TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING
INSTITUTE FOR TELECOMMUNICATION SCIENCES
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Meeting the Nation’s Telecommunications Needs
Committee on Telecommunications Research and Engineering
at the Department of Commerce’s Boulder Laboratories
Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This study was supported by National Telecommunications and Information Administration with assistance of National Institute of Standards and Technology. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015.
Telecommunications Research and Engineering at the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences: Meeting the Nation’s Telecommunications Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
National Research Council
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COMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING AT THE
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE’S BOULDER LABORATORIES
DOUGLAS SICKER, Carnegie Mellon University, Chair
JENNIFER T. BERNHARD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
ELSA GARMIRE, Dartmouth College
DAVID J. GOODMAN, New York University
HARLIN R. MCEWEN, The International Association of Chiefs of Police
HELENA MITCHELL, Georgia Institute of Technology
PAUL NIKOLIC, Consultant, IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards
RICHARD (RICK) L. REASER, JR., Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
JEFFREY H. REED, Virginia Tech
DENNIS ROBERSON, Illinois Institute of Technology
VIRGINIA BACON TALATI, Program Officer, Study Director
SHENAE BRADLEY, Senior Program Assistant
JON EISENBERG, Director, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD
FARNAM JAHANIAN, Carnegie Mellon University, Chair
LUIZ ANDRE BARROSO, Google, Inc.
STEVEN M. BELLOVIN, Columbia University
ROBERT F. BRAMMER, Brammer Technology, LLC
EDWARD FRANK, Brilliant Cloud & Lime Parity
SEYMOUR E. GOODMAN, Georgia Institute of Technology
LAURA HAAS, IBM Corporation
MARK HOROWITZ, Stanford University
MICHAEL KEARNS, University of Pennsylvania
ROBERT KRAUT, Carnegie Mellon University
SUSAN LANDAU, Google, Inc.
PETER LEE, Microsoft Corporation
DAVID E. LIDDLE, US Venture Partners
FRED B. SCHNEIDER, Cornell University
ROBERT F. SPROULL, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
JOHN STANKOVIC, University of Virginia
JOHN A. SWAINSON, Dell, Inc.
ERNEST J. WILSON, University of Southern California
KATHERINE YELICK, University of California, Berkeley
JON EISENBERG, Director
LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Associate Director
VIRGINIA BACON TALATI, Program Officer
SHENAE BRADLEY, Senior Program Assistant
EMILY GRUMBLING, Program Officer
RENEE HAWKINS, Financial and Administrative Manager
For more information on CSTB, see its website at http://www.cstb.org, write to CSTB,
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The 2006 National Research Council report Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research observed that “the telecommunications industry remains of crucial importance to the United States as a society, that a strong telecommunications research capability continues to be essential to the health and competitiveness of this U.S. industry internationally, and that the health of this industry strongly affects the U.S. economy in many ways.”1 In recent years, use of radio-frequency (RF) communications has grown tremendously, making it especially important to use the RF spectrum more efficiently.
The Department of Commerce operates two laboratories concerned with communications technologies collocated at its Boulder, Colorado, campus (referred to collectively in this report as the Boulder telecommunications laboratories). The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) operates a telecommunications research and engineering laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS). ITS serves as a principal federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of federal agencies, state and local governments, private corporations and associations, standards bodies, and international organizations. ITS helps carry out NTIA’s mission by performing research and engineering to support government and private industry in managing the radio spectrum and making effective use of new technologies. Much of the ITS annual operating budget comes from federal and private research sponsors rather than NTIA’s direct appropriation. In 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established the Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) to merge several current NIST laboratories into a single laboratory and to promote standards and metrology in the area of communications technologies. CTL develops appropriate measurements and standards to enable interoperable public safety communications, effective and efficient spectrum use and sharing, and advanced communication technologies. In June 2013, NTIA announced an agreement with NIST to establish a national Center for Advanced Communications (CAC) to better coordinate telecommunications-related research and engineering activities of ITS and NIST (now CTL). Figure P.1 outlines the organizations of the Boulder telecommunications laboratories.
This study originates in part from language in House Report 112-463, which accompanied Fiscal Year 2013 Commerce Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations, which directs NTIA to engage the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to “analyze the research and activities of ITS and make recommendations regarding the extent to which ITS research is addressing future telecommunications challenges and spectrum needs.”2 Subsequently, NIST, on behalf of itself and NTIA, asked that the Academies carry out assessments of both ITS and CTL. Two separate task orders were issued calling for these assessments to be performed by a single study committee, the Committee on Telecommunications Research and Engineering at the Department of Commerce’s Boulder Laboratories. This report provides the Academies’ assessment of ITS. A separate report provides the Academies’
1 National Research Council, Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006, p. 4.
2 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, House Report 112-463, 2013, p. 15. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp112:FLD010:@1(hr463).
FIGURE P.1 The Boulder telecommunications laboratories.
assessment of CTL.3 Both reports contain sections examining (1) collaborative efforts between the two laboratories, including CAC, National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Network (NASCTN), and Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR), and how these programs support NIST and NTIA missions and (2) national priorities in telecommunications research and the role in which the Boulder telecommunications laboratories can play. Appendix A provides the committee’s statement of task.
The study committee visited the Boulder telecommunications laboratories on April 20-21 2015, meeting with staff from ITS to understand the current activities of the laboratory, its strengths and weaknesses as an organization, and its plans for the near future. The committee also met with additional stakeholders, including industry and government organizations who have used the laboratory’s resources (listed in Appendix C). The assessment included in this report stems from these visits and discussions and the committee’s own expertise.
Douglas Sicker, Chair
Committee on Telecommunications Research and
Engineering at the Department of Commerce’s Boulder
3 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Telecommunications Research and Engineering at the Communications Technology Laboratory: Meeting the Nation’s Telecommunications Needs, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2015.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Vanu Bose, Vanu, Inc.,
Martin Cooper, Dyna, LLC,
David Liddle, U.S. Venture Partners,
Paul Milgrom, Stanford University,
David Morse, Corning Incorporated,
Tom Sorley, City of Houston, Texas, and
Andrew Viterbi, University of Southern California.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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