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Led By Nest, 'Thread' Might Be Most Promising IoT Initiative Yet 79

An anonymous reader writes Nest, Big A%@ Fans, Yale door locks, ARM, Freescale, Samsung and Silicon Labs launch the Thread Group, a standards initiative for using 6LoWPAN-based network technology with mesh capabilities optimized for home automation. Because it blends IPv6 with low-power 802.15.4 radios, a layer of security, peer-to-peer communications, and other special sauce for whole-house connectivity, Thread looks extremely promising in an increasingly crowded field. Plus, millions of units of enabled products are already deployed by way of Nest's little-known Weave technology. There's a press release. Thread is based on open technology, but it's not clear that the protocol specifications will be available for non-members. No hardware changes are required for devices with 802.15.4 radios, and the group claims the new protocol fixes enough flaws in existing standards (mostly ZigBee) to be worth the software upgrade. Promises include increased reliability (mesh network with multiple routing points), lower power use (by not requiring sensors to wake up for traffic from other sensors), and easier bridging between the mesh network and Internet (thanks to using IPv6).
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Led By Nest, 'Thread' Might Be Most Promising IoT Initiative Yet

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  • WTF (Score:4, Funny)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:51AM (#47456011)

    Would someone like to translate the summary into english?

    " and other special sauce "

    Is this open sauce or propriety like whats on KFC

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Funny)

      by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:17AM (#47456185)

      "If you can't season it, you don't known it."

      RMS prepares scrambled eggs using home-grown peppers according to a GPL recipe.

      "2014 is the year of Linux on the hot dog".

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      In laymen's terms, they've found a way to upding the samoflanges by a full quarter millithingy while preserving the quantum resonance of the flux capacitor. Theoretically this could mean you get an extra bar on your WLAN while sitting in the dining room. Could be the biggest thing since token rings.

    • Agreed, I've no idea what this article is about. It's like a word jumble and I can pick out the words "Home automation" and "Nest" so I think it has to do with thermostats... but it could just as likely be about Barbeque sauce... I've no idea.

      • Agreed, I've no idea what this article is about.

        The first clue was when the author wrote "A%@" instead of "Ass". "Big Ass Fans" has a donkey in their logo. It is okay to say "ass" when referring to a donkey. Even the KJV Bible uses the word. It only has to be written as "A%@" when referring to a human posterior. Just like it is okay to say "dam" when you precede it with "hydroelectric" or "beaver". It is only cursing if you append an "n". If the author doesn't even understand the basic rules of obfuscating profanity, it is unlikely that anything e

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My cynical self translates it to "more security nightmares.", even with "banking class security" as touted:

        That deadbolt might be cool that opens via BlueTooth... but the reason I use high security mechanical locks [1] is that some guy with a magnet can't wave it and open the lock, or the BT security had corners cut so someone can make a universal lock opener, similar to a TV-B-Gone, except for deadbolts.

        That burglar alarm remote is cool as well... but I like having my remote change the door from going off

      • I was laughing because we're involved with 6LoWPAN at work, and I chuckle everytime someone says that because I can't help but think of Big Trouble in Little China.

        Basically, Zigbee was a so-so standard early on but the later versions are silly as they want to use XML when most of the devices are on a severely limited bandwidth. 6LoWPAN is essentially ipv6 for underpowered devices on underpowered network links. 802.15.4 relates to low bandwidth wireless networks (mesh or otherwise).

        A lot of Internet of Th

    • Would someone like to translate the summary into english?

      "Buy My Book! Buy My Book! Buy My Book! ....."

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:54AM (#47456031) Journal
    The 'insecure-device-to-internet-attachment-protocol' field is crowded with nominally standard and/or standards-based flavors, generally not the sort that play well together, each with its own acronym soup, optimistic vender coalition, and lofty promises. Does this one have anything going for it aside from the installed base of Nest thermostats?
    • Here is the thing, that is often missed by these types of technology insertions into typical analogue world, they are usually LOCKED in such a way, that they cannot be extended or upgraded easily, and because they don't include "what happens when script kiddies can crack the security in two seconds" upgrade plans. Because replacing something that requires a small level of skill break (tumbler locks) with one that requires no skill (just download MSTRLOCK-CRK-ZIP) is infinitely better /sarcasm

      I'll wait till

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        The advantage of a even an easy-bump tumbler lock is that it requires physical presence to do that, with immediate risk (big dog waiting for his/her next meal behind the front door.)

        The problem with these devices is that someone can be -anywhere- and break them. Done right, one button push from a script kiddie in Elbonia can unlock hundreds of thousands of deadbolts without warning, and no way for the perp to ever face consequences. This can be done either out of sheer malice, or perhaps extortion/blackma

        • That's why you want the app on your smartphone to be always running in the background, noticing that it just heard an SSID from your home Wifi, and starting to poll for the front door-lock lowpan so it can unlock the door when you're walking toward it. OTOH, it also needs to do the right thing if you leave your phone in your purse or briefcase on the chair by the front door.

