For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 9, 1999

Contact: Ranjit deSilva
(202) 482-7002
Margaret Luebs
(303) 497-3572

NTIA's Advanced Antenna Test Bed Evaluates "Smart" Antennas

Engineers at the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration have developed an antenna test bed for evaluating special new antennas designed to improve telecommunication services and reduce costs. This research is part of NTIA's goal to support telecommunications development and improve spectrum efficiency. The new antennas, known as adaptive or "smart" antennas, are planned for the next generation of cellular phone and PCS systems.

Unlike traditional antennas, adaptive antennas can continuously change their radiation pattern to improve system performance. Mounted at the base station, these antennas are effective at tracking mobile users (such as people talking on the phone in a moving car) and can diminish the interference caused by the signal reflecting off buildings and other obstructions. They increase channel capacity by enabling more calls to share the same bandwidth. Numerous companies are in the process of developing adaptive antenna systems.

The advanced antenna test bed, located at NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) in Boulder, Colorado, provides a standard platform for making accurate and repeatable measurements of adaptive antenna systems. The key elements are a well-described test "cell" (the local neighborhood) and a multi-channel (8 at present), high-bandwidth (> 10 MHz) measurement system. A report describing the test bed has just been published and is available from ITS.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues and represents the Executive Branch before the Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations. ITS, its chief research and engineering arm, performs state-of-the-art telecommunications research to support NTIA and Commerce Department goals. ITS also conducts specific research under reimbursable agreements with other Federal agencies and under cooperative research agreements with private sector partners.