Internetwork Time Synchronization of Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Several time synchronous ad hoc networks may operate in the same geographical area. Although network time synchronization within an individual network has been widely discussed, internetwork time synchronization relying on time sources the networks carry has not been addressed. Therefore, this paper proposes an internetwork time synchronization procedure that allows to use one network as a time source and share its time, like a global navigation satellite system time, to other networks. The internetwork time synchronization procedure runs in gateway nodes that could be a member in several networks, and it collaborates with the individual network time synchronization algorithms that operate at the network level. Consequently, the paper proposes a generic, robust hybrid network time synchronization protocol and analyses its performance using a sensible metric called a mutual consensus. It is shown that the common time is achieved with a limited variance in the networks that operate in the master-slave, distributed or hybrid mode. Provided numerical examples illustrate the behavior of the algorithm and confirm the theoretical findings.