As the prominence and prevalence of fiber optics continues to grow, the need for fiber splicing grows with it, and the two, most prominent techniques used to carry out this process are fusion splicing and mechanical splicing.
Both options bring their own, unique benefits and drawbacks to the table, and picking which one is best suited for the task at hand can be a difficult choice, especially if you’re new to the world of fiber optics.
What is Fiber Splicing?
Some situations in which fiber splicing commonly comes into play is in the repair of damaged cables, connecting different types of cables together, shortening cable lengths to fit in a given location during installation, and more.
Now that you are familiar with the concept of splicing, it’s time to compare and discuss the different types of splicing methods.
What is Fusion Splicing?
Fusion splicing is the intricate process of using heat or an electric arc to weld disparate fibers together, and is currently the most popular splicing method in the industry. Performed by a machine, this technique can be done as a single or mass fusion, meaning that it can be applied to one fiber at a time, or up to a dozen, all at once. Fusion splicing is generally considered to be the preferred method for large networks, long-distance communications, or other industrial jobs.
What is Mechanical Splicing?
Unlike fusion splicing, mechanical splicing requires the user to manually join two or more fibers together by means of a mechanical splicing device (which locks them in place), rather than welding them together via heat from a machine. This style of splicing is typically used for at-home needs, smaller scale situations, or temporary fixes.
The Pros & Cons of Both Mechanical and Fusion Splicing
Both fusion and mechanical splicing have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is best to be familiar with them before making a decision about what type of splicing to use.
Mechanical splicing is a much quicker option, and also easier to perform. While the use of a mechanical unit to connect and hold separate fibers together isn’t necessarily a “permanent” bond (especially when compared to fusion splicing’s welding process), it isn’t flimsy, either, and can easily serve as an effective fix for your typical needs. That said, there will be some unavoidable signal loss following the splice and, while the initial cost of investing in mechanical splicing is relatively low, the actual process ends up costing more per splice in the long run.
On the other hand, fusion splicing offers a permanent, reliable, bond between fibers, resulting in excellent performance with very little signal loss. Be that as it may, fusion splicing requires a specialized machine, and investing in one is quite expensive. However, despite this intimidating financial barrier to entry, fusion splicing is actually more cost effective than mechanical splicing, overall.
When directly comparing the two options, it becomes clear that fusion splicing is, overall, the best choice. Not only do you get a strong connection with little variance in quality, but the process itself ends up being much cheaper over time, despite the initial (and significant) financial hurdle.
That said, don’t dismiss mechanical splicing (or its viability) just yet, as you may find that it better suits your needs, or the needs of a given task, depending on the job.
In any case, FiberTechs can work with you every step of the way on a given project, such as by providing consultations and offering troubleshooting advice, or having our Corning-certified designers and installers bring your project to life with their elite skill-sets and comprehensive knowledge of fiber optics.
Contact Experienced Fiber Optic Splicing Contractors
FiberTechs is your first call partner for quality, reliable fiber splicing services. We are proud to serve customers in New Jersey, New York, and the surrounding area, including Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Virginia. Contact us today to discuss your fiber optic or structured cable system project!