Category Archives: Fiber Optic Splicing

A Good Fiber Optic Cleaver Helps Cut Out Costly Mistakes

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To get good fiber optic splices or terminations, especially when using the pre-polished connectors with internal splices, it is extremely important to cleave the fiber properly. If the fiber ends are not precisely cleaved, the ends will not mate properly. To prepare a fiber end for a connector or splice, the end of the fiber must be cleaved to a 90 degree flat end. For technicians the problem is that the end of the fiber strand is so small that it is impossible to tell with the naked eye whether the strand has a flat end. So in order for this to happen, you must use a cleaving tool called fiber optic cleaver. Some knowledge of fiber optic cleaves will be provided in this article.

good and bad fiber cleave

What Is Fiber Optic Cleaver?
A cleave in an optical fiber is a deliberate, controlled break, intended to create a perfectly flat end face, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the fiber. A fiber optic cleaver is a tool that holds the fiber under low tension, scores the surface at the proper location, then applies greater tension until the fiber breaks. Usually, after the fiber has been scored, the technician will use a cleaver either bend or pull the fiber end, stressing the fiber. This stress will cause the fiber to break at the score mark, leaving a 90 degree flat end if all goes well. So the cleaver doesn’t cut the fiber. In fact, it just breaks the fiber at a specific length.

Two Types of Fiber Optic Cleavers
We know that the closer to 90 degrees the cleave is, the more success you will have with matching it to another cleaved fiber to be spliced or mated by a connector. So it’s important to use the proper tool with good technique to consistently achieve a 90 degree flat end. Good cleavers are automatic and produce consistent results, irrespective of the operator. The user need only clamp the fiber into the cleaver and operate its controls. Some cleavers are less automated, making them more dependent on operator technique and therefore less predictable. There are two broad categories of fiber optic cleavers, scribe cleavers and precision cleavers.

Scribe Cleavers
A traditional cleaving method, typically used to remove excess fiber from the end of a connector before polishing, uses a simple hand tool called a scribe. Scribe cleavers are usually shaped like ballpoint pens with diamond tipped wedges or come in the form of tile squares. The scribe has a hard, sharp tip, generally carbide or diamond, that is used to scratch the fiber manually. Then the operator pulls the fiber to break it. Since both the scribing and breaking process are under manual control, this method varies greatly in repeatability. Most field and lab technicians shy away from these cleavers as they are not accurate. However, if in skilled hands, this scribe cleaver offer significantly less investment for repairs, installation, and training classes.

Scribe

Precision Cleavers
Precision cleavers are the most commonly used cleavers in the industry. They use a diamond or tungsten wheel/blade to provide the nick in the fiber. Tension is then applied to the fiber to create the cleaved end face. The advantage to these cleavers is that they can produce repeatable results through thousands of cleaves by simply just rotating the wheel/blade accordingly. Although more costly than scribe cleavers, precision cleavers can cut multiple fibers while increasing speed, efficiency, and accuracy. In the past, many cleavers were scribes, but over time, as fusion splicers became available and a good cleave is the key to low splice loss, precision cleavers were developed to support various applications and multiple fiber cleaving with blades that have a much longer life span.

Precision Cleaver

Which One to Use: Scribe Cleaver or Precision Cleaver?
While both types perform the functions above, the difference between the two categories of cleavers is the percentage yield of good cleaves. An experienced fiber optic technician will achieve approximately 90% good cleaves with a scribe cleaver, while the precision cleaver will produce 99% good cleaves. The difference doesn’t seem like much so you may hardly to make a specific decision. My suggestion is to buy precision cleavers if you plan to use a lot of mechanical splices or pre-polished splice/connectors. It will pay for itself in no time. If you decide to use the inexpensive scribe cleavers, you must learn how to use it properly. Follow directions, but also do what comes naturally to you when using the device, as they are sensitive to individual technique. Inspect the fibers you cleave to see how good they are and keep practicing until you can make consistently good cleaves.

To find pricing, information and more information on the different fiber optic cleavers currently available, please visit www.fs.com. Sign up to get informative news, posts and deals in regards to current products in the fiber optic field. Or you also can contact our friendly staff members at sales@fs.com to learn more about all the fiber optic cleavers with the best value that are present in the industry today.

Original article source:
http://www.fs.com/blog/a-good-fiber-optic-cleaver-helps-cut-out-costly-mistakes.html

The Era of Fusion Splicing Is Coming

Fusion splicingAs fiber deployment has become mainstream, splicing has naturally crossed from the outside plant (OSP) world into the enterprise and even the data center environment. Fusion splicing involves the use of localized heat to melt together or fuse the ends of two optical fibers. The preparation process involves removing the protective coating from each fiber, precise cleaving, and inspection of the fiber end-faces. Fusion splicing has been around for several decades, and it’s a trusted method for permanently fusing together the ends of two optical fibers to realize a specific length or to repair a broken fiber link. However, due to the high costs of fusion splicers, it has not been actively used by many people. But these years some improvements in optical technology have been changing this status. Besides, the continued demand for increased bandwidth also spread the application of fusion splicing.

