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Digital SWM theory and speculation


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236 replies to this topic

#101 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:03 AM

It will be interesting to see what sats and freq the hotel dswim lnb can grab. I'd think all of them.

And simply adding a slot for it in the firmware probably doesn't indicate squat. Its likely needed for the hotel lnb and it wouldn't be surprised if that list is identical no matter what software you are running on any machine, residential experience, regular customer or buisness. Why would they make that specific to a certain market? No need really.

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#102 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 05:09 AM

It will be interesting to see what sats and freq the hotel dswim lnb can grab. I'd think all of them.

And simply adding a slot for it in the firmware probably doesn't indicate squat. Its likely needed for the hotel lnb and it wouldn't be surprised if that list is identical no matter what software you are running on any machine, residential experience, regular customer or buisness. Why would they make that specific to a certain market? No need really.

The commercial systems use the SL5 "I've been told", and the software is a different version [to include DRE].

Since the DSWM software change is so minor, adding it to the non DRE versions I don't think is anything more than a "place holder" at this point.

As we saw with SWiM, in the early days, the development was in the SWiM firmware and not the receiver's.


A.K.A VOS

#103 OFFLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 12:47 PM

A couple minutes of googling found this Chinese site that appears to let you read the document, but not download a copy. Or at least I tried clicking on the green down arrow that I assumed means "download this" and it popped a window with a bunch of Chinese characters on it. I don't know if it is asking me for money, to solve a Chinese captcha or what :)

 

http://www.docin.com/p-284974005.html

 

You'd still need some sort of equipment able to decode the FSK tones to see the actual content being sent back and forth in a SWM environment, unless the specs themselves tell you what you what to know.

Nice find thanks;

 

In spite of the Chinese and the inability to d/l it.

 

Hey, beggars can't be the proverbial you know what if you don't want to pay.

 

I know its next to impossible to determine actually how much of this standard was adopted in DIRECTV's implementation. We know the 22 KHz DiSeqC tone signaling wasn't of course in favor of a 2.3 MHz FSK control link, but as for other adopted aspects ... :shrug:

 

But nevertheless felt I could gain some valuable insights into how the SWiM protocol may operate.   


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#104 OFFLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 12:55 PM

DiSEqC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiSEqC

 

I used papers from Eutelsat - European sites

 

Yeah, I'm well familiar with the base DiSeqC standards there P. Smith.

 

But there is an extension to these standards by CENELEC (the EN 50494) for Single Wire systems as slice found that I was interested in. 


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#105 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:25 PM

that's good to know about the extension, but it's still named as DiSEqC ;)



#106 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:36 PM

It will be interesting to see what sats and freq the hotel dswim lnb can grab. I'd think all of them.

And simply adding a slot for it in the firmware probably doesn't indicate squat. Its likely needed for the hotel lnb and it wouldn't be surprised if that list is identical no matter what software you are running on any machine, residential experience, regular customer or buisness. Why would they make that specific to a certain market? No need really.

 

The list being identical for all firmware "families" is one possible explanation. There's no reason they'd have to do it that way, but there's absolutely no reason they couldn't do it that way if they wished. Looking at it as a programmer would, they'd use a single code base for everything, and have sections of the code that are different (in the C language, anywhere the code might differ you'd have a block like #ifdef DRE <DRE specific code here> #else <non-DRE specific code here> #endif") Maybe they didn't consider it important to "ifdef" out the Slimline-3DS choice in that list, even if it is only used for DRE.

 

So, if the DSWM LNB for DRE is only available in a 3LNB version, maybe your suggestion explains why it is there now (but VOS said he was told the DSWM13 based system uses an SL5...) To see if it might be just a common code base for the 'list', I checked (after disconnecting the sat feed) if there is a third option for DSWM to select when you choose a legacy dish. There are still only the options for Multiswitch and SWM. Wouldn't there be a third option for "DSWM" (for the DSWM13) if this was the case?

