Light Reading
A new home wireless networking protocol aims to make a self-healing mesh on the Internet of Things.

Thread Group Spins New IoT Networking Protocol

Jason Meyers
7/15/2014
50%
50%

The Internet of Things just keeps getting more clubs. The newest place to be seen is Thread Group, which launched today to back a new IP-based, in-home wireless networking protocol for the IoT called -- wait for it -- Thread.

's founding members are Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-owned Nest, Freescale Semiconductor Inc. , Yale Security, Silicon Labs, ARM Ltd. (Nasdaq: ARMHY; London: ARM), and Big Ass Fans (yes, really).

Thread is squarely focused on the home network, says Chris Boross, president of Thread Group and technical product marketing manager at Nest (the eponymous thermostat product of which already uses a version of Thread). Its attributes are that is very low power and enables a secure, self-healing mesh network with no single point of failure.

"It's solving the networking problem," Boross says. "It's a very simple protocol."

Thread will be an open protocol and is built on open protocols, Boross says. Thread is derived from characteristics of IEEE 802.15.4, IETF IPv6, and 6LoWPAN (an acronym of IPv6 over low-power wireless personal area networks) and, as protocols go, certainly has a much more concise and memorable name than any of its ancestors.

The fact that Thread boasts proven parentage is a plus for adoption, says Caroline Gabriel, research director for Rethink Technology Research. "They’re not promising a new specification -- they're creating it from something already there," she says. "That's quite positive, because this is proper IP technology. They're actually using real technology rather than promising technology down the road."

The question, Gabriel says, is whether Thread can contend with existing home networking protocols like Bluetooth LE and ZigBee. Boross maintains that it can, and that device and chip makers will settle on fewer standards that achieve the right security and resiliency needs.

"The industry needs to coalesce around a small number of networking standards," he says. "We definitely see a world where devices have WiFi and Thread, or Ethernet and Thread -- but not all the protocols. It's very hard to make a product that supports many, many standards."

Thread Group will open membership and launch a certification program later this year. As for the spate of IoT standards group taking shape of late, like the AllSeen Alliance and the Open Interconnect Consortium , Boross says they are addressing broader issues and expects Thread Group to collaborate with many other groups and standards. (See Intel, Others Form Another IoT Alliance and Microsoft Joins Qualcomm & Friends in IoT Standards Group.)

"They're both providing high-level communications frameworks and platforms that run over lots of different types of networking technologies. They're tackling a different problem, and it may well be very complementary," he says. "Thread is about fixing the networking protocols for low-power mesh networks for the home. We have a very narrow focus and we need to educate the market."

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/16/2014 | 2:06:41 PM
Re: Big Ass Fans
Trying to figure out an article that can use the headline: "Big Ass Fans Breaks Wind."
jasonmeyers
50%
50%
jasonmeyers,
User Rank: Blogger
7/16/2014 | 1:51:08 PM
Re: Encrypted networks
Thanks, Susan!
jasonmeyers
50%
50%
jasonmeyers,
User Rank: Blogger
7/16/2014 | 1:42:28 PM
Re: more & more connectivity protocols
@nasimson - I think you're absolutely right. Boross of Thread Group/Nest did say that Thread connectivity can be quickly added to devices that already support other protocols because it is based on existing radio silicon -- 802.15.4, the same radio used for ZigBee (another one to add to your list, along with Bluetooth). So maybe that will help a bit -- but clearly something's gotta give. 
jasonmeyers
50%
50%
jasonmeyers,
User Rank: Blogger
7/16/2014 | 1:23:27 PM
Re: Big Ass Fans
You had to go there, O'Shea. 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
7/16/2014 | 10:53:36 AM
Big Ass Fans
Good to see this company get behind IoT. But, with all the other big names involved, is it just bringing up the rear?
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/16/2014 | 6:30:14 AM
Encrypted networks
One important thing in the IoT world is security. It seems like Thread has it covered with encrypted networks and public-key cryptograph of the same kind banks use. 

-Susan

PS: Congrats on the new position, Jason! :) 
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 11:31:00 PM
more & more connectivity protocols
> "..It's very hard to make a product that supports many, many standards."

Its so true. The M2M/IoT device that is supposed to be micro, sturdy, robust, long-life and what not has to support too many protocols. There is simply so much choice: WiFi, Thread, GPRS, EDGE, HSPA, LTE, WiMax, Ethernet etc. It builds on the costs as more & more chipsets are added to support more connectivity protocols.
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Microgenesis on Huawei's Switches

9|19|14   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Microgenesis is a solutions and system integrator company in the Philippines whose areas of expertise include data centers, networking and security products. In this video, Executive Director Jeffrey Choa talks to us about his customers needs and they benefit from using Huawei switches.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Mosaik Solutions presents its 2014 maps of the wireless world in the US, including cable WiFi deployments, LTE network expansion and 600MHz auction boundaries.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Photos: Qualcomm Takes Over San Francisco
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/19/2014
Exclusive: Microwave Maven Exalt Is Cooked
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
EMC Mulls Merger With HP or Dell – Reports
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2014
Gigabit Nets Boost GDP, Says FTTH Council
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed