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Node identification using clock skew

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsPaper


Publication date2013
Host publicationReal-World Wireless Sensor Networks: Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop, REALWSN 2013, Como (Italy), September 19-20, 2013
EditorsKoen Langendoen, Wen Hu, Federico Ferrari, Marco Zimmerling, Luca Mottola
Place of publicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319030715
ISBN (Print)9783319030708
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Electrical Engineering
ISSN (Print)1876-1100


Clocks on wireless sensor nodes experience a natural drift. This clock skew is unique for each node as it depends on the clocks manufacturing characteristics. Clock skew can be used as unique node identifier which is, among other applications, useful for node authentication. We describe how clock skew of a node’s clock can be measured directly on a node by utilising the available high precision radio transceiver clock. We detail an implementation of this proposed local clock skew tracking method for the Zolertia Z1 platform. We determine the required sampling effort to accurately determine clock skew. We also discuss how clock skew measurements can be aligned with existing transceiver operations in order to avoid an increase in energy consumption.