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Automatic & Manually Adjustable Gain Signal Boosters

Sep 27, 2017

Automatic & Manually Adjustable Gain Signal Boosters

Manually Adjustable Gain Signal Boosters & Amplifiers allow cell phone signal booster or repeater kit owners to manually adjust gain of each band by increasing or decreasing its incoming signal strength into the home, office, or building. This is how to tune your cell phone signal booster whether made by Wilson, SureCall or any other manufacturer. Automatic Gain Control signal boosters do not allow ability to adjust Gain manually - It adjusts Gain automatically to compensate for signal fluctuations to prevent oscillation due to overpowering.

The AGC or Auto Gain Control can be found in many SureCall boosters including Fusion5xFusion5s (with attenuator dials to adjust attenuation or signal being sent from booster to interior antennas), and Flare. MGC or Manual Gain Control is a feature in several SureCall signal boosters including Fusion4HomeFusion7, Force5, Force5 Industrial, and Force7. In manual gain signal boosters, the settings arrive from the factory as ideal in most circumstances but can be adjusted to fine-tune reception depending upon specific signal strength characteristics at a particular location.

Watch the two videos below to find out what is attenuation, the differences between AGC and Attenuation, advantages and disadvantages of both Automatic and Manual Gain Control signal boosters, and how to perfom manual attenuation to reduce signal going from amplifier to internal antenna(s) and prevent oscillation due to proximity of external and internal antenna(e). Find out exactly what is manual attenuation and how to manually manipulate dip switches. See how helpful it is in certain circumstances to adjust attenuation for enjoying peak performance of your SureCall signal boosters. These questions and answers will definitely help you understand this topic better, and maybe even make you an expert so you can help others understand the differences, disadvantages, and benefits of choosing Automatic or Manually Adjustable Gain Signal Boosters.

Video # 1: Auto OR Manual Gain Adjusting Signal Boosters?

The differences, advantages, and disadvantages of choosing Auto (AGC) or Manual Gain Control (MGC) Signal Boosters.

 

Attenuation is a very important word when it comes to properly setting up any cellular signal booster. But what exactly is attenuation? Attenuation is a general term that refers to any reduction in the strength of a signal. It is also referred to as loss.

How does a reduction in signal help us ensure that a signal booster will work at its best? In SureCall systems, there's a difference between automatic attenuationand automatic gain control or AGC. AGC adjusts the booster automatically to compensate for signal fluctuations. Automatic attenuation automatically reduces the booster’s incoming and outgoing signal reception, depending on what the software tells it to do.

Manual and automatic attenuation have different advantages and disadvantages. In any booster system, there's an indoor antenna known as the broadcast antenna and an outdoor antenna known as the donor antenna. In an ideal scenario, each antenna is both receiving and projecting signal at their maximum power level. If these two types of antennas are installed too closely, they will create a feedback loop that will ultimately force the booster to shut down. When the booster automatically adjusts its attenuation, both the outside donor antenna and inside broadcast antenna attenuate in equal amounts. This is great for ease of install but may affect coverage as all of the antennas inside will be equally affected.

On a booster where there are dip switches that control the uplink and downlink separately, you have the ability to create what is called asymmetrical gain. This means you can reduce the amount of incoming signal without sacrificing indoor coverage to remedy things like overpowering and inadequate separation.

It can be intimidating to see switches or dials on a booster. It is also time consuming to configure the booster if it requires manual attenuation, however SureCall has a way to remotely monitor and adjust the booster’s attenuation levels called the century remote monitoring system. Automatic attenuation is accomplished through software. This makes installing boosters with automatic attenuation quick and easy. The disadvantage to relying on software to automatically adjust both gain and attenuation is that you cannot control how much coverage area you get with the booster. Also, if your booster automatically attenuates, proper separation is a must.

Manual attenuation is the way to go if you are working in an area where there are many cell towers that could overpower the booster. It is also great for areas where you need to adjust the coverage areas. Many experienced installers like having the ability to control the gain of the booster. Manual attenuation is also important if you can't get enough separation between the outside and the closest inside antenna. Keep in mind that increasing the distance between the internal antennas and the outside antenna is often a better solution than manually adjusting the booster.

Automatic attenuation works well in more rural areas where the cell towers are more spread out. Open coverage areas like warehouses and factories are a nice fit for boosters with automatic attenuation as well. Many installers working in the residential market like automatic boosters because of the quick and easy nature of their installation. They are also great if you know you can get enough space between the installed antennas.

