Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Due to the lapse in Congressional Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce is closed. Commerce Department websites, including this one, will not be updated until further notice. For more information, see Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations.


What We Do

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is the research and engineering laboratory of NTIA. We perform advanced communications research to inform spectrum policy and develop capabilities to solve emerging telecommunications issues. We serve as a principal Federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of other Federal agencies, state and local Governments, industry, and international organizations. We work to continually advance the state of the art in radio frequency (RF) propagation measurement, RF propagation modeling, spectrum monitoring and enforcement, electromagnetic compatibility analysis, interference mitigation strategies, evaluation of end-user experience, and engineering analysis of evolving technologies to manage and share spectrum efficiently. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the FY 2017 Technical Progress Report.

ITS is Hiring Computer Scientists and Computer Engineers!

ITS is recruiting recent grad Computer Scientists and Computer Engineers to join research and development teams operating in a cross-disciplinary collaborative environment in our Boulder, Colorado, laboratory. Several full-time, permanent positions are open at the ZP II or III grade. The responsibility of the position will be to assist senior engineers in implementing complex telecommunication and propagation modeling algorithms and developing, validating, verifying, testing, and documenting software implementations; assist senior software engineers solving problems in communication theory, electromagnetics and hardware telecommunication systems; and provide written and oral reports and status updates while working in a team-based environment. These positions have positive education and specialized experience requirements. Please refer to the announcements at USAJOBS for full information.

Computer Scientist: USAJobs announcement # NTIA-ITS-2019-0006 Closes Wednesday, January 2, 2019!
Computer Engineer: 
USAJobs announcement # NTIA-ITS-2019-0002 Closes Wednesday, January 2, 2019!

Internship Available in Information Technology

We are looking for a Student Trainee under the Pathways Internship Program. As a Student Trainee (Information Technology), you will assist higher banded Information Technology employees with the following duties:

  • Provide IT helpdesk support for software and hardware
  • Troubleshoot IT problems to support business and research options
  • Perform day to day IT related assignments
  • Communicate in writing and verbally in a team-based environment and provide updates on work assignments

For details, see USAJOBS announcement # NTIA-ITS-2019-0003  Closes Thursday, January 3, 2019.

November 26, 2018

Behind every initiative to share spectrum are models of how radio waves in a particular band propagate through different environments. How far will a signal travel before it becomes too faint to be useful or...

August 7, 2018

The record attendance (nearly 170 experts from government, academia, and industry) at the 17th International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART) demonstrated the deep interest in the problem of modeling radio...

April 24, 2018

As demand for spectrum for commercial use continues to grow, policymakers are exploring spectrum sharing as a way to expand capacity while still fulfilling the needs of federal agencies. This model can work only if rules...

February 23, 2018

The Radio Act of 1912 dictated perhaps the first spectrum efficiency requirement when it said that “In all circumstances, except in case of signals or radiograms relating to vessels in distress, all stations shall...

February 6, 2018

Spectrum monitoring—long-term continuous measurement of the radio frequency environment from multiple sensors—is widely seen as essential to enabling increased exploitation of spectrum. Monitoring is expected be the...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

January 1958: Explorer I Launched

On the 31st of January 1958, the U.S. launched the Explorer I into space. The first American satellite was a joint project between the Army's Redstone Arsenal and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the predecessor to NASA). Explorer's primary instruments were radiation detectors, developed by James Van Allen, which were intended to measure cosmic rays outside the Earth's atmosphere. Instead, the instruments detected rings of radiation in the Earth’s upper atmosphere which were named in honor of Van Allen. In Boulder, Central Radio Propagation Laboratory scientists celebrated, and used the data from Explorer along with that from the previously launched Soviet Sputniks to help understand the ionosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves and allows for radio communication over long distances. For the first time, the ionosphere could be studied by looking at radio waves that had passed through it instead of reflecting off it. Soon CRPL and NASA began work on the TOPSI, or “topside sounder," project which equipped satellites with radio equipment to probe the ionosphere in order to better understand it. CRPL published ionospheric propagation predictions from January 1946 to October 1976 to assist broadcasters by providing “useful tools for effective frequency allocation, for efficient use of assigned frequencies, and for developing specifications for engineering design of high frequency communications equipment and circuits.” These prediction services and the improved understanding of the atmosphere gained through satellite sounding helped advance both commercial radio and television and public safety and military communication in the United States. Today, ITS employees continue to work to improve and safeguard satellite communications through interagency agreements with NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense.