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.


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 radio...

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...

February 23, 2018

The Radio Act of 1912 dictated perhaps the first spectrum efficiency requirement when it said that “In all circumstances, except in case of signals or radiograms relating to vessels in distress, all stations shall...

February 6, 2018

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...

April 3, 2017 

Evolving and improving the science behind spectrum sharing is essential to NTIA’s commitment to meeting the demand for spectrum among federal and commercial users. Just as collaboration between spectrum users can unlock...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

October 1957: Sputnik, Earth’s First Artificial Satellite Launched

On October 4, 1957 the USSR launched the Sputnik satellite into an elliptical Earth orbit as a part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY). The launch of the Sputnik (Russian for satellite) shocked American citizens, and marked the beginning of the US/USSR space race that President Kennedy announced four years later. The International Council of Scientific Unions had declared July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, a time of high solar activity, the International Geophysical Year, and resolved that artificial satellites should be launched to assist in mapping the earth and the atmosphere. The US launched its contribution to the effort, the satellite Vanguard, on March 17, 1958. Despite the fear Sputnik instilled in some Americans, researchers and scientists at the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) were eager to use it to help them understand the atmosphere and how satellites could assist in long-range communications. Tracking the satellite from Boulder, Colorado, and Miles City, Montana (approximately 400 miles straight North of Boulder), CRPL researchers hoped to better understand the Doppler Effect and how the atmosphere affected radio transmissions from space. CRPL later assisted NASA in planning and building many satellites for telecommunication and geophysical research. ITS, as the descendant of CRPL, continues to work closely with NASA to improve telecommunications satellite performance.