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Clock synchronization is essential for a large number of applications ranging from performance measurements in wired networks to data fusion in sensor networks. Existing techniques are either limited to undesirable accuracy or rely on specific hardware characteristics that may not be available in certain applications. In this paper, we examine the clock synchronization problem in networks where nodes lack the high-accuracy oscillators or programmable network interfaces some previous protocols depend on. This paper derives a general model for clock offset and skew and demonstrates its application to real clock oscillators. We design an efficient algorithm based on this model to achieve high synchronization accuracy. This algorithm applies the Kalman filter to track the clock offset and skew. We demonstrate the performance advantages of our schemes through extensive simulations and real clock oscillator measurements.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2012