Tips for Fusion Fiber Splicing

Whether you need to extend the reach of fiber or repair a severed cable in the field, fiber splicing is a critical skill for any field tech. Here are a few useful tips to ensure your splices are done safely and effectively.

NOTE: There are two methods of fiber splicing: fusion splicing and mechanical splicing. For the purposes of this article, we will specifically discuss fusion splicing. For mechanical splicing, only the actual splice is a different process; the preparation and safety tips apply to each method.

Required Tools

Fiber fusion splicing unit

Fiber cleaver

Wire stripper, for removing jacket and tubing

Heat shrink tubes to protect and cover the splice

Cleaning supplies, including gauze and alcohol

Important Tips

1. Control your environment. Only attempt the splicing process (stripping, cleaving, and splicing) on a stable flat surface. Try to control any moving air (wind or AC) to minimize the risk of losing dangerous fiber splinters. Most importantly, keep everything as clean as possible. Wipe the exposed ends of the fiber thoroughly with gauze and alcohol before cleaving, and make sure your surface area is free of all dust and debris. As is the case with fiber connectors, the smallest impurities can introduce significant loss.

2. Handle fiber with extreme care. Handling bare fiber is incredibly dangerous. Even microscopic splinters can cause serious damage if they enter your bloodstream. Use a reverse roll of tape to collect any bits of fiber until they can be disposed of safely.

3. Measure three times, cut once. Check every setting on every tool before use. Measure out the length of jacket you’ll strip from your fiber ends (Ensure the fiber type settings on your cleaver and splicer match the fibers you have. Check the alignment of your fiber holders. Run an arc test on your splicing device to ensure you have a good cleave. If applicable, make sure your heat shrink tube is on one end of your fiber before splicing.

4. Respect the tools. A good fusion splicer and cleaver can perform their required tasks with extreme precision and can cost thousands of dollars apiece. Therefore, to get the most out of your investment, perform regular maintenance on these devices as instructed in the manual.

Precise execution of fiber splicing is essential to preserve the integrity of your network.  To learn more about best practices in networking care, check out our three-part series on cleaning and maintenance of your optical transceivers and cables.

