TIA FOLS expands focus to all customer-owned networks

February 6, 2003--To help users better evaluate the benefits that fiber cable can bring to premises networks, the Fiber Optics LAN Section of the Telecommunications Industry Association has expanded its scope to focus on all customer-owned networks.

To help users better evaluate the benefits that fiber cable can bring to premises networks, the Fiber Optics LAN Section (FOLS) of the Telecommunications Industry Association has expanded its scope to focus on all customer-owned networks.

FOLS members regularly publish white papers, speak at industry conferences, and author news articles and case histories and are involved with standards development. FOLS also maintains a website (www.fols.org) with material that educates end users on fiber in various applications and vertical markets and links to other resources. Most recently, the Section hosted a webconference that introduced the Section's proprietary interactive cost models, which compare the installed first costs of fiber-based LANs with those of UTP copper LANs.

When it was founded in 1993, the Section mission was to provide information on the use of fiber only in the backbone and horizontal portion of premises networks. "When we first launched the FOLS, fiber was a still a novelty in LANs, especially in the horizontal portion of networks," explains John Struhar, FOLS chair. "Now, our members see fiber being used to address the specific needs of a variety of applications--from industrial networks to inside central offices. In response, we have decided to expand the scope of our charter to include all customer-owned networks."

Specifically, FOLS will now address the use of fiber in LANs, storage area networks (SANs), Data Centers, industrial applications, building automation systems, security systems, and fiber in the home. "This is a natural extension of our efforts," adds Struhar. "Users in many of the newer applications may not be that familiar with the benefits of optical fiber and we believe that the FOLS can provide the information they need to make an educated decision about their cabling infrastructure."

The FOLS focuses on educating end users and influencers about the technical advantages and affordability that optical transmission brings to local area networks and fiber-to-the-desk applications. FOLS members are leading fiber cable, component and electronics companies, including 3M/Volition, AMP/Tyco Electronics, Corning, Leviton Voice & Data, Micro Linear Corporation, OFS, Optek Technology, Panduit, Ortronics, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, and Transition Networks.

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