Closed-form Solution for Joint Localization and Synchronization in Wireless Sensor Networks With and Without Beacon Uncertainties

  • Victoria Ying Zhang
  • Albert Kai-sun Wong


In Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), the use of the same set of measurement data for simultaneous localization and synchronization is potentially useful for achieving higher estimation accuracy, and lower communication overhead and power consumption. In this paper, we first analyze the impact of asynchronous sensor nodes (SNs) on the accuracy of time-based localization schemes, and the impact of inaccurate SN location information on the accuracy of synchronization based on packet delay measurement, to illustrate the necessity and significance of simultaneous localization and synchronization of SNs. We then consider the joint localization and synchronization problem for two cases. In the first case, we assume that the beacon information is perfectly known. The Maximum Likelihood (ML) estimator is first formulated, which is computationally expensive. A new closed-form Joint Localization and Synchronization I (JLS-I) estimator is then proposed to provide a computationally efficient solution. In the second case, we assume that the beacon locations and timings are known inaccurately, and develop the ML and JLS-II estimators accordingly. JLS-II is based on Weighted Least Square and Generalized Total Least Square, and is of low complexity. The Cramer-Rao Lower Bounds (CRLBs) and the analytical Mean Square Errors of the proposed estimators are derived, and we also analytically show that JLS-I can achieve the corresponding CRLB. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed estimators compared to other approaches. With only a three-way message exchange, JLS-I can attain the CRLB and JLS-II can provide close to optimal performance in their respective scenarios. They are also robust against the Geometric Dilution of Precision problem, and outperform existing algorithms in NLOS scenarios. Our results demonstrate the advantages of JLS-I and JLS-II in reduced computational complexity with lower power consumption and communication cost while achieving high estimation accuracy. They are therefore attractive solutions to the simultaneous localization and synchronization problem in WSNs where energy and network resources are the most important considerations.


Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) Localization Synchronization Wireless sensor network (WSN) 



We would like to thank Hong Kong RGC (Project Number: 620410) for supporting this work, and we also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electronic and Computer EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloonHong Kong

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