Silicon Labs pairs Thread protocol stack with 15.4 silicon

July 14, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs has announced its Thread networking solution, comprising a software stack that the company says has been refined to ensure the completely robust networks; and a suite of mesh networking software development – network building, and network analysis – tools.

The stack is available for free download for any users who have purchased and registered one of the company’s development kits for wireless networked products. The company sees the move as one that will help to unify a fragmented market, “as we move to a situation where the home has a completely IP-based environment, with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 15.4 wireless solutions in use, each being applied where they are most appropriate.” The need for totally reliable networking in this context is paramount, the company says, “you cannot move a thermostat or a lighting control around the room to ‘get a better signal’ - anything less than 100% response [in this market sector] is ‘broken’ and is a product return.” Accordingly, and while asserting that its protocol stack will produce the most-reliable results available, Silabs has bundled a network analysis tools to help track down any failed or missing data packets, and to identify where a network might be falling short of ideal. You can use the analysis tools yourself, or you can save a log file that can be examined by Silabs’ applications support team.

Silicon Labs anticipates take-up from companies that are non-experts in networking – who want to add wireless mesh operation to products that they do know about: and from companies whose engineers have been struggling with getting wireless systems to work and who, “will be pleased to direct their engineers to actually developing their products.”

Thread technology fills a gap in the IoT ecosystem, Silabs says, by providing the first standards-based, low-power mesh networking solution based on Internet protocol (IP), enabling reliable, secure and scalable Internet connectivity for battery-powered devices in the connected home. As a founding member of the Thread Group and the chair of the Group’s technical committee, Silicon Labs has been instrumental in defining and developing the Thread specification introduced by the Group.

The stack will work with any of Silabs’ mesh networking