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What is a CFCE?

The unique CFCE (Certified Fibre Characterisation Engineer) certification was launched by Optical Technology Training (OTT) in 2005. It has been continuously updated since then. The CFCE course provides test engineers with the knowledge and skills they need to characterise advanced telecom fibre infrastructures to assess how well they can support high performance communications systems. The course is designed to create test engineers who are qualified to carry out comprehensive fibre characterisation in a professional manner. They will apply the correct test methods, validate results on-site, analyse results, assess the capabilities of the infrastructure and present the conclusions in an easy to understand format. Watch the video to find out more about the CFCE course.

What are the benefits of using a CFCE?

Fibre characterisation is essential because, now that telecoms systems and dark fibre contracts have become so complex, it is critical to know the real performance of installed fibre links. Based on the results of a fibre characterisation exercise, decisions need to be made about equipment choices, whether remedial works are required, or even whether to accept or reject the fibres. There could be a lot at stake, so it is essential that the information that you get from the fibre characterisation is accurate and reliable. Lots of data is generated, with different types of traces and lots of numbers. By using a CFCE for your fibre characterisation you can be certain that:

7 fibre characterisation tests

Correct tests

the full, correct, set of tests will be carried out on the fibres to provide comprehensive information

Fibre Characterisation Equipment

Correct equipment

the equipment used will be able to measure the required performance parameters of the links being tested

fibre characterisation validation

Valid, stored data

the data acquired in the field will be checked to ensure it is valid and is stored & documented correctly

fibre characterisation files

Data analysis

the data will be analysed and interpreted to provide useful information about link performance

OTT certification tick logoThen you will be able to make authoritative judgements regarding the quality of the infrastructure and whether the link/s will support particular applications.

If fibre testing is carried out by inexperienced people, using simplified just press the green button equipment, or equipment that is not set up correctly, then problem areas can easily be overlooked, and important tests missed out.  Some engineers may be experienced in one type of test but may not understand the full range of tests and their implications. Fully trained engineers will carry out all the tests methodically and pick up on any issues before they leave site and be able to decide what to do next. So if you need to be able to rely on the results of fibre characterisation, can you afford not to use a CFCE?

There are now trainees of at least 30 different nationalities that have achieved CFCE status. Typical job roles of attendees include: fibre optic test engineer; fibre optic technical support; telecom project supervisor.

What is involved in a CFCE course?


This is what you learn to do on a CFCE course

7 fibre characterisation tests

Carry out 7 essential fibre optic tests

required to prove support for high data rate applications, extended wavelength range operation for DWDM & CWDM systems & Raman amplifiers


Use the full power of test platforms

to inspect connectors & carry out ILM, ORL, bi-directional OTDR, chromatic dispersion, PMD & spectral attenuation tests


Process test results swiftly and efficiently

using test report software to provide comprehensive system documentation


Assess link performance intelligently

appreciate the issues behind the tests so you can assess link performance intelligently against application support criteria

Richard Ednay, OTT

The CFCE course was developed by an expert

The CFCE certification was developed & is up-dated and overseen by OTT’s Technical Director, Richard Ednay. Richard has over 30 years experience of fibre testing & characterisation. Richard wrote the definition of fibre characterisation in ITU G.650.3, and was project leader for the international IEC standards for loss measurement and for PMD on installed links.

CFCE course with equipment

There's plenty of hands-on

The CFCE course includes plenty of practical hands-on sessions using modern test equipment on specially constructed test rigs, as well as analysis exercises drawn from experience of real-world fibre characterisation. There is also a practical  assignmment to complete to assure competence has been achieved.

Quality Control Approved Icon OTT

The CFCE course has quality control

All CFCE courses run by OTT’s partners use OTT training materials and the assessments are verified by OTT before awarding the CFCE certificates. This direct control of the quality of the training, by the world’s leading technical authority on fibre characterisation, guarantees the best possible quality of training in fibre characterisation you can get.

Let's talk...

The CFCE certification programme is delivered under license by OTT’s partners in the UK, Ireland and the USA. Public courses are available in some locations but company specific courses are also available if you have a team of engineers that would benefit from this certification and would like a course delivered on your own premises. Please complete the form to be put in touch with your nearest partner.

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