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WilsonPro Enterprise 1300 and 4300: A Hands-on Review

For the last week, the technical team at UberSignal has been testing the new WilsonPro Enterprise 1300, 1300R, 4300, and 4300R Passive DAS cellular signal boosting amplifiers and we’re excited to share with you everything we know about these new products.

The new WilsonPro Enterprise 1300/1300R is the next version of the WilsonPro 1000, 1000R, and 1000C amplifiers. It comes in both a wall-mount and rack-mount (2U) configurations. With a strong existing outdoor signal, the Enterprise 1300 can cover up to 40,000 sq ft.

The new WilsonPro Enterprise 4300/4300R is the next version of the WilsonPro 4000/4000R amplifiers. It comes in both a wall-mount and rack-mount (2U) configurations. The 4300 is powered by four internal amplifiers with four independent inside coverage ports. With a strong existing outdoor signal, the Enterprise 4300 can cover up to 100,000 sq ft.

What’s New

Multi-Tower Targeting (MTT) Technology

The new Enterprise amplifiers are the first to offer Multi-Tower Targeting (MTT) technology. This is accomplished using three donor (outdoor) antennas ports. In the default configuration, only a single outdoor antenna port is enabled so the amplifier works just like previous models. But for situations where multiple outdoor antennas are beneficial, the amplifier can be re-configured to use three outdoor antenna ports. The ports are grouped as follows:

  • 700 MHz - Bands 12 and 13
  • 850 MHz - Band 5
  • 1900 & 1700/2100 MHz - Bands 4 and 25


To best take advantage of this new technology you will need a signal meter and an understanding of which carriers are using which bands in your area, but for professional installers, it’s a welcome addition to an already solid product.

For remote monitoring and management, Wilson Cloud is built-in to each new amplifier. The amplifiers feature a built-in cellular modem that uses the outdoor donor antenna for carrier communication, or they can connect to a local LAN using the built-in Ethernet port. The Wilson Pro 1000C was the only amplifier to previously feature Wilson Cloud technology so we’re excited to see this cutting-edge technology make its way to more amplifiers!

What’s Better

The 1300/1300R and 4300/4300R are now more powerful than their predecessors, both on the uplink and downlink sides. This means that, with a strong outside signal, you can get more coverage from these systems than the previous versions.

The previous WilsonPro 1000/1000R and 1000C had a maximum downlink output power of +15 dBm while the new Wilson Pro 1300/1300R has a maximum downlink output power of +17 dBm. This small improvement can help improve the coverage margin in any system and is a welcome benefit.

The previous WilsonPro 4000/4000R had a maximum downlink output power of +12 dBm for each of the four output ports while the new WilsonPro 4300/4300R has a maximum downlink output power of +17 dBm on each of the four output ports. In this case, the additional +5 dBm of output power can provide up to double the coverage area when compared to the previous version.

Additionally, the new amplifiers feature touchscreen displays which are clearer, provide more information, and are easier to navigate than the previous displays with the 4-way keypad.

What Hasn’t Changed But Is Still Great

The new wall mount amplifiers feature the same rugged construction and passive cooling as the previous versions while the rack-mount kits include a fan. All amplifiers generate heat so the cooler they run, the longer they will typically last. The new systems feature a built-in power supply with a locking power cord to avoid accidentally unplugging the system.

These systems are backed by Wilson Electronics’ 30-day money-back guarantee (extended to 60 days for UberSignal customers!) and their 3-way manufacturer’s warranty.

Each system also comes with Wilson’s XDR technology which means that the amplifier can continue to operate even with very strong existing outside signals by having a fully dynamic range Auto Gain Control (AGC) system. Other amplifiers, like the Wilson Pro 70 Plus can only turn down the gain a limited amount, so if the outdoor signal is very strong, the amplifier may have to shut down on that band. With XDR, the amplifier should never have to shut down due to strong outside signals.

What Can Be Improved

These new systems are a welcome upgrade and are the inaugural amplifiers in Wilson’s new Enterprise line. We’re very excited at the possibilities that they provide. Of course, no product is perfect so here are a few of our initial observations.

Each amplifier comes with a great touchscreen display, but you currently can’t make any configuration changes like disabling bands or enabling the MTT technology through the display. Instead, you need to connect your computer to the local Ethernet port and make changes through the web-based administration system. According to WilsonPro, this was a conscious decision to limit the possibility of untrained users being able to make changes. This certainly makes sense, but it could have also been accomplished by requiring a passcode before making any changes.

