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

ITS: The Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab

Our mission is to ADVANCE innovation in communications technologies, INFORM spectrum and communications policy for the benefit of all stakeholders, and INVESTIGATE our Nation’s most pressing telecommunications challenges through research that employees are proud to deliver. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the Technical Progress Report.


August 18, 2020

Presentations from the ISART 2020, the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies: 5G Spectrum and a Zero-Trust Network are now available on the ...

April 2, 2020

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, signed into law on January 14, 2019, requires federal agencies to publish their information online as open data, using standardized, machine-readable...

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...

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.