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

November 1918: World War 1 Ends

The National Bureau of Standards radio lab worked closely with the Army and Navy during the First World War. During the war, the lab's work was focused on military needs, such as air navigation devices, submarine communications equipment, and training books for military radio operators. The demand for its work had prompted the lab to increase staff to 40 people. At 11:00 AM on November 11th 1918 the Armistice of Compiègne began. Signed two days earlier, following the abdication of the German Kaiser, this treaty marked the end of World War I’s hostilities. With the end of the war, the radio lab began to focus its efforts on research that could improve the lives of civilians. Staff tested broadcasting equipment, created radios for home use, and pioneered new methods of transmitting. The return of radio savvy servicemen and the release of airwaves  monopolized by the Navy during the war combined to create a boom in commercial radio in the early 1920s. Without military funds from the war effort, the Bureau struggled to recruit and keep experienced radio researchers to study the fundamentals of radio propagation. Nonetheless, their work on signal fading and the ionosphere helped commercial stations maintain steady signals with minimal interference and contributed significantly to the growth of the industry. Today, ITS continues to support the needs of both military and civilian telecommunications by performing basic and applied research to encourage the development of new, more efficient and effective communications technologies.