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

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.


May 9, 2019

ITS has a long history of leadership in air-to-ground propagation model development within the International Telecommunications Union – Radiocommunication Sector’s (ITU-R) Study Group 3 – Radiowave Propagation (and its...

March 10, 2019

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was...

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...

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...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

December 1941: FCC Suspends All Amateur Radio Use During Wartime

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, decimating the U.S. Pacific fleet. This act brought the United States into World War II. For many, it was a day that the world changed forever. The National Bureau of Standards Radio Section changed forever, too. The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, the FCC issued a formal order suspending all amateur radio operations for the duration of the war. The Bureau immediately renewed its close ties with the Navy and the Army Signal Corps. By the summer of 1942, the Radio Section was renamed the Interservice Radio Propagation Laboratory (IRPL) and its work was directed by the National Defense Research Council. Radar was a new technology and IRPL researchers worked to make it better and to fool the enemy devices. IRPL worked with Very Long Frequency (VLF) radio waves to improve direction finders for ships and planes. They improved weather stations so that the military could drop them behind enemy lines for planning. One team worked to create radio sensors that could detonate ordinance. NBS had begun to map the ionosphere several years previously, and in 1942 the IRPL began to issue quarterly predictions of the best frequencies for military communication. This propagation prediction work became the primary thrust of the IRPL and its successor laboratories for 20 years. Today ITS continues to work with the military in times of need just as the IRPL did. Many Department of Defense components use ITS’s Propagation Modeling Website for wireless communication planning, and ITS is working closely with the Defense Spectrum Organization to make spectrum sharing work in frequencies now used by military radars and communication systems.