The IEEE 1588 protocol has received recent interest as a means of delivering sub-microsecond level clock phase synchronization over packet-switched mobile backhaul networks. Due to the randomness of the end-to-end delays in packet networks, the recovery of clock phase from packet timestamps in IEEE 1588 must be treated as a statistical estimation problem. A number of estimators for this problem have been suggested in the literature, but little is known about the best achievable performance.
In this paper, we describe new minimax estimators for this problem, that are optimum in terms of minimizing the maximum mean squared error over all possible values of the unknown parameters. Minimax estimators that utilize information from past timestamps to improve accuracy are also introduced. Simulation results indicate that significant performance gains over conventional estimators can be obtained via such optimum processing techniques. These minimax estimators also provide fundamental limits on the performance of phase offset estimation schemes