Receiver Sensitivity Calculator

Receiver sensitivity is the strength of the weakest signal that a radio receiver can detect and demodulate. It is typically specified in dBm, Watt or microvolt.

It is also referred to as Minimum Detectable Signal (MDS).

How to Calculate Receiver Sensitivity

Use this tool is used to calculate the sensitivity. Enter the following:

  • Temperature
  • Bandwidth
  • Receiver Noise Figure
  • Signal to Noise ratio required to achieve the desired performance

Receiver Sensitivity Formula

Receiver Sensitivity = 10 * log10 (kTB/(1 mW)) + NF + SNR


  • T – Temperature
  • B – Bandwidth
  • k – Boltzmann’s Constant 1.380649 × 10-23 m2 kg s-2 K-1
  • NF – Noise Figure
  • SNR – Signal-to-Noise ratio (sometimes referred to as Carrier-to-Noise Ratio)

Receiver sensitivity can also be expressed as a function of Noise Floor:

Receiver Sensitivity = Receiver Noise Floor + SNR

Noise Figure

Noise figure degrades the receiver sensitivity. Typically a low noise amplifier can be used to improve or lower the minimum detectable signal level.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

As the complexity of the modulation increases the required SNR increases as well. Frequency Modulation (FM) signals for instance require lower SNR than Bluetooth which is a more complex digital waveform.


As the operating temperature increases, the noise power increases. This degrades the receiver sensitivity


The larger the bandwidth, the higher the noise power in the band of interest. This in turn degrades the receiver sensitivity.

Example Receiver Sensitivity Calculation


  • Room temperature 27oC or 300 K,
  • Signal bandwidth of 25 kHz,
  • Receiver noise figure of 5 dB,
  • Required SNR of 4 dB,

results in a receiver sensitivity or minimum detectable signal level of -121 dBm.

In other words, a signal has to be at least -121 dBm to be demodulated by the receiver.

Bluetooth Receiver Sensitivity

Bluetooth signal has a bandwidth of 1 MHz and requires SNR of 15 dB for a Bit error rate of 0.1%.

Bluetooth requires that compliant devices must be able to achieve a minimum Receiver Sensitivity of -70 dBm. Using the calculator above, the noise figure can be as high as 29 dB.

In practice however the noise figure can be designed to be 8 dB or less. In this scenario the receiver will be able to detect a signal as low as -90 dBm.

Related Calculators

Use the following to convert from dBm to: