INSTALLERS: You really need to use a band stop filter

Cheap insurance. That’s what I call it when I can get something that costs practically nothing and solves a ton of problems. Take a look at the band stop filter above. That’s the very definition of cheap insurance.

I’m always surprised when a commercial installer doesn’t know about band stop filters. They are required for any apartment installation now, and even if they aren’t required, they will solve problems you didn’t even know you had.

The band stop filter has one purpose in life: it blocks the frequencies used by DIRECTV Connected Home and lets other frequencies through. Connected Home is DIRECTV’s term for everything having to do with sharing programming, video on demand, and internet services like Apps, Youtube and Pandora. A properly placed band stop filter is essential for making sure that these services work properly in a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) environment.

What do you do with it?
Connect the band stop filter at the entrance to the residence before the splitter. In general you will put a 2, 4 or 8-way splitter at the entrance to the residence so that you can easily wire each room. The band stop filter sits between the input of that splitter and the run that goes to the SWM in the main closet.

If you no longer have access to that main splitter you can also put the band stop filter at the SWM output, but by putting it at the entrance of the residence, the connected home signal does not have to travel all the way to the SWM and back and that long trip could potentially mean an unstable experience for the end user.

Even if you are using SWM30 Multiswitches which do not pass the signal between each leg of the SWM you should use a band stop filter to stop the signal from going all the way to the SWM and back. Again, there is some possibility that a very long run to the SWM can destabilize the user experience, and that means more calls to you and your people to come back and diagnose.

You can even use a band stop filter with a SWM dish. It makes sense when the dish is more than 100 feet from the entrance to the residence. In cases like that, the connected home signal can be too weak to use and does not respond to amplification. Adding a band stop filter will stop error messages on the receiver and may help make whole-home performance more stable.

What happens if you don’t use a band stop filter?
If there is nothing blocking the signal, customers with different accounts will see each other’s DVRs. If any of them are internet connected (and they probably all will be) then this will be automatically reported to DIRECTV’s servers. The customers won’t get in trouble because the problem will get traced back to the installer who did the work and depending on who you work for (if it’s a large installation company) you could even get fired.

Is there ever a case when you SHOULDN’T use a band stop filter?
There is. If you are using a Genie system, putting a band stop filter between the Genie and the clients will stop the clients from working. You can still put one outside the residence (and you should) if the Genie is sharing a SWM leg with another Genie, which is more and more common with the SWM30 multiswitch. However, putting one inside the home will cause nothing but heartache with Genies.

What should I look out for?
Obviously you want to make sure that all connected receivers, DVRs, and the broadband DECA (if your system requires one) are all able to see each other after adding the band stop filter. If the filter is between any devices then devices on one side will not be able to see devices on the other side.

I recommend all installers have enough band stop filters on the truck to complete any installation, at least as many as he has splitters.

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.