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

August 1958: “System Loss in Radio Wave Propagation” Published

Ken Norton’s ground breaking article on “System Loss in Radio Wave Propagation” first appeared in the August 1958 edition of the NBS Journal of Research. The work presented a new concept in propagation studies: transmission loss. Norton’s concept simplified the calculation of signal losses for radio engineers. His work allowed better engineering of radio systems with reduced power usage, since the power required to transmit over a required distance could be easily determined using his method. The algorithms published in the article also allowed engineers to easily compare antennas, even at different frequencies. Six years later the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) published Tech Note 101, one of its most famous publications. Tech Note 101 built on the foundation of Norton’s work and expanded on it, describing a way that users could accurately predict the distance at which a transmitter will work. Norton’s publication shaped the agency’s work even after it became the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) in 1967. Radio propagation predictions based on the algorithms described in these publications became one of ITS’s primary outputs in the 1970s. Current ITS propagation modeling work in support of more efficient spectrum sharing continues to build on Norton’s research to develop more accurate propagation prediction models.