Synchronization algorithms based on the theory of pulse-coupled oscillators are evaluated on programmable radios. It is experimentally demonstrated that the stochastic nature of coupling is a key ingredient for convergence to synchrony. We propose a distributed algorithm for automatic phase rate equalization and show that synchronization precisions below one microsecond are possible.
The mathematical modeling of pulse-coupled biological oscillators offers a fully decentralized and scalable approach for time synchronization. There is a broad spectrum of work on pulse-coupled oscillators in physics, biology, neuroscience, and other disciplines. The communications engineering community has been interested to transfer these results to the synchronization of nodes in wireless networks. A one-to-one transfer is infeasible due to the differences between wireless and biological communications. Several extensions and modifications are required with respect to delays, noise, multihop communications, and sync words.