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...
This Month in ITS History
June 1910: Congress Passes First American Radio Law
On June 28, 1910, Congress passed the Wireless Ship Act (PL 262, 61st Congress). The legislation was prompted by the 1909 wreck of the SS Republic. When the Republic sank, a radio distress call saved 1,200 lives. This law was first in the U.S to regulate radio and applied only to ships carrying 60 or more passengers and traveling 200 miles. The act required these ships to carry a radio, and a skilled radio operator. Radio was still a cutting edge invention in 1910, but the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in the Commerce Department (DOC) was already investigating its uses. The DOC was given authority to enforce the new law, and NBS increased its radio work in preparation for the Wireless Act effective date of June 1, 1911. In 1912, the Titanic sank, bringing additional attention to the lifesaving role of radio at sea. In 1913 NBS began to hire radio researchers in its Electrical Division and initiated work on fog beacons for ships. By 1916, radio work was so important that Congress created the NBS radio lab. From these beginnings, radio research in the Department of Commerce continues to this day. ITS is now a primary federal radio research laboratory, developing and assessing new telecommunications technologies to assist NTIA in its role as the agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues.