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In Sync with Today’s Industrial System Clocks

Research group:

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


12th International Conference on COMmunication Systems & NETworkS


Synchronization is essential for correct and consistent operation of automation systems. Synchronized devices accurately time-stamp the events and enable timely communication of messages over a communication network. In absence of a common time base, critical functions of automation systems cannot be carried out in a safe fashion. Unsynchronized systems may lead to malfunctions such as false alarms, wrong decisions and erroneous outcomes resulting into serious showstopper for plant operations. Despite technical advances in synchronization, industrial automation systems have lagged compared to telecommunication and financial services in utilization of latest synchronization technology. Thus, there is a need to investigate the adoption of synchronization in industrial networks, its current state and implementation problems. We carried out an extensive literature search in a structured way to study the evolution of synchronization in automation systems. We also investigated today's industrial automation systems and their network topologies to get insight into the synchronization techniques and mechanisms being used. As an outcome of study, the paper highlights the challenges related to synchronization in existing automation networks that need to be addressed in the immediate and short-term future.


author = {Rahul Nandkumar Gore and Elena Lisova and Johan {\AA}kerberg and Mats Bj{\"o}rkman},
title = {In Sync with Today’s Industrial System Clocks},
month = {January},
year = {2020},
booktitle = {12th International Conference on COMmunication Systems {\&} NETworkS},
url = {}