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Thread border router fix should improve smart home networking

Eve Motion, a Thread-enabled device

The Thread Group will be fixing one of the largest adoption issues of Matter as a smart home standard, by making Thread border routers work nicely as one larger network.

One of the problems with using Thread in a smart home is that devices currently connect within an ecosystem-specific mesh network. This limits the ability for devices from different manufacturers to connect to each other, as well as potentially limiting the reach of each separate mesh network.

On Monday, a blog post from the Thread Group outlined changes on the way for Thread, with multiple changes on the way in 2024. A key change is one affecting Thread border routers, such as the Apple TV or HomePod mini, by making them connect over a single mesh network.

The intention is, with the introduction of credential sharing across Thread, it will make it easier to add a new Thread border router or Thread device to an existing Thread network. With only one Thread network for all devices, potentially including multiple border routers working together, it will theoretically result in a more reliable home network.

As part of the same roadmap, there will be a requirement for Thread border routers to provide standardized paths to the Internet for devices connected to it. This will allow vendors to create devices that better leverage cloud computing for dynamic features, such as weather changes affecting a thermostat or for remote control by users.

Thread over infrastructure enhancements will allow border routers connecting over existing infrastructure like Wi-Fi or Ethernet to use them as additional paths in the Thread network. More standardized methods for Thread devices to undergo network configuration are planned, which may simplify troubleshooting and reduce support costs.

For professional installers and commercial building owners, Secure Commissioning at Scale will seek to make wireless onboarding of Thread devices easier, especially for hardware installed in hard-to-reach positions. Instead of scanning codes, TLS authentication can be performed via the exchanging of security certificates.

While Thread does outline the changes as part of a 2024 roadmap, there isn't any indication as to when they will be actually implemented during the year.

More discussion about Thread's changes can be heard in the HomeKit Insider podcast, released on Monday.