Fiber Optics: Splicing vs. Connectors

To attach optical fiber connectors to another device, you must either splice it or connect it to create a joint or a termination.

fiber optic connectors

The word “splice” means “to join or connect by interweaving the strands,” so as you might have guessed, a splice creates a permanent joint between the optical fibers. Because of this permanence and security, the splicing technique is often used for joining outside plant cables. Of the different types of splicing, fusion is the most popular because it gives you the lowest loss, the least reflectance, and the most reliable joint. Unlike popular connectors from the past such as the d-sub connector, most all single-mode splices are fusion. However, mechanical splicing is sometimes utilized when the supplier only needs a temporary restoration or multi-mode splicing.

fiber optic connectors

The second option, connection, involves modular connectors that mate the fibers and create a temporary joint. Sometimes they also connect the optical fiber to network gear. Connectors are useful when you need to create a termination, so that the optical fiber can be attached to another device or piece of equipment. When you want to create patch panels, so that the fiber routing can be easily changed by patching different fibers together, connectors are also very handy. Different procedures come into play depending on whether you’re using multi-mode or a single-mode fibers. Although there are many different types of connectors available for fiber optic technology and several different ways of installing them, a few connector and installation types are popular across a variety of applications.

When choosing a method of attachment for optical fibers, one must consider the equipment involved and the environment in which the finished product will be used. The best method will not only be compatible, but also ensure low loss, minimal resistance, and high mechanical strength. There are pros and cons to both splicing and connectors, so ultimately the decision comes down to the equipment, the environment, and the goals of the supplier.