New Price of Fusion Splicers
Fusion splicers costs have been one of the biggest obstacles to a broad adoption of fusion splicing. In recent years, significant decreases in splicer prices has accelerated the popularity of fusion splicing. Today’s fusion splicers range in cost from $7,000 to $40,000. The highest-priced units are designed for specialty optical fibers, such as polarization-maintaining fibers used in the production of high-end non-electrical sensors. The lower-end fusion splicers, in the $7,000 to $10,000 range, are primarily single-fiber fixed V-groove type devices. The popular core alignment splicers range between $17,000 and $19,000, well below the $30,000 price of 20 years ago. The prices have dropped dramatically due to more efficient manufacturing, and volume is up because fiber is no longer a voodoo science and more people are working in that arena. Recently, more and more fiber being deployed closer to the customer premise with higher splice-loss budgets, which results in a greater participation of customers who are purchasing lower-end splicers to accomplish their jobs.

More Cost-effective Cable Solutions
The first and primary use of splicing in the telecommunications industry is to link fibers together in underground or aerial outside-plant fiber installations. It used to be very common to do fusion splicing at the building entrance to transition from outdoor-rated to indoor-rated cable, because the NEC (National Electrical Code) specifies that outdoor-rated cable can only come 50 feet into a building due to its flame rating. The advent of plenum-rated indoor/outdoor cable has driven that transition splicing to a minimum. But that’s not to say that fusion splicing in the premise isn’t going on.

Longer distances in the outside plant could mean that sticking with standard outdoor-rated cable and fusion splicing at the building entrance could be the more economical choice. If it’s a short run between building A and B, it makes sense to use newer indoor/outdoor cable and come right into the crossconnect. However, because indoor/outdoor cables are generally more expensive, if it’s a longer run with lower fiber counts between buildings, it could ultimately be cheaper to buy outdoor-rated cable and fusion splice to transition to indoor-rated cable, even with the additional cost of splice materials and housing.

As fiber to the home (FTTH) applications continue to grow around the globe, it is another situation that may call for fusion splicing. If you want to achieve longer distance in a FTTH application, you have to either fusion splice or do an interconnect. However, an interconnect can introduce 0.75dB of loss while the fusion splice is typically less than 0.02dB. Therefore, the easiest way to minimize the amount of loss on a FTTH circuit is to bring the individual fibers from each workstation back to the closet and then splice to a higher-fiber-count cable. This approach also enables centralizing electronics for more efficient port utilization. In FTTH applications, fusion splicing is now being used to install connectors for customer drop cables using new splice-on connector technology and drop cable fusion splicer.

FTTH drop cable fusion splicer

A Popular Option for Data Centers
A significant increase in the number of applications supported by data centers has resulted in more cables and connections than ever, making available space a foremost concern. As a result, higher-density solutions like MTP/MPO connectors and multi-fiber cables that take up less pathway space than running individual duplex cables become more popular.

Since few manufacturers offer field-installable MTP/MPO connectors, many data center managers are selecting either multi-fiber trunk cables with MTP/MPOs factory-terminated on each end, or fusion splicing to pre-terminated MTP/MPO or multi-fiber LC pigtails. When you select trunk cables with connectors on each end, data center managers often specify lengths a little bit longer because they can’t always predict exact distances between equipment and they don’t want to be short. However, they then have to deal with excess slack. When there are thousands of connections, that slack can create a lot of congestion and limit proper air flow and cooling. One alternative is to purchase a multi-fiber pigtail and then splice to a multi-fiber cable.

Inside the data center and in the enterprise LAN, 12-fiber MPO connectors provide a convenient method to support higher 40G and 100G bandwidth. Instead of fusing one fiber at a time, another type of fusion splicing which is called ribbon/mass fusion splicing is used. Ribbon/mass fusion splicing can fuse up to all 12 fibers in one ribbon at once, which offers the opportunity to significantly reduce termination labor by up to 75% with only a modest increase in tooling cost. Many of today’s cables with high fiber count involve subunits of 12 fibers each that can be quickly ribbonized. Splicing those fibers individually is very time consuming, however, ribbon/mass fusion splicers splice entire ribbons simultaneously. Ribbon/mass fusion splicer technology has been around for decades and now is available in handheld models.

Ribbon/Mass Fusion Splicer

Conclusion
Fusion splicing provides permanent low-loss connections that are performed quickly and easily, which are definite advantages over competing technologies. In addition, current fusion splicers are designed to provide enhanced features and high-quality performance, and be very affordable at the same time. Fiberstore provides various types and uses of fusion splicers with high quality and low price. For more information, please feel free to contact us at sales@fs.com.

