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Fiber Optics Technicians

The Job

Fiber optics technicians prepare, install, and test fiber optics transmission systems. These systems are composed of fiber optic cables and allow for data communication between computers, phones, and fax machines. When working for a telecommunications company, fiber optics technicians are often required to install lines for local area networks—these data networks serve small areas of linked computers, such as in an office.

The telecommunications company for which a technician works will contract with a company to create a communications system. A sales worker will evaluate the customer's needs, and then order the materials for the installation. Fiber optics technicians take these materials to the job site. Each job site may be very different—technicians may work in a variety of different locales. First, fiber optics technicians need to get a sense of the area. They walk through with the client, evaluating the areas where they will be installing fiber optic cable. Newer buildings will be readily equipped for installation; in some older buildings, it may be more difficult to get behind ceiling tiles and in the walls.

After they have readied the area for cable, fiber optics technicians run the cable from the computer's mainframe to individual workstations. They then test the cable, using power meters and other devices, by running a laser through it. Fiber optics technicians use equipment that measures the amount of time it takes for the laser to go through, determining any signal loss or faults in the fiber link.

Technicians may also fuse fibers together. This involves cleaning the fiber and cutting it with a special diamond-headed cleaver. After they have prepared both ends, they place them into a fusion splicer. At the press of a button, the splicer fuses the two fibers together.

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