Most people will connect to the WilsonPro Cloud using the on-board cellular modems (>90% according to Wilson). However, if you do decide to use an Ethernet connection and you have one of the new rack-mount amplifiers, the Ethernet port is behind a door on the front of the amplifier, not on the rear with the other cable connections. This is mostly cosmetic and is actually a benefit if you only need access for temporary configuration changes. Depending on how often you need the Ethernet port, some people will think this is a positive and others may think it’s a negative.

Lastly, the new Multi-Tower Targeting technology is a great development, but it’s important to understand its limitations.

  • 700 MHz (Bands 12 and 13) is typically used by Verizon and AT&T nationwide with T-Mobile and US Cellular also having vast spectrum holdings. In most areas, there will be three difference carriers (possibly on three different towers) all broadcasting on 700 MHz. Even with MTT, there is still only one 700 MHz port, so you’ll need to figure out which carrier you most want to support and aim the 700 MHz antenna at that tower.
  • The Cellular band (850 MHz Band 5) is arguably the least important to support. It has two blocks so generally there are two different carriers on the cellular band. This band does get its own port, but again, you likely have at least two carriers represented here.
  • The PCS (1900 MHz Band 2/25) and AWS (1700/2100 MHz Band 4) are typically the most important bands to support because it’s where the most spectrum is available. More spectrum means faster download speeds and more customers that can be supported. In general, all four major carriers will have networks running on these two frequency bands so you have potentially four or more towers and just one port for both Bands 4 and 25.

MTT, in its current form, does not give you a separate outdoor antenna port for each carrier. For professional installers, it can still be a welcome addition to help with complex outdoor signal environments.

Unboxing

The new WilsonPro Enterprise 1300/1300R and 4300/4300R come in very large boxes, just like their predecessors. The boxes measure approximately 29” x 20” x 22” so any sort of expedited shipping, especially on multiple systems, will quickly get expensive!

The inside of the box is divided into two layers. The top layer includes the amplifier, power cable, and instruction manual. The lower portion includes the additional accessories.

The amplifier is housed in the top box and is surrounded by a significantly amount of foam so there’s very little chance that the system will be damaged in shipping. To remove the amplifier, you’ll need to remove both the top and middle layer of foam.

Below the amplifier box are the accessories. You’ll find the following items for each kit:

WilsonPro Enterprise 1300/1300R

  • 1 x Outdoor Directional Antenna
  • 1 x Lightning Protector
  • 1 x 2 ft Cable
  • 2 x 100 ft Cables
  • 1 x Indoor Dome Antenna

WilsonPro Enterprise 4300/4300R

  • 1 x Outdoor Directional Antenna
  • 1 x Lightning Protector
  • 1 x 2 ft Cable
  • 5 x 100 ft Cables
  • 4 x Indoor Dome Antenna

In order to take advantage of the MTT technology, you will need to purchase extra outdoor antennas, cables, and lightning protectors.

Mounting the Amplifier

The wall-mount version of the amplifier features top brackets with large openings at the bottom so you can attach two screws to the wall with the correct spacing and then hang the amplifier on those two screws before fully tightening the top and securing it in place with two screws through the bottom mounting holes. This makes it possible for one person to easily and safely install one or more amplifiers without needing a second set of hands.

The rack-mount amplifiers do not use rails and instead have rack mounting brackets on the front that fit a standard 19-inch rack.

Initial Power On – LCD Display

When powering on the amplifier, the LCD display will take a few seconds to come alive and then a WilsonPro loading indicate will appear as the software loads. The entire bootup process takes 5 to 10 seconds. After that, the dashboard screen will be displayed showing the five frequency bands and an overview of how well each is working.

The frequency bands are color coded based on the state of the band. Green bands are either at full gain or XDR gain. XDR gain means that the amplifier is running at full output power on that band and has had to reduce its gain to stay within the FCC allowed power levels. Orange is for bands experiencing Oscillation or feedback between the outdoor and indoor antennas. Red bands are ones that have shutdown via amplifier configuration.

Tapping on a band will give an overview of the band performance and will show the outdoor signal strength, uplink and downlink gain, and uplink and downlink output power.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at this display:

  • The uplink (UL) bars (from cell phone to tower) will usually be very low and may be off. This is measuring the power from inside cell phones back to the cell tower so unless phones are actively using the band, you won’t see anything on the UL bar chart.
  • These values are a measure of the entire frequency band, not any individual carrier or channel (with the exception of Band 13 which will nearly always be Verizon).
  • You are typically not going to want to use this information to aim your outdoor antenna. Instead, you need to use something that can measure the individual carrier frequencies, like a cell phone or a signal meter, to properly aim the outdoor antenna.

