Fibre Optics | Carrers in Fibre Optics
Fibre optics has been in use for almost 40 years now supplementing signals over radio waves and copper wire.
Why do we use fibre optics? Because of its information carrying capacity. This promotional photo from AT&T; 40 years ago shows even then how one small optical fibre could carry more information than that giant copper cable in the background. Today that fibre can carry a million times more signal than it could then 40 years ago.
The fibres we use to send signals are the size of a human hair and they’re so pure and they’re so clear that if the oceans were as clear, we could look down in the ocean and see the Titanic 12,000 feet below.
Using your smartphone, playing Pokemon Go, or you’re on the Internet on your computer, or your tablet, you’re using fibre optic communications. Who builds these fibre optic networks we use?
They’re built by skilled technicians who’ve been trained to design, install, and operate these networks. Many of them are trained in FOA schools around the world. Where do these technicians work as they’re building these networks? Well, that’s some interesting stories. Let’s look at some of the places that they work in building fibre optic networks. Here is a crew using heavy machinery out in the countryside burying underground fibre optic cables, the typical cables that connect long-distance phone networks and build the backbone of the Internet.
This tech is working under the streets of a large metropolitan city in California building a network that carries all of the city’s communications. This tech is working in the suburbs installing a fibre to the home network for Verizon FIOS. Lots of techs work in large office buildings in big cities around America building the fibre optic cable systems that are used for the computer local area networks and phone systems. Many operations have large computer systems that allow all of their employees to do their work and they’re connected by fibre optic cables running in those orange tubes you see in the foreground.
Ever wonder where all that data that you access on the Internet is stored? It’s stored in giant data centres like this Google data centre, and all of the computers and storage in these data centres are connected on fibre optics installed by techs as you see here. Some fibre optics techs work up in the air, too. Like this tech installing fibre optic cables to a security camera in a Midwestern American city. Or this tech, out in the middle of the desert installing fibre optic cable to a strange looking cell phone tower that’s supposed to look like a cactus. There’s another crew out in the desert in California installing fibre optic cable for a rural electrical system. Here’s a fibre optic tech who’s not afraid of heights, he’s more than 200 feet high installing a fibre optic cable across the Suez Canal in Egypt. Here’s a very interesting project, this is the Ivanpah solar facility in the California Mojave desert.
It’s a solar generating station with 360,000 mirrors that concentrate light on towers to generate electricity.
There are 13,000 fibre optic cables in this system that took techs from Las Vegas two years to install. San Francisco 49ers fans in Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara California can use their smartphones during the game because of all the thousands of fibre optic cables installed to connect up WiFi and cellular systems inside the stadium. At auto race tracks fibre optics connects all the cameras for the sports networks and all the big screen TVs around the track so the fans can see what’s going on. And race teams, like the Red Bull Formula One team
use fibre optics to connect all the computers they use at trackside to keep track of all their cars and help their drivers win races. The military uses fibre optics for most of their communication needs, also. And they train their techs in their own schools to be able to install fibre optics under field conditions. Those robots that weld together cars in car factories use fibre optics to allow them to communicate with the computers that tell them what to do.
Fibre optic techs also help explorers around the world, like these scientists installing experiments at
the Scott Amundsen base in Antarctica connecting up on fibre. Or this underwater remote-piloted vehicle used
for undersea exploration. The cable that tethers it is fibre optics. Fibre optics is even used in fashion. Claire Danes wore this fibre optic dress to a big museum party in New York recently. And of course, fibre optic techs work in classrooms. Experienced techs help teach novices and newcomers the skills that they need so they can go out in the field and install fibre optics themselves. And of course, fibre optic techs work all around the world.
This map shows where the FOA has more than 200 schools teaching and certifying students to install fibre optics around the world. If you wanna see the world, become a fibre optic tech. Is it a career for you?
Well, do you like to work with tools and build things?
Are you curious about how things work?
Do you have good manual skills?
And of course, do you like to work with computers
and enjoy technology?
Do you already know basic programs like word processing,
spreadsheets, and drawing?
Do you like to work outdoors?
Lots of fibre optic installation work is outdoor work where you get to work outdoors in all the seasons of the year. Can you work well as a team helping your fellow workers
get their job done, too?
Can you follow directions?
And something that’s very important is
can you finish your own job?
If this looks interesting to you, how do you get started?
Well, the first thing to do is finish high school, or get your GED. While you’re in high school work on basic math and English skills and develop good communication skills, both written and verbal.