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.

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

February 1921: NBS Radio Communication Section Formed

On February 1, 1921, the National Bureau of Standards combined its two radio laboratories—Section 6a, Radio Development and Section 6b, Radio Research and Testing—into one undivided section. The new section was christened Section 6, Radio Communication Section. The move recognized the importance of radio work and consolidated the agency's radio research under the leadership of one person. F.A. Kolster had headed the radio development subsection before 1921; his work included early receivers, wavelength measurement devices, and radio direction finders. Kolster was named chief of the new section, and placed in charge of all cooperative studies with the military, but later that year, when Kolster left NBS to join the National Telegraph Company, John Howard Dellinger was named chief of the division. Dellinger had acted as head of radio research and testing prior to the re-organization, and as Kolster’s research assistant afterward. Dellinger remained the head of the Radio Section until it was again re-organized and became the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory in 1946. In Kolster's own words, his separation from NBS and the creation of the Kolster Radio Corp. was a “magnificent failure.” The Radio Communication Section was re-organized many more times in the following years, but no matter what it was called or who was in charge, its research has continued to inform federal radio spectrum policy and support the American telecommunications industry.