SWM 101: How does a SWM16 work?

DIRECTV SWM Technology lets you use a single wire to every receiver or DVR regardless of the number of recording tuners. It also lets you use inexpensive splitters along the way instead of having to run a wire from every device back to the multiswitch. In the last five years since SWM’s been part of DIRECTV’s installation procedures, it’s revolutionized the way DIRECTV does business. Most customers can use a SWM-enabled dish with just a single wire heading into the house, saving time, money, and avoiding property damage.

A SWM system is like a mini-modulator capable of providing eight different channels of programming upon request, and then putting those channels together on a single wire along with the backend information and internet data that DIRECTV receivers need. What if you need more than eight channels?

The DIRECTV SWM-16 multiswitch is a tried and true way to get 16 tuner support. That would give you the ability to run a Genie, four 2-tuner DVRs, and three H25 receivers. There’s the upcoming SWM-13 LNB which will give you 13-tuner support, but for now the best thing to do is to use that SWM-16.

If you think of a SWM-8 as a modulator, the SWM-16 is actually two identical modulators that do the same thing. Each of them is capable of providing eight channels. The SWM-16 has two output ports, each with 8 tuner capability. You can’t feed 9 tuners on one and 7 on the other because of the very fact that the SWM-16 is really two SWM-8s on the inside.

There is an extra bit of hardware inside the SWM-16… it’s called a crossover and it lets the two internal SWM-8’s share network and internet information. It’s necessary so that you can share programs all throughout the home. DIRECTV’s industrial-quality SWM-32 doesn’t have this crossover so you can’t share programs between its four internal SWM-8 modules.

If you need more than 16 tuners, take a look at our award-winning white paper which tells you all the options you have. DIRECTV is the only pay-TV provider that gives you virtually unlimited expansion capability. You can put a DIRECTV receiver in every room of your giant mansion if you want, but there are some limits as to sharing programming. The white paper explains all of that.

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.