How to Splice Fiber Optic Cable

The technology of fiber optics has been around for quite a few years. The technology came into full swing in the early 1970's. Since fiber optics is essential to the telecommunication industry, LAN and various networking projects, knowing how to splice these cables is mandatory. Simply put, fiber optic splicing is no more than the joining of two cables together. Any company using fiber optics will have trained technicians that are knowledgeable in how to correctly splice these intricate cables. Since this can be an expensive repair, knowledge and experience is a must. When dealing with fiber optics splicing, there are two methods of completing the work. A company needs to look at their long-term goals and finances when deciding which technique is best. Which method is chosen will basically be decided on how much money a business wants to spend. Depending on how precise the alignment needs to be, the more money will be spent on an alignment machine. The better the machine, means lower light loss and a better alignment will be achieved.

Fusion Splicing

Step 1

Understand that fusion splicing is basically two or more optical fibers being permanently joined together by welding using an an electronic arc. The need for a precise cleaver is mandatory if you desire less light loss and reflection problems. Keep in mind that a quality cleaver for this precise work can run anywhere from $1000 to $4000. If a poor spice is made, the fiber ends may not melt together properly and problems can arise.

Step 2

Prepare the fiber by stripping the coatings, jackets and tubes, making sure that only bare fiber is left showing. You will want to clean all the fibers of any filling gel. A clean environment is imperative for a good connection.

Step 3

Cleave the fiber. A good cleaver is mandatory to obtain a successful splice. When fusing the fibers together, you can either align the fibers manually or automatic, depending on what type of machinery you have. Once you've obtained a proper alignment, an electrical arc is used to melt the fibers together creating a permanent weld of the two fiber ends.

Step 4

Protect the fiber with heat shrink tubing, silicone get. This will keep the optical fiber safe from any outside elements it may encounter or future breakage.

Mechanical Splicing

Step 1

Understand that the basic difference between mechanical splicing and fusion splicing is you don't require a fusion splicer. It's also considered a quicker method and there is no heat involved.

Step 2

Prepare the fiber by stripping all the protective coatings away. You will then want to cleave the fiber as in fusion, but precision is not as critical to the splice. The ends are then mechanically joined together by positioning them inside the mechanical splice unit. In this step a connector or an adhesive cover is used to join the splice together.

Step 3

Protect the fiber with heat shrink tubing. As in fusion splicing, this will keep the optical fiber cable safe from the outside elements or breakage.

Things You'll Need

  • Fiber cleaver

  • Heat shrink wrap tubing

  • Silicone gel

  • Mechanical crimp protectors

  • Alignment machine

  • Fusion splicer

  • Connectors

  • Mechanical splice unit

  • Experienced technician


Depending on what type of industry you are working in, will generally decide which type of optical fiber splicing you decide to use. Though mechanical splicing costs more per splice, the initial investment will be much lower than fusion. In fusion optical splicing, the initial investment in machine costs will be much higher, but the cost per splice is much lower than mechanical. If precision alignments are mandatory, you're probably going to want to go with fusion splicing. Mechanical is quicker and easier, but the alignments of the fibers are not as accurate as fusion. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure the person doing the splicing is trained in the operation they will be performing.