|Developed by||Thread Group|
Thread is an IPv6-based, low-power mesh networking technology for Internet of things (IoT) products, intended to be secure and future-proof.The Thread protocol specification is available at no cost; however, this requires agreement and continued adherence to an End-User License Agreement (EULA), which states that "Membership in Thread Group is necessary to implement, practice, and ship Thread technology and Thread Group specifications." Membership of the Thread Group is subject to an annual membership fee, except for the "Academic" tier.
In July 2014, the "Thread Group" alliance was formed as a working group to aid Thread becoming an industry standard by providing Thread certification for products.Initial members were ARM Holdings, Big Ass Solutions, NXP Semiconductors/Freescale, Google-subsidiary Nest Labs, OSRAM, Samsung, Silicon Labs, Somfy, Tyco International, Qualcomm, and the Yale lock company. In August 2018 Apple Inc. joined the group and released its first Thread product, the HomePod Mini, in late 2020.
Thread uses 6LoWPAN, which, in turn, uses the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol with mesh communication, as does Zigbee and other systems. However, Thread is IP-addressable, with cloud access and AES encryption. A BSD-licensed open-source implementation of Thread, called "OpenThread", has been released by Google.
In 2019, the Connected Home over IP project (later renamed "Matter"), led by Zigbee, Google, Amazon and Apple, announced a broad collaboration to create a royalty-free standard and open-source code base to promote interoperability in home connectivity, leveraging Thread, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Thread uses 6LoWPAN, which is based on the use of a connecting router, called an edge router. Thread calls their edge routers Border Routers. Unlike other proprietary networks, 6LoWPAN, like any network with edge routers, does not maintain any application layer state, because such networks forward datagrams at the network layer. This means that 6LoWPAN remains unaware of application protocols and changes. p6)This lowers the processing power burden on edge routers. It also means that Thread does not need to maintain an application layer. Thread states that multiple application layers can be supported, as long as they are low-bandwidth and are able to operate over IPv6. (
Thread touts that there is no single point of failure in its system. However, if the network is only set up with one edge router, then this can serve as a single point of failure. The edge router or another router can assume the role of Leader for certain functions. If the Leader fails, another router or edge router will take its place. This is the main way that Thread guarantees no single point of failure. p8)(
Thread promises a high level of security. Only devices that are specifically authenticated can join the network. All communications through the network are secured with a network key. pp19–21)(
Competing Internet of things (IoT) protocols include Bluetooth Low Energy (including Bluetooth Mesh), Zigbee, [ citation needed ]Z-Wave, Wi-Fi HaLow, Bluetooth 5, Wirepas, MiraOS and VEmesh.
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology standard that is used for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances using UHF radio waves in the ISM bands, from 2.402 GHz to 2.48 GHz, and building personal area networks (PANs). It was originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. It is mainly used as an alternative to wire connections, to exchange files between nearby portable devices and connect cell phones and music players with wireless headphones. In the most widely used mode, transmission power is limited to 2.5 milliwatts, giving it a very short range of up to 10 meters (30 feet).
IEEE 802.15 is a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) IEEE 802 standards committee which specifies wireless personal area network (WPAN) standards. There are 10 major areas of development, not all of which are active.
A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network for interconnecting electronic devices within an individual person's workspace. A PAN provides data transmission among devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets and personal digital assistants. PANs can be used for communication among the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet where one master device takes up the role as gateway.
Zigbee is an IEEE 802.15.4-based specification for a suite of high-level communication protocols used to create personal area networks with small, low-power digital radios, such as for home automation, medical device data collection, and other low-power low-bandwidth needs, designed for small scale projects which need wireless connection. Hence, Zigbee is a low-power, low data rate, and close proximity wireless ad hoc network.
IEEE 802.15.4 is a technical standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs). It specifies the physical layer and media access control for LR-WPANs, and is maintained by the IEEE 802.15 working group, which defined the standard in 2003. It is the basis for the Zigbee, ISA100.11a, WirelessHART, MiWi, 6LoWPAN, Thread and SNAP specifications, each of which further extends the standard by developing the upper layers which are not defined in IEEE 802.15.4. In particular, 6LoWPAN defines a binding for the IPv6 version of the Internet Protocol (IP) over WPANs, and is itself used by upper layers like Thread.
A wireless mesh network (WMN) is a communications network made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. It can also be a form of wireless ad hoc network.