Original article source: http://www.fs.com/blog/the-era-of-fusion-splicing-is-coming.html

More And More Important Of Fiber Optic Splicing

Fiber Optics Splicing is starting to become an even more and more common skill dependence on cabling technicians. Fiber-optic cables might have to be spliced together for many reasons-for example, to produce a link of your particular length, or to repair a damaged cable or connection. One of the links of 10 km may be installed by splicing several fiber-optic cables together. The installer will then fulfill the distance requirement and get away from investing in a new fiber-optic cable. Splices could possibly be required at building entrances, wiring closets, couplers, and literally any intermediate point between a transmitter and receiver. When we used the fiber optic splicer to fiber optic cable splicing, our greatest problem is the preservation in the expertise of the signal.

A special touch is necessary to splice fiber optic cable considering that the glass fibers are encased with fiber insulation sealed inside a plastic coating. Unlike copper, the fibers are delicate and is easily broken by using a lot of pressure to reduce the casing while splicing cables to fiber connectors.

The splicing process begins by preparing each fiber end for fusion. Fusion splicing mandates that all protective coatings be taken off the ends of each one fiber. The fiber is then cleaved using the score-and-break method. Each fiber face to attain a good optical finish by cleaving and polishing the fiber end. Before the connection is created, get rid of each fiber will need to have an even finish that is clear of defects for example hackles, lips, and fractures. These defects, along with other impurities and dirt affect the geometrical propagation patterns of light and cause scattering. The standard of each fiber end is inspected utilizing a microscope. In fusion splicing, splice loss is a direct purpose of the angles and excellence of both fiber-end faces.

The fusion splicing is one kind of a splice cables method. The basic fusion-splicing apparatus is made up of two fixtures on what the fibers are mounted with two electrodes. An inspection microscope assists in the location from the prepared fiber ends into a fusion-splicing apparatus. The fibers are positioned into the apparatus, aligned, after which fused together. Initially, fiber optic fusion splicer used nichrome wire because the heater to melt or fuse fibers together. The heater almost always is an electric arc that softens two butted fiber ends and permits the fibers to be fused together.

In Mechanical Splicing, mechanical splices are only alignment devices, meant to retain the two fiber ends up in a precisely aligned position thus enabling light to feed in one fiber in to the other. Mechanical splicing is conducted in the optical junction the location where the fibers are precisely aligned and kept in place by a self-contained assembly, not just a permanent bond. This method aligns both the fiber ends into a common centerline, aligning their cores and so the light can pass in one fiber to another. It might be is accomplished with a portable workstation utilized to get ready each fiber end. That preparation includes stripping a thin layer of plastic coating in the fiber core before its splicing.

Connecting two fiber-optic cables requires precise alignment of the mated fiber cores or spots in a single-mode fiber-optic cable. This is required so that virtually all the sunshine is coupled derived from one of fiber-optic cable across a junction to the other fiber-optic cable. Actual contact between your fiber-optic cables isn’t even mandatory.

Splices can also be used as optical attenuators if there is a requirement to attenuate a high-powered signal. Splice losses up to 10.0 dB might be programmed and inserted in the cable if desired. Using this method, the splice can work as an in-line attenuator using the characteristic non reflectance of an fusion splice. Typical fusion-splice losses could be estimated at 0.02 dB for loss-budget calculation purposes. Mechanical splices are easily implemented in the field, require no tooling, and give losses of approximately 0.5 to 0.75 dB.

FiberStore provides a comprehensive range of hand tools, network tool kits and consumables for the installation and maintenance of LAN, fibre optic and copper networks. Whether you require a punchdown tool, RJ45 / Cat 5 Crimping tool, fiber splicer or automatic wire stripper or a complete network tool kit, FiberStore has the right tools for your needs. We provide fully automatic fibre optic fusion splicers from Fujikura for multimode and singlemode optical fibre cables, ensuring the best fibre termination possible whether an expert or a novice.

4 steps in Fiber Optic Fusion splicer

Fiber Optic Fusion splicer may be the act of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat. The thing is to fuse both the fibers together in such a way that light passing with the fibers is not scattered or reflected back from the splice, and thus the splice as well as the region surrounding it are almost as strong because virgin fiber itself. The basic fusion splicer apparatus includes two fixtures which the fibers are mounted and two electrodes. Inspection microscope assists in the placement in the prepared fiber ends into a fusion-splicing apparatus. The fibers they fit in to the apparatus, aligned, and then fused together. Initially, fusion splicing used nichrome wire as the heating unit to melt or fuse fibers together. New fusion-splicing techniques have replaced the nichrome wire with fractional co2 (CO2) lasers, electric arcs, or gas flames to heat the fiber ends, causing them to fuse together. The little size of the fusion splice along with the development of automated fusion-splicing machines make electric arc fusion (arc fusion) the most popular splicing approaches to commercial applications.

