Black Burst Synchronization (BBS) – A protocol for deterministic tick and time synchronization in wireless networks

R. Gotzhein, T. Kuhn

Computer Networks, Volume 55, Issue 13, 15 September 2011, Pages 3015-3031


In this paper, we present Black Burst Synchronization (BBS), a modular protocol for multi-hop tick and time synchronization in wireless ad hoc networks, located at MAC level. For the successful operation of BBS, it is crucial that collisions of synchronization messages that are sent (almost) simultaneously by two or more nodes are non-destructive. This is achieved by collision-protected bit encodings with black bursts, periods of transmission energy of defined length on the medium, starting at determined points in time. Under reasonable assumptions, BBS provides low and bounded tick and clock offsets, guarantees a very small and constant convergence delay, has low and bounded complexity regarding computation, storage, time, and structure, and is robust against topology changes at runtime. This makes it a candidate for user level applications such as data fusion and networked control systems, and especially for system level tasks such as duty cycling and multi-hop medium slotting. To validate its predicted behavior, we have implemented and deployed BBS on MICAz motes.


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