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A receiver is a hardware module or device used to receive signals of different kinds, depending on the context of the application. It may receive analog electromagnetic signals or waves, or digital signals through wired media. The term receiver, however, is mostly used in communication, specifically wireless communication in terms of networking and cellular communication. It is the device that receives and decodes signals and then conditions or transforms them into something that another machine or computer understands.
A receiver mostly refers to that part of a device that receives signals; often, the device acts as both a transmitter and a receiver (transceiver) such as in the case of cell phones (cellular radio) and antennas used for data communication. If both the transmitter and the receiver are in the same locality, the transmission medium would usually be cables or wire, but wireless signals are also viable to allow for a broadcast method of transmission to multiple receivers.
In the context of general communication, the receiver is the one who receives the item, be it in the form of speech, a letter or an object. This concept permeates and applies to all forms of receivers in any form of technology as all of them, without exception, have the ability to receive something that has been sent by a transmitter in the form of either electromagnetic waves, electric signals, sound waves or even light.
An example of a receiver is the transceiver module, which also serves as a transmitter for bi-directional communication of a terrestrial radio installation or cellular tower. It uses its transceiver to send signals to a cell phone such as voice, text messages and data, and, in return, it receives the same kinds of signals from a phone to be retransmitted and received by other towers until they reach their final destination. The same applies to the communication between a Wi-Fi router and a laptop or mobile device; signals are transmitted and received bi-directionally.