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Advanced communications


Secure, reliable, high-speed wireless communications are critical to the economic and national competitiveness of the United States. Advanced communications are enabling dramatic changes in how consumers, manufacturers, governments, and others provide and consume information, transact business, provide and use essential services, and shop, among other tasks. An analysis by Accenture predicts that by 2022 there will be approximately 29 billion connected devices globally, 500 million of which will be connected to 5G wireless networks. This insatiable societal demand for connectivity will require significant advancements in communication technologies. Accenture forecasts that over the next several years, wireless providers will invest approximately $275 billion in U.S. infrastructure, creating up to three million new jobs and boosting annual GDP by $500 billion.

NIST is currently the U.S. government’s leader in fundamental and applied research, standards and government-academia-industry coordination for advanced communications technologies. 

Learn more about NIST’s work in advanced communications and NIST leadership in three spaces:

NIST Advanced Communications: By the Numbers

Key Accomplishments

  • Radio: NIST began operating radio stations more than 100 years ago, initially providing stable frequency signals to promote early development of the field and since then offering many other public benefits, including time signals to synchronize clocks and geophysical alerts for amateur (ham) radio users.
  • Closed captioning: NIST invented TvTime, an Emmy-award-winning method for broadcasting time and frequency information, which evolved into closed captioning. The technology benefits the deaf and hard of hearing and created an industry of suppliers of closed captioning services.
  • Antenna testing: NIST pioneered testing of high-performance antennas — crucial communications tools — for radar, aircraft and satellites. NIST's key contributions to the field included a cost-saving approach and software for computing an antenna's complex outdoor radiation pattern using data collected indoors.

The Research

Projects & Programs

Trustworthy Networks of Things

NIST is working with industry to design, standardize, test and foster adoption of network-centric approaches to protect IoT devices from the Internet and to

USGv6 Program

NIST is Working with other USG agencies and industry to develop and maintain the standards, test program, deployment guidance and test and measurement tools

Additional Resources Links


NIST hosts meeting of O-RAN Alliance security experts

The Big Quantum Chill: NIST Scientists Modify Common Lab Refrigerator to Cool Faster With Less Energy

MBE & QIF Summit 2024