A Scalable Algorithm for Network Localization and Synchronization

Florian Meyer, Bernhard Etzlinger, Zhenyu Liu, Franz Hlawatsch, Moe Z. Win

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The Internet of Things (IoT) will seamlessly integrate a large number of densely deployed heterogeneous devices and will enable new location-aware services. However, fine-grained localization of IoT devices is challenging as their computation and communication resources are typically limited and different devices may have different qualities of internal clocks and different mobility patterns. To address these challenges, we propose a cooperative, scalable, and time-recursive algorithm for network localization and synchronization (NLS). Our algorithm is based on time measurements and supports heterogeneous devices with limited computation and communication resources, time-varying clock and location parameters, arbitrary state-evolution models, and time-varying network connectivity. These attributes make the proposed algorithm attractive for IoT-related applications. The algorithm is furthermore able to incorporate measurements from additional sensors for positioning, navigation, and timing such as receivers for global navigation satellite systems. Based on a factor graph representation of the underlying spatiotemporal Bayesian sequential estimation problem, the algorithm uses belief propagation (BP) for an efficient marginalization of the joint posterior distribution. To account for the nonlinear measurement model and nonlinear state-evolution models while keeping the communication and computation requirements low, we develop an efficient second-order implementation of the BP rules by means of the recently introduced sigma point belief propagation technique. Simulation results demonstrate the high synchronization and localization accuracy as well as the low computational complexity of the proposed algorithm. In particular, in sufficiently dense networks, the proposed algorithm outperforms the state-of-the-art BP-based algorithm for NLS in terms of both estimation accuracy and computational complexity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4714-4727
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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