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
May 1937: NBS begins Ionospheric Reporting Service
In May 1937, the National Bureau of Standards began publishing monthly reports on the state of the ionosphere as a service for radio broadcasters. The ionosphere, a highly ionized and layered portion of the upper atmosphere, is important to radio communications because it scatters radio signals and reflects them back to earth, allowing broadcasters to increase their effective transmission area. NBS researchers had only recently amassed enough data to understand the ionosphere's effect on radio fading and interference. The new reporting service included information on the height and characteristics of the ionosphere and disruptions by weather and solar phenomena. Predictions of conditions for the next three months were based on atmospheric and solar cycles were assisted by an automated radio transmitter in Meadows, Maryland, that recorded radio waves reflected off the ionic layers to map and characterize them. This data was used by other governmental agencies to adjust broadcasting frequency, power, and direction to ensure radio signals reached their intended destinations. In 1939 the reports were released to commercial broadcasters as well. Nearly 80 years later, ITS continues to support other governmental agencies and commercial enterprises by publicly releasing the results of cutting edge radio propagation research through regular reports and technical bulletins.