Product Features | Thread

Discover your Thread Network

Feb 15, 2021 - by slavikus - Comments
 
 

Routers, endpoints, nodes, partitions – this article is somewhat of a more technical description of Thread, the future-proof smart home networking technology that enables a new generation in your HomeKit-enabled smart home.

Make the most of Thread

First, if you haven't already installed the Eve app, you may want do so now. We recently added a feature conveniently named "Thread Network" in the Settings section, which can survey your home's Thread network setup and display a whole slew of information: Which accessories are connected to which other accessories? How is the network laid out? What connection quality does each Router have?

 

Surveying your Thread network works best when you have at least one Eve accessory that can act as a Router (more on that later) and when your iPhone or iPad is on the same local network as your HomePod mini. 

 

We are actively working on improving the Thread Network view with each new release of the Eve app, and after reading this post, you will certainly be able to understand better what that is all about. And while these are just first steps in that direction, the Eve app delivers still much more than any other tool out there due to the capabilities and integration of the state-of-the-art Eve accessories.

 

Our goal here is to help you build smarter homes and make your daily life a little bit more convenient. Of course all while preserving your privacy, which continues to be one of our key pillars for everything we design and produce – absolutely no information about your network ever leaves your local devices.

How did we get here?

Before digging into what Thread is, let us briefly explore the history of the topic. The two original, native connectivity options for HomeKit-enabled accessories are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy.

 

Both technologies have tradeoffs: While Wi-Fi usually offers a greater range and quicker response times, these advantages go hand in hand with a very high energy demand, making it unsuitable for battery-powered devices and a bad choice even for mains-powered accessories that would waste a significant amount of energy by using this technology. And as the number of Wi-Fi devices increases in a home, some internet routers are starting to struggle with so many devices or may even run out of allocated IP address range for the home network. In contrast, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is completely decoupled from the home network strain and highly energy efficient. Yet due to the protocol's constraints, Bluetooth connectivity is less responsive in larger setups and usually delivers a smaller range due to the low energy footprint. 

 

Focusing exclusively on HomeKit-enabled accessories using native connectivity options, Eve naturally embraced both options, carefully choosing the appropriate technology for each accessory's use case. To mitigate some of the disadvantages of Bluetooth connectivity, Eve Extend was introduced to combine the advantages of  both technologies for more demanding setups.

 

There is definitely awareness for all of these technological challenges across the industry, which sparked the development and broad support for Thread as the next-generation networking platform tailored to be used in the smart home, including Apple's strong commitment and inclusion as a pillar of HomeKit-enabled accessories. 

 

 

Join us in being an early adopter

Why is Eve a first-mover on Thread you may ask? We are thrilled about all the advantages it has to offer. First, it is a peer-to-peer mesh network, which means the devices do not need a direct connection to a central hub to communicate with each other. Second, it is designed to be a self-maintaining and self-healing network, so even if some devices come and go, the connection will still be kept alive and the network will automatically reconfigure itself as needed. Third, it is designed from the ground up with the smart home in mind, which means a special focus is made on the battery life and power consumption for the devices that do not have a permanent power supply. 

 

With Eve Door & Window, we are the first company to get a battery-powered HomeKit over Thread accessory in the hands of everyone. And this is just the beginning: we are in the process of updating our portfolio of Bluetooth-enabled accessories to include Thread connectivity in each product's new generation. So naturally, we've gathered a lot of knowledge around Thread, which we are eager to share. Enough introductory words, let's dive in! 

Thread networking deep-dive 

As stated earlier, Thread is a mesh network. Which means, the devices on the network can talk to each other independently of some bridge or central hub. Even more so, they can relay messages to other devices by passing them through so they reach some device otherwise inaccessible due to the range, walls, or other factors. And the network can organize itself independently if some devices disconnect from the network.

 

Thread Roles

 

The Thread network consists of two types of roles: Routers and Endpoints. And this role is not fixed – if a device is capable of routing, it can be either, depending on the current network situation and demands. Each device on a Thread network is called a node

 

Let us dig deeper. Router nodes are meant to route information packets around the network. A Router node may have some Endpoints, too – the Router is considered a Parent. Mains-powered Thread accessories that are always on, such as Eve Energy, can act as Routers within your Thread network and relay data packets.

Endpoint nodes (also known as End Devices or Children) are the ones that are attached to a particular Router node and are not participating in the packet routing, but they still can send and receive. A Router-capable device can act as an Endpoint, but the devices that are meant to be Endpoint-only (also called Minimal Thread Devices), such as battery powered ones, cannot be a Router

 

Each Router node has a connection to every other Router node; each Endpoint node only maintains a connection to its parent Router node

The Thread network also has a so-called Leader node, which is responsible for promoting other capable Endpoint nodes to Router nodes and back. This is not something built-in, static or even especially important – any Router node is capable of being a Leader and these get elected in a somewhat random manner based on the current network conditions. 

