Can This Little Amplifier Solve Your DIRECTV Whole-Home Issues?

This is Sonora’s SWM-A2 amplifier. It’s out of stock at Solid Signal, and the company has stopped making it. But, it’s still out there on the internet. Believe it or not, I still get a lot of questions and requests about this little device. I guess the manufacturer must have talked it up a lot while they were still making it.

Simple answer: it will not solve your problems

This amplifier won’t do what you want it to do. It won’t let you extend a DIRECTV signal past the traditional 150-foot mark. I don’t care what the manufacturer claimed. I tested it back in 2012. In that review, I noted that it did what it was supposed to do, which is extend a DIRECTV signal when used in an apartment install.

This amplifier won’t help you get more distance on Genie clients, and it won’t help you with any receiver that shares programs with a DVR. Period. It’s not designed for it, and it doesn’t work.

So what’s the point of this amp?

It exists for a pretty specific purpose: it’s designed for apartment buildings, to get a SWM signal from the closet to the entry point of the apartment when the run is just a little too long or the signal is just a little too weak. With this amplifier, it’s possible to get over 300′ on a single RG6 cable between the apartment entry and the master closet.

Simply put, it’s not the solution you’re hoping for. It doesn’t help in most cases if you use it within a large home and it may actually have a negative effect. That’s because it only amplifies the one-way video signal from the SWM. It doesn’t amplify the control signal sent back from the receiver, and it doesn’t amplify the whole-home signal that’s used to share programming from DVRs to receivers or from Genies to clients. in cases where your problem is whole-home-related, adding another set of connectors and another device to a long line can actually decrease your signal levels, making the problem worse.

So what can you do?

When it comes to dealing with truly long runs from receiver to dish or from receiver to receiver there sadly is no “magic bullet” that’s going to clear up these issues. It’s not technically impossible to build a bidirectional signal amplifier that could work to fix whole-home issues, but production costs would be high because it’s a very specific issue and very few people are lucky enough to suffer from that specific problem.

So what to do if you have one room that is more than 150′ from other rooms? Conventional wisdom says that you’re better off just putting up a second dish to serve that distant room. That doesn’t help you if you want to put a Genie client in. It won’t help you share programs from room to room. You can use fiber optics to help locate the SWM in a case like this. They’re expensive. If you don’t have a massive budget the best solution may simply be to relocate your SWM multiswitch so that it is in the middle of your longest run. Further planning to reduce the cable run between the Genie DVR and the clients, and paring down the number of splitters, may help to stablilize the signal depending on the scenario.

Check out this tutorial

We’ve written a whole tutorial on advanced troubleshooting that may help you find and fix your issues, and another tutorial to help you really understand the ways that problems with long cable runs can be avoided. Download them now! You may find that among the many suggestions and possible solutions is a real answer for your DIRECTV signal problems! Unfortunately, though, the SWM-A2 isn’t very likely to be that solution.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.