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.

Thread Group'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
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
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
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
Is Health the Killer App for the IoT?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/22/2014
Drones Hover Over the IoT Sector
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/23/2014
The Human Gain of the Smart Home
Robin Mersh, 10/20/2014
Zayo Zooms Out of the IPO Gate
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 10/17/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed