Automatic gain control and why it’s important

Ken Perkins | October 26, 2015

Automatic Gain Control, or AGC, is one of the most advanced features available on a cell phone signal booster today.

The best thing about AGC for signal booster owners? Once the booster is installed, they never need to worry about it again. No retuning or re-adjusting the booster is ever required, no matter how the local signal environment may change. The AGC takes care of everything.

AGC is the ability of a cell signal booster to:

detect the level of available incoming signal on each of its frequency bands, adjust itself dynamically based on the incoming signal to provide the required level of boost on each frequency band assure maximum signal reach and coverage area.

You can think of gain control like the volume button on a TV. You can turn up the TV volume up or down as needed. ACG does this automatically, sensing when the booster “volume” needs to be higher or lower and making that adjustment without human intervention.

Here’s another way to visualize how AGC works. If you see someone you want to talk to at a distance of say 40 feet, you would speak with a louder than normal voice so that person would hear you. As you walk closer to that person while continuing to speak, you can reduce the volume of your voice and still be heard.

AGC works in a similar fashion. When an available cell signal is weak because of distance from the cell tower or because of obstructions between you and the tower, AGC senses this weak signal condition and causes the booster to increase the signal strength both ways – incoming from the tower to your device, and outgoing from your device to the tower.

When the signal is stronger because you are closer to the tower or there are fewer obstructions blocking the signal, AGC also senses this condition strong signal condition and dials back the booster so the amplified signal doesn’t overpower the cell tower, but continues to deliver maximum signal reach and coverage area under those conditions.

Why is AGC important? If you have a cell phone booster in your home, ACG is great because you can set the signal booster and forget it. If signal conditions change over a period of time, the ACG will adjust the signal ‘volume’ level of the booster – raising or lowing it – as required.

Signal levels can easily fluctuate during a single day, varying from stronger to weaker and back depending on conditions. When that happens, it’s never a problem. The ACG senses the changes and adjusts the signal booster as needed.

If a long term change in the signal environment occurs, say a new cell tower is built across the street, the AGC feature will adjust the boost level as required on the affected frequency band(s).

With AGC, you don’t have to worry about the booster at all. The AGC will self-optimize the signal boost levels for all carriers and networks.


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