This morning, eero customers running the eero 6 or eero Pro 6 were notified of a software update for eeroOS 6.4. The headline feature in this software update was Thread support, which improves smart home device compatibility.
Thread support will be an important part of HomeKit and the HomePod Mini ecosystem in the future. In addition, Thread technology – alongside Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – will play a key role in Matter technology (formerly Project Connected Home over IP). Thread’s IP foundation means devices from different manufacturers can connect to create a reliable network for connected home devices to operate on.
Thread and its low-power mesh networking technology don’t rely on a local hub, so there’s no single point of failure for your network. If devices go offline, data packets routes can be alternated to reach the internet. Once a HomePod mini is added to the network, Thread-enabled accessories will automatically communicate with it and each other. This connectivity happens automatically without users having to configure anything ahead of time. Thread support is one of the key features of the HomePod Mini over the original HomePod.
If you use one of the supported eero models, you can use the eero app to initiate the eeroOS 6.4 updates. Thread support will be disabled by default, so you’ll need to enable it if you want to take advantage of the new technology. Thread support is enabled under Settings > Wireless > Thread. You will need to reboot your network to enable it, so prepare for two back-to-back reboots if you want to enable it. All my devices connected back to my network right away, so I am seeing no issues so far.
An eero Product Manager had this to say about the feature on Reddit:
TLDR, eero Thread networks support any Thread based device. The complexity today is around how that device learns the Thread network credentials (sort of like a wifi password).
eeroOS-6.4.0 adds major Thread border routing improvements on eero Pro and eero Beacon along with added support for eero Pro 6 and eero 6. These changes move our border routing to include new OpenThread OTBR implementation components. eero Pro 6 and eero 6 also support concurrent Zigbee smart home hub with Thread border routing.
While Thread specifies a commissioning protocol (called MeshCoP), which is what the screenshotted area of the eero app supports, in practice device makers have been opting to skip this complexity. To make it easy for customers to add Thread devices to an eero network, we’re working with device makers to use OAuth to “link” their app to your eero network and get the network details behind the scenes (always with your permission through an eero sign-in flow).
We’ll be announcing specific Thread device makers starting next week that can use your eero network. This page will be updated as we add supported products.
If you’re a product developer who needs to directly access the Thread network details at this time, please message email@example.com.
On the questions about Thread support in bridge mode, our border routing includes some helper services for NAT64 and DNS64 that are cleaner to implement when in NAT mode.
Learn more about Thread
- Eve HomeKit accessories add Thread support for improved HomePod mini connectivity
- Eve Energy with Thread support is my go-to recommendation for smart outlets
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