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

May 1946: CRPL Established as a Peacetime Equivalent to IRPL

On May 1, 1946 the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) was officially created. During World War II the military had taken control of the airwaves, and with them the radio research arm of the National Bureau of Standards. In 1942, the Interdepartmental Radio Propagation Laboratory (IRPL) had been formed from the Bureau’s radio lab, but its research was supervised and funded by the Army and Navy. With the horrors of World War II over the generals were ready to give the responsibility for radio research back to the Department of Commerce. In December of 1945, the Secretaries of War, the Army and Navy had written a letter to the Secretary of Commerce suggesting a centralized agency to handle radio propagation research and data housed in the Department. Commerce Secretary Wallace responded to that he was, “asking the director of the National Bureau of standards to establish within that bureau a central radio propagation laboratory.” A council of military and civilian interests was formed to direct the new lab. CRPL’s primary focus was on understanding, mapping, and predicting the ionosphere to understand its effects on radio wave propagation. John Howard Dellinger, who had been director of both IRPL and the radio lab that preceded it, was placed in charge of the new agency. In the 70 years since the end of World War II, CRPL has changed names and responsibilities, but has remained the primary source of federally-funded radio research. ITS now works to improve telecommunications – including radio - in the United States. Propagation studies are still an important part of the lab’s work along with newer endeavors such as audio visual quality, public sector communications, and improved network performance.