Here’s some great
news about Thread, the low-power, secure, mesh networking specification that
uses IP protocols.
On February 9, the Thread Group announced availability of the first four Thread-certified software stacks and officially opened the product certification program. This announcement culminates three years of intense collaborative development by Thread Group members and launches a new era of low power, IP based mesh networking. Manufacturers are already submitting products and components for certification as the Thread Group prepares to release the Thread 1.1 specification to the public. Here at ARM, we’re pleased to offer one of the first four Thread-certified stacks.
These exciting announcements triggered a flood of inquiries about Thread technologies, testing, and certification. As ARM’s representative on the Thread Group Board of Directors, and Secretary of the group, many of these questions land on my screens. In this blog, I’ll answer the ones most frequently asked. You will find more information about the Thread Group at threadgroup.org and mbed.com.
are these “stacks” and why is “certification” of these stacks so significant?
A Thread stack is a layer of software that implements the Thread 1.1 IP based mesh network specification. “Certification” means that the stack has passed Thread’s conformance tests in a mixed network environment with other stacks and radios. Thread could have taken the easy path and started product testing with a single reference implementation. Instead, the group certified four stacks simultaneously across four platforms, thereby ensuring that four different development teams agree on how to interpret the specification while confirming multi-vendor interoperability. This approach also validated Thread’s automated test tools and scripts, thereby minimizing product certification time and cost for member companies.
I begin developing a Thread based product right now? How do I get started?
Yes! Thread-certified stacks are available today from ARM, NXP, Open Thread, and Silicon Labs. Information about Thread in mbed is here and all Thread certified stacks are listed here. To help get you up to speed quickly, the Thread Group is hosting a Technology Workshop at Google on March 27. We’ll provide a technical overview of Thread, detailed development information from each stack vendor, previews of application layer protocols that can run on top of Thread, and other information you’ll need to get your product running and certified. Registration information for the workshop is here.
I have to start from scratch?
No. The ARM stack is delivered as part of mbed OS so you can start developing software applications right away without tinkering around with OS integration. The Thread Group also provides members with access to a smart phone based commissioning tool for device onboarding so you don’t have to write that code. Members also get access to the test harness and scripts, enabling in-house conformance and interoperability testing before submitting your product to the independent lab for certification. This accelerates certification and reduces cost.
I need to be a Thread Group member in order to start developing a Thread
No. You can start right now with any of the four certified stacks. Have fun! However, you will need to join the Thread Group in order to get all the Thread tools, certify your product, receive the Thread logo, and benefit from Thread’s IP policy.
As a founding member of the Thread Group and contributor to the specification, ARM is very proud to see Thread-based products interoperating with one another and in the queue for certification.
If you’re interested in developing with Thread, please contact threadgroup.org and join us at Google on March 27 for the Thread Technology Workshop.
We also have just released mbed OS 5.4, that also includes flexible filesystem support, a bootloader and firmware update framework. Find out more about this release here.