 

On the other hand, VOS is correct that there is precious little difference between SWM and DSWM. I chose the Slimline-3DS dish on one of my H24s and it accepted it. At least after it was configured it showed up in the info screen that I had that dish, and 110 and 119 were gone from my sat screens. It was able to download guide data and I could change channels. So either they are very similar, or my receiver knew that even though it was configured for DSWM that it was really connected to an ASWM. Maybe they're so similar there's no reason to add a DSWM choice to the multiswitch/SWM choices. The receiver doesn't care, if the only practical difference between the two on the receiver's end is that it may get a channel number higher than 8 assigned to it.

 

However, if the DSWM and ASWM are so similar that I'm really able to configure my receiver for a DSWM and it works fine, why have that Slimline-3DS entry at all? One possible answer is that it might be the same as a SL3S today, but at some future time it will be able to receive RDBS/BSS. Maybe a year from now they might light up some new bands, and if I configured my receiver for a DSWM LNB it would add a new signal screen, where I'd of course show zeroes since my legacy dish wouldn't be capable of receiving those bands...


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


#107 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:43 PM

However, if the DSWM and ASWM are so similar that I'm really able to configure my receiver for a DSWM and it works fine, why have that Slimline-3DS entry at all? One possible answer is that it might be the same as a SL3S today, but at some future time it will be able to receive RDBS/BSS. Maybe a year from now they might light up some new bands, and if I configured my receiver for a DSWM LNB it would add a new signal screen, where I'd of course show zeroes since my legacy dish wouldn't be capable of receiving those bands...

You're on a SWiM-16, right?

You can't change the multiswitch entry, so the DSWM LNB option IS MERELY a place holder, changing the SL5 to SL3.

 

The SWiM firmware tells the receiver what it is on boot.

The SWiM-16 doesn't know what the LNB is, so you have to select SL3 or 5, but a SWiMLNB doesn't give you this option.

 

You'd have to have a DSWMLNB connected to have the receiver "react" to one.


A.K.A VOS

#108 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 02:18 PM

You're on a SWiM-16, right?

You can't change the multiswitch entry, so the DSWM LNB option IS MERELY a place holder, changing the SL5 to SL3.

 

The SWiM firmware tells the receiver what it is on boot.

The SWiM-16 doesn't know what the LNB is, so you have to select SL3 or 5, but a SWiMLNB doesn't give you this option.

 

You'd have to have a DSWMLNB connected to have the receiver "react" to one.

 

You can't change the multiswitch entry if you have the sat input connected. It figures out that you're using SWM on its own. If you disconnect the sat input it lets you choose (and of course if you choose incorrectly it will give you some sort of error)

 

I think the receivers would never know or care about the difference between ASWM and DSWM. They would almost certainly use the same command set. The method of selecting a channel would be the same. I'm sure that's based on how a receiver selects a channel in legacy mode, but instead of selecting polarity and finding the frequency for the transponder it forwards that information to the SWM to do it and put that transponder in its channel. When a receiver is assigned a channel, it is probably not assigned a number, but a frequency. "the transponder containing your channel will be found at 1511 MHz". It doesn't care if the SWM it is talking to has 5 channels or 105, it probably just cares about frequencies (HoTat2 will correct me if that isn't how it works in the DiSEqC stuff he's looking up)

 

Another reason why you'd need a DSWM LNB entry but not a DSWM switch entry I overlooked in my previous post is for the diagnostics. The DSWM LNB has to have a way to "tell the world" if it discovers a fault or maybe to simply report information on a regular basis. The receiver would need to handle these diagnostic messages if the user and/or Directv is to be alerted. Perhaps a future legacy LNB will have a way to communicate with a DSWM switch - if/when that happens you'd need a third entry for "DSWM" switch type. But with today's legacy LNB it wouldn't matter.


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


#109 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 02:44 PM

I think the receivers would never know or care about the difference between ASWM and DSWM. They would almost certainly use the same command set. The method of selecting a channel would be the same.