 

There is also a separate entity which is essential for Thread: A so-called Border Router. This is a Thread Router node that is also connected to  your home network and that knows how to route information packets between the Thread network and the rest of your local network. Without the Border Router, your home accessories will not form a Thread network because they'd be unable to communicate with other devices outside of your Thread network, such as your iPhone. Instead, they will revert to their default Bluetooth connection (yes, all Thread-enabled accessories have dual connectivity – Thread and Bluetooth). Currently, the one and only Border Router for HomeKit over Thread is HomePod mini.

Joining the network

 

When a Thread-capable accessory is powered on after its setup, it will quickly check whether there is a Thread network available. If it is, the accessory will join the network with the valid network identifier and credentials provided by the Border Router. Upon joining, any Thread device becomes an Endpoint of one of the existing Routers. If it is capable of being the Router itself (in Thread terminology, this is called a Full Thread Device), it may be told by the Leader Node to upgrade itself to a Router, depending on the number of Router nodes already present in the network. If less than 16 Routers are in the network, the device will be designated as a Router. If there are already 16 Routers in the network, Thread will automatically optimize all roles for optimal coverage. A maximum of 32 Routers will ultimately form the Thread mesh network.

 

If the accessory is not capable of routing, it remains being an Endpoint. Still, it may change the Router node it connects to (its Parent) later, based on the connection quality that is being surveyed automatically across the Thread network. 

 

Endpoint Characteristics

 

For Endpoint nodes, there is also a distinction in form of so-called Sleep Interval. Each Endpoint, depending on its physical characteristics, may be a Sleepy Endpoint or a Regular Endpoint. The idea is simple: if an accessory must by design conserve energy, it may choose to sleep for certain amount of time and then ask its Router whether there is anything of interest (similar to you having to click on the "Check Mail" button back in the days when it was not automatic). For example, Eve Door & Window has a sleep interval set to 5000 milliseconds, which means it wakes itself up every 5 seconds and asks whether there is something new for it to digest. Of course, it can wake up more often to transmit something important from its side – for example, when the door is opened. This sleep mechanism significantly helps preserving battery life. 

 

Partitions

 

What happens if you have a large house and there are problems with some accessories being unable to hold a reliable connection? If you have more than one Border Router-capable device (or, in other words, more than one HomePod mini), they may form two independent Thread networks that would still be technically cover your single home. Such independent networks are called Partitions. If the connectivity gets better, the disjointed Partitions will re-unite again and form a single network Partition, with all but one Border Routers stepping down to a regular node role.

Grow your network

 

What about the number of devices that any single Thread network Partition can handle? It will always have one Leader node, and up to 32 Router nodes. Each Router node may have up to 511 Endpoints. So, as you can see, the total capacity of the network is quite huge and should cover most modern use cases. 

 

Stay tuned

With all this knowledge in mind, we hope you enjoy building your Thread network and watching it grow. In the Eve app, head to "Thread Network" in the Settings section to get a look behind the curtain of your Thread network and all the different roles and connections of your Thread-enabled accessories.

 

We'll be adding more explainers, guides as well as articles on Eve app updates that deliver new or improved Thread functionality. The Eve Blog is the go-to place for information on HomeKit over Thread, so stay tuned! 

 

