Certified Optical Network Associate (CONA) testing

Certified Optical Network Associate (CONA)

A must have for optical  networking professionals

As demand for bandwidth continues to grow, so is the complexity of optical networks and the demand for highly skilled professionals who design, develop, implement and operate them. Optical network engineers are among the most highly paid and sort after professionals in the telecommunication and IT industries. The USA national average salary for optical network engineers in 2019 was $106,000(ZipRecruiter).

CONA is the first of two OTT vendor neutral optical network training courses designed to offer prospective optical network engineers the ins and outs of optical networks. Delegates learn what is required for satisfactory system performance of such networks, how optical impairments impact performance and how they are mitigated. 


Certified Optical Network Associate (CONA)


Developed by OTT, Certified Optical Network Associate is the first of two, 5-day, intense training courses in optical networking. It covers single channel and multiple channel networks using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) or Course Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM). CONA focuses on metro networks, Fiber to the Antenna (FTTA), Data Center Interconnects (DCIs), long haul networks requiring optical amplifiers and other Wide Area Network (WAN) applications. Delegates learn what is required for satisfactory system performance of such networks, how chromatic dispersion, PMD, non-linear effects and other impairments affect network performance and how they are mitigated.

Delegates should pass an examination and a network design assignment to be OTT certified. Delegates are also awarded IEEE Continuing Education Units (CEUs) certificates.

Successful candidates have the option to take the more advanced Certified Optical Network Engineer (CONE) course. CONE addresses more advanced concepts in higher speed networking.

CONA Couse content summary

CONA course modules cover in detail the fundamentals of all aspects of optical communication – from transmitters to the receivers through the fiber optic infrastructure, including optical components and modules. Below is a summary of what is covered in CONA. More details can be found in the CONA course brochure.

Light in optical communication networks

You will learn the fundamentals of light as a wave, including wavelengths or frequencies used in optical communication. The propagation of light in optical fiber and associated attributes such as attenuation, and dispersion are covered in detail. You will also get in-depth understanding of the passive components used to manage light such as directional couplers, splitters, attenuators and multiplexers

Fiber optic Infrastructure

In this section you will complete six modules on fiber optic infrastructure. You will learn different types of optical fiber for different applications and different fiber optic cables, their applications and how they are jointed, installed and terminated. Other components, such as connectors, required to install a fiber optic network are covered in detail this section.


In this three module section, you will learn the mechanisms and impact of dispersion in optical systems. Chromatic dispersion and Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) are covered in detail. A module is dedicated to the management of chromatic dispersion using optical (dispersion compensating fiber and Bragg Gratings) or electronic.


In this section you will learn how to quantify the performance of communication networks. You will be able to understand concepts associated with signal quality such as Bit Error Ratio (BER), Q-factor, Optical Signal to Noise Ratio (OSNR) and loss budgets. You will be able to understand different types of optical amplifiers, especially EDFA and Raman, and how they are used.  A module on transceivers is also included in this section.

Optical networking

You will learn how to put the infrastructure and systems together to develop an optical network. You will understand different photonic network topologies and the use of multiplexers, add/drop technologies and Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) in optical networks. You will learn to choose the right type of fiber, components, modules and systems for different network scenarios.

Case study

To consolidate your understanding of optical networks, you will complete a project assignment based on a case study. Using Whizziekit, which consists of models of communication network cards, you will put together an optical network based on DWDM or CWDM technology. Successful completion of the assignment is required to be CONA certified.

Frequently asked questions about CONA

Where can I take a certified optical network associate class?
OTT offers CONA and other training courses through licensed partners, such as FiberGuide, around the world. FiberGuide is licensed to train CONA in North America and Africa. We offer a number of scheduled classes in Washington DC and other parts of North America. We can also visit companies needing training for their employees anywhere in the regions for which we are licensed. For training in other parts of the world, please visit OTT.

Who should take certified optical network training classes?
CONA is developed for IT and telecommunication professionals who are interested in deeper understanding of optical communications. Professionals responsible for the planning, designing, implementation and operation of the following types of networks will benefit the training:

  • Long-haul networks
  • Metropolitan networks
  • Fiber to the antenna (FTTA)
  • Data center interconnects
  • Enterprise wide area networks (WANs)
  • Dark Fiber

Are there any pre-requisite for enrolling in CONA?
CONA is an introductory course for optical network professionals so there are no specific requirements. However, those with some background in fiber optics, networking and other IT and telecommunication related backgrounds will benefit the most from the course. CONA is required for those interested in taking the more advanced CONE course.

Do you offer a DWDM certification training Course?
CONA training is dominated by DWDM concepts and delegates learn everything they need to know about DWDM systems in a vendor neutral course. There is no need to take a separate DWDM training course at this level. For more advanced systems for higher speed transmission, CONA certified candidates can take CONE.

A great course for transmission engineers, network planners, project managers and operation staff.
CONA is a prerequisite for the more advanced CONE course.
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