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

January 1949: First Televised Presidential Inauguration

On January 20, 1949, for the first time in history the inauguration of an American president was televised for all the nation to see. Democrat Harry S. Truman had narrowly defeated Republican Thomas Dewey to clinch the presidency, despite widespread predictions that Dewey would win. Supreme Court Justice Fred Vinson presided over the oath of office, and television cameras broadcast the event live to a nation that was quickly adopting the new television technology. Truman's speech laid out an anti-communist agenda that would guide his foreign policy decisions; it was heard and seen instantly by Americans in their living rooms throughout the country. This event, which began an ongoing tradition of televising inaugural addresses, might never have happened without the work of the National Bureau of Standards Radio Division. As the government’s primary scientific agency, the NBS began its engagement in radio research at the beginning of the 20th century and in television research a few decades later. While companies like RCA and NBC focused their energies on using the new medium to its fullest, NBS scientists researched radio wave propagation, transmission, and reception, and coordinated with their regulatory counterparts to manage the use of the airwaves. ITS, a direct descendant of the Radio Division, continues to work to improve telecommunication technology through fundamental and applied research and engineering. ITS researchers also contribute their expertise to the organizations that establish the national and international standards for television transmission and equipment.