What is Receiver Sensitivity?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Mar 17, 2021

Receiver sensitivity is a measure of the minimum signal strength that a receiver can detect. It tells us the weakest signal that a receiver will be able to identify and process. Receiver sensitivity is expressed in dBm. Since it represents how faint an input signal can be to be successfully received by the receiver, the lower the power level of the signal, the better. So for example a receiver sensitivity of -90 dBm is better than -80 dBm i.e this means that the -90 dBm receiver is more sensitive and can interpret lower power signals.

The typical range for receiver sensitivity of various RF modules is from -50 to -100 dBm. Different standards and technologies have different requirements for receiver sensitivity.

Receiver Sensitivity Requirements for modules:

Bluetooth: -70 dBm to -100 dBm

Wi-Fi: -40 dBm to -80 dBm

Cellular: up to -120 dBm

LoRa: up to -130 dBm 

GNSS: -140 to -165 dBm

ZigBee: -85 to -92 dBm

The noise level and bandwidth of a receiver are two factors that affect its receiver sensitivity.