High-Resolution, Low-Power Time Synchronization an Oxymoron No More

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Executive Summary

The authors present Virtual High-resolution Time (VHT), a power-proportional time-keeping service that offers a baseline power draw of a low-speed clock (e.g. 32 kHz crystal), but pro-vides the time resolution that only a higher frequency clock could offer (e.g. 8 MHz crystal), and scales essentially linearly with access (i.e., the "Reading" and "Writing" of the clock). They achieve this performance by revisiting a basic assumption in the design of time-keeping systems - that to achieve a given time-stamping resolution, a free-running time-base of equivalent frequency is needed. They show that this assumption is false and argue that the dependence is not on usage (i.e. whether on or o) but rather on access (i.e., reading and writing).

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