Thread: Future-Proofing Your Smart Home

What is Thread?

Thread is the next-generation mesh networking protocol developed by the Thread Group, designed for Smart Home and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Thread was created to establish reliable connections and seamless control of products in households and buildings, using the Internet’s proven, open standards.

Basing on IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN), Thread operates on low power providing each smart home device with its own unique IPv6 address. This also enables smart home devices to connect directly with the Internet using open standards. Allowing devices to not only communicate to the cloud, but also to intercommunicate with one another within the mesh network.

One Step Ahead In The Future

IP-based communication is the backbone of the Internet, facilitating direct device-to-device communication worldwide. Thread’s use of IP enables developers and manufacturers to maintain direct communication with their products and users. With Thread, developers can launch their products to the market earlier as they’re using the same set of tools available for the Internet and update application layer and cloud services in Thread devices over time.

Scalable Network

Thread is a low-power and low-latency wireless networking protocol. As it is designed specifically for IoT applications. It can accommodate hundreds of devices, including multiple Thread Border Routers, so the mesh network remains functional even if one Thread Border Router goes offline.

Thread can support up to 250 devices, including 64 routers with 32 active routers. Thread network connects to other IP-based networks and powers Thread devices at all times at long as one Thread Border Router is online.

Enhanced Flexibility

With Thread protocol, every device can intercommunicate with one another. Each and every device within the mesh network would be sharing and redistributing communications constantly. Each Thread-enable would be able to act as a mini-hub, therefore there’s no need for an extra third-party hub to act as a central communication access point.

Having each device act as a mini-hub also allows the mesh network to self-heal and self-organize. If one of the devices fails to go online, another would be able to pick up its role within the network. Making sure that there’s no single failure point so the network would still be working as a whole.

Real-time Communication

Thread protocol is designed to provide low latency and high throughput. Making it ideal for real-time communications in IoT applications. Whether transmitting data to the cloud or between devices, Thread ensures effectiveness and efficiency, with minimum latency. Thread supports multi-path routing so data are also enabled to be transmitted through multi-paths in the network to improve reliability and coverage.

Having no single failure point also helps with the real-time communication within the network, it ensures that messages and signals can be transmitted even when there are offline or out-of-range devices.

Highly Compatible

Thread is based on existing technologies across all layers, therefore in support of a broad range of devices. Thread uses IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology on the 2.4 GHz band, so it can be deployed across the globe with ease. This enables large-scale production and ease of installation. It also enables devices to consume less energy, benefiting battery-powered devices to lengthen operation time.

Thread is an open standard that is not tied to a specific manufacturer, which minimizes the risk of incompatibilities. Having globally-known brands, such as Apple, Samsung, and Nest Labs, joined Thread Group alliance, also ensures that Thread has a higher compatibility with their products within Thread mesh network. It also learns from proven technologies to ensure seamless integrations.

Thread has also integrated with larger IP networks, so it doesn’t need proprietary gateways or translators, preventing the usage of third-party hubs to be more compatible and user-friendly to various devices.


Security has always been a concern when implementing a network. And as security breaches associated with IoT and smart homes are on the rise, Thread is to provide a connected yet highly secure mesh network.

Thread networks use a financial-class security encryption and the technology has plugged the obvious security loopholes found in other wireless protocols.

Thread protocol incorporates a 128-bit AES encryption for all its network traffic, which provides users with a high level of security. All devices in a Thread network are automatically authenticated and communication is encrypted. The data transmissions between devices are therefore shielded from interception and tampering. Each device also has its unique network key which prevents unauthorized devices from joining the network.

Embracing The Future

GL-S200 Thread Border Router

GL.iNet presents you with the Thread Group-certified THREAD Border Router, GL-S200. It has the capability of acting as Thread Border Routers. Not only that it is built on Thread, but GL.iNet’s proprietary firmware is also based on OpenWrt, providing a user-friendly interface to set up the Thread network and an extensive degree of customizations.

Even though Thread has a highly secure framework, GL.iNet takes the extra steps to upgrade your network safety. S200 is highly compatible with VPN services from OpenVPN and WireGuard, they encrypt all network traffic connected within the network, even for devices that aren’t compatible with VPN on their own.

Since Thread is still a growing technology, S200 also supports BLE to enable connection and communication for all the BLE products on the market.

If you would like to test the abilities of S200, Thread Dev Board is also available for purchase.

About GL.iNet

GL.iNet builds network hardware and software solutions that bring affordable and secure network connectivity to families and businesses all over the world. We work with a wide range of industries, solving everyday internet problems in offices, and providing complex networking solutions such as smart buildings and IoT Networks. At GL.iNet, We believe all successful businesses build upon a strong and secure foundation, which is why our highest priority is perfecting network security and reliability for our partners.