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mW-to-dBm / dBm-to-mW Power Conversion

Power is commonly expressed in decibel values in order to make adjustments due to loses and gains. The logarithmic nature of decibel units translates the multiplication and division associated with gains and losses into addition and subtraction. Once you get used to it, you will never want to return to watts. Units of dBm are decibels relative to 1 mW of power, hence, 0 dBm 1 mW. 1/100 mW is -20 dBm and 100 mW is +20 dBm. Powers less than 1 mW are always negative dBm values, and powers greater than 1 mW are always positive. See the graph below.


Here are the formulas:

P(mW) = 10[P(dBm)/10]

P(dBm)=10*log[P(mW)]



RF Cafe - mW-to-dBm Power Conversion chart plot graph