Can you connect one multiswitch to another?

Here’s a question I was surprised to have been asked. But it proves there are still a lot of DIY satellite folks out there so it’s worth answering.

The question involves connecting up two multiswitches. This was a very common thing ten years ago when each multiswitch could only handle 8 receivers or 4 DVRs. It’s far less common today when a multiswitch gives you the capability of connecting up to 26 receivers.

A customer contacted us saying they wanted to connect up a second multiswitch. He already has a SWM-16 and wanted to know if he could connect a second SWM-16 via the legacy ports. In other words, he wanted to do this:

and the answer is… yes kinda. But don’t.

Yes kinda…

because this setup does work with a SWM-16. It’s the only residential multiswitch that has four legacy outputs. You need all four outputs in order to connect a second multiswitch. The SWM-8 has only three, while the SWM-30 does not have any legacy ports.

Although I was told a long time ago that this setup doesn’t work, it does. I’ve seen it used in commercial installations for years.

But don’t.

I still think you should not do this. As I said, it does work. However, the output from the legacy ports is 4-8dB lower than the output from a properly installed splitter. While the SWM itself will amplify the signal back to the proper output level, you could run into issues when reception is dicey, for example when it rains.

There’s a better way.

I recommend the use of PV23-302 splitters to split the satellite lines from the dish. Make sure you connect both outputs from the same splitter to the same port on each multiswitch. In other words if the line is going into 18V/101 on one multiswitch, the other line from that same splitter shoulg go into 18V/101 on the other. The result looks like this:

SWiM16-SWM8-1

You can get a full-screen view here.

What if you have a different kind of multiswitch?

This same method with the splitters works if you have a WB68 or even an old Spaun multiswitch. It even works if you’re using a SWM-30 with only four lines.

Isn’t there a better way?

Yes, there is. I recommend upgrading to a SWM-30 multiswitch. The SWM-30 can support two banks of 13 tuners each (learn more here about the difference between tuners and receivers.) That is enough to handle over 99% of residential needs. If you need more than that, you’ll want one of these:

This SWM expander lets you feed up to four SWM-30s from a common set of up to six lines. The multiswitches sit vertically and lock into place so the entire thing can be mounted onto a wall. This will give you the option of having up to eight banks of 13 tuners each. This provides support for up to 104 tuners in the same amount of wall space as a single SWM. It’s the perfect answer for ultimate upgradeability.