The difference between Signal Strength and Quality?

With the dish there are two parameters;

  • Dish Alignment

Alignment can be along two axis:

  • Horizontal [Azimuth].  Left to right adjustment.
  • Vertical [Elevation].  Up or down adjustment.
  • Dish Size.

It seems that bigger is better but as with everything there is an adequate size:

Bigger disks “reflects” the signal from the satellite better

  • Good for low frequencies like “C” band.
  • Good during severe rain storms.

Smaller disks works better for

  • High frequencies like “KU” band.

The LNB has two parameters

  • Skew.

LNB is suppose to be set skew at an angle and is directly depending on

  • The polarity of the signal.
  • Your local position.
  • The selected satellite.
  • Focus point
    • The distance between the LNB and the dish in particular the LNB position in the LNB bracket.
    • The Angle of the LNB in relation with the dish. The reflected signal from the dish must “hit” enter the horn (front part) of the LNB at a 90 degree angle.

As for our normal domestic DSTV dishes;

  • It can be sensitive for trees or any kind of obstructions like clouds and so on.
  • Sometimes you can be doomed with more than one reflection from walls.  Roofs or overspill from trees can influence your reception.
  • Rust doesn’t sound too bad however the signal reflects better on a nice shiny/smooth surface.

Strength, in my mind, is suppose to give you an indication of how “good” your LNB and Dish are aligned with the satellite as explain above.  Signal strength is how strong the signal is that you are receiving. The closer you are to the transmitter, the more signal you will pick up with the same dish/aerial. The signal level will drop further away and you will need a larger more powerful aerial or dish.

Quality is how much interference there is between the satellite and your decoder.  It is how good the signal is that you receive or how good it will keep during rainy / cloudy conditions.  It means that quality is how good the information that you receive, is. All signals hold reflections/ghosting or interference that we call noise. Noise will cause the loss of data. The noise will be low if the quality is high or good. Signal quality is the quality of the signal and not pixel not picture quality.

A booster will boost everything. It will boost the strength of the receiving signals and that include the amplification of the noise, interference and the bad quality.


  • Re-align your system.  Make sure of the LNB position in the LNB bracket.
  • Move your dish to a better place.
  • Replace your dish with a bigger dish.
  • Make sure that the dish size is not too big for your LNB. If the dish is too big, you might overpower the input circuit of the LNB. The “too strong” signal might damage the LNB or the signal to the decoder might be distorted. Compare the manufactures specification of the dish with the input specification of the LNB
  • Get legal advice and destroy the trees on your neighbours’ property.

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Ockert J van Nieuwenhuizen
Based in South Africa, Ockert J van Nieuwenhuizen is a satellite broadcast techie and has written a number of articles on


  1. what is the satelite that works with dstv decoder dsd1110 to get much free channels of central africa and some europe channels in southafrica

  2. I subscribe tatasky from Myanmar. News channels are both poor inquality as well as strength while HD channels are good in strength but poor in quality. What is it means?

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