Last Updated on May 6, 2022 by Josh Mahan
If you have ever needed to install fiber optic cables, you may have needed to splice two lines together. Essentially, fiber splicing is when you join two cables together to make them as one. The most common reason people splice cables together is that something accidentally severed the original line. Splicing the cable (or splicing a new section) is often far less expensive and time-consuming than running an entirely new cable. Since fiber optic cables are complex, most people use a fiber splicer to automate the process.
People who regularly work with these cables will undoubtedly need a fiber splicer eventually. Here’s what you need to know about these incredible machines!
What Is a Fiber Splicer?
Before getting into what a fiber splicer is, it’s first essential to understand the methods of splicing fiber cables.
The first method is through mechanical splicing. This method is arguably the most straightforward as it requires little machinery. As you might guess, mechanical splicing is primarily manual. It joins two or more optical fibers by holding them in place by an assembly. This assembly aligns them using an index matching fluid. It’s a small section of cable that precisely aligns the bare fibers. After installing, there’s a cover that goes on to fasten the splice permanently.
The second method is fusion splicing. This method requires a specific fiber splicer machine to do this properly as it is exact. It aligns the two fiber ends appropriately. After that, it fuses the glass ends together using an electric arc or heat. This fusion produces a non-reflective, continuous connection that results in a minimal loss.
Therefore, a fiber splicer (or, you could say, fusion splicer) is a device to “fusion splice” two fiber optic cables together!
Why Is a Fusion Splicer the Best Option For Fiber Splicing?
As you might imagine, mechanical splicing is less costly. It doesn’t require very much special equipment to work. All you need is the cable and something to hold it all together.
The problem is that mechanical splicing is not as robust as fusion splicing. There’s typically insertion loss and splicing loss involved with this method. While it might not be huge, if you have multiple splices in any given cable, it could start to degrade the cable’s ability to function.
Furthermore, mechanical splicing is not as “secure” as you might want it to be. It requires an apparatus to hold these cables together. If something happens to that apparatus, the splice can come undone. For example, let’s say an earthquake damaged the original line. Another earthquake could knock the splice loose.
Fusion splicing (which requires a fusion splicer) fuses the cables to act and function as one again. There’s significantly less insertion loss and splicing loss with this method. Since this machine essentially “welds” the cables together, it’s much more permanent. The line will essentially be like new again, rather than a spliced cable and assembly patchwork.
Additionally, fusion splicing can handle multiple cable types. For example, you can “fuse” a “48 fiber” cable to six “8 fiber” cables if you wanted to connect a data center, for example, with six remote offices.
While both methods work, if you want guaranteed results that are more likely to last, get a fiber splicer. Additionally, the machine will give you more options.
What To Look For in a Fiber Splicer?
If you’re in the market for a fiber splicer, the question is, of course, what should you look for in one? There are three things any fusion splicer you buy should have.
First, it should have a fast splicing time. The longer you have to wait, the more time you waste that could be doing something else! It’s not uncommon to be able to splice cables in 5-10 seconds. If any splicer you see takes significantly longer, you may wish to rethink the purchase!
You should also ensure that it is compatible with all major brands. Buying a splicer that won’t work with certain types of cables is typically not a good idea. Even if you don’t work with those brands or types of lines now, that doesn’t mean things won’t change in the future!
Finally, look for a splicer that has a minimum average loss. For single-mode (one cable to one cable), 0.02 dB or less is a good start. For multi-mode (one line to many lines), you should typically be a little more strict and look for an average loss of 0.01 dB or less. All other fusion types should have a loss of 0.05 dB or less. By ensuring the loss is minimal, you have a better chance of a successful splice!
Why the FiberFox Mini 6S+ Is a Great Fusion Splicer
If you’re looking for a fusion splicer, look no further than the FiberFox Mini 6S+. Anyone fortunate enough to use this splicer will quickly see that the team at FiberFox has built an incredible machine.
The average signal loss is minimal (single-mode is 0.02 dB, multi-mode is 0.01 dB, and all other modes are 0.04 dB or less). Additionally, it has a short splice time of six seconds for single-mode splices. It works with all fiber types and has a long lifespan of over 5,500 arcs.
Part of what makes the FiberFox Mini 6S+ special is that it offers up to 200 cycles of splicing and heating on a single battery charge. And, unlike most splicers, this one includes two batteries! Therefore, as long as you keep the backup battery charged, you’ll never run out of juice when you need to splice!
Given all the positives about this little device (it’s only 4.8 x 4.88 x 5.4 inches), it’s self-evident why it is the best fiber splicer available. It has a low average loss, short fiber splicing times, works with all fiber types, and has a long life span. It has plenty of other bells and whistles too.
If you’re using mechanical splicing techniques, or if your splicer is getting old, check out the FiberFox Mini 6S+. There’s a good chance it will make your splicing easier and more reliable!
Planning a data center or smart building and looking for the best fiber optic cabling and structured cabling design? Get in touch with C&C Technology Group today for all of your fiber cabling needs!
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