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If You Have One of These Thread Border Routers, Your Smart Home Will Be Matter-Ready

If You Have One of These Thread Border Routers, Your Smart Home Will Be Matter-Ready

The matter is getting closer. The new smart home standard that promises to set up a smart home as easy as screwing in a lightbulb took a big step toward that lofty goal this week. Thread, the main wireless protocol mater will run with Wi-Fi, just dropped a major upgrade. Thread 1.3.0 will enable Thread devices to work with any thread border router, eliminating current manufacturer-specific constraints. It also sets the stage for thread-enabled Matter devices -- which should begin arriving later this year -- to join existing thread networks using those border routers.

If you have any of these devices in your home today, you are in luck. Once upgraded by the manufacturer, they may become thread 1.3. This will allow you to add any Thread device to your home without purchasing any additional hardware.

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While there may be more options when it comes to matters (a thread border router can be built into almost any device with an always-on power source and an internet connection), the manufacturers of these products have publicly called them thread borders. Said. When it comes to routers we are committed to making.

In the case of Apple, Eero and Nanoleaf devices, they are already acting as border routers. Thread 1.3.0 specification/certification is backward-compatible with previous versions. “From a technical standpoint, whatever is currently running as Thread Border Router can be updated,” said Jonathan Hui, VP of technology for Thread Group and a lead software engineer at Google Nest, in an interview. Told. Told The Verge.

Border routers from different manufacturers will be able to connect to the same thread network
Currently, if you have a thread-enabled device, such as a Nanoleaf Essential lightbulb or Eve Energy smart plug (see a full list here), it can connect to the Border Router to talk to other devices in your home network and beyond. Thread can. can connect with. Thanks for the IP-based make-up of the thread. But today, border routers from different manufacturers, like the HomePod Mini or Eero 6 Wi-Fi router, can't talk to each other. If you have two border routers from two different companies, you are running two separate thread networks. This defeats the main purpose of the thread: to create a self-healing mesh network that continues even if the device fails.

With the release of the Thread 1.3.0 specification, the thread border router function is being standardized. This means no more competing thread networks; Border routers from different manufacturers will connect to the same thread network seamlessly. "Threads 1.3.0 demonstrates Border Router over Wi-Fi [network] like any other Wi-Fi device, allowing any existing device on the Wi-Fi network to connect to those thread devices without requiring any special software." to interact with it," explains.

Thread 1.3.0 enables matter-over-thread devices to be easily connected to a Thread network. For example, the Matter controller app on a smartphone -- such as the Google Home app -- can quickly pick up every Matter device on the Thread network, enabling a simple setup similar to how Apple's HomeKit works today. "It's using exactly the same technology that HomeKit takes advantage of, the same technology used to find printers on your network that you want to add to your computer," Hui says. "It's all the same underlying protocols - mDNS, Bonjour. Now, we're expanding this to thread only."

Once your compatible lights, locks, shades or sensors are on the Thread Network, they can be controlled by a Matter Controller from any compatible ecosystem. This includes Apple's HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon's Alexa or Samsung's SmartThings. Thanks to Matter's multi-admin control feature, you can pair your devices across all ecosystems, should you want to.

Thread Group is an industry collaboration supported by Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung SmartThings and others to develop low-power wireless networking protocols specifically for smart homes and connected devices.

A low-power, low-latency wireless protocol, Thread creates a self-healing mesh network built on proactive routing, meaning that devices talk directly to each other to find the most efficient path to take. This is why a thread-enabled lightbulb will turn on in a fraction of a second, compared to a Bluetooth bulb that can take several seconds to receive a command.

While thread networks do not require a central hub or bridge, such as the equally low-power mesh protocols Z-Wave and Zigbee, they do require at least one thread border router. It acts like a bridge, or hub, that connects the device to your home network and the Internet. When the Miter arrives, it will also connect them to the Miter controller—which can be a thread border router (like the HomePod Mini) or your smartphone running the Google Home app.

With a range router, you can add any number of content-over-thread devices to your home without purchasing additional hardware.
But border routers are different from the hubs and bridges we know and hate today. First, border router technology can be built into existing equipment such as smart speakers, Wi-Fi routers, or even smart light fixtures, so there is no need for manufacturers to build dedicated hubs and bridges. That means fewer white boxes hanging from your router. second, the border router does not see the conversations taking place on your device (all communications are end-to-end encrypted); It just passes them. And third, with this new 1.3.0 release, any thread can connect to any thread border router, regardless of device manufacturer. This means that a single thread border router can connect all of your thread-enabled accessories.

But that only works if people have border routers in their homes, something that keeps the protocol, first developed in 2015, really taking off. “The lack of border routers in the market created this chicken and egg problem where product vendors saw value in threads, but had a hard time understanding how they could get thread devices into the market without those border routers,” Hui says. This latest iteration of the thread standardizes border routers so that companies like Apple, Amazon and Google can produce them in a way that device vendors can trust. "Just like we rely on Wi-Fi today," Hui says.

Another feature coming with Threads 1.3.0 is streamlined over-the-air updates. The new specification requires devices to use the Transmission Control Protocol standard in order to update firmware on thread-enabled devices. "You can update all devices at the same time without affecting network performance because it is over TCP," Hui says. They also confirmed that it can allow remote updates, meaning you don't have to stand next to your door sensor to hold your phone up to the sky to download a firmware upgrade. Now I call it progress.

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