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Nanoleaf turns on Thread border routers for easier smart home control

Editor’s note: Since being sent the information we have been informed by Nanoleaf that the update wasn’t quite ready to go. Instead, the update will be available in August, with the date to be confirmed.

Nanoleaf has turned on Thread border router support on its Nanoleaf Shapes and Elements controllers to help boost support for the new smart home protocol.

Thread is a new type of low-power smart home protocol built to control smart home devices, building a reliable mesh network to give better coverage than Wi-Fi.

To work, there has to be an interface from the Thread world to your normal network, so that you can use apps, smart speakers and other forms of control. This interface is the Thread border router.

Existing border routers

The HomePod Mini was the first Thread Border Router available, but that meant that it was only compatible with Apple devices. While Google plans to enable Thread Border Router support on its Nest Hub (2nd gen) and Nest Hub Max, it hasn’t done this so far.

The lack of border routers led to some problems. With the Nanoleaf Essentials range, for example, only Apple users could use Thread for remote control; Android users could use Bluetooth to control devices but this only worked over short ranges.

New features

Now that Nanoleaf has enabled Thread border router support for its latest smart panels, Android users that own these products can use Thread to control their Essentials devices. It also allows the devices to be integrated into SmartThings, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Nanoleaf has also announced a partnership with Amazon-owned Eero to use its devices as Thread border routers for its range of products, including the new Eero 6.

It’s still early days for Thread, but as the number of border routers increases, expect to see more devices that use the protocol.

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