Fusion Splicing

An alternative to the direct termination of optical fibres is to splice on pre-connectorised pigtails. Pre-connectorised pigtails are manufactured in a factory under controlled conditions where good return loss performance can be achieved. This performance is often required in systems where lasers are used as the light source.

fusion splicerFusion Splicer
Fusion splicing, if performed correctly will provide the lowest loss when compared to other splicing methods. The process of performing a fusion splice involves applying a focussed heat source that will fuse the two fibres together. For this action, a piece of equipment known as a Fusion Splicer is used.

Fusion splicers, such as those used by BP Comms, will line up the two pieces of fibre based on lining up the two cores, or on the x-y-z axis. A current is passed between two electrodes and the glass is literally welded together. The completed splices are protected by a plastic splice sleeve which is shrunk onto the fibre using an integrated oven on the splicing unit. Each ‘spliced’ fibre is then inserted into a splice tray for storage.

Fusion splicing vs Connectorisation
This is often an issue over which installer opinions are divided. There are many factors affecting the decision and the outcome may vary from company to company and from installation to installation, including but not limited to:

  • Standard of installation engineer training and/or experience
  • Availability of fusion splice equipment
  • Cable construction and connector type
  • Termination hardware
  • Location of installation

Benefits
Engineers/installation teams do not require connectorisaton skills or tooling. All connector types may be handled in the same manner Quality of terminations is guaranteed (if quality supplier is used) Connectors may be fitted in a clean environment Performance of connectors is likely to be better.

Drawbacks
Need to buy or hire expensive fusion splice equipment, or invest in mechanical splicing. Additional splice losses are introduced Splices require protection in some form of enclosure.