Posted on Thursday February 2, 2023
zigron | 6 min read

Thread vs. Matter

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Introduction

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for reliable and secure mesh networking protocols has never been greater. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the Thread and Matter protocols, two of the most popular mesh networking protocols currently in use. We’ll compare and contrast the two protocols, discuss their respective strengths and weaknesses, and explore some of the most common use cases for each. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of which protocol is best suited for your specific needs.

Thread Protocol

Thread is an IPv6-based low-power mesh networking protocol that was developed by Nest Labs, before being acquired by Google. It is now managed by the Thread Group. The protocol is designed to be used in products like light bulbs, door locks, security systems, thermostats, smoke alarms, and other connected devices in the home. The Thread Protocol uses a star topology with a central controller (e.g. a Thread Group Certified product) and can support up to 250 devices. The protocol utilizes AES-128 encryption for security.

Matter Protocol

Matter Protocol is an open-source, peer-to-peer network protocol designed for connecting devices in your home or office. It is based on the popular Internet Protocol (IP) and uses existing wired and wireless networks. Matter is easy to use and deploy, and more secure than other protocols because it uses end-to-end encryption. It is also scalable, supporting up to 65535 devices on a single network.

Matter was designed with security and privacy in mind from the ground up. All data is encrypted end-to-end using AES-256, meaning that not even Matter can read your data. This makes Matter one of the most secure protocols available today. Matter is also very easy to use. You can set up a Matter network in minutes, without any special training or knowledge. And because it uses existing networks like Wi-Fi and Ethernet, you don’t need to install any new hardware.

Thread and Matter Comparison

In this section, we’ll be comparing the Thread and Matter protocols. We’ll discuss how they differ in terms of power consumption, security, and node support.

The Thread protocol is more suited for low-power applications such as smart home automation, while the Matter protocol is more suited for high-power applications such as industrial automation. On the other hand, ZigBee and Z-wave are not compatible with either Matter or Thread. Matter devices can be made compatible with Z-Wave and Zigbee by using a “Matter bridge” or a “smart home hub” that acts as an intermediary between Matter devices and Z-Wave/Zigbee devices.

The Thread protocol uses a star topology with a central controller and can support up to 250 devices. The Protocol utilizes AES-128 encryption for security. In contrast, the Matter Protocol is an open-source, peer-to-peer network protocol designed for connecting devices in your home or office. It is based on the popular Internet Protocol (IP) and uses existing wired and wireless networks.

Matter is easy to use and deploy, and more secure than other protocols because it uses end-to-end encryption. It is also scalable, supporting up to 65535 devices on a single network.

Thread and Matter Reliability

Matter is not a mesh network by design. It is Thread which gives matter mesh capability. Matter is possible both over Thread and Wi-Fi. The Thread protocol is more suited for low-power applications such as smart home automation, while the Matter protocol is more suited for high-power applications such as industrial automation.

 

In this section, we will be discussing the reliability of the Thread and Matter protocols. As mentioned before, Thread is built on the proven and reliable 802.15.4 mesh networking protocol. Additionally, Matter is based on the Zigbee 3.0 standard, which has been widely adopted in the industry. Furthermore, Thread uses AES-128 encryption for security, while Matter uses the more secure AES-256 encryption. Lastly, Thread uses COAP for message exchange, while Matter uses MQTT.

Thread and Matter Scalability

The Thread and Matter protocols offer a high degree of scalability for IoT applications. The Thread protocol can support up to 250 devices on a single network, while the Matter protocol can support up to 65,536 devices. Additionally, Thread’s 6LoWPAN-ND mesh routing protocol is optimized for low power and memory constrained devices, making it ideal for battery-operated IoT devices.

 

Matter’s use of the IPv6 over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard makes it easier to connect devices (initial commissioning or device pairing) to the internet and scale to large numbers of devices. In addition, Matter’s support for multicast and anycast addresses make it easier to manage and update large numbers of devices on the network. Lastly, Matter’s use of the MQTT protocol makes it more efficient for exchanging data between devices on the network.

Thread and Matter in Smart Home

The Thread and Matter protocols are two different types of mesh networking protocols that can be used for different purposes. The Thread protocol is more suited for low-power applications such as smart home automation, while the Matter protocol is more suited for high-power applications such as industrial automation. The Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols are both compatible with the Thread protocol, but the Zigbee protocol is not compatible with the Matter protocol.

Thread and Matter can both be used in smart home applications, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The Thread protocol is designed for low-power devices, making it ideal for battery-powered devices such as sensors and smoke detectors. However, it has a limited range and can only support up to 250 devices on a single network. In contrast, the Matter protocol is a peer-to-peer protocol that can be used with a variety of networks, including WiFi and Bluetooth. It is also scalable, supporting up to 65535 devices on a single network. However, because it uses an IP-based mesh networking topology, it requires more power than the Thread protocol.

Ultimately, the choice of which mesh networking protocol to use in a smart home application depends on the specific requirements of the application. If low power consumption is a priority, then the Thread protocol may be a better choice. However, if scalability and compatibility with existing wireless networks are more important considerations, then the Matter protocol may be a better option.

Thread and Matter in IIoT

Thread and Matter are two different types of mesh networking protocols that can be used in IIoT applications. While Thread is more suited for applications that require low power consumption and high security, Matter is more suited for applications that require high data throughput and scalability.

 

Some IIoT applications that can use either Thread or Matter include smart buildings, smart factories, and smart grids. In a smart building, for example, various sensors are used to collect data about the environment, including temperature, humidity, and air quality. This data is then transmitted to a central system where it can be used to improve the efficiency of the building.

In a smart factory, sensors are used to collect data about the production process, including machine performance and products being produced. This data is then transmitted to a central system where it can be used to optimize the production process.

 

In a smart grid, sensors are used to collect data about the electricity network, including power consumption and generation. This data is then transmitted to a central system where it can be used to improve the efficiency of the electricity network.

Thread and Matter Future Together

In the future, we can expect to see Thread and Matter protocols working together in innovative ways. One possible application is the use of Matter as the primary communication protocol for industrial automation, while Thread is used as a secondary protocol for low-power, secure communication in smart home applications. Also, there are many Wi-Fi devices used at home these days that are capable of becoming part of Matter by using Matter over Wi-Fi. This would allow for a seamless integration of industrial and home automation systems, creating a truly connected and efficient environment.

 

Another potential application is the use of Thread and Matter in the development of autonomous vehicles. Thread could be used for real-time communication between the vehicle

and its surroundings, while Matter could be used for secure communication and data transfer between the vehicle and the cloud.

 

As technology continues to evolve, we can also expect to see further advancements in the security and scalability of both Thread and Matter protocols. The use of advanced encryption techniques and machine learning algorithms will make these protocols even more secure and reliable.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the Thread and Matter protocols are powerful mesh networking solutions with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Thread is ideal for low-power applications such as smart home automation, while Matter is best suited for high-power applications such as industrial automation. Both protocols are designed with security in mind and offer robust encryption options. While they may be used separately, the future of IoT and edge computing may see these protocols working together in order to provide a more comprehensive and secure solution.

 

Zigron has the expertise and experience to work with both protocols and help organizations integrate them into their IoT and edge computing solutions. As technology continues to advance, Zigron is committed to staying at the forefront of innovation and providing our clients with the latest and most effective solutions. If you’re looking to implement a mesh networking solution for your organization, contact Zigron today at sales@zigron.com to see how we can help.



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