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Recent advances in the development of low-cost, low-power, multifunctional sensor nodes have led to the development of wireless sensor networks (WSN) that collect and share data. WSNs consists of a large number of randomly deployed or self-organized sensors in places without a pre-defined network infrastructure, such as a disaster relief or search and rescue area. Further, these networks have extended research capabilities in a wide range of applications including medical, environmental, and military operations.
One critical component in the operation of WSNs is clock synchronization, as it provides a common timeframe to different nodes. Most of the applications for wireless sensor networks generally require monitoring of events, thus requiring sensors to maintain a common reference time for data fusion and communications. Signal-processing techniques that turn raw data into actionable information typically require synchronization among sensor clocks for a correct chronology of events. As the utility and demand for wireless sensor networks increases, the broad application of time synchronization will become more prevalent as the requirement for data exchange increases.
With the above in mind, Navy scientists and engineers have developed a method for synchronizing sensors in a wireless network, which starts with a flood broadcast of a sequence discovery packet in the wireless sensor network. This broadcast and associated sensor response create a list of sensor identifications and mapping of neighbor sensors. Once neighbor sensors are identified, an initial sensor can broadcast a sequence specifying a broadcast order for all sensors to send synchronization information to eliminate collisions in the network. This time-synchronization scheme increases the precision of a WSN, enhancing the network’s ability to facilitate applications that require synchronization and improving the network’s performance.
- Algorithm allows a network to determine a broadcast sequence by which nodes transmit and forward messages, eliminating collisions
- Conducts a network-wide synchronization based on received timestamp information
- US patent 9,693,325 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy scientists and engineers