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Thread Group welcomes Qualcomm, outs Ver1.0 for IoT

Posted: 16 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Thread Group? IoT? Qualcomm? AllSeen Alliance? protocol stack?

Sciorilli will oversee testing and ensure that "Thread products work together effortlessly and securely right out of the box," according to the Thread Group. The Thread Group has developed and supplied tools to test Thread products to a third- party test house, which will be responsible for independently running the tests and certifying Thread products.

Once certified, Thread products can bear the Thread logo.

Keep the Group's scope narrow

Now that the version 1.0 specs are out, EE Times asked the Thread Group president about plans for Version 2.0.

Boross made it very clear: "We are trying not to become another standards body."

"We have intentionally kept our scope narrow," explained Boross. The Group will keep its networking protocol "application layer-agnostic." The goal is to keep it stable for interoperability reasons, he added.

"Our charter is the promotion of Thread, and market education," not pumping out new versions of the spec every six months, he explained.

Since the Group released late last year the Thread technical information to members, "The board has maintained active dialogue and interactions with both builders and users [of IoT devices]," said Boross. Member feedbacks are reflected in the 1.0 specs.

In a nutshell, Thread is "a secure wireless mesh network" for the home and its connected home appliances. It's expected to be used in such applications as access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety and security. Thread devices are designed to work together to form a cohesive mesh network.

Commercial protocol stack

Silicon Labs has become the first to roll out Thread commercial protocol stacks and its development tools. ARM and Freescale are expected to follow suit.

Silicon Labs' customers with registered EM35x-DEV development kits will be able to receive, at no charge, Silicon Labs' Thread software stack and sample application. The kit based on Silicon Labs' EM35xx wireless SoC platform is "a common platform for both ZigBee and Thread development," according to the company.

Silicon Labs takes pride of its record in supporting ZigBee through its EM35Xxx wireless SoCs. With the launch of a Thread stack also designed to run on the same IEEE 802.15.4-based SoC platform, Silicon Labs is effectively giving customers "an upgrade path" from ZigBee to Thread. "Our customers need no new hardware and they can do it via over-the-air upgrades," explained Skip Ashton, VP of software engineering at Silicon Labs.

New networking protocol and architecture

Thread protocol is built on proven technology. It uses 6LoWPAN and carries IPv6 natively, and runs on existing 802.15.4 silicon.

However, compared to current wireless standards, Thread comes with its own robust self-healing mesh network architecture, with "no single point of failure," said the Group. The Thread network can support 250-300 devices at home.

Thread's device types

Thread's device types (Source: Thread Group)

Thread specs are designed to plug "identified security holes found in other wireless protocols," according to the Group. Silicon Labs' Thread stack, for example, uses "banking-class, end-to-end security to join nodes to the network" and "proven AES-128 cryptography to secure all networking transactions," said the company.

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