Launched in 2021, the division's mission is to research, develop, and deploy innovative measurement methods and tools to promote novel and efficient use of spectrum through improved access, sharing, atmospheric sensing, and precision timing. The division creates new metrology to understand and improve sharing and sensing wireless communications that use and harness the spectrum by utilizing tools in sensing (such as greenhouse gases), precision time, and future optical networks.
The division's research tackles current issues of the spectrum as well as positions us for new challenges in wireless communications that include higher frequencies, complex AI-driven systems, terrestrial to non-terrestrial pathways, and distributed sensing. The combined knowledge of spectrum both as a communications medium and a sensing agent will be needed as wireless communications expand. Targeted programs include wireless co-existence and fair use, “Black-Box” communication systems test metrology, RF spectrum sensing (fundamental noise and aggregate/distributed emissions), and Atmospheric spectroscopy (greenhouse gas emissions, air quality).
The Division is home to the program office of the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN). NASCTN is a multi-agency, chartered organization that includes DoD, NASA, NIST, NOAA, NSF, and NTIA, whose purpose is to improve opportunities for successful spectrum sharing through accurate, reliable, and unbiased measurements and analyses. NIST promotes the development and deployment of spectrum-efficient and spectrum-sharing technologies by leveraging NIST’s administrative, engineering, and research, capabilities in concert with charter members.