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...

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

November 1965: The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences and Aeronomy is Created

On November 13, 1965, Executive order No. 2 of 1965 became effective. The order combined three agencies—the US Weather Bureau, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL)—into a single agency. The new Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) was created to encompass the study of oceans, atmosphere, and the environment. The CRPL was renamed the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences and Aeronomy. CRPL researchers had become increasingly interested in Aeromony, the study of the atmosphere, as they researched the propagation of radio waves in the ionosphere and troposphere. In the late 1950s and early 1960s CRPL had been involved in the creation of satellites and detection of high altitude nuclear explosions. The agency was no longer simply a propagation laboratory, and the new name demonstrated the focus of their work. In 1967 ITSA’s Aeronomy labs were incorporated into ESSA’s Research Labs, and ITSA became ITS, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, as it has remained to this day. ITS continues to work on understanding the propagation of radio waves and the challenges of modern communications. In 1970 the agencies comprising ESSA were split up again. The Aeronomy labs, the Weather Bureau, and the Coast and Geodetic Survey joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while ITS became the research arm of the Office of Telecommunications. Today, ITS maintains working relationships with its former sister agencies through interagency agreements. NOAA, ITS, and NIST (formerly the National Bureau of Standards) share the Department of Commerce’s Boulder Labs. ITS is currently working with NIST on projects for spectrum sharing, public safety communications, and improved propagation modeling. ITS also works with NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) to protect satellite downlnks from interference and NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) to improve NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) systems.