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

What We Do

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) performs cutting-edge telecommunications research and engineering with both federal government and private sector partners. As its research and engineering laboratory, ITS supports NTIA by performing the research and engineering that enables the U.S. Government, national and international standards organizations, and many aspects of private industry to manage the radio spectrum and ensure that innovative, new technologies are recognized and effective. ITS also serves as a principal Federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of other Federal agencies, state and local Governments, private corporations and associations, and international organizations. The FY 2016 Technical Progress Report describes research performed in the past fiscal year.

ITS Releases New Open-Source Code to Boost Spectrum-Monitoring Research

Spectrum monitoring—long-term continuous measurement of the radio frequency environment from multiple sensors—is widely seen as essential to enabling increased exploitation of spectrum. Monitoring is expected be the cornerstone to modern spectrum management that is proactive and automated instead of reactive and static, enabling dynamic spectrum sharing by billions of new connected devices while protecting the operations of incumbent critical radio services. 

Effective spectrum monitoring requires low cost programmable sensing hardware, secure and robust networking infrastructure, and meaningful data analytics and data visualization. ITS has been working to advance development of all three through its participation in the development of the IEEE 802.22.3 Spectrum Characterization and Occupancy Sensing (SCOS) standard. ITS has released a first reference implementation of a sensor-control operating platform proposed as part of the SCOS standard. Scos-sensor software, shared through a public GitHub repository, is a robust, flexible, and secure platform for remote spectrum monitoring that allows operation of one or many spectrum sensors, such as a software-defined radio (SDR), over a network. Read more here ...

Save the Date!

ISART 2018 
Path Lost: Navigating propagation challenges for ultra-dense wireless systems
July 24-26, 2018, in Broomfield, Colorado

Network densification in response to the explosion in demand for wireless data presents technical economic, and regulatory challenges ... Network operators are looking to ultra-dense networks and ever-shrinking cell sizes to build capacity, but existing propagation models have an inadequate level of fidelity to represent these environments. ... ISART 2018 will bring together leading experts from government, academia, and industry to explore the current state of the art and map the path forward to the next generation of foundational propagation models. Read more here ...

New Research Report on Speech Intelligibility

volte-police.jpgNTIA Technical Report 18-529, published at the very end of 2017, reports the results of an investigation of speech intelligibility in different radio environments recently completed by ITS’s Audio Quality Research team on behalf of the Department of Homeland (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). ITS performed two distinct but related speech intelligibility tests on five speech codec operating modes that might be chosen to provide mission critical voice services to public safety users over an LTE based radio access network (such as FirstNet). The reported test results will enable those who design radio access networks and radio access augmentation strategies to make decisions based on speech intelligibility. This is key for public safety stakeholders because speech intelligibility directly affects first responder operations. Read more here ...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

March 28, 1978: NTIA Established

In 1978 President Carter drafted Reorganization Plan No. 1 to reduce the staff of the Executive Office by about 15%. A portion of the cuts came from eliminating the Office of Telecommunications Policy (OTP), and shifting its responsibilities to the Commerce Department. The order went into effect on March 28th, implemented by Executive Order 12046. The Executive Order only laid out the structure of Executive Office agencies. The Commerce Secretary created the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) from the Office of Telecommunications (OT). The functions transferred from OTP to Commerce included the President's authority to assign frequencies to radio stations belonging to the United States, carry out radio spectrum management, and conduct long-range spectrum planning in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission. The reorganization also transferred functions related to telecommunications planning and the communications satellite system. ITS, which had been an institute in OT, became the research and engineering arm of NTIA. The new structure wasn’t finalized for some time. NTIA operated for 14 years on the authority of Carter’s reorganization and executive order, until Congress passed the NTIA Organization Act of 1992, which codified NTIA's authority and incorporated its organizational structure, including ITS. ITS was designated as a research office, separated from NTIA’s policy makers to protect the independence of its research. ITS is not a regulatory office, so it can work closely with technology and telecommunications companies without conflicts of interest. ITS is also authorized to enter into interagency agreements to assist other federal agencies with telecommunication issues.