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Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
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2

Overview of CTL

Created in 2014, the CTL of NIST “promotes the development and deployment of advanced communications technologies through the dissemination of high quality measurements, data, and research supporting U.S. innovation, industrial competitiveness, and public safety.”1 There are four organizational units: (1) Public Safety Communications Research Division; (2) Radio Frequency Technology Division; (3) National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network; and (4) Wireless Networks Division. With the exception of the Wireless Network Division, situated in Gaithersburg, Maryland, all the above are located at the Boulder, Colorado, campus of the Department of Commerce (DOC) located at 325 Broadway.

The budget for CTL was $74.4 million in fiscal year (FY) 2019, the majority of which was funded through the Public Safety Trust Fund.2 The next-largest portion is from annual congressional appropriations, followed by other agency funds and fees for calibrations—with these last two being variable year-to-year. The progression with time is shown in Figure 2.1. The percentage allocated to each of the four priority areas is shown in Figure 2.2.

The activities of the CTL consist of research and development, testing, fundamental measurements, calibration services, and convening and outreach activities. As of June 2019, there are slightly fewer than 200 personnel in the CTL. Their allocation to the four organizational units and to headquarters is shown in Figure 2.3. There are in addition 29 term appointments. Four current and one retired CTL staff members are fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Each of the four CTL priority areas is addressed by the work of one or more of the four organizational units. These relationships are outlined in Table 2.1.

CTL conducts an annual research planning process focused on its three program areas of public safety, trusted spectrum testing, and metrology for advanced communications. Group plans filter up to Divisions for coordination and approval, while the Division and CTL leadership set strategic direction and long-term planning based on NIST priority areas. The present report identifies opportunities in specific program areas where performing strategic planning exercises and road mapping would improve stakeholder engagement. These would have the further benefit of ensuring that CTL programs continue to address stakeholder needs. The annual reviews noted above will allow NIST to monitor progress.

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1 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Undated, “This is CTL,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Boulder, Colo., p. 1.

2 The Public Safety Trust Fund resulted from spectrum auction.

Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
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Image
FIGURE 2.1 Communications Technology Laboratory budget and source of funds over the past 4 fiscal years. SOURCE: NIST, Undated, “This is CTL,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Boulder, Colo.
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FIGURE 2.2 Allocation of Communications Technology Laboratory funds across its four priorities. SOURCE: NIST, Undated, “This is CTL,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Boulder, Colo.
Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
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Image
FIGURE 2.3 Communications Technology Laboratory staffing levels as of June 2019. SOURCE: NIST, Undated, “This is CTL,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Boulder, Colo.

TABLE 2.1 Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) Priority Areas Addressed by Each Organizational Unit

CTL Priority Areas
Public Safety Communications Trusted Spectrum Testing Next Generation Wireless Fundamental Metrology for Communications
PSCR X
WN X X X
RFT X X X
NASCTN X

NOTE: PSCR = Public Safety Communication Research Division; WN = Wireless Networks Division; RFT = Radio Frequency Technology Division; NASCTN = National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network.

Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
×
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
×
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"2 Overview of CTL." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25602.
×
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An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019 Get This Book
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An Assessment of the Communications Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2019 is an independent technical assessment of the quality of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL). It reviews the organization's technical programs, the portfolio of scientific expertise within the organization, the adequacy of the organization's facilities, equipment, and human resources, and the effectiveness by which the organization disseminates its program outputs. This report focuses on CTL priority areas such as public safety communications, trusted spectrum testing, and Next Generation Wireless (5G and Beyond). It also assesses the extent to which CTL applied the recommendations from a 2015 National Academies' report, which describes many of the critical uses of radio communications, provides lab-specific recommendations, and highlights important research priorities for the Boulder, Colorado communications technology laboratory of the Department of Commerce laboratory. This new report also describes the current activities of the Boulder telecommunications laboratories, its strengths and weaknesses as an organization, and its plans for the near future

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