There’s a new name in DIRECTV commercial equipment, and although they’ve been around for a few years, they are about to get a lot more popular. I’m talking about Unitron Group, otherwise known as “manufacturer 09.”
Yes. If you look at the part number on any AT&T-branded device, you’ll see one of two different manufacturer codes. On receivers, you’ll see a three-number code like 100, 300, 500… that indicates who made the thing. There’s a whole article about them here.
For all the other parts, you sometimes have to dig but you’ll find what you’re looking for. Here’s an example:
(Splitter from manufacturer 03)
(LNB from manufacturer 14)
(splitters from manufacturers 2 and 3)
In some cases we know the manufacturer codes. 02 is Prime Electronics. 03 is Zinwell. 14 is MTI (thanks, Slice1900)
isn’t known but it could be WNC because I was told they’re the big manufacturer of LNBs now. And now we know manufacturer 09 is Unitron Group.
Who is Unitron Group?
Unitron Group started in the USA and according to their web site they have gone through acquisitions and mergers. The parent company is now located in Belgium. They started their association with DIRECTV back in 2006 and have been quietly supplying parts for SWMs and DIRECTV commercial systems ever since. Their own information says they’ve been making SWM multiswitches for a while. I just checked the SWMs I have on the workbench, and I have two from manufacturer 03 and one from manufacturer 01. I guess it comes down to the luck of the draw.
AT&T has chosen Unitron for their new line of trunk amplifiers and taps, and you’ll see a lot more about that in the coming weeks. But for now I’d like to point out two new parts for commercial installers.
This SWM expander looks pretty much like the original SWM expander. It works much the same as well, but it adds one feature techs have been asking for. It uses internal termination to make it possible to connect one, two, or three SWMs into the system instead of forcing you to use four.
I’ve heard that some people had been using the original SWM expander and that it worked with only one SWM, but other people said they’d chosen to terminate all the unused ports to make sure it worked right. They did this with barrel connectors and terminators.
With active termination, you can put a SWM Expander in line and have almost instant expandability. You can even add a SWM without really impacting people watching.
I’m working on getting a better picture here. I’m not sure this part is actually blue, although with AT&T you can’t be sure. The Outdoor SWM Expander comes with weather boots to let you be a lot more flexible with your mounting choices. There are even custom weather boots for the unused SWMs, leading me to believe that there is auto termination on this expander as well.
Stay tuned for more
We’ll have full reviews of more Unitron Group parts in the coming weeks. These parts are branded as AT&T parts because they’re made under contract just like all of AT&T’s customer-premises products.