(DIRECTV ONLY) Can you add a splitter to another splitter?

One of the best things about DIRECTV’s SWM technology is its flexibility. You absolutely can put one splitter after another, meaning that you can put more than one receiver in the same room, or run one line from your “master” splitter to another part of the house and split it from there. There are just a few things you need to consider.

You still only get the same number of tuners per “leg”
DIRECTV SWM technology does have an 8-tuner limit on each “leg” of the SWM system. If you have a SWM-enabled dish or SWM8, you have an 8-tuner limit total, while SWM16 and SWM32 systems let you put 8 tuners per output. The new SWM30 lets you put 13 tuners per output. Adding a second 8-port splitter connected to the first one is not going to let you put 15 tuners on the same line. (Confused about the difference between tuners and receivers? Search our blog for “tuner math”)

Signal Loss becomes a problem… fast.
A SWM signal starts out at -26dBm. (Why is that a negative number? Watch this video.) You may start experiencing trouble when the signal drops below -55dBm, and the initial 8-way splitter will cost you 14dB right there, plus you’ll lose roughly 1dB for every 10 feet of cable. This means that even with a single 8-way splitter you may have problems with just 150 feet of cable. Add another 8-way and your run is down to about 10 feet total before you risk issues with whole-home viewing. If you’re going to add splitters onto other splitters, use the smallest ones possible. This will let you get the longest cable run, because there’s really no way to amplify a SWM signal and still keep whole-home viewing.

Still, with careful planning, it should be possible to split the line as many times as you need to be able to use more than one receiver in the same room, provide a single line to another part of the house, or give internet access through an unused coax connection.

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.