NICE AND EASY: Longest cable run from the SWM?

I’ve recently been asked about running really long cables between the SWM and the receiver. While I wrote a long tutorial about this several years ago (which you can download here) it seemed like time to answer this question a different way. I’ll try to make this article short and to the point.

Quick disclaimer

We’re talking about the distance between the DIRECTV multiswitch and the receivers or Genie clients. If you have a dish with only one output, the multiswitch is built in. Otherwise you have an external multiswitch. The cable runs between dish and multiswitch can be pretty long and you can even use fiber to extend them out several miles.

Here’s the answer, if you don’t want to go any further

You can feel safe running 150 feet of cable between multiswitch and receiver. Longer runs are possible but you have to be careful and take extra steps.

When it comes to Genie clients, you have to measure the total run between the Genie server or DVR and the Genie client. It should be no more than 200 feet. Ideally, you’d have all the clients as well as the server on the same splitter. You see, with Genie clients, they don’t communicate with the dish at all. They get all their info from the Genie DVR/server.

How to get around this limitation

If you’re talking about receivers (not Genie clients) you can run longer cables by using band stop filters. Connect one to every receiver. This blocks the networking signal between receivers, so it will mean you can’t get on demand programs or share programs in any way. However, it’s going to let you run longer cables because you’re only concerned with the satellite signal at that point.

Use an AIM meter to test signal level at the receiver. I’ve found that signals start to get flaky when you get close to -60dBm, but some folks have more tolerance for signal loss than I do. You should note that you can’t use the signal meters in the receiver for this purpose.

Getting around this limitation with Genie clients

Really there isn’t any getting around this with Genie clients. I’ve found that you really start to see issues when the total cable run is over 200 feet. However, you can run 150 feet from the SWM to an 8-port splitter near the Genie DVR. Then you can run a 2 foot cable from the Genie DVR to the splitter. This means that your Genie clients can have 198-foot runs, since they only communicate with the Genie DVR.

In the end it’s up to you

These guidelines are designed to help you get great TV service even in bad weather and with older cables. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind losing signal now and again, then you can probably run further. It’s up to you. No matter what, though, you’re going to want to shop at Solid Signal for the best in satellite accessories. Why not use the same stuff the professionals use?

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.