Smart home
Thread is a wireless smart home standard backed by Apple among others

Thread Group Launches New Version to Enable Matter and Improve Connectivity for Smart Homes

Thread Group’s new 1.3.0 version of its wireless networking protocol simplifies implementation of IoT Devices for manufacturers and provides seamless experiences for end users.

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For those of you who don’t know about Thread, it’s a wireless protocol used by Apple and a few other manufacturers of IoT devices. Their low power wireless protocol enables direct, end-to-end, secure, and scalable connectivity between connected devices, mobile devices and the internet. What makes their protocol unique is the communication is done directly instead of being channeled via a hub (like Philips Hue) or a router. This allows it to create a mesh network which can connect as many as 250 devices. Today, Thread Group announced a new iteration of their wireless network protocol, 1.3.0 which is backward compatible with existing Thread devices and offers a slew of possibilities for new devices which can help drive IoT adoption in the home and workspace.

Homeowners and building planners expect a seamless experience from their smart environment. This experience relies on easy to use, interoperable and secure devices that reliably deliver on their promises. In the past, it’s been challenging for smart device manufacturers to make that happen, often being hampered by issues with interoperability when bringing new products to market.

Thread’s wireless networking protocol, along with Matter, serves as the foundation for manufacturers to provide devices which seamlessly connect devices at home and in commercial building environments. The enablement of Matter devices through Thread 1.3.0 brings the full functionality of IP routing and service discovery to Thread networks which enables Matter to operate seamlessly on Thread networks. This allows manufacturers to focus on innovation and less on connectivity, benefiting end users directly.

a illustration of Thread wireless protocolThread is an alternative to Zigbee and Z-Wave Thread

Thread is a reliable, secure and ultra-low power network protocol that delivers fast response times, extended coverage and years of battery life to elevate connected experiences. As an IP-based open standard, Thread allows home automation devices such as lighting, thermostats, door locks, sensors and smart speakers to integrate securely, reliably and simply into smart homes or buildings.

As an IP-based network transport layer protocol, Thread can work with any IP-based application layer.

In addition to supporting Matter, Thread 1.3.0 will support other application layers such as KNX IoT, DALI+, OCF and BACnet.

Thread 1.3.0, emphasized and focused on Matter, users will now experience:

  • Seamless response across Matter devices: Thread 1.3.0 enables Matter devices to join users’ IP-based networks while enabling low power, long-range use cases. Matter end devices can use any certified Thread Border Router and work with all smart devices, making it easy for them to be added to a network, and allowing them to easily be joined to existing networks.
  • Seamless integration into existing network infrastructure: Thread Border Routers make it simple for Thread devices to be discovered and communicate with devices outside the Thread network because they appear like any other Wi-Fi device on the network. They can be reached via IP and can discover services using mDNS. Like Wi-Fi access points, Thread Border Routers are unique as they can be built into existing devices from any company minimizing the need for additional dedicated hardware.
  • Simplified in-field firmware updates: Makes it possible to update firmware quickly and automatically on Thread devices without impacting responsiveness of controls or timeliness of event delivery. Upgrading an installed device can be cumbersome; Thread 1.3 allows simultaneous firmware updates to all your Thread devices at the same time without sacrificing network performance.

“The Thread Group is always looking for ways to harness the power of the Internet of Things through its IP-based, low power, low-latency, reliable and secure mesh networking technology,” said Vividh Siddha, President of Thread Group. "With Thread 1.3.0, users can more easily connect, configure, and use their Matter devices as they can be used with any certified Thread Border Router and work with other smart devices. This ensures users can easily experience a stronger, faster, and more dependable network from its Thread products.”

The Thread 1.3.0 Networking Protocol spec and Certification program are now available to Thread Group members. Support for additional partner ecosystems, such as KNX, DALI and OCF, will be coming soon. Learn more here.

GearBrain has tested products by Apple (HomePod Mini), Aqara, Nanoleaf and Google with Thread. They work very well, and we had no major connectivity issues. Thread’s move to integrate Matter compatibility into their new release is smart. Solving the complexities of IoT devices and the challenges of interoperability, security, power and architecture requirements is the key to success in the IoT world for both consumers and businesses. By adding Matter compatibility will continue to help simplify connectivity of smart devices and allow users to experience the true benefits these connected products offer their home and/or business.

Also, don't forget to check out The GearBrain, our compatibility find engine and a solution for interoperability. It will help you find, buy and learn how to connect any smart devices, including those working on Thread connection.

How to Find Products in The GearBrain, Our Compatibility Find Engine for Smart

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