How Does a Transceiver Work? – A Detailed Instruction

In radio communication, a transceiver helps transmit and receive signals. An example of a transceiver is your phone, which can both send and receive voice signals.

When you talk, the microphone transforms your voice into electrical signals. Then, a microchip modulates them into radio waves. The transceiver in mobile phone will transmit the waves to the other end of the line.

Similarly, when a friend talks to you on the phone, your phone’s transceiver receives the radio waves and transmits them to a microchip. The chip transforms the waves into electrical signals and vibrates the speaker, generating what you hear.

Isn’t it incredible that the whole process happens within seconds? Transceiver applications don’t stop there, though. Besides radio transceivers, you can find optical and wifi transceivers. In this article, you will find out how does a transceiver work.

What Is a Transceiver?

You can guess the transceiver definition by its name – a combination of transmitter and receiver. It is a small electronic circuit that receives and transmits radio waves. Transceivers are built into many devices around you: your smartphone, laptop, wifi router, ham radio, and walkie-talkie.

Another type is network transceivers, which help transport digital data. In a fiber-optic network system, each device is equipped with one fiber optic transceiver. This transceiver transports data by pulses of light over optical cables.

With optic fibers, data can be sent in huge quantities at the speed of light. This is how Internet service providers give you access to the Internet.

How Does It Work?

1. Radio transceivers

Radio frequency transceivers work through radio waves. A microchip converts signals in your device into radio waves and lets the transceiver send them out on a radio frequency.

Other transceivers that operate on the same frequency can catch the radio waves, then send them to the microchip of that device, which will transform the waves into a usable form.

A wireless transceiver receives and transmits signals via small antennas. It also has a tuner that separates specific signals from background interferences.

Do you know that your smartphone contains at least four transceivers? Your Wi-Fi, Cellular, Bluetooth, and GPS all require their own transceiver, each with an antenna and a tuner. Those are called full-duplex transceivers; they can receive and transmit signals at the same time.

On the other hand, you might notice that some ham radios and walkie-talkies can’t send and receive signals simultaneously.

When using simple radios, only one party can talk at a time. The other can’t transmit until that party finishes. Those are called half-duplex transceivers; they can only transmit or receive at a time.

2. Optical transceivers

In fiber transceiver types, a microchip converts electrical data signals into optical signals, then sends them to the transceiver, which transmits the light signals to the other end of the line. Each data stream is sent on a unique wavelength.

Due to the characteristic of light, no data stream interferes with another. Thus, transceivers can transmit and receive multiple data channels at a time. Here is an example of how the system works:

  • When you use your laptop to access a website, the web browser translates the domain name into an IP address. The Wi-Fi transceiver in your laptop will send this IP in the form of radio waves to your Wi-Fi router.
  • The router will transmit this IP address to your Internet service provider (ISP) server via fiber optic cables.
  • Your ISP will request access to the website.
  • The website grants access to your IPS and your IPS delivers it to your Wi-Fi router via an optical module transceiver and to your laptop via a wireless transceiver.

The same concept applies when you download documents online, send a text message on Skype, or call your friends on Facebook.

There are many types of transceivers in optical systems, specified by their form factor, such as SPF (small form factor), SPF+, and Gbic (Gigabit interface converter). You can learn how an SPF works in this video:


To wrap up, a transceiver is used to connect a device to another by receiving and transmitting data. It sends and receives signals via light waves or radio waves.

We hope you’ve found all you need to know about “how does a transceiver work” in our article. If you have any further questions on how a transceiver in networking works, feel free to leave us a comment. We are more than glad to assist! See you then!

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