Cost Comparison: Fusion Splicing Versus Pre-terminated System

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

Fiber optic joints or termination is a necessary process when installing a network. Every network operators who aim to deploy a next-generation fiber network have to determine how to build a flexible, reliable and long-lasting infrastructure at the lowest possible cost. In general, there are mainly two fiber optic termination methods: splices which create a permanent joint between the two fibers, or connectors that mate two fibers to create a temporary joint. When people decide to use either method, many factors should be taken into account. Today’s article will evaluate both methods from the aspect of cost to help you choose the effective termination method.
Weighting the Two Methods
Besides the features of low loss, minimal reflectance and high mechanical strength, fiber optic termination must be compatible to the environment in which they are installed. Before we come to the cost comparison of these two termination methods, let’s firstly have a brief overview.
As it known to all that, splices create a permanent joint between two fibers, so its use is limited to place where cables are not expected to be available for servicing in the future. The most common application for splicing is joining cables in long outside plant cable runs where the length of the run requires more than one cable. There are two types of splices, fusion and mechanical. Fusion splicing is most widely used as it provides for the lowest loss and least reflectance, as well as providing the strongest and most reliable joint.
fusion-splicing
Fusion splicing machines are usually called fusion splicer available on the market that splice a single fiber or a ribbon of 12 fibers at one time. The above picture shows how to splice a fiber optic jumper. Virtually all single-mode splices are fusion. Fusion splices are made by “welding” the two fibers together usually by an electric arc. To be safe, you should not do that in an enclosed space like a manhole or an explosive atmosphere, and the equipment is too bulky for most aerial applications, so fusion splicing is usually done above ground in a truck or trailer set up for the purpose.
Today’s single-mode fusion splicers are automated and you have a hard time making a bad splice as long as you cleave the fiber properly. Fusion splicers cost thousands US dollars (up to $5,000), but the splices only cost a few dollars each. The following part display the main features of the fusion splicing:
Typical average optical losses of 0.05dB or lower
Not de-mateable
Special installation skills needed
Tools sensitive to the environment
Relatively long installation time
Standard organizer techniques required
Pre-terminated System
Pre-termination is the alternative termination method popular on the market. Cables and fibers are terminated to a connector in the factory. When carefully planned, splicing jobs for specialized technicians can be limited to the network construction phase. But provisioning, churn and network testing can be performed by technicians without specific fiber skills, because the organizers can be very simple.
With pre-connectorized products, the connection time is reduced from 20 to less than 5 minutes, including the connector cleaning step. When connecting fibers with connector technology, there is no issue of environmental sensitivity. What’s more, connectors are accessible on the outside of the network element, reducing the need to access a product and the risk of disturbing other lines. The image below shows the MPO pre-terminated cables.
mpo-per-terminated-system
Factory pre-termination is also compatible with optical budget requirements by selecting the appropriate grade as defined by the international IEC standards. When properly planned, pre-connectorized
products do not add extra connectivity points, thus eliminating extra optical loss or reflections. In all, the most obvious features of the pre-terminated system lies in the following part:
Typical losses of 0.15dB or less
Fully de-mateable
No special installation skills required
Reduced installation time
Very simple organizer systems
Insensitive to environmental conditions
Cost Comparison
The start-up costs for the fusion splice are significantly higher, as fusion splicers can be very expensive. Even the cheapest fusion splicer will cost nearly $2,900 (fiber-mart-F600 Fusion Splicer from fiber-mart.COM) more than the most expensive crimp kit. Not counting the initial start-up costs, splices will run anywhere from $7.20 to $8.25 per splice, which is much lower than the pre-terminated connector. The following image shows the vivid comparison between fusion splicing and pre-terminated system.
pre-terminated-vs-fusion-splicing
As for the pre-terminated connector, the most significant advantage is the wire management hardware involved. A pre-terminated connector requires no additional hardware over a standard connector. And it is faster to terminate a crimp connector, saving labor time ($0.75 per splice), and splicing also requires additional material costs in the form of splice protectors ($0.40 per splice). Fiber splicing technicians have specialized training that makes them expensive when compared to someone simply pling things in. The additional material and closet space for managing splices can cost an additional $6.05-7.10 per connector. But with a little careful planning as to lengths of fibers needed, pre-terminated fibers can be installed quickly and with no training.
In all, fusion splicing makes a lot of sense for trunk fibers and locations where there are anywhere from 48 to 192 fibers to splice. In the drop locations, where there may be only one or two splices at each location, the setup time for each location may negate any cost savings from fusion splicing.
Making the Choice
In comparing pre-termination and fusion splicing, both have their inhered advantages. Fusion splicers offer many advantages in the premises environment, from being lightweight and compact to operating on a battery. These new units minimize setup time and are ideal for use in locations where space is tight. In addition, the total splice and heater cycle time is less than one minute, thereby enabling technicians to move through many termination locations quickly.
However, we cannot deny the fact that the start up cost of the fusion splicing is huge, thus customers that can’t deal with budget are going to demand pre-terminated connectors. Pre-terminated solutions offer the most benefits: It’s easy to install pret-terminated cables, and because they’re available in custom lengths, it’s easy to get the exact lengths required to limit the excess slack. Many more users will rely on the pre-terminated trunk cables and sacrifice the inconvenience of dealing with slack, because it offers faster deployment.
As you get into significantly higher fiber counts, fusion splicing could save time over installing connectors. While for those who don’t have a fusion splicer or splicing experience, may want to consider pre-terminated connectors. fiber-mart.COM offers both fusion splicer and per-terminated cables, our products are integrated, holistic physical infrastructure solutions that guarantee a reliable and stable performance for your network. Please contact us if you need help.

 

Fusion or Mechanical: Which Is the Best Splicing Method?

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

When splicing together two lengths of fiber optic cabling, you have to choose between the two known methods – fusion splicing and mechanical splicing – which both essentially produce the same result – a secure connection between two formerly separate lengths of fiber.

