Advantages of Thread Protocol | disadvantages of Thread Protocol

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Thread Protocol as home automation technology. It mentions benefits or advantages of Thread Protocol and drawbacks or disadvantages of Thread Protocol.

What is Thread Protocol?

Thread technology operates in 2.4 GHz band like zigbee. It offers secured mesh network for embedded, low power and low cost devices. The Thread Group was formed in the year 2014 with membership comprises 300+ industry leaders across consumer and industrial segments.

Thread in Home Automation

Thread network devices can access wifi via router using 6LoWPAN protocol in order to communicate with each other. Initially thread has been designed for home automation. It is also used in several industrial settings such as street lighting, building automation and so on.

Following are the features of thread wireless technology used for home and building automation.
• Frequency Band : 2.4 GHz ISM
• Throughput : 250 Kbps
• Topology : Mesh
• Number of devices : 250 to 300
• One hop range : Up to few hundreds of meters; routers can extend range through multihop

Thread Protocol Layers

The figure-2 depicts thread protocol layers as defined in IEEE 802.15.4 (PHY/MAC). In thread network, each node gets 16 bit address which must be translated into IP using application layer gateway. The cloud integration is done by using thread border router. Network and mesh management is dynamic.

Benefits or advantages of Thread Protocol for home automation

Following are the benefits or advantages of Thread Protocol for home automation:
➨The thread devices consume less power and interoperate with other devices in long range to make them suitable for home and building automation.
➨The thread devices can operate on a coin cell for few years.
➨It is best for device to device communication in many to one, one to many and many to many modes.
➨It offers direct device addressability using IP addresses and no single point of failure.
➨It uses AES-128 and password based authentication with DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security) to offer secured connection between devices. Moreover it uses authentication at joining with the help of QR code scanning.
➨It offers very good latency performance and power performance for application packets.
➨Thread does not define specific application layers unlike zigbee. This makes Thread more flexible choice in terms of application layer selection.
➨Thread networks allow systems to self configure and fix any routing issues as they occur.
➨The thread network is scalable. Hence it can scale automatically from basic star topology with single router to mesh topology when multiple routers are present.
➨Thread topology uses redundant border routers, which increases reliability. This is advantages for larger commercial installations where system outages can lead to major financial impacts.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Thread Protocol

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Thread Protocol:
➨Native IPv6 addressing requires router to convert from 802.15.4 to an additional IP interface.
➨It does not support very high data rates unlike wifi.
➨It does not support very long range unlike cellular wireless technologie.
➨Maximum number of devices (~ 250) supported are less than zigbee (~65560) .

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