Splicing fiber optic cable ends together is often a precise process with hardly any room for error. This is because the optical fiber ends must be gathered absolutely perfectly to be able to minimize potential optical loss or light leakage. Properly splicing the cable ends demands the usage of a high-tech tool called a fusion splicer. A fusion splicer perfectly mates the optical fiber ends by melting or fusing them to the other. Splicing fiber cables surpasses using connectors considering that the fusing process results in a superior connection that features a lower level of optical loss. Now,I will introducts 4 steps to fusion splicing.

Step1

Know that fusion splicing is essentially several optical fibers being permanently joined together by welding utilizing an an electric arc. The need for an exact cleaver is suggested should you desire less light loss and reflection problems. Understand that an excellent cleaver just for this precise work is nessary. If your poor spice is created, the fiber ends may well not melt together properly and problems can arise.

Step2

Prepare the fiber by stripping the coatings, jackets and tubes, ensuring only bare fiber is left showing. You will need to clean all of the fibers associated with a filling gel. A clean environment is imperative for a good connection.

Step3

Cutter the fiber. A great wire cutter is suggested to secure a successful splice. When fusing the fibers together, either align the fibers manually or automatic, determined by what type of fusion splicer you’ve got. When you’ve got a new proper alignment, a power arc can be used to melt the fibers together creating a permanent weld of these two fiber ends.

Step4

Protect the fiber with heat shrink sleeve, silicone get. This can maintain your optical fiber resistant to any outside elements it may encounter or future breakage.

Alternatives to fusion splicing include using fiber optic connectors or mechanical splices because both versions have higher insertion losses, lower reliability far better return losses than fusion splicing. Want to know more about fiber splicer knowledges, pls visit fs.com to find your answer.

A Kind Of Fiber Test Equipment – Visual Fault Locators In Fiberstore

FiberStore offers many kinds of fiber optic testing equipment. For example,common used fiber optic test equipment included fiber optic power meter, fiber optic light source, fiber multimeter, optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) and fiber fault locator. In this article,I will detail the Visual Fault Locators.

Visual Fault Locators:

Fiber optic fault locator is a small size and simple test equipment used to locate the optical fiber linking faults, there are several models with different output power. Fiber optic fault locator can detect the bend point or break point of the fiber glass. It is widely used in telecommunications, CATV and fiber optic projects.

Visual fault locator (also called laser fault locator or 650nm fault locator) is a handheld device using 650nm or 635nm visible laser source that emits a bright beam of laser light into a fiber, allowing the user to visually detect a fiber fault for up to 5 km.

Laser Fault Locators provide the capability to trace fiber routes for end-to-end continuity. Locate breaks within the deadzone of an OTDR, bad splices, potential fiber problems caused by imperfections as well as microbends and macrobends. These devices also can be used as fiber identifiers. They can operate on multimode or singlemode fibers independent of the transmission wavelength. Visible beams make results easily noticeable. Laser fault locators are excellent instruments for locating fiber faults and other anomalies where the pulse width of the laser used in OTDRs won’t allow measurements to be made. Applications include LAN, WAN, fiber data links, telephone and CATV.

With these fault locators you can easily isolate high losses and faults in optical fiber cables. The bright beam of 650nm or 635nm red light in a fiber allows you to see a break as a glowing or blinking red light. Two versions are available: one with a universal port for 2.5mm ferrule connectors (FC, SC, ST, E2000, DIN), and one which includes an adapter that allows use with 1.25mm ferrule connectors as well (LC, MU).

Features of FOFS’s line of Visual Fault Locator(Laser Fault Locator):

  •     Both CW and pulsed mode are available
  •     Lightweight (handheld and pen shape available)
  •     Long continuous operation time
  •     Cost effective solution

Besides the Visual Fault Locators,FiberStore also offer a full range of fluke test equipment. From industrial electronic installation, maintenance and service, to precision measurement and quality control, Fluke tools help keep business and industry around the globe up and running. Typical customers and users include technicians, engineers, medical-device manufacturers, and computer network professionals – people who stake their reputations on their tools, and use tools to help extend their personal power and abilities.

Note:When selecting optical fiber test equipment, in addition to want to consider the function and quality of equipment, and some is you should pay attention to:For example, the working wavelength (typical is 1310nm, 1550nm and 850nm), fiber light source type, fiber optic glass type (single mode or multimode), fiber connection interface (like FC, SC) and the system capacity and possible loss range.Fiber optic test equipment working environment is also the factor you should consider, whether you are going to use the fiber test equipment indoor or outdoor, the equipment working temperature, power supply, battery life.

Related Article: Visual Fault Locator Tutorial