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.

Register now for ISART 2018! Registration closes July 17

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 ...

ITS is Hiring Computer Scientists!

Job posting closes July 26, 2018


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...

January 3, 2018

A new NTIA Technical Report, published at the very end of 2017, reports the results of an investigation of speech intelligibility in different radio environments recently completed...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

July 1968: Irregular Terrain Model Published

In July 1968 one of ITS’s most famous publications was released. “Prediction of Tropospheric Radio Transmission Loss Over Irregular Terrain: A Computer Model” described a software product based on the groundbreaking work done for Tech Note 101 three years earlier. The FORTRAN program created by ITS engineers Anita Longley and Phil Rice is better known as the Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) or simply Longley-Rice. This was one of the first computerized models of radio propagation that could be used effectively in the real world. It incorporated general terrain features, climate, antenna characteristics, and wavelength into a general propagation model. The computerized model could be used to predict the propagation between two points or to predict the full propagation from a transmitter. To verify their work the team compared the model's predictions to over 800 measured communications paths from around the world. ITM predated digital elevation databases, and was used heavily for decades after its publication. The FCC used the Longley-Rice model for expansion of both satellite and digital television allocations. ITM remains an important propagation model almost 50 years later, and the software implementations in FORTRAN and C++, dated as the languages are, are still among the most downloaded ITS software. ITS continues to improve and update the model, which remains a fundamental tool in the effort to maximize spectrum utilization.