Installer Tip: How many coax lines do you need for a DIRECTV install?

Did you know that Solid Signal has an installer program? That’s right, you can affiliate with Solid Signal and get more work in your area. We’re looking for DIRECTV installers all the time. But, you have to know your stuff. And that means having the latest and greatest info when it comes to cabling.

DIRECTV’s commercial specs

When you’re installing DIRECTV in a commercial settings, you’ll need to follow a different set of rules than you do with a residential install. Practically all residential installs today use the SWM-enabled Reverse Band dish. It’s an easy install with just one line going into the home. That keeps homeowners happy and makes it easier for you to get in and out.

However, the requirements for commercial are different. With commercial installs, you need to use the Reverse Band Legacy LNB and connect it to a SWM-30 multiswitch. This is done to give the commercial customer the flexibility they’ll need. Even if they only have one or two receivers now, they may upgrade. You want to save them a costly rewiring job down the road.

The Reverse Band LNB requires 6 lines to be run inside to the SWM. I generally say that the SWM must be inside, even though it’s rated for outdoor use. The elements can be really unkind to this sort of equipment, and putting it in a waterproof enclosure will cause heat buildup. So, the only option is to put it inside.

So how many lines?

I recommend that all installers run seven lines into the building. The dish itself only needs six, I know. But, running a seventh line gives you more flexibility. It means that the business can use an over-the-air antenna at a later date. It also means that if one cable fails you don’t have to change it out right away.

I know that running seven cables is a lot. It takes up a lot of space in a trunk and means you drill a lot of holes. But, it’s a smart idea right up front. The folks at DIRECTV have been recommending this for close to 7 years now, as they’ve known the 6-line LNB was going to happen.

Now, if you’re just talking about a hair salon where you know there will be only one receiver, I understand you might want to bend the rules a little bit. Of course every installation is different. There are going to be cases where you just want to get in and out with as little wire as possible. There are going to be cases where it’s literally impossible to fit seven cables into the entry point of the building. In those cases you’re going to have to make a decision.

Don’t skip steps on bigger installs

As installs get bigger, there’s a tendency to want to cut corners. After all, RG6 cable is expensive and you might want to save a little cash by running as little as possible.

There’s another way of thinking about this, though. If you run the right amount of cable in the first place, you won’t have to come back to change or fix something. Those return visits are usually on your dime, not the customer’s, and you want to avoid them as much as possible. That’s why you should always run seven cables in a larger commercial install. This is usually your one opportunity to get paid for the install and you need to maximize your profit. Yes that means that you’ll use more cable and it will take a little more time. But, compare the time it takes to run seven cables at the same time with the time it takes to come back and run a new line after the install is done. You’ll see what I mean.

Join the installer network at Solid Signal

If you’re ready to turbocharge your days, call the folks at Solid Signal! We’re looking for installers all over the country who can work with satellite, cellular, antenna, and low-voltage installs. Call us during East Coast business hours at 888-233-7563 and we’ll get the process started!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.