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Digital SWM theory and speculation


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#1 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:21 PM

This thread is devoted to the theory of Digital SWM technology. All participants need to be aware that any technologies represented here may or may not ever appear in any DIRECTV product and are, at the moment, pure speculation. As always, it's fun to imagine, but for real-world applications of Digital SWM technology, visit this thread: http://www.dbstalk.c...and-discussion/

Further, because this thread contains total and complete speculation, it's not off-limits to imagine anything happening with Digital SWM technology, so long as no person represents him or herself as being able to know the future.
Opinions expressed by me are my own and do not necessarily reflect
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#2 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:23 PM

Current products containing DSWM technology:

 

DSWM13 (Directv multiswitch) http://www.dbstalk.c...and-discussion/

This is a specialized product targeted at a specific market for hotels, and cannot be used outside of that market. It is limited to 13 channels on a single high powered output for reasons specific to its application. The DSWM13 uses Entropic's EN5400 chip.

 

 

Future products containing DSWM technology:

 

Slimline-3DS (DSWM LNB)

There is an entry for this in the satellite setup menu in current receiver firmware, but it isn't known to be anything more than a placeholder at this time. Those "in the know" have stated there is/will be a DSWM LNB for same specific hotel market the DSWM13 is targeted at, which may be the reason this choice appeared in NR firmware.

 

 

Current implementations of DSWM technology:

 

EN5400 (Entropic Communications) http://www.entropic....oor-unit/en5400

14 500MHz input bands, 20 user channels (21 total channels) During Entropic's Q4 2013 earnings call it was stated there will be a follow-on to the EN5400. The existence of at least one competitor was also mentioned but not named. This "dCSS" technology was originally developed by PLX Technology and acquired by Entropic, along with the engineers who designed it, in 2012.

 

unknown name (NXP Semiconductor) http://dx.doi.org/10...CC.2013.6487719

14 500 MHz input bands, 24 total channels. Resumes of those involved in the design suggest NXP was contracted by Directv to design this ASIC. Figures of merit for the ADCs such as ENOB and SQR also exactly match those in Directv's patent, indicating the second embodiment of the patent describes this particular implementation. It is unknown if this will ever be offered as a product, or was only a prototype / proof of concept.

 

 

Potential implementations of DSWM technology:

 

BCM4551 (Broadcom) https://www.broadcom....php?id=s817469

8 2100 MHz input bands, 24 total channels, built in 28nm CMOS. This chip is designed for worldwide use, and allows both DiSEqC and FSK control, and thus may be capable of functioning as a DSWM.

 

MxL86x (MaxLinear) http://www.maxlinear...m-capture-socs/

MxL865 has 5 2100 MHz inputs, 24 total channels. MxL868 has 8 1200(?) MHz inputs, 3 outputs capable of 24 total channels each. Similar to the BCM4551, these products are designed for worldwide use, and allow both DiSEqC and FSK control, and thus also may be capable of functioning as a DSWM. Maxlinear has announced design wins with Zinwell and Eagle Aspen to use the MxL865, with plans to deliver the chips in Q4 2014, but at this time there is no information suggesting either design win has anything to do with Directv.

 

 

Links of interest:

 

Digital SWM (US8238813)    http://www.google.co...tents/US8238813

This is the Directv patent which describes digital SWM technology. See below for a more detailed writeup.

 

Digital SWM LNB frequency drift estimation/correction (US8509722)    http://www.google.co...tents/US8509722

This Directv patent describes using the DSWM ASIC's DSP to estimate and correct for LO frequency drift (due to temperature or age) in a DSWM LNB, sensing deviations and correcting for it by adjusting the frequency of the DRO (i.e. LO) Additional diagnostic outputs can be generated which aid installation, troubleshooting, etc.

 

Digital Single Wire Multiswitch ASIC (paper from Feb 2013 ISSCC)    http://dx.doi.org/10...CC.2013.6487719

Describes a 45nm 7 metal layer + RDL CMOS implementation of the DSWM ASIC. NOTE: the link is to the abstract, the paper itself can only be viewed by IEEE members. The die area is not stated in the paper, but based on a die micrograph I estimate it to be around 30 sq mm. The paper and associated materials detail 14 input bands in the 250-760 MHz range, 24 output channels, 9.4 watts maximum dissipation. The design is an exact match with the second embodiment from the patent.

