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Everything You Need to Know About Fiber Optic Splicing

Fiber optic splicing is a technique used to join fiber optic cables together. It is a necessary step in constructing fiber optic networks and requires the use of specialized tools. Splicing can be a complex process, and in most cases, performing it properly requires a great deal of training. So, if you are looking to construct a fiber optic network or need to replace or repair cables, you may need fiber optic cable splicing services.

What Are Fiber Optic Cables?

Fiber cables are responsible for establishing internet access, providing telephone networks, facilitating efficient data transmission, and more. They are made up of a core, which is the center of the cable, and a cladding, which is the outer layer. The core is usually made from glass or plastic, while the cladding is made from a material that reflects light. Inside the core, there is either a light-emitting diode (LED) or a laser that transmits light signals through the optical fibers. These signals travel through the core and are reflected off the cladding, allowing them to travel long distances.

In today’s world, fiber optic cables are extremely important. They are what keep us connected at home, at the workplace, pretty much everywhere. These cables transmit data and increase bandwidth signals, allowing us to go online and stay connected.

This critical infrastructure is quite literally what makes our world go around. Splicing these cables together is essential to our daily lives at home, at school, at work, and more.

What is Fiber Optic Splicing?

Simply speaking, fiber optic splicing joins fiber optic cables together. This is done to construct fiber optic networks, in addition to fixing issues in the event of a severed cable. This process is most often done after a cable is severed accidentally or when the cable run needs to be lengthened.

The Process of Fiber Optic Cable Splicing

The purpose of fiber optic cable splicing is to create a secure, continuous connection between two lengths of fiber optic cable while extending the cables’ reach. There are two techniques for fiber optic cable splicing: mechanical splicing and fusion splicing. Each requires a unique set of tools, and their implementation typically varies based on the needs of a company and whether a cable network is being modified, installed, or repaired.

Cable Splicing Tools and Techniques

Mechanical Splicing

Mechanical splicing is the process of aligning two fiber ends as precisely as possible with an alignment device and then mechanically joining them together with a self-contained assembly that allows light to pass through seamlessly. This process requires the application of an index-matching gel to make sure light is transmitted across the joint without any reflection or loss of light.

Mechanical splices are not permanent fixtures and can be disconnected easily. So, they are most useful during the fiber optic network installation process to make temporary cable connections and are often used for quick repairs.

Fusion Splicing

Fusion splicing is another technique used for fiber optic cable splicing. Similar to mechanical splicing, this method requires a very precise alignment of the two ends to prevent loss of light, but that is where the similarities end. Fusion splicing requires either a splicing machine or a tool called an electric arc that can heat the ends of the cables and fuse the glass ends together.

This technique better preserves the transmission of light between the joints when compared to mechanical splicing, and has a very low occurrence of back reflection. Unlike mechanical splicing, it is a permanent joining of the cables, and it can also be used for repairing damaged fibers or splicing together two damaged ends. It is best used for constructing lines that won’t be altered in the future.

Is Mechanical or Fusion Splicing Better?

It’s not a question of what one is better, it’s more of a question of what is better for your specific needs. Choosing one over the other often comes down to cost alone.

Mechanical splicing has a much lower initial investment ($1,000 to $2000), but the cost per splice is much higher at around $26 on average per splice. Fusion splicing’s upfront investment is much more, coming in between $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the accuracy, features, and speed of the equipment purchased.  However, the cost per splice is typically somewhere around $1.00 for fusion.

In addition, the industry you are in may determine the type of splicing you choose. Fusion splice points are essentially seamless, leading to lower loss and less back reflection, and work best using single-mode fiber. However, mechanical splicing works well with both single and multi-mode fiber.

The length of the run may also determine which type is used, with companies preferring fusion for long networks and cable for local networks. Industries that use both types include CATV and telecommunications. Analog video networks often require fusion splicing, while LAN can use either.

Choose UtiliSource For Your Fiber Optic Cable Needs

If you’re looking for reliable fiber optic cable services, look no further than UtiliSource! Our experienced team is dedicated to providing high-quality cable network design, splicing, and installation services. Contact any service provider today to find out how we can help you get the most out of your fiber optic network!

Hope you have the expert knowledge about fiber optic splicing.

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