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dB or not dB? Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Decibels But Were Afraid to Ask

Authored on: May 15, 2014 by A. Winter

Technical Paper / Application Note

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True or false: 30 dBm + 30 dBm = 60 dBm?

Why does 1% work out to be -40 dB one time but then 0.1 dB or 0.05 dB the next time? These questions sometimes leave even experienced engineers scratching their heads. Decibels are found everywhere, including power levels, voltages, reflection coefficients, noise figures, field strengths and more. What is a decibel and how should we use it in our calculations? This application note is intended as a refresher on the subject of decibels.

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