Rappaport currently serves as center director of the NSF Industrial/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Wireless Internet Communications and Advanced Technology (WICAT), a national research center that involves 5 major universities headquartered at NYU-Poly. Earlier in his career, he founded two of the world's largest academic wireless research centers: The Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG) at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, and the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group (MPRG), now known as Wireless@VT, at Virginia Tech in 1990.
Prof. Rappaport is a pioneer in the fields of radio wave propagation for cellular and personal communications, wireless communication system design, and broadband wireless communications circuits and systems at millimeter wave frequencies. His research has influenced many international wireless standard bodies over the past three decades, and he and his students invented the technology of site-specific radio frequency (RF) channel modeling and design for wireless network deployment – a technology now used routinely throughout the field of wireless communications.
Rappaport has served on the Technological Advisory Council of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), assisted Governor Timothy Kaine and CIO Aneesh Chopra of Virginia in formulating rural broadband initiatives for internet access, and has conducted research for NSF, DoD, and dozens of global telecommunications companies throughout his career. He is one of the most highly cited authors in the wireless field, according to ISI Highly Cited, having published over 200 technical papers. As a faculty member, Rappaport has advised approximately 100 students who continue to accomplish great things in the communications, electromagnetics, and circuit design fields throughout industry, academia, and government.
In 2006, Rappaport was elected to serve on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc), and was elected to the Board of Governors of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) in 2008 and again in 2011. He is a fellow of the IEEE, is a member of the board of the Marconi Society, and serves on the editorial boards of several academic and technical journals. He received the Marconi Young Scientist Award in 1990, an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1992, the Sarnoff Citation from the Radio Club of America in 2000, the Fredrick E. Terman Outstanding Electrical Engineering Faculty Award (speech excerpt here) from the ASEE in 2002, and the Stuart F. Meyer Award from the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society in 2005. In 2008, he received the Industry Leadership award from the Austin Wireless Alliance and the IEEE Communications Society WTC Recognition Award for outstanding achievements and contributions in the area of wireless communications systems and networks. The IET honored Rappaport with the Sir Monty Finniston medal in 2011 for "for his outstanding academic and industrial contributions over almost three decades in the field of wireless communication".
Rappaport has over 100 U.S. or international patents issued or pending and has authored, co-authored, and co-edited 18 books in the wireless field, including Wireless Communications: Principles & Practice (translated into 6 languages), Principles of Communication Systems Simulation with Wireless Applications, and Smart Antennas for Wireless Communications: IS-95 and Third Generation CDMA Applications. He has received three prize paper awards, including the 1999 Stephen O. Rice Prize Paper Award from the IEEE Communications Society for his work on site-specific propagation.
Rappaport is also an entrepreneur, encouraging his students and colleagues to create companies from their research. In 1989, he founded TSR Technologies, Inc., a cellular radio/PCS software radio manufacturer that he sold in 1993 to what is now CommScope, Inc. (taken private in 2011 by Carlyle Group). In 1995, he founded Wireless Valley Communications Inc., a pioneering creator of site-specific radio propagation software for wireless network design and management that he sold in 2005 to Motorola (NYSE: MOT).
Rappaport has testified before the US Congress, served as an international consultant for the ITU, consulted for over 30 major telecommunications firms, and continues to work on many national committees pertaining to communications research and technology policy. He is a highly sought-after consultant and technical expert. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1982, 1984, and 1987, respectively, and is an Outstanding Electrical Engineering Alumnus from his alma mater.