Our Mission

ITS is the research and engineering laboratory of NTIA. 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.

Fiscal Year 2014 Technical Progress Report


ITS is located on the campus of the Department of Commerce Boulder Laboratories.

Information about visiting the Boulder Labs

Boulder Labs Site Status

Partner Sites

  • Standards Development and Analysis.
    ITS provides ongoing leadership and technical contributions to international, national, and local telecommunication standards committees such as ITU, TIA, ATIS. ITS experts are regularly called on to interpret and analyze standards and regulations.
  • Public Safety Communications Interoperability.
    ITS works directly with practitioner agencies to improve the intelligibility and interoperability of communication systems. ITS conducts research in the field and in the laboratory to reflect the real environment in which Public Safety operates.
  • Table Mountain Field Site.
    ITS maintains the Table Mountain Field Site north of Boulder, CO, a unique 1,800 acre designated Radio Quiet Zone and radio research facility that is extensively used for research and experimentation both by ITS and by others under cooperative agreements.
  • Radio Spectrum Measurement Science (RSMS).
    The RSMS system is a customized resource for the performance of fundamental theoretical and applied research. The RSMS-4G truck is a state-of-the-art mobile measurement laboratory used to measure spectrum occupancy and analyze interference problems.
  • Audio and Video Quality Research.
    Objective quality-of-service (QoS) measurements for voice and video communications using different coding and transmission schemes taken in ITS’s unique audio-visual laboratories provide government and industry tools and techniques to assess service quality.
  • Wireless Voice/Data Systems and Emerging Technologies.
    ITS assesses telecommunications system components and emerging technologies, evaluates network survivability, and assesses system effectiveness in national security/emergency preparedness, military, and commercial environments.
  • Radar Interference Effects Tests and Measurements.
    ITS acts as a resource to military and civilian agencies to identify sources of radar signal interference through controlled laboratory and field testing. Root cause analysis leads to engineering of proposed solutions shared with industry.


ITS Research Helps Emergency Responders Better Communicate While Indoors

Nearly everyone is familiar with the need to step outside a building to complete a wireless call. Modern building materials, such as aluminum, steel and even specially-coated window glass, significantly reduce or even block wireless signals. While it might be inconvenient for your average mobile device user, it could become a matter of life or death for an emergency first responder. Police officers and firefighters cannot stop what they are doing to leave a building in order to communicate during a time of crisis. Providing reliable coverage indoors is a long-standing challenge; ITS has been researching in-building communications for many years, independently and as part of its Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program. As reported in a Department of Commerce blog posting, NTIA Technical Report TR-15-518: In-Building LTE Testing at the University of Colorado, released July 31, describes the results of experiments conducted to investigate both the in-building coverage characteristics of future public safety mobile networks and ways to improve performance in such environments. Using a backpack mounted measurement system, researchers from ITS and the University of Colorado collected two independent LTE data streams while walking through multiple levels of two buildings—modeling the path that a first responder might take in response to an incident. The researchers found that to achieve reliable coverage, transmissions from the cell tower needed to be supplemented. Three different methods to improve in-building coverage were tested: a cell on wheels (COW), a small cell using standalone antennas, and a small cell using a distributed antenna system. Supplemental systems did improve cell coverage, but data transfers were still slow in some cases. Results showed that peak performance requires both adequate coverage and optimization of the network to ensure the smooth transfer of data or calls among transmitters. This report provides preliminary data that can be used to begin effective planning of in-building public safety LTE communications. It also identifies additional research needed to reliably predict in-building coverage, and points to the need to enhance coordination of all aspects of a network. 

New Publications

  • NTIA Technical Report TR-15-518: In-Building LTE Testing at the University of Colorado July 2015, Robert T. Johnk; Mitchell Powell; Jaydee L. Griffith; Mark A. McFarland; Kenneth R. Baker; Prachee Daithanker; Saman Samdian; Lavanya Gopal; Sai Gavva. This report describes a comprehensive series of tests that were conducted by engineers and researchers from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program and t...

  • Conference Paper : VQEG: Shaping Standards on Video Quality June 2015, Quan Huynh-Thu; Arthur A. Webster; K. Brunnstrom; Margaret H. Pinson. The Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG) is an international and independent organisation of technical experts in perceptual video quality assessment from industry, academia, and government organisation...