It doesn't care if the SWM it is talking to has 5 channels or 105, it probably just cares about frequencies (HoTat2 will correct me if that isn't how it works in the DiSEqC stuff he's looking up)

"I guess" this depends on where the SWiM channel table resides.

With the ASWM, "it seemed" this was in the receiver, as it has to tune the tuner chip anyway.

Going to DSWM "merely" requires another table.

If you check the system info screen, you'll see the SWiM firmware rev.


A.K.A VOS

#110 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:22 PM

"I guess" this depends on where the SWiM channel table resides.

With the ASWM, "it seemed" this was in the receiver, as it has to tune the tuner chip anyway.

Going to DSWM "merely" requires another table.

If you check the system info screen, you'll see the SWiM firmware rev.

 

I was wondering about this. I think the SWM signal screen relied on the receivers knowing the SWM frequencies, but the receivers only ever dealt with a frequency not a channel number. The list of frequencies was the same for all SWM (the SWM5 used the same, just had fewer) It was programmed with the nine SWM frequencies, and looked at each one and reported on each one.

 

I think it was no accident the SWM signal screen was removed at the same time they added support for the DSWM. It was no longer possible to maintain that frequency lookup table scheme, because the receiver doesn't know what the frequencies are, just the frequency assigned to it. How would it know to check the 9 ASWM frequencies, the 14 DSWM13 frequencies, or the higher number that a non-DRE DSWM would use?

 

I suppose if the complete list of frequencies are all different, it could decide which table to use based on the frequency assigned (i.e. my frequency is one of the 9 from the ASWM list, so I'll use that frequency table, or my frequency is one from a DSWM list, so use the DSWM frequency table) But since the SWM signal screen wasn't all that useful, it was simply removed rather than go to the programming effort to continue to support it.

 

I'll bet when the SWM5 and SWM8 were both in use, the signal screen reported on all 9 frequencies even when attached to a SWM5. If it "knew" it was connected to a SWM5 it would have reported N/A for those last three, but I'll bet it didn't and reported 0s.


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


#111 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:34 PM

I've never had a SWiM5, "but" I suspect there were three more N/As on the old screen.

The DRE software has a number of changes for the DSWM, but these will need to wait to be discussed.


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#112 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:00 PM

I've never had a SWiM5, "but" I suspect there were three more N/As on the old screen.

The DRE software has a number of changes for the DSWM, but these will need to wait to be discussed.

 

This would seem to be a pretty good test of whether the receiver knows the number of channels and their frequencies for the SWM it is connected to without having a lookup table.

 

I'll bet it was just zeroes, but unless someone still has a SWM5 laying around to test with we may not get an answer on this. If someone does have one, I know the H20 (and probably D12) firmware still shows the SWM signal screen (the H20 doesn't show the DSWM LNB option, but it has been a few months since the last new firmware for it) I've got plenty of H20s, but no SWM5 :)

 

Some of the DSWM's diagnostic information would be useful even a module, it has multiple temperature sensors for instance, and I'm sure there are other capabilities. So I don't doubt there are other changes made to make use of the expanded functionality. The DSWM has a real CPU in it, that's roughly equal to a PC from the late 80s in CPU power. There's a flash module that presumably allows onboard firmware to be updated. Since the DSWM can't demodulate the incoming signal it would need "help" to update its firmware (probably a receiver would do this, or that 'controller' device in a DRE environment) So it may well acquire new functionality over time like receivers do, instead of being at a fixed firmware level forever like the ASWM appears to be.


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


#113 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:36 PM

I wouldn't count on firmware updates "in the field", as there isn't a connection for this.

Your idea of a "controller" in DRE doesn't have anything to do with the DSWM/ASWM, but is networking/DECA for the receivers.


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#114 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:57 PM

If the DSWM was capable of being updated it wouldn't need a port on the device, it could be done via a receiver. The receiver gets the firmware from the stream and passes to the DSWM. Be kinda slow over the FSK that's probably running at speeds comparable to a 56k modem, but would be possible. The firmware would be so small that doubling the flash capacity (so it could mirror firmware to avoid an interrupted/bad download bricking it) would be "essentially free".

