Recently, in late October 2023, the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) officially released the latest version of Matter, version 1.2. This update showcases Matter’s continued dedication to optimization. It includes support for various new device categories (yes, including the much-anticipated dishwashers, washing machines, and robotic vacuum cleaners). This release also features enhancements for expanding future definitions and applications of endpoint devices, such as Device & Endpoint Composition, Semantic Tags, and Generic Descriptions of Device Operational States. These improvements will facilitate Matter’s large-scale deployment in various vertical applications beyond smart homes, extending into smart manufacturing, agriculture, building, healthcare, and more.
Flipping the Switch on an IoT Universe
IoT is not a new concept and has already begun implementation in many areas. However, the lack of a common standard has hindered the rapid development of IoT applications, limiting the flexibility of large-scale IoT expansion. Without a unified standard, device interoperability becomes a significant issue, especially when expanding or integrating innovative services. For instance, bringing a new robotic vacuum into a smart home system might require a separate app if the vacuum supports a different standard, complicating device management.
Thankfully, the industry consensus formed around Matter in 2020 is changing this situation. Currently, 675 companies, including IoT and smart home front-runners like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, support Matter. As an open-source project, developers can freely use its SDK for development. This open-source nature offers a massive opportunity for Matter to develop a vast symbiotic ecosystem, allowing developers to create products compatible with other Matter-supported devices. This approach overcomes the limitations of proprietary smart home devices developed by various companies. Previously, IoT device manufacturers had to undergo interoperability certification tests with individual companies to be included in their “smart home ecosystems.” With Matter’s unified standard, a broader range of smart IoT applications is now accessible to a more extensive array of manufacturers.
The age of unified IoT technology is here! Matter’s inclusiveness of different technologies unites previously disparate, competing market technologies. This includes Zigbee, Z-Wave, BLE, Wi-Fi, UW, Thread, etc. Google has already merged Thread and Weave technologies into Matter, and with Matter’s inherent support for Wi-Fi and Ethernet standards and specifications for device setup using BLE, it offers a substantial platform for most IoT technologies.
Matter 1.0 was officially launched in the fall of 2022, followed by Matter 1.1 in May 2023, and then Matter 1.2 in late October 2023.
Devices confirmed to be interoperable with Matter include Thread, Zigbee, Z-Wave, etc., many of which can become compatible through firmware updates. With the release of Matter 1.2, the range of supported IoT devices continues to expand, including:
- Matter 1.0: Light bulbs and switches, smart plugs, smart locks, security sensors, media devices including TVs, smart curtains, garage door controllers, thermostats, and HVAC controllers.
- Matter 1.2: Refrigerators, room air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, robotic vacuums, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, air quality sensors, air purifiers, and fans.
The Stylish Backbone of Matter’s IoT Network
The Critical Role of Wi-Fi Access Points in Matter Networks
In the landscape of Matter networks, Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) play an essential role, particularly in networks primarily supported by the Thread protocol. These networks require the setup of a Thread Border Router to link the Thread network with other IP-based networks, including Wi-Fi and Ethernet. The primary function here is to facilitate bidirectional IP connectivity between Thread and Wi-Fi/Ethernet, allowing controllers within the Thread network, such as smartphones, to authenticate Thread devices and incorporate them into the network.
In reality, Matter networks operate through Border Routers. Given that Matter employs a decentralized network architecture capable of supporting multiple, independently functioning Mesh networks, Border Routers are needed for interconnection. Many current Wi-Fi APs are equipped with chips that support the 802.15 technology standard, such as BLE and Zigbee, qualifying them to act as Border Routers within Matter networks.
In a standard Matter network environment, Wi-Fi APs serve as Border Routers, transferring packets across different Mesh networks and ensuring connectivity for Matter devices with other IP-based devices. Additionally, in scenarios that demand centralized management of numerous Matter devices, Wi-Fi APs can act as Matter Controllers, handling a variety of functions including management, setup, discovery, authentication, and firmware updates. This is particularly relevant for ISPs, MSPs, or organizations needing to manage a large number of Matter devices and sensors. In this role, Wi-Fi APs go beyond providing internet connectivity; they become pivotal controllers for Managed Service providers, offering IoT Managed Service solutions.
Such application requirements are gradually becoming apparent across various sectors. For instance, MSPs managing MDU property services are increasingly utilizing IoT technology for property management, integrating smart locks, surveillance, and lighting as essential components of Property Tech. Leveraging cloud-based central management platforms for Managed Wi-Fi, MSPs can integrate IoT management functions, unifying the control of communication networks and IoT networks.
We have a dream– Edgecore Wi-Fi AP + Matter
Rooted in extensive Wi-Fi expertise, Edgecore Wi-Fi has in recent years expanded its focus to include Wi-Fi-based application innovation and technology integration. This encompasses indoor positioning technology, cloud security, and smart surveillance. The expanding Matter ecosystem offers opportunities for Edgecore Wi-Fi to strategize actively. Edgecore’s existing Wi-Fi APs support BLE and Zigbee, and looking ahead, they plan to launch products supporting 4G, 5G, HaLow, and other technologies. Centralizing around Wi-Fi APs and in tandem with the growing Matter symbiotic ecosystem, Edgecore aims to develop highly integrated, optimized smart IoT solutions.
Edgecore Wi-Fi believes that Wi-Fi APs are not just for providing Wi-Fi connectivity. In light of the trend of continuous technological convergence and integration, Wi-Fi APs are poised to play an increasingly crucial and strategic role in various application domains in the future.
In conclusion, Matter 1.2 marks a significant milestone, reinforcing its integral role in shaping the future of IoT. It enhances seamless interoperability among a wide array of devices and sectors. Wi-Fi Access Points have become pivotal in this technological evolution, transforming from mere connection facilitators into sophisticated hubs that are critical for the orchestration and growth of IoT ecosystems. As the synergy between Matter and Wi-Fi APs continues to strengthen, we anticipate a surge in groundbreaking connectivity solutions.
Discover the Edgecore Wi-Fi difference in the Matter-enabled IoT landscape — Connect with us today!