Last year NIST released a report with the tag line:  “Lack of Effective Timing Signals Could Hamper ‘Internet of Things’ Development.” In it the authors described over-reliance on weak and easily disrupted GPS and GNSS timing signals as an Achilles Heel for future development of networked systems.

Last month NIST released another report about “Networks of Things.”  The need for good time in networks was mentioned throughout.

Driving home NIST’s continuing concern about the lack of an effective time scale in the US, the very last statement in the report is:

“NoTs (networks of things) have workflows and dataflows that are highly time-sensitive – NoTs need communication and computation synchronization. Defective local/global clocks (timing failures) lead to deadlock, race conditions, and other classes of system-wide, NoT failures.”

In December 2015 the deputy secretaries of Defense and Transportation sent a letter to five Congressmen indicating that they were ready to move ahead and establish a nationwide time signal using eLoran. The signal would be very stable and difficult to disrupt and provide an ideal complement to GPS. The administration has yet to act on this, though.



Grpahic by: By Mathieu Bastian –, GPL,