Everything You Need To Know About The Thread Border Router

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March 28, 2022 | 5 Min. Read | By: Justyne Y.

Smart technology is ever-changing with new products coming out almost every month. With all this new technology from different companies comes more and more corresponding hubs to control each device. But what if there was a way to eliminate the extra “clutter” and have all your devices connected to one superhub? Lucky for you, there is a way—meet the Thread Border Router!

Nanoleaf Elements, Shapes and Lines controllers work as Thread Border Routers

Explaining Thread: A Shared Mesh Network

First, to start, what even is Thread? Thread is a lightning-fast, stable network technology built to significantly improve your smart home experience. Say goodbye to delays, dropped connections and hubs, and say hello to a smarter home. If all of your Thread-enabled devices are part of the same Thread network, they will speak the same language to communicate and connect together to create a reliable self-reinforcing mesh network—rather than relying on a single connection source like WiFi or Bluetooth. With all the big-name tech companies getting behind Thread, it has become the future standard of smart homes. Keeping an eye out for Thread compatible products will not only give you the best experience instantly but also future-proof your purchases and your smart home ecosystem for the long term!

Thread Border Router diagram

Thread is well connected and offers an extended range that grows with each additional Thread-enabled device, like our Nanoleaf Essentials, which means a stronger connection and wider coverage within your home. Thread is also super dependable with instantaneous responsiveness which eliminates any awkward pauses that leave you hanging. And even with all these amazing benefits, Thread is still super simple to use! Thread Border Routers are built into products you already love, like Nanoleaf Lines, Shapes, Elements or the Apple HomePod mini which finally put an end to endless hubs! Now…what is a Thread Border Router?

Nanoleaf Essentials in a bedroom

What is a Thread Border Router?

A Thread Border Router enables you to use Thread on your Thread-enabled devices (now try saying that five times). Thread Border Router capabilities are built right into smart devices you already use every day, with many more coming out this year from your favorite tech brands. You can use your Thread Border Router for all your Thread-enabled products. The way this works is that each smart lighting product usually speaks its own language which means it needs its own designated hub, making the hubs pile up with each addition to your smart home—but with Thread, all of your products speak the same language. This means only ONE compatible Thread Border Router for everything! So bottom line, eliminate extra hubs with a Thread Border Router.

Nanoleaf Essentials in a bedroom with a HomePod Mini as a Thread Border Router

Thread Border Router capabilities are built into different smart home devices like the HomePod mini, Apple TV 4k eero Pro, eero Beacon, eero Pro 6, eero 6, and now your Nanoleaf Lines, Shapes, and Elements Controllers. You need to have one of these devices within your home in order for you to use your Thread-enabled products on Thread—but what sets these apart from your standard smart home hub or bridge is that you only need one Thread Border Router to communicate with ALL of your Thread-enabled products, rather than having one designated hub per product or brand. 

Nanoleaf Lines controllers are a Thread Border Router
Nanoleaf Shapes and Elements light panels connected together

Nanoleaf’s Thread Border Router 

Nanoleaf’s Thread Border Router is built into the Controller of all Nanoleaf Lines, Shapes, and Elements panels. So if you already have a set, you will now have access to these new capabilities without any additional purchases. While the panels themselves will continue to run on Wi-Fi, these Thread Border Routers will enable Thread on your Nanoleaf Essentials automatically. It also enables Cloud Control on your Essentials devices and now lets you use integrations like Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Google Assistant with your Nanoleaf Essentials Bulbs and Lightstrips.

Activating Your Nanoleaf Thread Border Router

Nanoleaf products in a villa house

If you’re a Nanoleaf veteran and you already have our products then congratulations—you also officially have a Thread Border Router (cue the confetti)! Existing users with a Lines, Shapes or Elements Controller will be able to use Thread immediately with a software update currently available in the Nanoleaf App (version 6.1). To install the latest update, go to More > Firmware Updates. Essentials will need to be updated to firmware 1.6.8 or higher and Lines, Shapes, and Elements need to be updated to firmware 6.1.1 or higher. With this update, everything happens in the background meaning you will automatically connect to Thread, no need to wait for a pop-up or indicator!

With all of these upgrades and steps forward in smart home technology, we at Nanoleaf are incredibly excited about Thread. And now that you know all about it you can be too, and can finally enjoy your smart home as it was meant to be!

What’s your favorite Nanoleaf integration? Share your experience with us!

Find us on Instagram and Twitter @nanoleaf or Facebook @thenanoleaf  and learn more about Nanoleaf’s Smarter Kits and Nanoleaf Essentials.


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