 

I have no idea if it can or will be updated, just that in contrast to the ASWM there's enough smarts in it to be capable of doing so. Of course I'm not sure what it would be updated to do, other than fixing bugs, so even if it has the ability it might be mostly theoretical. For the most part any advanced capabilities it had would work in concert with the receivers, and the receivers that receive updated firmware on a regular basis may obviate the need for an update unless some extremely serious bug was found.

 

The flash is external to the DSWM ASIC, it includes a flash controller but not the flash. I don't have any information on its size or what it is used for. It could be used for storing performance/telemetry type data rather than software for all I know.


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


#115 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 05:11 PM

I have no idea....

Once again, I take this as the most meaningful part of your post.


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#116 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:05 PM

I have a swim5. As I recall it only shows numbers for 5 and na for the rest.

The first look probably has screen shots of it.

#117 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:43 PM

I have a swim5. As I recall it only shows numbers for 5 and na for the rest.

The first look probably has screen shots of it.

 

I'd be more curious what it showed after the SWM8 was released than what it did during a first look when the SWM5 was the only SWM there was...


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


#118 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:03 PM

Once again, I take this as the most meaningful part of your post.

 

Its easy to pick on a few words out of someone's post...

 

Given that everything I see about the design indicates that making firmware upgrades possible is merely a matter of software, I'd say: better to have the ability to upgrade firmware and never use it, than to need it and not have it.

 

I view it similar to the updates Intel is able to provide to their CPUs. Twenty years ago there was a bug found in Pentium CPUs with the floating point divide, but Intel didn't have a way to updating them in the field so they took a hit for hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the CPUs for anyone who complained (they were lucky it was a rather obscure issue or they would have had to recall all of them) They had the ability to make it possible to fix in the field but had done a cost/benefit analysis and decided it wasn't worth it. After that experience they made a different evaluation and since then all their CPUs have the ability to fix that sort of thing in the field. Most Intel CPUs you buy have a few minor issues (that almost no one would ever hear of, let alone run into) automatically "patched" when your computer starts up.


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


#119 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:04 AM

Its easy to pick on a few words out of someone's post...

Given that everything I see about ....

Yes but at he same time, they're used a lot by you as you're mostly "spit balling" this topic.

There an infinite number of what "they could do".

What they "are doing" hasn't matched too much.

 

Your SWM5 position is showing your stubbornness/argumentativeness.

You postulated the old SWM screen would show 3 zeros and I [having been around at the time of the SWM5 release] disagreed.

You wanted someone with a SWM5 to post.

You got someone with a SWM5 to post and agree with my statement.

Instead of accepting this, you challenged the conditions of it in an attempt to support your false assumption.

 

Going back to the beginning in the other thread, you read a few patents and didn't understand them, but speculated what they could do.

If I remember you suggested there could be 100 channels on a coax.

This would be a "real trick" and caught my interest.

I looked into what the DSWM was and found its basic change is the use of digital filters.

 

I've discussed this with those involved with the DSWM13 and the DSWM LNB.

While I can't yet share everything I've learned, I've tried to steer this discussion to "what is going on", and away from "what could be".

 

If you want to continue your uninformed speculation and not take informed input, "be my guest", as it seems to be a waste of time for me.


A.K.A VOS

#120 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:52 PM

I think you misunderstand what I'm trying to do here with my "spitballing". It is often easier to find out what something is not, when information about what it is is not available. Basic scientific method:  form a hypothesis, determine a way to test it, modify or discard it when a test proves it is wrong. I want to proven wrong. Or proven right. Either way I learn something. If I come up with a theory and there's no way to test it, or it can't be shown to be correct or incorrect, it remains idle speculation until a test is formulated or new information comes to light.