Cloud Connectivity

On the right of the screen are two Wilson Cloud indicators. At the top right is the local ethernet connection indicator. Tapping on it shows the following screen which explains what the different colors mean:

  • Green: The amplifier is connected to a network and the Wilson Cloud
  • Yellow: The amplifier is connected to a non-functioning network. This will happen directly connected to a laptop or when the network does not have a DHCP server.
  • Red: The amplifier is configured to use the Ethernet port but there is no active connection.
  • White: The Ethernet port is disabled.

On the right in the center is the built-in modem connection indicator. Tapping it brings up a screen the displays the current status and the different icon meanings:

  • Green: The amplifier is configured to use the cellular modem and there is a good connection to the Wilson Cloud. The icon will also show the strength of the signal in bars.
  • Yellow: The cellular modem is connected, but the outdoor signal is too weak for the cellular modem to reliably communicate with the Wilson Cloud.
  • Red: The cellular modem has no service.
  • White: The amplifier is not configured to use the built-in cellular modem.

Settings

From the Home screen on the display, tapping on the bottom-right corner will take you to a settings screen where you can see additional information about the amplifier.

General

The initial settings screen brings you to the General tab where it shows some overview information including the model, serial number, hardware version, firmware versions, uptime, and more.

Ethernet

From within settings, you can tap on the Ethernet tab to see information about the current ethernet connection. This gives you valuable information including the MAC address of the amplifier along with the IP address and DNS configuration.

Modem

The next tab is the Modem tab which gives provides information about the cellular modem including the connection status, the signal strength, the IMEI, ICCID, and modem firmware version and the connected band.

Cloud

The next tab is the Cloud tab. The Cloud tab indicates the current network communication preference and gives you the ability to reset the local comm configuration from the LCD display. This could be useful if you disable the Ethernet port but then need to make a configuration change which can only be done through the web administration portal using the Ethernet port.

Antenna

Lastly, the Antenna tab shows the current outdoor antenna configuration. By default, the Outdoor Antenna Config is set to Common Mode where only one outdoor antenna port is active for all bands. Using a computer connected to the amplifier with an Ethernet cable, you can access the web administration interface and change the configuration to enable the MTT technology. This allows you to use all three donor antenna ports to target each port’s frequency band(s) independently of the other ports.

Configuration Changes

All configuration changes need to be made from a computer connected to the Ethernet port on the amplifier or from the WilsonPro Cloud Portal. To access the on-board web interface, Follow these instructions:

  1. Connect one end of the Ethernet cable to the amplifier’s Ethernet port and the other end of the cable to a computer.
  2. Make sure the computer’s Wi-Fi connection is turned off or disconnected.
  3. On the amplifier, access the Settings menu by tapping the icon in the bottom right corner of the display.
  4. Tap on the Ethernet tab. Look for the IP Address line. If the amplifier doesn’t have an IP address listed, wait for a minute and one should show up. Write down the IP address that should start with 169.xxx
  5. On your computer, open a web browser and type in the IP address from the amplifier and press enter. That should open the web administration portal.
  6. Login to the web interface. The default username and password are both set to “admin”.

We’ll cover the local web administration in another article, but it allows you to do the following:

  • Change the login password
  • Change the outside antenna port configuration from Common to Split (MTT)
  • Turn bands on and off
  • Use the antenna tuner utility to aim the outdoor antenna
  • See the amplifier status including the output power
  • See the cellular modem status
  • Change the default communication preferences for the WilsonPro Cloud connectivity

Some of these options are also available in the WilsonPro Cloud portal so many people may never need to access this administration system, but it’s a nice option to have.

Cloud Monitoring

One of the major benefits of the new WilsonPro Enterprise amplifiers is the WilsonPro Cloud remote monitoring which can send you alerts if there are issues and allow you to see both current and historical data. The WilsonPro Cloud monitoring is free for the first year.

We’ll cover the WilsonPro Cloud in an in-depth article soon!

Final Thoughts

The new WilsonPro Enterprise 1300/1300R and WilsonPro Enterprise 4300/4300R are exciting new systems that build upon the previous generation of amplifier to provide more power, built-in cloud monitoring connectivity, and exciting new technologies like Multi-Tower Targeting.

If you’re interested in a signal booster system for your building, UberSignal can help with our free design service and optional installation services. Contact us today!