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High-Precision Relative Clock Synchronization Using Time Stamp Counters

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3 Author(s)
Guo-Song Tian ; Queensland Univ. of Technol., Brisbane ; Yu-Chu Tian ; Fidge, C.

In this paper we show how to use a computer processor's time stamp counter register to provide a precise and stable time reference, via a high-precision relative clock synchronization protocol. Existing clock synchronization techniques, such as the network time protocol, were designed for wide-area networks with large propagation delays, but the millisecond-scale precision they offer is too coarse for local-area applications such as instrument monitoring systems, high-quality digital audio systems and sensor networks. Our new clock synchronization technique does not require specialized hardware but instead uses the Time stamp counter already available in the widely-used Intel Pentium processor. Experimental results show that we can achieve a synchronization precision in the order of 10 microseconds in a small-scale local area network using TSC registers, which is much higher than can be achieved by using a computer processor's time-of-day clock.

Published in:

Engineering of Complex Computer Systems, 2008. ICECCS 2008. 13th IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

March 31 2008-April 3 2008