Distributed synchronization in wireless networks: Global synchronization via local connections

Osvaldo Simeone, Umberto Spagnolini, Yeheskel Bar-Ness, Steven H. Strogatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Synchronization refers to the process of achieving and maintaining coordination among independent local clocks via the exchange of local time information. Different synchronization schemes differ in the way such information is encoded, exchanged, and processed by the clocks toward the end of overcoming the unavoidable nuisance effects of inaccurate clocks and propagation/processing delays. Wireless communications provide the natural platform for the exchange of local time information between synchronizing clocks. Conversely, synchronization of local clocks enables a wealth of signal processing and communication applications in wireless networks. It is this mutual link between synchronization and wireless networks, with emphasis on decentralized structures such as ad hoc and sensor networks, that constitutes the main subject of this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Signal Processing Magazine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Clocks
  • Oscillators
  • Signal processing
  • Synchronization
  • Timing
  • Wireless communication
  • Wireless networks


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