Sentry Remote Monitoring Saves The Day

SureCall’s Sentry Remote Monitoring and Control System allows Tech Support to access a cellular signal booster, which eliminates painstaking trouble-shooting tasks.

SureCall Tech Support Means Business

I recently sat down with Dennis Findley, SureCall’s Tech Support Manager, and spoke with him about a large installation that was reporting problems with dropped calls.  SureCall is known for having the lowest product return rate in the cellular signal booster industry, so we take technical support issues very seriously.

Signal Booster Install Facility Layout

Here is the breakdown of this building’s signal booster system setup.  The building is a hospital in New Mexico at about 150,000 square feet.  The installer was using a total of 8 Force5 cell signal boosters to create the cellular coverage in the building, but AT&T customers were still dropping calls.

Cell Tower Location Matters

After speaking with Dennis, the installer started taking steps to remedy the problem.  Dennis looked at where the carrier towers were in the area and discovered the AT&T towers were disproportionately farther away than the other cell carriers’ towers.  He proposed changing the donor antennas from the omni-directional antennas to directional yagi antennas in order to focus the gain on the AT&T towers.

When this change was made, the cellular signal strength drastically improved, according to the installer’s SureCall RF Signal Meter.  However, the customers were still having a hard time with calls.  This time, the customer could hear the people on the other end of the call, but they could not be heard by the receiving party.  This indicated there was an issue with the uplink (the signal that goes from the booster to the outside antenna).  Since you cannot detect uplink on the Signal Meter, this could have been an issue that would take quite a bit of trouble shooting and configuration time.

Sentry Remote Monitoring System

Luckily, the customer had previously installed the Sentry Remote Monitoring System on each of the 8 boosters.  This allowed Dennis to access the dashboard from his desk and identify what was causing the uplink issue.  It turns out the booster was experiencing too much uplink and was automatically taking signal away to compensate.  This was preventing the calls from staying connected because the signal was “timing out”.  Dennis suggested a 10dB inline attenuator be placed on the ‘outside’ port of the signal booster rather than adjusting the manual attenuators on the booster (ultimately, you would like to run the booster at max gain if possible).  This resolved the customer’s issues with making and receiving calls almost instantly.

What Does Sentry Do?

Sentry is a great way to see what is going on with the booster and make quick adjustments to the booster without needing to use the manual attenuators.  In this case, it allowed the signal booster installer the ability to adjust the systems to accommodate for unseen complications as well as allowing the customer to enjoy unrestricted connectivity.  Sentry is currently available free of charge with any Force5 order upon request.

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