A mesh network is a local network topology in which the infrastructure nodes connect directly, dynamically and non-hierarchically to as many other nodes as possible and cooperate with one another to efficiently route data from/to clients. This lack of dependency on one node allows for every node to participate in the relay of information. Mesh networks dynamically self-organize and self-configure, which can reduce installation overhead. The ability to self-configure enables dynamic distribution of workloads, particularly in the event a few nodes should fail. This in turn contributes to fault-tolerance and reduced maintenance costs.
Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol used primarily for home automation. It is a mesh network using low-energy radio waves to communicate from appliance to appliance, allowing for wireless control of residential appliances and other devices, such as lighting control, security systems, thermostats, windows, locks, swimming pools, and garage door openers. Like other protocols and systems aimed at the home and office automation market, a Z-Wave system can be controlled via the Internet from a smart phone, tablet, or computer, and locally through a smart speaker, wireless keyfob, or wall-mounted panel with a Z-Wave gateway or central control device serving as both the hub controller and portal to the outside. Z-Wave provides the application layer interoperability between home control systems of different manufacturers that are a part of its alliance. There are a growing number of interoperable Z-Wave products; over 1,700 in 2017, and over 2,600 by 2019.
A home network or home area network (HAN) is a type of computer network that facilitates communication among devices within the close vicinity of a home. Devices capable of participating in this network, for example, smart devices such as network printers and handheld mobile computers, often gain enhanced emergent capabilities through their ability to interact. These additional capabilities can be used to increase the quality of life inside the home in a variety of ways, such as automation of repetitive tasks, increased personal productivity, enhanced home security, and easier access to entertainment.
The WiMedia Alliance was a non-profit industry trade group that promoted the adoption, regulation, standardization and multi-vendor interoperability of ultra-wideband (UWB) technologies. It existed from about 2002 through 2009.
6LoWPAN is an acronym of IPv6 over Low -Power Wireless Personal Area Networks. 6LoWPAN is the name of a concluded working group in the Internet area of the IETF.
A Bluetooth stack is software that is an implementation of the Bluetooth protocol stack.
A wide variety of different wireless data technologies exist, some in direct competition with one another, others designed for specific applications. Wireless technologies can be evaluated by a variety of different metrics of which some are described in this entry.
Bluetooth Low Energy is a wireless personal area network technology designed and marketed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group aimed at novel applications in the healthcare, fitness, beacons, security, and home entertainment industries. It is independent of classic Bluetooth and has no compatibility, but BR/EDR and LE can coexist. The original specification was developed by Nokia in 2006 under the name Wibree, which was integrated into Bluetooth 4.0 in December 2009 as Bluetooth Low Energy.
Silicon Laboratories, Inc. is a fabless global technology company that designs and manufactures semiconductors, other silicon devices and software, which it sells to electronics design engineers and manufacturers in Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure worldwide.
In computer networking, the link layer is the lowest layer in the Internet protocol suite, the networking architecture of the Internet. The link layer is the group of methods and communications protocols confined to the link that a host is physically connected to. The link is the physical and logical network component used to interconnect hosts or nodes in the network and a link protocol is a suite of methods and standards that operate only between adjacent network nodes of a network segment.
Geoff Mulligan is an American computer scientist who developed embedded internet technology and 6LoWPAN. He was chairman of the LoRa Alliance from its creation in 2015 until 2018, was previously founder and Chairman of the IPSO Alliance, is a consultant on the Internet of Things, and in 2013, was appointed a Presidential Innovation Fellow.
Google OnHub is a residential wireless router product from Google, Inc. The two variants are manufactured by TP-Link and ASUS. Google's official tagline for the product is "We’re streaming and sharing in new ways our old routers were never built to handle. Meet OnHub, a router from Google that is built for all the ways you use Wi-Fi." In 2016, Google released the Google Wifi router with mesh networking, and combined its functionality and network administration with the OnHub so that OnHub and Google Wifi may both be used interchangeably in mesh networks.
Weave is a network application layer protocol and, in implementation, a comprehensive toolkit for building connected Internet of Things-class applications, with a primary and current focus on consumer and residential applications.
Matter, formerly Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), is a proprietary, royalty-free home automation connectivity standard. Announced on December 18th, 2019, Matter aims to reduce fragmentation across different vendors, and achieve interoperability among smart home devices and Internet of things (IoT) platforms from different providers. The project group was launched and introduced by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and the Zigbee Alliance, now Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). Subsequent members include IKEA, Huawei, Schneider, among others. Matter-compatible products and software updates for existing products are expected to release in 2022. Although the Matter code repository is open-source under the Apache license, the Matter specification is licensed by CSA.