Discover here if your Eve accessory supports Thread

273 Comments
Hallo Peter! Dann sind die drei anderen vermutlich ältere Modell. Öffnen Sie die App Eve und gehen zu Einstellungen > Geräte > Eve Thermo und tippen auf den Rechtspfeil neben ID. Nur bei Geräten, deren Seriennummer mit CM beginnt, handelt es sich um Eve Thermo (2020). Viele Grüße, Volker
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Mar 12, 2021
Hi Volker, 1.2.14 ist aber nicht das Thread update, oder? Mein Thermo (2020) taucht nämlich nach dem Update nicht im Thread Netzwerk auf. Gruß, Mike
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Apr 3, 2021
Hallo Mike! Nein, das ist nicht das Thread-Update, das kommt später im Jahr. Das stand auch in den aktuellen Update-Notizen. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Apr 5, 2021
stefano
Hallo, ist absehbar wann Eve Window Guard mit Thread kommt? Grüße...
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Mar 10, 2021
Hallo Stefano! Darüber liegen mir leider keine Informationen vor, sorry. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Mar 10, 2021
Jörg
Hallo Volker, supported ihr auch bei Thread Problemen??
Viele Grüße, Jörg
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Mar 9, 2021
Hallo Jörg! Klar machen wir das, nur ist das Blog vielleicht nicht der richtige Ort. Support gibt es hier: https://www.evehome.com/de/support/ticket
und sonst auch per mail an mich. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Mar 10, 2021
Marvin
Can an eve energy with thread connect to an eve energy without tread? I have some eve energy’s without thread in a place with bad connectivity, can one eve energy with tread enhance the connectivity for the eve energy’s without tread? By the way, I’m already happy with my eve’s but I think tread wil make me more happy. 😄
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Mar 8, 2021
Hello Marvin! Powered Thread accessories like Eve Energy can only connect with other using Thread to widen the Mesh network. Older models are corrected with Bluetooth from the iPhone/iPad or home hub. Have a great day, Volker
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Mar 8, 2021
Seth
The Eve Light Switch seems like a good choice for a Thread router, given likely hood of multiple placements in various areas. I see that the EU version will be getting an update later in 2021; is there a planned refresh of the US version of the Eve Light Switch sooner rather than later (hopefully 2021, hint hint)?
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Mar 6, 2021
Hello Seth! The clear path is Thread. But I don't have any schedule for Eve Light Switch (US) here, sorry. Best regards, Volker
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Mar 7, 2021
John Vanderbeck
If I purchase Eve Energy products in the USA now, will they become Thread compatible with a simple firmware update in the future, or should I hold off on buying them at all until a future version of the product?
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Mar 6, 2021
Hello John! The actual version of Eve Energy (US) is not capable, the radio for IPv6 is missing on the chipset, a firmware update won't help. The version that starts selling April 6th is. Best regards, Volker
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Mar 7, 2021
Peter
How does the Eve Home app running on an iPhone "see" Thread devices via the HomePod mini? Are they discovered via HomeKit (and then interrogated via HomeKit calls for various thread properties), or is there some new thread-specific capability that Apple has exposed on the HomePod mini where you can ask it about thread devices it is aware of? It's remarkably hard to find any documentation, since searching the generic term "thread" is lost in the wind on any search engine, especially related to software development.
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Mar 6, 2021
Hello Peter! Thread is just another communication of HomeKit enabled accessories besides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and is is handled by the HomePod mini and HomeKit. Best regards, Volker
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Mar 7, 2021
Jan De Preter
Automation sometimes reacts under one second or after several seconds or not at all. The test setup consists of Homepod Mini, Eve Door, Eve Energy and a Nanoleaf bulb. The Homekit app on both iOS and OSX immediately display door open and door closed. Also clicking on the buttons in the Homekit app immediately switches the Nanoleaf and Eve Energy on and off. So far so good. BUT, I programmed the Nanoleaf and Energy to switch on when opening the door and switch off with door closed and this doesn't work reliably. Unable to figure out why. In the Eve app all 4 components show up in the Thread network.
Also without wifi all functionality is halted.
Would this be improved with future software upgrades ? And would Apple in the future produce an Ipod Mini with rechargeable battery ?
Kind regards, Jan
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Mar 6, 2021
Hello Jan! Wi-Fi must always be available of cause from the router. I would reboot the Homepod mini by plugging it iff for a minute then plugging in and wait 5 minutes. In case your automations do not use addition conditions it should work. On a battery powered HomePod mini: this would be a question for Apple.
Best regards, have a great weekend, Volker
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Mar 6, 2021
Joerg
Hallo Volker, das Bild auf dem iPhone hier oben stimmt ja genau NICHT.
Der HomePod mini wird nicht als HomePod mini angezeigt, sondern als Router XY.
Haben wir schon unter einem anderen Blog-Artikel diskutiert...
Viele Grüße, Jörg
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Mar 5, 2021
Hallo Joerg! Genau so ist es, in Thread wird der HomePod mini als Router im Raum Unbekannt dargestellt, so kommt es direkt aus Thread. Die Abbildung dient nur der Verdeutlichung. Viele Grüße und schönes Wochenende, Volker
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Mar 5, 2021
Damir
Hello and thank you for the great article on Thread.
