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

March 1915: NBS Radio Section Funded

On March 4, 1915 the National Bureau of Standards received its first appropriation for radio research. The Bureau had been investigating radio-wireless technology since 1913 in the electricity division, but, for the first time, the new budget for Fiscal Year 1916 included a separate line item of “$10,000 for the investigation and standardization of methods and instruments employed in radio communication.” F.A. Kolstler and J.H. Dellinger, well regarded researchers from the electricity division, divided the leadership of the new radio lab. While Kolstler was named chief of the section on the organizational paperwork, his duties were focused on military applications for the new technology. Dellinger, listed as a research assistant, was in charge of personnel, publications, and his own research lab. By the next year, the radio section had outgrown its lab space and Congress appropriated an additional $50,000 for the construction of a building south of the Bureau’s existing electrical building. The 1918 construction costs of the two-story Radio Building included two one-hundred-fifty foot antennas. Over the years the work of the radio section changed to keep up with new technologies and new needs. Its name also changed—the NBS Radio Section became the Inter-service Radio Propagation Laboratory in 1940, the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory in 1946, the Institute for Telecommunication Science and Aeronomy in 1964, and finally the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences in 1967. ITS is the country’s principal resource for governmental radio research and still works to improve the scientific understanding that underlies cellular, satellite, and public safety communications as well asother radio technologies such as Wi-Fi, radar, and GPS.