Thread is a low-power, low-latency wireless mesh networking protocol based on open and proven standards. Thread solves IoT complexities and addresses interoperability, reach, security, power, and reliability challenges. Threaded networks have no single point of failure and include the ability to self-heal.
Internet works over IP. From phones to routers to connections around the world, IP is how devices communicate directly with each other, regardless of the connection technologies they use (i.e. Ethernet, Wi-Fi , 5G and LTE). Thread brings the Internet to the Internet of Things by using the open and proven standards of the Internet to create a mesh network based on Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).
Threaded devices integrate seamlessly with larger IP networks and do not need proprietary gateways or translators. This reduces investment and infrastructure complexity, removes potential points of failure and reduces maintenance costs. Thread also securely connects devices to the cloud, making it easy to control IoT products and systems from devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Thread works using the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard for low-speed wireless home automation networks, which is specifically configured to connect devices together in a low-power, low-bandwidth mesh network. The radios operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency range in North America. All devices operate on an IP network, which means that your IoT devices can connect to each other but also connect to the Internet. This is similar to Wi-Fi but in a low power, low bandwidth package designed for home automation.
The practical range for low-power 2.4 GHz radios indoors is approximately 30 feet. However, since Thread is a mesh network and devices can relay messages to each other, the overall network range is around 100 feet. Thread is for IoT devices and accessories to transmit commands and messages, so high bandwidth is not required. The data transfer is around 250Mbps, which is great for smart home accessories. You won't want to stream media through Thread, but that's not its purpose.
Advantages of the Thread home automation protocol
Thread shares many of the same benefits as Z-Wave and Zigbee, namely low power consumption and mesh communication. Both are ideal for home automation accessories. However, the Thread Group promotes connectivity via the IP protocol as a major advantage.
IP is used by our phones, tablets and laptops so that Thread can seamlessly connect to existing devices. This means you can generate a Thread network with existing devices so you don't have to buy a new hub. IP also has security standards that have been tested for decades, so you know it will be safe.
The biggest problem with Thread is that it's so new and there aren't many accessories that include the technology. We believe that is about to change as the group is backed by so many big names in home automation. Meanwhile, a threaded network isn't very useful.