 

Sometimes such idle speculation is fun, but I much prefer it when there's a way to prove or disprove my speculation to narrow the field of possibilities. For example, my speculation that the DSWM13 may be based on an earlier version of the DSWM ASIC. The testable hypothesis is that if the channel spacing is > 50 MHz, it cannot be using the ASIC described in the paper, since that must use spacing <= 50 MHz to achieve 24 channels in the 1200 MHz available (there are also other constraints such as power consumption) It may seem like an unimportant detail, but if the DSWM13 uses an earlier version, it suggests an intended market for that new ASIC other than the DRE market that was adequately served by the old ASIC.

 

After further thought, I think my SWM5 vs SWM8 test would not have been useful after all, since we know the ASWM outputs 'noise' on inactive channels, so the receiver could use that fact to determine how many channels to display. I think your suggestion that the SWM firmware version could be used by a receiver to tell what sort of SWM it is connected to is probably correct. Since the receiver reports the ASWM's firmware rev when configured for a DSWM, the same query must be used - maybe one of the single wire DiSEqC commands HoTat2 is looking into? Assuming the information reported for both an ASWM and a DSWM uniquely identifies each (i.e. DSWM doesn't goes back to reporting firmware version 1.0) that would provide a way for the receiver to tell what frequency table to use, had they wished to continue showing the SWM signal screen. If a receiver is assigned a frequency by the SWM rather than a channel number, it wouldn't need to know the frequency table at all now that the SWM signal screen has been removed. Assigning a frequency rather than a channel number also makes it much more likely that any SWM capable receiver can function normally with a DSWM, even using firmware that predated the DSWM.

 

As for the 100 channels thing. The third embodiment of the patent clearly describes how this could be done, but there's no reason to expect it ever will be. Both RF and IP output are presented as options for that third embodiment, and I believe if they ever built some like this they'd choose IP output as it would simplify matters over a 100+ channel RF output given the variable bit rate of Directv channels and higher bit rate 4K channels coming soon. As I've said on multiple occasions, in contrast to the third embodiment, the first two embodiments of the patent read like something they had already or were in the process of designing/building. The details were too precise for too many aspects for it to be otherwise. You kept cautioning me against reading too much into patents, but the DSWM ASIC in the paper exactly matches the second embodiment from the patent, even down to those "too precise" details, which justified my belief that the patent was important to an understanding of the DSWM.


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


#121 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:04 PM

Changing over to IP output seems "most unlikely" for a number of reasons.

We could "pick apart" a number of ways they "could do it" and the problems that would arise, but I'll pass on it.

DirecTV tried it back with the HR20i and that was the end of it, with no further development.

They "seemed to have learned their lesson" and since have built on RF distribution and RF networking and have good market penetration.

 

"I'd say" the biggest problem with these patents is finding a need for their use.

The DSWM has found "a need" with the commercial DRE market, but even here it isn't being used to its maximum, as the DECA networking limits it.

The MDU market doesn't have the DECA limitation, but there seems to be "zero interest" for it there.

The residential market doesn't have a need for it.

 

As I've said many times, when it becomes cheaper than what is currently used, "the need" will be economics, "but" there aren't any signs of this being "soon".


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#122 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:26 AM

They've already developed technology that provides 23 tuners on a single coax. Quite when that becomes cost effective for residential installs, in place of current technology, is not known.


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


#123 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:38 AM

I don't know if I'd say that. They have a patent saying that maybe, but in reality the most we have seen even tested in beta from what we can tell is 13.

#124 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:10 AM

All I said was that they have developed the technology to support 23 tuners, which is true. That's not from a patent, this was an actual working chip described at a conference almost a year ago today. You can't measure power draw to three decimals and have signal analyzer output from something that does not exist.

 

However, I agree with you both that this says nothing about what their plans might be, if any/if ever, for mass production of that chip and putting it into products for the residential (or any other) market.


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


#125 ONLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:34 AM

That isn't the same thing as having a swim23 device which you implied they developed. They haven't yet. That chip didn't do anything with an actual sat signal.




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