A time synchronization technique for coap-based home automation systems

Seung Chul Son, Nak Woo Kim, Byung Tak Lee, Chae Ho Cho, Jo Woon Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


With the advent of internet-of-things (IoT)-based home automation systems, time synchronization techniques for low power sensor modules are in high demand. The constrained application protocol (CoAP) was recently standardized for sensor networks by IETF and is becoming widely adopted for home automation systems by ETSI, OMA, and oneM2M. The network time protocol (NTP) is not applicable to home automation systems due to its limited computing resources. This paper proposes a lightweight time synchronization algorithm for CoAP-based home automation system networks. The CoAP option field and a shim header are used to include time-stamps in the home automation system. The proposed scheme can thus be applied to both IP-based and non-IP-based home automation systems. In experiments with several household devices having non-IP communication interfaces, experimental results show that the proposed technique gives an average error of 1 ms and a network overhead reduction of 17% when compared to the ideal NTP service.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7448557
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • CoAP
  • Home automation
  • Smart home
  • Time synchronization


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