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

Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / Programs / ITS Research Programs

ITS Research Programs

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ITS research supports the Department of Commerce key strategy of fostering advanced communications technologies to strengthen the Nation’s digital economy. ITS is recognized as one of the world’s leading telecommunication research laboratories.

  • Basic research enhances scientific knowledge and understanding in cutting-edge areas of telecommunications and information technology to improve the performance of telecommunications networks.
  • Applied research, testing, and evaluation help drive innovation and development of advanced technologies and services, contribute to improving public safety communications, provide technical input to NTIA policy development and spectrum management, and help to resolve specific telecommunications problems of other Federal agencies and state and local governments.
  • Cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with industry and academia leverage Federal research resources by providing technical assistance to the private sector that promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
  • Leadership and technical contributions to national and international telecommunications fora help influence development of standards and policies to support the full and fair competitiveness of the U.S. communications and information technology sectors.

Areas of Research

  • Enhancing Spectrum Utilization
    NTIA continues to advance strategic initiatives to make additional spectrum available for commercial wireless use and to meet the increasing radio spectrum needs of both federal and commercial users in the U.S. as efficiently and effectively as possible. ITS promotes these initiatives by conducting engineering studies on in-band and adjacent band interference and interference mitigation techniques. ITS research in this area helps provide the technical foundations necessary to “unlock the value of otherwise underutilized spectrum and open new avenues for spectrum users to derive value through the development of advanced, situation-aware spectrum-sharing technologies.” (The White House, Presidential Memorandum: Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution, June 28, 2010.)
  • Public Safety Communications Interoperability
    ITS worked with the NIST Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) and its predecessors for decades to conduct research and contribute to standardization efforts to assist law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to select and procure communications equipment that meets their needs. Since FY 2003, this work has been carried out through the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, a joint effort that leverages the capabilities of CTL and ITS through collaborative research projects.
  • Propagation Modeling
    The ability to accurately predict the behavior of radio waves through propagation modeling is fundamental to the ability to plan wireless communication system deployments, assess spectrum-sharing proposals, and develop improved dynamic frequency management and spectrum-sharing systems. ITS continues to build on almost a century of effort in Department of Commerce radio research labs to develop and validate, through scientific theory and measurements, improved ultrawideband, wideband, broadband, and narrowband radio propagation models for various radio bands and environments and promulgate them to industry, other agencies, and national and international standard bodies.
  • Improving Telecommunications Network Performance
    ITS research to improve the performance of the telecommunications network end-to-end includes development and assessment of methods to improve the quality of transmission. ITS is a world leader in the development of subjective and objective measures of transmitted audio and video quality. ITS audio and video laboratories develop and demonstrate perception-based audio and video performance assessment tools for critical new areas including Internet multimedia conferencing, advanced television, and wireless services. The tools, and the advances associated with them, are rapidly transferred to government, industrial, academic, and individual users via the release of NTIA-developed software toolkits and open-literature publications.