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Sensors 2017, 17(12), 2956; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17122956

Enhancing Time Synchronization Support in Wireless Sensor Networks

1
Electrical Engineering Graduate Program, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil
2
Computer Science Department, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras 37200-000, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet of Things and Ubiquitous Sensing)
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Abstract

With the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technology becoming reality, a number of applications are being proposed. Several of these applications are highly dependent on wireless sensor networks (WSN) to acquire data from the surrounding environment. In order to be really useful for most of applications, the acquired data must be coherent in terms of the time in which they are acquired, which implies that the entire sensor network presents a certain level of time synchronization. Moreover, to efficiently exchange and forward data, many communication protocols used in WSN rely also on time synchronization among the sensor nodes. Observing the importance in complying with this need for time synchronization, this work focuses on the second synchronization problem, proposing, implementing and testing a time synchronization service for low-power WSN using low frequency real-time clocks in each node. To implement this service, three algorithms based on different strategies are proposed: one based on an auto-correction approach, the second based on a prediction mechanism, while the third uses an analytical correction mechanism. Their goal is the same, i.e., to make the clocks of the sensor nodes converge as quickly as possible and then to keep them most similar as possible. This goal comes along with the requirement to keep low energy consumption. Differently from other works in the literature, the proposal here is independent of any specific protocol, i.e., it may be adapted to be used in different protocols. Moreover, it explores the minimum number of synchronization messages by means of a smart clock update strategy, allowing the trade-off between the desired level of synchronization and the associated energy consumption. Experimental results, which includes data acquired from simulations and testbed deployments, provide evidence of the success in meeting this goal, as well as providing means to compare these three approaches considering the best synchronization results and their costs in terms of energy consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: clock prediction; internet of things; low-power sensors; real-time clock; self-correcting mechanism; time synchronization; wireless sensor networks clock prediction; internet of things; low-power sensors; real-time clock; self-correcting mechanism; time synchronization; wireless sensor networks
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Tavares Bruscato, L.; Heimfarth, T.; Pignaton de Freitas, E. Enhancing Time Synchronization Support in Wireless Sensor Networks. Sensors 2017, 17, 2956.

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