However, how do you choose between them? Is one method better than the other? Well, in this article, we take a closer look at both, to provide some clarity on the subject. By reading to the end, you’ll know what the pros and cons are of each, how each connection is created and you’ll be in a better position to make a considered decision.

So, without any further delay, let’s begin.

Defining Mechanical & Fusion Splicing

The ultimate goal of cable splicing is to create a secure connection between two or more sections of fiber in a way that allows the optical signal to pass through with minimal loss. As we mentioned already, both mechanical and fusion splicing achieve this goal, but they do so in very different ways.

Fusion Splicing

Firstly, fusion splicing involves melting the two sections of fiber permanently together. This is achieved with an electrical device aptly known as a fusion splicer, and it’s something that not only melts the two parts together with an electric arc, but it is also able to align the fiber to create a good connection precisely.

Mechanical Splicing

One of the main differences with mechanical splicing is that it doesn’t permanently join the fibers together, instead of locking and aligning the pieces together with a screw mechanism. This method requires no heat or electricity at all.

The Fusion Splicing Steps

Figure 2: fusion splicer showing fiber positioning

With both mechanical and fusion splicing techniques, there are four distinct steps to the process. The first two steps for each are almost identical, but the final two are where the differences lie.

Fusion Splicing Step 1 – Preparation

To prepare the fiber for splicing, you need to strip away the jacket or sheath that surrounds the internal glass fiber. You’ll be left with bare glass when you’re finished, which should then be cleaned with an alcoholic wipe.

Fusion Splicing Step 2 – Cleaving

The next step involves cleaving the fiber, which shouldn’t be confused with cutting. Cleaving means that the fiber should be lightly scored and then flexed until it naturally breaks. To create a sound connection, you need a good, clean, smooth cleave that’s perpendicular to the fiber it’s being connected to in the fusion splicer.

Fusion or Mechanical: Which Is the Best Splicing Method?

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

When splicing together two lengths of fiber optic cabling, you have to choose between the two known methods – fusion splicing and mechanical splicing – which both essentially produce the same result – a secure connection between two formerly separate lengths of fiber.
However, how do you choose between them? Is one method better than the other? Well, in this article, we take a closer look at both, to provide some clarity on the subject. By reading to the end, you’ll know what the pros and cons are of each, how each connection is created and you’ll be in a better position to make a considered decision.
So, without any further delay, let’s begin.
Defining Mechanical & Fusion Splicing
The ultimate goal of cable splicing is to create a secure connection between two or more sections of fiber in a way that allows the optical signal to pass through with minimal loss. As we mentioned already, both mechanical and fusion splicing achieve this goal, but they do so in very different ways.
Fusion Splicing
Firstly, fusion splicing involves melting the two sections of fiber permanently together. This is achieved with an electrical device aptly known as a fusion splicer, and it’s something that not only melts the two parts together with an electric arc, but it is also able to align the fiber to create a good connection precisely.
Mechanical Splicing
One of the main differences with mechanical splicing is that it doesn’t permanently join the fibers together, instead of locking and aligning the pieces together with a screw mechanism. This method requires no heat or electricity at all.
The Fusion Splicing Steps
Figure 2: fusion splicer showing fiber positioning
With both mechanical and fusion splicing techniques, there are four distinct steps to the process. The first two steps for each are almost identical, but the final two are where the differences lie.
Fusion Splicing Step 1 – Preparation
To prepare the fiber for splicing, you need to strip away the jacket or sheath that surrounds the internal glass fiber. You’ll be left with bare glass when you’re finished, which should then be cleaned with an alcoholic wipe.
Fusion Splicing Step 2 – Cleaving
The next step involves cleaving the fiber, which shouldn’t be confused with cutting. Cleaving means that the fiber should be lightly scored and then flexed until it naturally breaks. To create a sound connection, you need a good, clean, smooth cleave that’s perpendicular to the fiber it’s being connected to in the fusion splicer.
%d bloggers like this: