Methodology for GPS Synchronization Evaluation with High Accuracy

Methodology for GPS Synchronization Evaluation with High Accuracy Clock synchronization in the order of nanoseconds is one of the critical factors for time-based localization. Currently used time synchronization methods are developed for the more relaxed needs of network operation. Their usability for positioning should be carefully evaluated. In this paper, we are particularly interested in GPS-based time synchronization. To judge its usability for localization we need a method that can evaluate the achieved time synchronization with nanosecond accuracy. Our method to evaluate the synchronization accuracy is inspired by signal processing algorithms and relies on fine-grain time information. The method is able to calculate the clock offset and skew between devices with nanosecond accuracy in real time. It was implemented using software defined radio technology. We demonstrate that GPS-based synchronization suffers from remaining clock offset in the range of a few hundred of nanoseconds but the clock skew is negligible. Finally, we determine a corresponding lower bound on the expected positioning error.