A fiber optic splice creates a permanent connection between two fibers. It is an alternative to optical fiber connectors. However, the difference is that the connectors are compatible for repeated connection and disconnection, but fiber optic splicing creates a permanent connection. However, some splices can be disconnected, but you can’t repeat the process.
Where Is Fiber Optic Splicing Used?
The use of splices is limited compared to connectors. They are mainly used in places where it is not possible to service the cables in future.
One of the most common applications of splices is to connect two cables when the length of one cable is insufficient for the required run. For example, splice fiber optic cable is necessary when you need 10 km or 15 km range for the system because a single fiber optic cable can be maximum 5 km long.
The splice fiber optic method is also used when a buried cable gets cut because of a dig-up, which is a common occurrence in outside plant (OSP). It also comes handy if you need to mix many different types of cables such as splicing a 48-fiber cable into six 8-fiber cables.
Types of Fiber Optic Splices
Two types of splices are there – fusion and mechanical. Let’s have a look:
Fusion Splice of Fiber Optic Cable
Such a splice is made by fusing or melting two of the fiber cables together. The process requires an electric arc and other specialized equipment to weld the cables together.
This method is mainly used when there is a need to establish a stable and secure joint between optic cables. It also reduces the amount of loss and back reflection. Technically, you can call all singlemode splices as fusion splices.
Mechanical Splice of Fiber Optic Cable
Unlike fusion splices, mechanical splices use alignment to establish a connection between two ends of fiber cables. They are like an adjustment device that keeps the both ends in a precisely aligned position.
Mechanical splicing is useful when you need to make the splicing quickly. You can set up such a splicing within just five minutes. However, the loss of light in this method is nearly 10%, which is more than fusion splicing but much less than using a fiber optic connector.
Fusion and mechanical splices have their individual applications. Fusion splices are suitable for applications where a high level of performance and a minimum amount of loss are required. The installation of such splices requires expensive equipment, and they are more suitable for applications where permanent installation is needed.
On the other hand, mechanical fiber optic splicing is inexpensive and can be installed very quickly. Its percentage of light loss is a bit higher, but it’s handy for multimode splicing and temporary restoration of cut or damaged cables.