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Recently, a time synchronization algorithm called pairwise broadcast synchronization (PBS) is proposed. With PBS, a sensor can be synchronized by overhearing synchronization packet exchange among its neighbouring sensors without sending out any packet itself. In an one-hop sensor network where every node is a neighbour of each other, a single PBS message exchange between two nodes would facilitate all nodes to synchronize. However, in a multi-hop sensor network, PBS message exchanges in several node pairs are needed in order to achieve network-wide synchronization. To reduce the number of message exchanges, these node pairs should be carefully chosen. In this paper, we investigate how to choose these ldquoappropriaterdquo sensors aiming at reducing the number of PBS message exchanges while allowing every node to synchronize. This selection problem is shown to be NP-complete, for which the greedy heuristic is a good polynomial-time approximation algorithm. Nevertheless, a centralized algorithm is not suitable for wireless sensor networks. Therefore, we develop a distributed heuristic algorithm allowing a sensor to determine how to synchronize itself based on its neighbourhood information only. The protocol is tested through extensive simulations. The simulation results reveal that the proposed protocol gives consistent performance under different conditions with its performance comparable to that of the centralized algorithm.
Date of Publication: April 2009