While there are advantages and disadvantages to both manual and automatic attenuation, it's nice to know that there are choices when it comes to cellular signal boosters for larger applications. The ability to configure the booster is a distinct advantage for those interested in installing boosters themselves. Automatic attenuation might be a better fit. As always, if you have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with someone here at SignalBooster.com.

Video # 2: Manual Attenuation, Manual Gain Controls, and How to Adjust your Signal Booster?

Configuring your signal booster based on the environment it is installed in.

 

Hello SureCallers and certified installers, today we're going to be talking about manual attenuation. Now something you may find on your SureCall cellular signal booster is something called MGC or manual gain control. Now, manual gain control can be either dip switches or dials but it is a way for you to be able to configure your booster based on the environment that it is being installed in.

Let us talk a little bit about what those manual gain controls do, and how to adjust your signal amplifier. As with any signal booster, uplink and downlink are important but so are separation and balance. You can have really great signal getting into the booster but unless you know how to configure the booster properly, you could be sacrificing coverage and overall performance.

There are boosters out there that have automatic attenuation which makes installation relatively simple. But their drawback is that they do not provide configurability. SureCall boosters have automatic gain control or AGC as well as manual gain control or MGC, so you are able to adjust the gain of the booster to fit your needs.

First, let us talk about what to do when you see MGC on your booster. The dials will control the gain for the uplink and the downlink at the same time, much like what automatic attenuation does. That means that as you reduce the gain on the booster, the uplink and downlink are reduced at the same time. This is great if you cannot get the required separation between the outside and closest inside antenna, or if you only need a specific amount of coverage area.

The MGC switches may seem intimidating but they are actually pretty easy to use. Think of them like knobs on your kitchen faucet. If the water is too hot, you simply turn down the heat. If it is too cold, you turn up the heat. The same principle applies to the manual gain controls on a signal booster. Each set of manual gain controls will create as much as 31 decibels of resistance to the signal. Each switch has its own value and as you switch multiple switches on, these values combine.

For example, if you turn the third switch on which has a value of 4 dB as well as the fifth switch with a value of 16, maybe you will have a total of 20 dB of attenuation for that particular band of frequencies. The thing we want to remember is that the uplink or UL is what is going from the cell phone into the booster, and then out of the booster to the cell tower. The downlink is what is coming from the tower into the booster and then from the booster to the indoor antennas.

Therefore, if you are seeing red lights flashing on any of the bands, simply add attenuation on that band’s downlink. This will not affect the indoor coverage. If you cannot get enough separation between the outside and the closest inside antenna, you should adjust the manual gain controls for the uplink on the bands that are flashing yellow and red. This will allow you to achieve separation without sacrificing overall coverage once you make adjustments to the booster.

It can take thirty seconds to a minute to see those changes come into effect so it is often a good practice to do a power cycle to reset the unit. The best way to tell if you need to adjust the booster is by looking at the LED behaviors. Here's a quick guide to get you going in the right direction. If you see red lights flashing on three or more bands, you should consider using an inline attenuator. However, make sure you check the bands that are not flashing to make sure you have enough signal to accommodate the signal reduction. If you see only one or two bands flashing red, you will attenuate the downlink on the manual gain controls of those bands.

Start with 16 dB. Do a power cycle and if the red flashing light is still being activated, add some more attenuation. Remember, putting all of the manual gain controls into the on position will shut the band off completely. If you are seeing a red and yellow flashing light, this indicates oscillation. For this, in order to not sacrifice coverage, you should adjust the uplink MGCs. This will reduce the propagation of the donor antenna while allowing the indoor antennas to provide maximum coverage.

Hopefully, this video was helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch, and as always, thank you for using SureCall to help raise your bars.


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  • Anyone have a SureCall Fusion4home? They do look like they will meet my needs so I stop having dropped cell calls and slow data speeds when I’m trying to watch videos or download music. Are there any SureCall Fustion4home reviews? I want to make sure my cell phone booster meets all my needs. From what I’ve read, SureCall tech support is good, but I haven’t seen the reviews I’m looking for.

    Blaine Rutherford on
  • Hi, I’ve bookmarked this article. This is what I was looking for. The adjustments you have demonstrated works like charm. You people seems to be technology gods. I’ve also sent this article to my friend who needs to configure his booster as well. Keep up the great work!

    Charles Stevens on
  • The article was helpful, but the videos were the piece de resistance. They explained things well, particularly since I’ve never had to adjust anything other than a soundboard. It’s good to know the different factors for choosing one cellular booster over another. Initially, there was no way I’d try a manually adjustable one, but it doesn’t look as complex as I feared. I’m going to have to think about it, but I feel a lot more comfortable now.

    Morgan Matthews on

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