Why Use Splice On Connectors?
Prior to the introduction of fusion splicers, it was common for fiber optic installers to hand-polish connectors in order to minimize optical loss. For each connector, the process involved:
• Stripping the field fiber and using epoxy to glue the fiber within a connector ferrule.
• Slowly and meticulously polishing the fiber endface by using progressively finer grits of diamond “sandpaper.”
The objective was to achieve a smooth endface surface with the proper geometry required to minimize insertion loss. Even with all that effort, hand polished connectors fell short of factory polished connectors which had lower optical loss.
The fiber optics industry searched for a simpler and faster way to connectorize fiber. The first “solution” was to use factory polished connectors that could be purchased with attached lengths of fiber optic cable (pigtails). The idea was that the installer could simply fusion splice the end of the pigtail to the field fiber and be done with it. No hand polishing was required.
Cable Management and Space Considerations with Pigtails
While splicing connectorized pigtails provided a faster alternative to hand polishing, one drawback was that the splice required an external splice protection sleeve that had to be installed in a splice tray within a splice cabinet. So, what seemed like a simple and elegant solution turned out to be more complicated in terms of cable management.
Mechanical connectors allowed anybody to be able to put on a connector with the use of specific tools and simple termination procedures, but because of the reflectance of the matching gel, along with the mating of the ferrules, you will achieve around -40dB reflectance. Also, most mechanical connectors available today require the purchase of a brand specific termination kit. These can be quite expensive. The connectors can also be expensive, with some costing as much as +$17.00 per connector. So, when you figure the cost of the kit and the connectors and then figure in the back reflection of the connection, mechanical connectors are a good choice to get a damaged connector replaced quickly to reduce network down time, but they are not a good permanent solution. It is highly recommended that the mechanical connector be replaced with a factory polished pigtail or splice on connector during the next service window.
The SOC Solution
More recently, splice on connectors (SOC’s) were developed to address the cable management and space considerations of connectorized pigtails. Instead of a long pigtail, the body of the SOC contains a short fiber stub (essentially a micro pigtail) to which the field fiber can be fused. Because the splice protection sleeve is contained within the connector assembly underneath the boot, there is no need for a splice tray, splice chips or splice cabinet.
Simplified Cable Management
As explained above, SOC’s greatly simplify cable management for any fiber optic network. SOC’s require no extra rack space and eliminate the need for slack cable management. This advantage is especially important for data centers and other high-density applications.
More Installer Options
Installers no longer have to rely solely on traditional pigtails or mechanical splicing to achieve quick connections in the field. SOC’s are fast to install, with the added advantage of achieving low-loss connectivity.
Easy to Install
Installing an SOC is essentially a three-step process:
• The installer slides the SOC connector components onto the field fiber. The components include a heat-shrinkable protection sleeve and connector boot.
• Using a splicer specific SOC holder on the fusion splicer, the installer places the field fiber adjacent to the exposed fiber stub on the splice on connector. The technician then fuses the field fiber to the fiber stub that protrudes from the back of the ferrule.
• After fusing, the installer heat-shrinks the protection sleeve and slides the connector boot into place.
Successful Splice Notification
All current model fusion splicers notify the installer when a successful splice has been achieved. This eliminates guesswork, enabling SOC’s to be installed by novices and experienced technicians alike. If you are in the market for a fusion splicer, be sure to choose a model that is capable of splicing SOC’s!
The prices of fusion splicers have come down significantly in recent years, which has contributed to the popularity of SOC’s. Although SOC’s cost more than standard epoxy and polish connectors, SOC’s save money because they are faster to install and require less technician training or expertise.
• Data center installations
• Multi-dwelling unit (MDU) networks
• Campus environments
• Outside plant
• Cable TV backbone
• Anywhere that a fast, low loss connection is required. .
The 900um Cheetah SOC from FIS led the pack in being one of the first SOC’s brought to market.
• Return loss: APC >-65dB, UPC >-55dB and MM -35dB (typical)
• 20+ styles available: SM, MM(OM1 & OM2), 10Gig (OM3 & OM4)
• Available connector holders are compatible with many industry leading splicers including (but not limited to) FIS, AFL, Sumitomo and Fitel fusion splicers
• 900um strain relief boot protects splice point for easy cable management
This splice on connector from FIS features a tough housing, an extended crimp sleeve and strong Kevlar bond to achieve superior pull strength.
• Termination for 1.6mm, 2.0mm and 3.0mm cable
• Return loss: APC >-65dB, UPC >-55dB and MM -35dB (typical)
• 20+ styles available: SM, MM (OM1 & OM2), 10Gig (OM3 & OM4)
• Extended crimp sleeve provides industry leading pull strength
• Jacket insert to fit 1.6mm, 2.0mm, or 3.0mm cable with the same connector package
SOC Capable Fusion Splicers
FIS offers a wide range of fusion splicers from the industry’s leading manufacturers including Fitel, AFL, Sumitomo and FlS. SOC capable fusion splicers are also available from the FIS Rental Department. Both desktop and hand held models are available.
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