Distributed time synchronization in wireless sensor networks with coupled discrete-time oscillators

O. Simeone, U. Spagnolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


In wireless sensor networks, distributed timing synchronization based on pulse-coupled oscillators at the physical layer is currently being investigated as an interesting alternative to packet synchronization.In this paper, the convergence properties of such a system are studied through algebraic graph theory, by modeling the nodes as discrete-time clocks. A general scenario where clocks may have different free-oscillation frequencies is considered, and both time-invariant and time-variant network topologies (or fading channels) are discussed. Furthermore, it is shown that the system of oscillators can be studied as a set of coupled discrete-time PLLs. Based on this observation, a generalized system design is discussed, and it is proved that known results in the context of conventional PLLs for carrier acquisition have a counterpart in distributed systems. Finally, practical details of the implementation of the distributed synchronization algorithm over a bandlimited noisy channel are covered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57054
JournalEurasip Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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