Thread updates standard to support Matter

  • July 20, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The Thread Group has improved its wireless networking protocol so it is ready for the Matter smart home connectivity standard.

Thread 1.3.0 is said to simplify R&D and deployment investments for IoT device manufacturers, and delivers a seamless experience for users.

The Thread Group is an industry alliance enabling IoT convergence, and addressing problems around security, energy footprint and architecture at the network layer.

The Thread 1.3.0 iteration of its wireless networking protocol now enables Matter. Building on previous iterations, Thread 1.3.0 is backwards compatible, opening up the possibilities for widespread IoT adoption in homes and commercial buildings, by resolving barriers for both device manufacturers and end users.

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 products to market.

Thread’s wireless networking protocol, along with Matter, serves as the foundation for manufacturers to provide devices that 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 lets Matter operate seamlessly on Thread networks. This allows manufacturers to focus on innovation and less on connectivity, benefiting end users directly.

Thread is a reliable, secure and 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 and connect directly to the cloud.

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.

With Thread 1.3.0, emphasised 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 easier for them to be added to a network, and allowing them to be joined easily 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 wifi device on the network. They can be reached via IP and can discover services using mDNS. As with wifi access points, Thread border routers are unique as they can be built into existing devices from any company, reducing 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 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 the 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 programme are now available to Thread Group members. Support for additional partner ecosystems, such as KNX, Dali and OCF, will be coming soon.

Formed in 2013, the non-profit Thread Group is focused on making Thread the foundation for the IoT in homes and commercial buildings. Built on open standards, Thread is a low power wireless networking protocol that enables direct, end-to-end, secure and scalable connectivity between IoT devices, mobile devices and the internet. And, because Thread is IP-based, it seamlessly integrates with many environments, apps, devices and clouds.

The Thread Group provides a certification programme to ensure device interoperability and a positive user experience. Thread is backed by companies including Amazon, Apple, Google Nest, Lutron, Nordic Semiconductors, NXP Semiconductors, Osram, Qualcomm, Siemens, Silicon Labs, Samsung SmartThings, Somfy and Yale Security.