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

July 1957: International Geophysical Year Kicks Off

Proposed by a member of the National Academies of Sciences, the International Geophysical Year (IGY) was a global research effort that took place from July 1957 to December 1958. CRPL staff visited the Antarctic early in 1957 to prepare sites for their research. In July, CRPL sent researchers to the Antarctic to map the ionosphere and conduct forward scatter experiments. The IGY was planned to coincide with a time of unusually high solar activity. Sixty-seven countries participated in cooperative scientific studies around the world. International cooperation is important for geophysical research and large research projects often cross political borders. Much of the activity during the IGY took place in the Antarctic; some also took place in the Arctic, and some near the equator. The IGY was notable because of the number of countries working together in the midst of the Cold War. All the cooperating countries agreed to store the data collected in shared data centers located around the world. IGY research included the ionosphere, the auroras, cosmic rays, solar activity, gravity, glaciology, geomagnetism, oceanography, meteorology, rockets, satellites, longitude, and latitude. CRPL’s staff was involved in ionospheric and geomagnetic research in Antarctica, and in work on satellites and rockets in the U.S. CRPL also housed ionospheric and solar activity data after the completion of the IGY. The ionospheric and solar data collected led to improved communication and a better understanding of the atmosphere. Today, ITS staff work closely with the international community through international organizations like ITU, IEEE, and URSI. ITS's researchers still use data about the atmosphere and the sun to understand their effects on telecommunications.