 

Directv LNB utilizing a single LO (US20130278304 A1)    http://www.google.co...s/US20130278304

Describes a method of using a single LO, with multiple frequency divisors for different bands, to implement a LNB capable of receiving Ku from 101°, Ka lo and Ka hi from 99.2° and 102.8°, and RDBS/BSS from 102.8°. This is included because it specifies a desired output range of 250 - 760 Mhz (249.5 - 761 MHz as described) which is the same range as the DSWM ASIC requires its input at and would thus be used as the front end to a DSWM LNB utilizing NXP's ASIC, and probably the EN5400.

 

 

Brief synopsis of DSWM patent:

 

According to both the patent and the paper, a number of goals are described for the DSWM:

  1) cost reduction through elimination of expensive analog components, particularly SAWs

  2) increased flexibility to handle "many more satellites" (which likely refers to a single product for US and non-US markets)

  3) more output channels

  4) cost savings by eliminating parts from IRDs (i.e. most/all of the tuner)

  5) enabling "future products" (for "Home Gateway or MDU architectures")

 

There are three embodiments of the DSWM described in the patent, the first two are described to a sufficient level of detail to make me believe that they have been or were in some stage of implementation when the patent was written [indeed, the implementation described in the paper exactly matches the second embodiment in the patent] The third embodiment is much more general, and reads like something that was barely on the drawing board at the time. Thus, if a more advanced implementation is produced in the future, it may differ in significant ways from what is described in the third embodiment. The patent includes several figures which help illustrate what is being discussed.

 

Figure 2 is a basic overview of the current analog SWM, in particular the SWM "half" of the SWM LNB - thus no flex ports or legacy ports are shown. Note there are four triple stacked (3 x 500 MHz each) LNB inputs. In a ASWM multiswitch, the two flex ports would be connected to the middle chip at address C2.

 

All three embodiments of the DSWM operate on multiple individual 500 MHz bands, i.e. Ku/101/RHCP, Ka hi/103/LHCP, and so on. Thus there are 10 such bands provided by a SL3 LNB and 12 by a SL5 LNB. The EN5400 and NXP's ASIC have 14 input bands, i.e. SL5 + two flex ports. In the patent, the bands are all frequency shifted in parallel to "near baseband" prior to digitization, which is described as a "tunable starting frequency from 10 to 100 MHZ, or beyond these limits if desired." The paper states the ASIC expects an input frequency range of 250 - 760 MHz, from which it is digitized and then shifted to a frequency range "centered around 0". The digitization is accomplished by passing all inputs in parallel through 9 bit wideband ADCs operating at up to 1.35 GHz.

 

Figure 5 shows the first embodiment, which only digitizes the inputs for ease of working with a non-fixed number of inputs in parallel, and to allow digital filtering, but does not utilize any higher order functions. The inputs 500, 502, etc. correspond to each 500 MHz digitized frequency band at the output of Figure 4. Each input is further divided 'k' times, where 'k' is the number of transponders present on that band (i.e. k=16 for Ku, k=12 for Ka, except where it is known fewer transponders are in use, such as 110/119) This results in well over a hundred transponders being passed in parallel to the "select and reorder" stage. This performs the same function as the FTM in the analog SWM, and selects the transponders of interest (i.e. transponders that contain a channel a receiver has selected) and puts them in the proper order (i.e. correct transponder in the SWM channel slot assigned to each receiver, with the number of channels represented by 'L') and then uses a DAC to convert them back to a stacked analog signal at the SWM output.

 

Figure 6 shows the second embodiment, which matches the implementation described in the paper. This embodiment is similar to the first but utilizes high order digital functions. This allows more flexibility on the inputs. This means transponders need not have uniform width or spacing, which may be useful in non-US markets, as well as if new satellites or frequencies are added in the US market.

 

Note that the first and second embodiments, while they achieve the output differently, do not do anything that would not be possible using a more advanced analog SWM. The output is the same, but with better channel spacing to achieve more channels. The same is theoretically possible with an analog SWM of the current design, were cost not an issue in its production.

