Glossary Definition: Transceiver

This post provides the reader with a detailed definition and description of a Transceiver.

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Glossary Word:  Transceiver

The word “transceiver” is a shortened expression for the phrase “transmitter-receiver.”

A transceiver is a Physical-Layer device (or circuit) that has two responsibilities:

  1. To transmit data over some communication media (be it copper, optical fiber, or in the air for RF applications).
  2. To receive data from some communication media (again, this can be copper, optical fiber, or air).

In other words, a transceiver supports both a “transmitter” and a “receiver” function.

Transceivers are designed in either the form of an IC (integrated circuit) or via discrete circuitry on a board.

Modern-day transceivers also include circuitry that performs the following functions:

  • CDR – Clock and Data Recovery
  • Signal Conditioning/Modulator/Demodulator (e.g., conditions the signal for transmission over the communication media).  Examples would be E/O (Electrical to Optical) Conversion and O/E.
  • Pre-Emphasis (e.g., compensating for impairments and the limited bandwidth of the communication media – before transmitting data/symbols onto the line).
  • Equalization (e.g., compensating for impairments and the limited bandwidth of the communication media – after receiving data/symbols from the line).

Transceivers may also include circuitry that supports “zero-suppression” techniques, depending on the protocol it supports.  In this case, the transceiver would consist of circuitry that ensures that it will never transmit a long string of consecutive “0s” out onto the line.  The purpose of “zero-suppression” is to ensure that the Clock and Data Recovery PLL (Phase Locked Loop) at the Receiving Terminal will have enough transitions in the line signal (that it receives) to maintain “phase/frequency lock” with the incoming signal.

Examples of Zero-Suppression techniques would be:

  • Encoding/decoding STS-1 signals into/from the B3ZS format while transporting it over coaxial cable.
  • Encoding/decoding 100 Gigabit Ethernet data into/from the 64B/66B format while transporting it over a CAUI-4 or CAUI-10 interface.

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Author: Darrell Smith

Darrell Smith has more than 30 years of experience as an Electrical Engineer. He has about 20 years of experience as an Applications Engineer and the remainder of his time was spent in Hardware Design and Product Marketing. He will now be sharing his wealth of knowledge on this blog.

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