  • One (Score:5, Funny)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:56AM (#47456059) Homepage

    One protocol to supervise them all, One mesh to find them
    One protocol to bring them in, and in the darkness bind them.

    In Mountain View, where the Shadows lie.

    (Hey, sorry. It's early.)

    • Your post just gave me the terrible, terrible mental image of RMS in an eagle costume attempting to fly so that he can drop a printed-out spec sheet into the fires of Mt. Redmond.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      In Mountain View, where the Shadows lie.

      Hey! In Mountain View that's called "marketing".

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    I'm all for automation and I think it looks promising.
    What I don't want to see are solutions that are dependent on outside resources (for example SIRI on the iPhone, it has to use a connected server to do what it does), I prefer to see solutions that are autonomous, inclusive and complete without the need for Internet or an outside server (unless you choose to do so)

    • It does look nice but next time we make a hardware standard can we avoid naming it so close to an important programming concept. Using threads in my thread device would get incredibly annoying in the comments and source searches.
    • Same. I'm wondering when all this external provider bullshit ("Cloud") is going away and we can just have the smartphone connect to the Wifi, pulling out Avahi and mDNS to find devices, then ask the devices about their Internet connectivity. The device can say, "I have this public [IPv6] address", or it can say, "Connect to me through this service". You could configure the device for either. Key exchange with it through the local Wifi so you have PKI both ways.

      • It is going away when:
        a) one guy implements it in open source (likely) and it has the neccessary features (less likely) and usability (least likely), and which will get popular (rather unlikely)
        b) people become less greedy and companies get popular which get money by selling the devices and not the data or ads on the devices.
        2. Internet providers assign static ipv6 subnets (perhaps additionally to the dynamic privacy-friendly ones) (hey they could use this for lock-in: change your provider, change

        • IPv6 privacy extensions are elective, and operate inside a /48 or /56 as assigned.

          • privacy extensions only rotate the local host part of the address, the subnet prefix (which is unique but neither static nor regularly changing for your router box) stays untouched. my post was about the subnet prefix. It would be great for the providers to assign a static one and a dynamic one.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      What I don't want to see are solutions that are dependent on outside resources

      This is totally understandable but TFA is about a tech, not a product. Relax. I think the whole point of this is that people will be able to build stuff out of this. i.e. you'll google "arduino thread" and instead of just seeing programmers talk about concurrency, you'll also see some networking stuff in your search re--

      Fuck. Guys, why did you have to call it "Thread?" WTF were you thinking? I declare: strike one.

  • This isnt an article summary, its a cry for help. Clearly op is choking on a viscous combination of scrabble letters and entropy from /dev/random
    also...its Slashdot. im fairly certain the word "Ass" is probably the most welcoming explitive most of us will have the privilege of experiencing this afternoon.
  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:11AM (#47456163)

    The press release and the website talk about banking class security, and things like Thread closes identified security holes found in other wireless protocols and provides worry-free operation.. But what I see is that every product in this wireless mesh network is a potential point of access from outside, and must be up-dateable if you are going to maintain a current "best practices" of threat mediation - which IMHO is going to be a security maintenance nightmare. So what am I missing?

    And that's not even considering things like a DOS attack by firing a high-powered radio signal at your target.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake,
      he knows when you will leave the house, so make sure your jewels are fake."

      Google Claws already has your data - no need to "access from outside"
      Nest sends it to the server at home cloudbase so the server can crunch the data to tell Nest what to do.

      Just one bad elf out of the list with access to that data, and it will be sold to grinches everywhere.
      Oh and that list includes Google as well as NSA elves.

    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )

      The press release and the website talk about banking class security

      Well, have you actually looked at bank security lately?

    • Yeah, Nest isn't the company you can trust [] when it comes to security []. Their products have been known to have some serious flaws, showing they either don't prioritize that, or they don't know how to handle it. Pretty matters more to Nest than functional.
  • by itamblyn ( 867415 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:47AM (#47456497) Homepage
  • I use UPB (kinda like X10 v2). It's still wired, but every device serves as a repeater, so signal strength shouldn't be an issue. It's pretty easy to program (I had an app turning lights on and off in about an hour).
  • The "Internet of Things" is a giant clusterfuck of proprietary "standards" that change with almost every hardware generation, and devices that talks to outside servers whether you want them to or not. It makes home entertainment remotes look good in comparison. I for one won't be buying any of this stuff until that's sorted out.

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:46PM (#47458961)
    The nice thing about a LoWPAN network is that it can effectively stay up forever within its confined area. The problem with it is that it can go rogue if it comes in contact with a green-eyed girl, and it is quite susceptible to attacks from wisecracking truckers, and any hacker with access to a seven-demon bag.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982