IIT Real-Time Communications Laboratory

About the RTC Lab

The Real-Time Communications (RTC) Lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) is an educational facility dedicated to teaching, research and development activities that further the advancement of networked communications. The lab welcomes projects from partners in industry and academia provides a unique venue in which industry and academia connect and collaborate. The RTC Lab is affiliated with Illinois Tech's Wireless Network and Communications Research (WiNCom) Center and is directed by Carol Davids, and Vijay K. Gurbani. The RTC Lab collaborates closely with Illinois Tech's Active Computational Thinking (ACT) Center.

Areas of research include:
  • Indoor Location for Emergency Response using BlueTooth Low Energy beacons and Wifi
  • WebRTC Solution for Next Generation Emergency Communications
  • Multimedia signaling performance benchmarking
  • Application of machine learning techniques to real-time communication networks and VoIP
  • Natural language understanding/processing pipelines in real-time communication systems


The RTC Lab is directed by Carol Davids and Vijay K. Gurbani, faculty members in IIT's Computer Science Department. Carol Davids designed the RTC Lab in the early 2000's to support the weekly hands-on assignments and semester projects essential to her real-time communications and networking courses. Soon the lab became a venue for projects proposed by industry- and academic partners. Before joining the faculty at IIT, Carol worked at Ameritech, Motorola and Tellabs. Vijay Gurbani's work also spans both industry and academia. He has worked in industry at Fermi National Labs and Bell Laboratories and is currently Chief Data Scientist at Vail Systems, Inc. Professors Davids and Gurbani have worked together for many years, collaborating on research, publications and conferences. They plan to expand the scope of the lab's work to include the integration of VoiceTech, BlockChain, AI and IoT with Real Time Communications technologies.


The RTC Lab is managed by Joe Cusimano. He maintains the lab resources, mentors lab students and interfaces with our industry partners. Joe oversees the operation of the NG9-1-1 Test Bed in the RTC Lab, where the National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA) holds its periodic Industry Collaboration Events (ICE). Before joining the RTC Lab, Joe worked for many years supervising operations in Illinois Bell/Ameritech, and currently is the principal consultant at Elec-Tel Communications.


Students are at the heart of the lab's activities. Lab assignments and semester projects associated with courses are done here. Students also engage in all the events and activities of the lab. They support and participate in the lab's public events including the annual RTC Conference, STEM Week and the Ethics and Technology Panels. Students also provide support for industry-focused activities including NENA testing events, ClueCon, and TADHack.

Here are some videos made by IIT Graduates who describe how their work at IIT and in the RTC Lab has helped them in their careers.


Upcoming events:

  • October 8-10, 2024: Real Time Communications Conference at IIT - an International Conference of the IEEE: The RTC conference is a globally recognized collaborative event, where industry and academia connect. The conference will take place on the IIT Mies Campus in Chicago. Visit the RTC Conference and Expo website to view a description of the tracks on the Program tab. You can view the growing list of speakers on the Speakers tab. When the schedule is available, it will be available from the Program tab. To view last year's website, please visit RTC Conference and Expo-2023 where you can find a list of last year's speakers, including their bios, slides and the recordings of their presentations.

    The link the Call for Papers is at Call for Papers. These papers will be peer reviewed and papers that are accepted and presented by an author will be submtted for publication to IEEE XPlore archive.

    The link at which to propose a talk is Propose a Talk. The talks and demos given at the conference serve as a source of new ideas and research partners in industry. Presentations and demonstrations will be selected by the RTC Conference Track Chairs and Steering Committee based on relevance and technical content.

  • September 9-12, 2024: IEEE International Communications Quality and Reliability Workshop: The 38th IEEE International Workshop on Communications Quality and Reliability will be held in Seattle, Washington. The workshop will offer technical sessions, original paper presentations, and keynotes panels designed to further career opportunities and the in-depth understanding of key issues impacting communications networks quality and reliability. Vijay Gurbani is a Co-chair of this year's Technical Planning Committee and Carol Davids is a member of the CQR Steering Committee. Visit the IEEE International Communications Quality and Reliability Workshop website to view the program and learn more about this workshop.

  • October, 2024: ICE 12: Testing NG9-1-1 Interoperability with i3 Version 3: Hosted and supported by the RTC Lab at IIT, NENA’s NG9-1-1 Industry Collaboration Event (ICE) series provides members of the public-safety vendor community with an opportunity to test implementations of NG9-1-1 standards in an open, collaborative, and neutral environment. The events are overseen by the ICE Steering Committee, which is a permanent representative body consisting of stakeholders from various public safety, non-profit, and vendor entities.An ICE 12 Planning Committee has been formed, and vendors of all NG9-1-1 equipment and systems are encouraged to join. To join the ICE 12 Planning Committee please contact the NENA ICE Testing Coordination Manager, as soon as possible. For more information about ICE-12, please visit NG911_ICE12/
Past events:


RTC Lab research projects related to real-time applications and the networks that transport them are listed below. The links lead to brief descriptions of the work.


Selected publications highlighting work in the RTC Lab.



Here are some interesting books, publications and websites related to Real-Time Communications, software design and development, Artificial Intelligence Internet of Things, and the many technologies and sciences that contribute to our understanding of the world we are creating. This list is a work in progress. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

  • The Master Switch - The Rise and Fall of Information Empires: By author Tim Wu (The Master Switch)

  • To Engineer is Human - The Role of Failure in Successful Design: By author Henry Petroski(To Engineer is Human)

  • Software - A Technical History: By author Kim W. Tracy ( Software - A Technical History)

  • Artificial Unintelligence - How Computers Misunderstand the World: By author Meredith Broussard; Published by MIT Press.

  • Your Computer is On Fire: Edited byThomas S. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks, and Kavita Philip; Published by MIT Press.

  • What Computers Still Can't Do - A Critique of Artificial Reason: By author Hubert L. Dreyfus; Published by MIT Press