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This paper proposes low-complexity joint timing synchronization and channel estimation for multiple-input multiple-output orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing systems based on maximal length sequences. Under a Rayleigh channel assumption, an optimal threshold for the proposed joint scheme is derived, and a practical suboptimal threshold that requires neither pre-simulation nor prior information on the channel statistics is then presented. Furthermore, the performance of the proposed joint scheme is analyzed with respect to threshold selection, and the theoretical results match well the simulation results. It is shown that the proposed joint scheme enjoys much less computational complexity and better performance than a combination of typical synchronization and channel estimation schemes.