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

What We Do

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) performs cutting-edge telecommunications research and engineering with both federal government and private sector partners. As its research and engineering laboratory, ITS supports NTIA by performing the research and engineering that enables the U.S. Government, national and international standards organizations, and many aspects of private industry to manage the radio spectrum and ensure that innovative, new technologies are recognized and effective. ITS also serves as a principal Federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of other Federal agencies, state and local Governments, private corporations and associations, and international organizations. The FY 2016 Technical Progress Report describes research performed in the past fiscal year.

ITS Releases New Open-Source Code to Boost Spectrum-Monitoring Research

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 cornerstone to modern spectrum management that is proactive and automated instead of reactive and static, enabling dynamic spectrum sharing by billions of new connected devices while protecting the operations of incumbent critical radio services. 

Effective spectrum monitoring requires low cost programmable sensing hardware, secure and robust networking infrastructure, and meaningful data analytics and data visualization. ITS has been working to advance development of all three through its participation in the development of the IEEE 802.22.3 Spectrum Characterization and Occupancy Sensing (SCOS) standard. ITS has released a first reference implementation of a sensor-control operating platform proposed as part of the SCOS standard. Scos-sensor software, shared through a public GitHub repository, is a robust, flexible, and secure platform for remote spectrum monitoring that allows operation of one or many spectrum sensors, such as a software-defined radio (SDR), over a network. Read more here ...

Save the Date!

ISART 2018 
Path Lost: Navigating propagation challenges for ultra-dense wireless systems
July 24-26, 2018, in Broomfield, Colorado

Network densification in response to the explosion in demand for wireless data presents technical economic, and regulatory challenges ... Network operators are looking to ultra-dense networks and ever-shrinking cell sizes to build capacity, but existing propagation models have an inadequate level of fidelity to represent these environments. ... ISART 2018 will bring together leading experts from government, academia, and industry to explore the current state of the art and map the path forward to the next generation of foundational propagation models. Read more here ...

New Research Report on Speech Intelligibility

volte-police.jpgNTIA Technical Report 18-529, published at the very end of 2017, reports the results of an investigation of speech intelligibility in different radio environments recently completed by ITS’s Audio Quality Research team on behalf of the Department of Homeland (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). ITS performed two distinct but related speech intelligibility tests on five speech codec operating modes that might be chosen to provide mission critical voice services to public safety users over an LTE based radio access network (such as FirstNet). The reported test results will enable those who design radio access networks and radio access augmentation strategies to make decisions based on speech intelligibility. This is key for public safety stakeholders because speech intelligibility directly affects first responder operations. Read more here ...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

February 1927: Federal Radio Commission Established

On February 23, 1927 President Calvin Coolidge signed Public Law 69-632. This law, which became known as the Radio Act of 1927, superseded the previous Radio Act of 1912. The 1912 act, which focused on maritime radio, had put the power of regulation squarely in the hands of the Secretary of Commerce; the new act created a Federal Radio Commission to regulate the use of all radio frequency in the U.S. In their first report the Commission described the change and enumerated some of their duties: “A wholly new Federal body was called into being to deal with a condition which had become almost hopelessly involved during the months following July 3, 1926, when it became clear that the Department of Commerce had no authority under the 1912 radio law to allocate frequencies, withhold radio licenses, or regulate power or hours of transmission.” (FRC July 1, 1927) The Federal Radio Commission listened to conflicting claims to frequencies and weighed public opinion; they became known for withholding radio licenses from broadcasters in their zeal to “bring order out of chaos, by placing the 732 broadcasting stations on 89 wavelengths, so as not to create interference.” The FRC lasted only a few years before it was replaced in 1934 by the Federal Communications Commission, which had even broader powers to regulate commercial broadcasters. ITS continues to work with the FCC to coordinate government and commercial spectrum use and manage the ever-more crowded radio spectrum.