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

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.