annual assessment of fols members to fund its activities.
To receive information on joining fols, or to request our white paper or other literature, please call Stephanie Jones at tia. Her number is (703) 907-7735.
Trish Dawson is chair of tia`s Fiber Optics lan Section and is director of marketing for SpecTran Corp. (Sturbridge, MA).