Automatic control of attenuation in a digital communication network

  • Juan M. Fonseca Guerra

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis describes the investigation of an adaptive method of attenuation control for digital speech signals in an analogue-digital environment and its effects on the transmission performance of a national telecommunication network. The first part gives the design of a digital automatic gain control, able to operate upon a P.C.M. signal in its companded form and whose operation is based
upon the counting of peaks of the digital speech signal above certain threshold levels.
A study was of a digital automatic gain control (d.a.g.c.) in open-loop configuration and closed-loop configuration. The former was adopted as the means for carrying out the automatic control of attenuation. It was simulated and tested, both objectively and subjectively.
The final part is the assessment of the effects on telephone connections of a d.a.g.c. that introduces gains of 6 dB or 12 dB. This work used a Telephone Connection Assessment Model developed at The University of Aston in Birmingham.
The subjective tests showed that the d.a.g.c. gives advantage for listeners when the speech level is very low. The benefit is not great when speech is only a little quieter than preferred. The assessment showed that, when a standard British Telecom earphone is
used, insertion of gain is desirable if speech voltage across the earphone terminals is below an upper limit of -38 dBV. People commented upon the presence of an adaptive-like effect during the tests. This could be the reason why they voted against the insertion of gain at level only little quieter than preferred, when they may otherwise have judged it to be desirable.
A telephone connection with a d.a.g.c. in has a degree of difficulty less than half of that without it. The score Excellent plus Good is 10-30% greater.
Date of AwardOct 1981
Original languageEnglish


  • telephony
  • digital transmission
  • pulse-code modulation

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