Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

GreenPeak to provide support for Samsung-backed Thread

Iain Morris
July 24, 2014
Semiconductor company GreenPeak Technologies says that its radio chips are capable of supporting the recently announced Thread protocol that Samsung and several partners are trying to establish as the default wireless networking option for connected home devices.

The company’s chips currently support a range of wireless protocols, including ZigBee PRO, SEP 2.0, R4CE and Green Power, but its announcement indicates it believes Thread could become a major force in the future.

Launched earlier this month, the Thread Group – which comprises Samsung (Seoul, South Korea), Yale Security (Lenoir City, TN, USA), Silicon Labs (Austin, TX, USA), Freescale Semiconductor (Austin, TX, USA), Big Ass Fans (Lexington, KY, USA) and ARM (Cambridge, UK) – is working on developing a protocol that is superior to the 802.15.4 standard for low-rate wireless networks.

The Thread Group has complained that 802.15.4, which has been around for more than a decade, is plagued by interoperability problems and high power requirements and cannot carry IPv6 communications.

GreenPeak (Utrecht, Netherlands) says customers will in future be able to upgrade their devices to support existing protocols as well as newer devices running Thread at the same time.

The company says that because Thread is based on use of the 2.4GHz band – already used to support 802.15.4 – product development and certification should be a “straightforward effort” for manufacturers.

It adds that its radio chips are networking protocol agnostic and can run multiple protocol stacks at the same time on a single radio chip.
Existing GreenPeak-based installations as well as those being rolled out are already “multi-standard”, it says, and can be upgraded to include support for new stacks with a simple software download.

“The smart home and Internet of Things markets are still in early stages and different network protocols offer different advantages for different applications,” says Cees Links, founder and chief executive of GreenPeak. “It is the products and services that we offer to our customers that really matter.”

“For that reason, our chips are designed to be agnostic for the network layer,” he added. “With our multi-stack capability, we protect our customers’ investment in infrastructure.”

GreenPeak says that standardization of networking protocols will help to spur smart home service development and create new opportunities for service innovation.

“While the market addressed by low-power RF communication chips for the smart home is just emerging today, it is on track to grow to multiple hundreds of millions of units per year,” said Caroline Gabriel, the research director of analyst firm Rethink Technology Research. “Standardization of the underlying communication technology is pivotal, but implementations that keep options open towards the future will help to accelerate the market.”
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