How Does a DiSEqC Switch Work?
By Rebecca O'Brien
Updated September 28, 2017
What Are DiSEqC Switches?
All satellite dishes have flashlight-shaped attachments known as LNBs. The LNB receives the satellite signal, much like an antenna receives an over-the-air broadcast, and sends them to your satellite receiver to be displayed on your television. Each satellite service needs a dedicated LNB. If you use multiple satellite services, such as both foreign and local broadcasting, but want to use a single receiver, you will need a DiSEqC switch. DiSEqC, which stands for digital satellite equipment control, switches are used to control multiple LNBs and the signals they send.
A DiSEqC switch resembles a coaxial splitter/combiner, with multiple inputs for LNBs and one output to a satellite receiver. However, a standard coaxial splitter/combiner cannot be substituted for a DiSEqC switch. A regular coaxial splitter/combiner is used primarily for sending a cable signal to multiple televisions or consolidating the signals of multiple antennas to one line. A DiSEqC switch sends bidirectional signals and electricity through the coaxial cables to select and control the appropriate LNB.
The process of signal reception is the same as that performed by a standard dish to receiver connection, with the DiSEqC switch directing traffic between the various components. The switch sends the signals from the LNBs to your satellite receiver. This notifies the receiver of the LNBs available and what they are receiving. The receiver can then send requests, which are routed through the DiSEqC switch, for specific satellite signals.
Fortunately, DiSEqC switches are backwards compatible. If you add a LNB that uses a different standard, you will need to upgrade your switch. However, you will not need to upgrade your other LNBs. When you add a new LNB, you may need to change your satellite receiver, as not all units support multiple satellite signals.
Rebecca O'Brien has been writing since 2006. She contributes to several online magazines, specializing in politics, technology, parenting and cuisine. She studied marketing and language arts at McHenry County College.