 

Figure 7 shows the third embodiment, which deviates significantly from the first two. The patent refers to the first two embodiments as "coarse granularity" and the third as "fine granularity", with the third embodiment not selecting entire transponders containing the channel of interest, but picking out the particular channel of interest, which is claimed results in "many more" channels. There are several potential outputs shown, one being the traditional stacked RF output, presumably with synthesized "transponders" containing multiple channels intended for multiple receivers, as well as a couple methods to achieve either fully or mostly demodulated IP output. Using IP, the number of channels being output would be limited only by the computational resources of the ASIC, and its cost/power/heat. If fully demodulated, the the output would contain multiple encrypted MPEG compressed streams, one for each "tuner", similar to that passed from a Genie to a client via the RVU protocol.


Edited by slice1900, 01 March 2014 - 05:07 PM.

SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#3 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:25 PM

I would ask Mods to move many posts from original DSWiM13 thread to here; all of them contain speculations, theories, etc what would be make the thread is full of relevant posts



#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:27 PM

This thread is devoted to the theory of Digital SWM technology.

In which the basics are a change from analog filtering to digital filtering. This allows for closer spacing of the output channels.


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#5 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:29 PM

My apologies, no posts will be moved to this thread as we don't have the ability to change their post dates and there are known issues with moving posts older than the starting time of the thread. Feel free to copy and paste.
Opinions expressed by me are my own and do not necessarily reflect
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#6 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:30 PM

Replying to inkahauts' post from the DSWM13 thread.

 

But see that's the spot i tend to disagree looking forward three years from now. By then I expect HR24 to become no recover like the HR20 etc. when that happens we will be left with just genies. I have to believe by then they will allow Multiple genies if not sooner anyway. They really could use a lower cost solution for more than 10 channels than a swim16 once that happens IMHO. That gives them three years before it could become a Mainstream issue by my guestimate. While the number of people wanting two genies now likely is small the number if people wanting two DVRs in general is probably higher IMHO significantly. Not a exorbananr amount either way but enough that could Make them want to move to a larger swim. Also porting this to mdu makes sense as well at some point if the cost savings is there. And then my question becomes relevant again. You don't need that kind of power for mdu either correct? Again my question was simply does Dswim actually require higher output as the nature of the beast or is it pumped up do to its actual needs for its specific use in this specific product. Granted I doubt we know for sure. Hopefully we will know latter next month.

 

Everything will become non-recoverable, eventually. But what makes you think they won't keep making DVRs with two tuners? Or that they won't make a new Genie with even more than 5 tuners? They haven't released a new dual tuner DVR since the HR24, but that doesn't mean they never will.

 

Directv would clearly benefit from having a single wire LNB that supports more than 8 tuners, since they hit that limit more often, and that trend seems likely to continue. I doubt anyone would dispute that. However, a DSWM LNB doesn't make sense until it costs them less to install than a legacy LNB, four coax, and SWM16. We can make some pretty good estimate of what the SWM16 solution costs, but can only guess at the cost of a DSWM LNB, or if there are some issues that need to be worked out before that's something they can offer at all, or ever.

 

There's nothing inherent in the DSWM technology itself that requires a higher output. It is doing A to D and then D to A conversion, and the D to A output doesn't require high levels, and even if it did there's no reason they couldn't be attenuated as necessary. Likewise, there's nothing inherent in the analog SWM technology that requires the specific output level it uses. That's determined by the AGC amp at its output. If they had wanted the SWM8 to output at -20 dbm or -40 dbm, they would have chosen the AGC amp and its settings to produce that output.

 

It isn't a matter of "porting" DSWM13 to MDU or the home market. They won't so much use a DSWM13 as a starting point as they'll use the DSWM ASIC as a starting point. Undoubtedly it would share a good portion of its design with that of the DSWM13, but certain things would be different, such as the output level and the number of channels. Once the exact frequencies being used in the DSWM13 are made public, we should have a better idea of what the maximum number of channels the DSWM ASIC inside of it is capable of. From the information I have so far it looks like that ASIC is capable of a maximum of either 15 or 22 channels. A different implementation of the DSWM (i.e. a new ASIC built in a different process) could have different channel spacing from the ASIC used in the DSWM13, of course.


SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#7 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 12:51 AM

I updated my post #2 with links to the patents & paper, along with a synopsis of what the patent describes as I understand it. Corrections for typos, additions, or something you think I'm misreading/misunderstanding appreciated!


SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#8 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:39 AM

..

Thus there are 10 such bands for a SL3 LNB and 12 for a SL5 LNB. .

Please explain details of the numbers by sat/pol/etc


Edited by P Smith, 24 December 2013 - 01:39 AM.


#9 OFFLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:17 AM

Please explain details of the numbers by sat/pol/etc

AIUI P. Smith, the DSWM as described by the patent breaks down the conventional 250-750 MHz, 950-1450 MHz, 1650-2150 MHz triple 500 MHz band LNBF converted transponder band stack into 12 separate 500 MHz bands, each with a beginning frequency selected somewhere in the 10-100 MHz range, thus;

 

For the SL-5;

 

99W

 

1) LNBF 1 - Ka-lo LHCP

2) LNBF 1 - Ka-hi LHCP

3) LNBF 2 - Ka-lo RHCP

4) LNBF 2 - Ka-hi RHCP

 

101W

 

5) LNBF 3 - Ku LHCP

6) LNBF 4 - Ku RHCP

 

103W

 

7) LNBF 5 - Ka-lo LHCP

8) LNBF 5 - Ka-hi LHCP

9) LNBF 6 - Ka-lo RHCP

10) LNBF 6 - Ka-hi RHCP

 

110/119W

 

11) LNBF 7 - Ku 110 + 119 LHCP

 

119W

 

12) LNBF 8 - Ku 119 RHCP

 

Note: The SL-3 is the same excluding LNBFs 7 and 8 of course.

 

These then create the 12 "paths" (or 10 for the SL-3) each fed to a separate 9 bit ADC with a sampling rate of around 1.35 GigaSamples/s


Edited by HoTat2, 24 December 2013 - 03:34 AM.

DIRECTV sub. since Sep. of '95


#10 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 08:44 AM

Please explain details of the numbers by sat/pol/etc

There seems to be a bit of smoke and mirrors here.

There are six inputs in both the current analog SWM & DSWM.

With the three bands 250-750, 950-1450, 1650-2150 there are 18 possible 500 MHz blocks that can be used.


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#11 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:54 AM

There seems to be a bit of smoke and mirrors here.

There are six inputs in both the current analog SWM & DSWM.

With the three bands 250-750, 950-1450, 1650-2150 there are 18 possible 500 MHz blocks that can be used.

That's what was my initial impulse ...did decide to ask the 'math' though



#12 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:23 PM

There seems to be a bit of smoke and mirrors here.

There are six inputs in both the current analog SWM & DSWM.

With the three bands 250-750, 950-1450, 1650-2150 there are 18 possible 500 MHz blocks that can be used.

 

The patent doesn't mention flex ports at all, similar to how it (and the base analog SWM patents) leaves them out when describing the analog SWM.

 

However, it does say "while eight inputs 312-326 are shown, a larger or smaller number of inputs are possible without departing from the scope of the present invention". If we do get a 6 output LNB to add RDBS/BSS, the inputs on a future DSWM module might be labeled something other than "flex 1" and "flex 2" anyway...


Edited by slice1900, 24 December 2013 - 01:26 PM.

SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#13 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:28 PM

The patent doesn't mention flex ports at all, similar to how it (and the base analog SWM patents) leaves them out when describing the analog SWM.

Yet this doesn't change "the fact" that they are there and can be used.

You need to relate your patent readings to what is currently in use along with provisions not yet used.


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#14 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:33 PM

Yet this doesn't change "the fact" that they are there and can be used.

You need to relate your patent readings to what is currently in use along with provisions not yet used.

 

I was only attempting to relate what the patent states in a clearer manner than the patentese it is written in that most people can't understand well.

 

Since I'd written only about the SL3 and SL5 outputs, that's why I mentioned 10 and 12. I added a note about six additional inputs via the flex ports, or future LNBs with that may have six outputs.


Edited by slice1900, 24 December 2013 - 01:40 PM.

SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#15 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:58 PM

I was only attempting to relate what the patent states in a clearer manner than the patentese

Good luck with that :lol:

I seemed to remember "explaining" the digital filtering for you.


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#16 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 02:58 PM

Good luck with that :lol:

I seemed to remember "explaining" the digital filtering for you.

 

While I understand the computational side of the process quite well, I've never claimed to be an expert on the RF side. You are. That's why I asked for additions & corrections so others can make up for the gaps in my understanding and the patent description in the second post can be expanded and improved by applying expertise from both ends.


SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#17 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:03 PM

While I understand the computational side of the process quite well, I've never claimed to be an expert on the RF side.

Digital filtering is "anything but" RF. :hair:


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#18 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

Digital filtering is "anything but" RF. :hair:

 

The digital filtering in the DSWM is subject to the limitations of RF when has to go back out as RF and be received by analog tuners, i.e. requirement for skirts / guard bands. That is after all exactly what you "explained" to me about digital filtering...


SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21


#19 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 07:20 PM

Replying to inkahauts' post from the DSWM13 thread.


Everything will become non-recoverable, eventually. But what makes you think they won't keep making DVRs with two tuners? Or that they won't make a new Genie with even more than 5 tuners? They haven't released a new dual tuner DVR since the HR24, but that doesn't mean they never will.

Directv would clearly benefit from having a single wire LNB that supports more than 8 tuners, since they hit that limit more often, and that trend seems likely to continue. I doubt anyone would dispute that. However, a DSWM LNB doesn't make sense until it costs them less to install than a legacy LNB, four coax, and SWM16. We can make some pretty good estimate of what the SWM16 solution costs, but can only guess at the cost of a DSWM LNB, or if there are some issues that need to be worked out before that's something they can offer at all, or ever.

There's nothing inherent in the DSWM technology itself that requires a higher output. It is doing A to D and then D to A conversion, and the D to A output doesn't require high levels, and even if it did there's no reason they couldn't be attenuated as necessary. Likewise, there's nothing inherent in the analog SWM technology that requires the specific output level it uses. That's determined by the AGC amp at its output. If they had wanted the SWM8 to output at -20 dbm or -40 dbm, they would have chosen the AGC amp and its settings to produce that output.

It isn't a matter of "porting" DSWM13 to MDU or the home market. They won't so much use a DSWM13 as a starting point as they'll use the DSWM ASIC as a starting point. Undoubtedly it would share a good portion of its design with that of the DSWM13, but certain things would be different, such as the output level and the number of channels. Once the exact frequencies being used in the DSWM13 are made public, we should have a better idea of what the maximum number of channels the DSWM ASIC inside of it is capable of. From the information I have so far it looks like that ASIC is capable of a maximum of either 15 or 22 channels. A different implementation of the DSWM (i.e. a new ASIC built in a different process) could have different channel spacing from the ASIC used in the DSWM13, of course.


I don't see another two tuner DVR for two reason. Money and direction.

Maybe a three tuner unit utilizing one four tuner chip. And sure we could se a seven tuner unit with two four tuner chips which is rumored To be what the hr44 was built with.

But at this point I'm Not sure you can make a two tuner unit for cheaper than at least a three tuner hunt anymore and still be able to perform at the same ability level as a genie. And I have a feeling internal box performance isn't why the hr44 is five instead of seven tuners. I think it's the other stuff that's limiting it.

#20 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 08:23 PM

I don't know what sort of tuner chips are out there now, or their cost. It obviously costs more to use more than one like the Genie does, but you may be right that there's not much cost savings to be had if there are newer chips that support more tuners so newer DVRs may have more than two.

 

Regardless of what future DVRs look like, Directv has some good reasons to desire a single wire LNB that supports more than 8 tuners if it can be produced as cost effectively as a legacy LNB + running 4 coax + SWM16 solution.

 

Directv will need to introduce a new LNB relatively soon if they intend to use RDBS/BSS for customer broadcast. Depending on how wide an interest that content has, and what form the legacy version of this new LNB might take (in particular, if it has six outputs) will determine, along with cost, the likelihood of seeing a DSWM LNB at that time.


SL5, PI-6S, SA-6AL 3xSWM16, 21 H20-100, 1 H20-600, 7 H24-700/AM21





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