But I’m not sure if I am doing anything wrong in my house. I have 10+ Eve Energy devices with up to date firmware supporting Thread network. If I did understand you correctly, any pf those Eve devices should be able to “activate” Thread network and act as the router. However, all Energy devices are reporting Thread’s status as disabled, so there’s no Thread network active.
Now, I’m expecting my new HomePod Minis to arrive in the next few days, and I’m kind of worried that still I won’t have Thread network active.
So, my question is this: what should I do to make my Thread network work?
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Mar 4, 2021
Hello Damir! As of today only the Eve Energy (EU, European version) supports Thread, not the versions in the US or UK. Eve Energy models supporting Thread will be available in the US starting on April 6th and the UK starting on May 4th. Once you have one at home and a HomePod mini the Thread network will set up itself. Best regards, Volker
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Mar 5, 2021
So previous models of Eve Energy Bar, or Eve Room will not be thread capable and cannot be made so through a firmware update? Is that the correct read?
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Nov 12, 2021
Hello Brian! This is correct. Older models are missing the radio fpr IPv6. As it is a hardware chip missing a firmware update would not help here. Best regards, Volker
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Nov 13, 2021
Josh
What about Thread on a HomeKit Router? I have Eero Pro router that is a HomeKit secure router with thread support. Will that do anything for me?
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Mar 4, 2021
Hello Josh! The Eero router does not support Thread for HomeKit. Eero would have to update the function in the router. But this is a question to ask the Eero guys. Best regards, Volker
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Mar 4, 2021
Philipp
Wird Eve das OpenThread Protokoll unterstützen? Anders gefragt: Kann ich meine threadfähigen Eve-Komponenten mit einem OpenThread Border Router verbinden?
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Mar 3, 2021
Hallo Philipp! Der thread Border Router muss auch HomeKit unterstützen in Thread und das macht aktuell nur der HomePod mini. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Mar 3, 2021
Todd
In the article is a picture of the phone app Thread network feature. What do text colors signify? For example “router” being red on one lamp and green on the other? Thanks.
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Feb 27, 2021
Hello Todd! The colors of the accessories in Thread Network are the colors you selected for the room the accessory is in. Best regards, Volker
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Feb 27, 2021
Ian
When can I expect the 2nd gen Eve Aqua to get thread support? I’m understanding it just needs a firmware update correct?
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Feb 26, 2021
Hello Ian! Correct, the 2nd generation of Eve Aqua just needs a firmware update to support Thread. Will be there ready for the watering season, soon. Best regards, Volker
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Feb 27, 2021
Todd
If I order Eve Energy from the Apple website (I'm in USA) will be certain to have the Thread capability?
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Feb 22, 2021
Hello Todd! It will not at all. The current generation of Eve Energy (US) is not ready for Thread. We will be releasing new hardware generations of many Eve devices with Thread support later this year, but unfortunately can't give any further details on when this will be the case for Eve Energy (US) at this time. Best regards, Volker
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Feb 23, 2021
J Estes
I just purchased my first Eve product (Eve Door & Window (2020)) and it's on the way(excited to try it out). What I am curious about is this....in your example above of your settings section of your current thread network its shows the HomePod mini. I currently have several Nanoleaf bulbs that show up in the app but my HomePod mini does not. I know this could be a possible infinite variable question but my two minis does not currently show up. Do you know why?
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Feb 22, 2021
Hello J. Estes! The HomePod mini will show up once you have the forst router capable Eve accessory integrated. The only one as of today is Eve Energy (EU). We need one of our Thread capable router accessories to explore and display the complete network. Best regards, Volker
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Feb 23, 2021
Nico De Letter
Hi, my HomePod minis do not appear in third party apps. (Eve, Home + ...) Not in the thread network list, but also not in my accessories list. Is there a solution for that?
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Feb 21, 2021
Hello Nico! Two different stories here:
1. So far, third parties don't have access to accessories that allow playback like TV-Sets, Apple TVs or the HomePod - Apple (Home) only.
2. The HomePod mini will show up in Thread Network in Eve once a powered Thread enabled Eve accessory like Eve Energy (EU) is present.
Best regards, Volker
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Feb 22, 2021
markus
kann der iPod mini auch direkt einen Endpunkt verwalten oder muss dazwischen immer noch ein Router sein? Wenn ich z.B. in einem Zimmer einen iPod mini und einen Eve Door & Window und einen Eve Thermo betreiben will?
In der Darstellung hier ist immer ein Eve Energie dazwischen.
Gruß
Markus
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Feb 21, 2021
Hallo Markus! Das kann der HomePod mini, macht er auch. Ist ein Router wie Eve Energy (EU) dazwischen, wird das Thread-Netzwerk aber auch erweitert, Eve Energy (EU) kann das Signal weiter leiten. Eve Door & Window ist wie alle batterie-betriebenen Geräte immer ein Endpunkt. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Feb 22, 2021
Neven
Dear Eve,
Is Thread going to be supported only on Homepod Mini or any other Homekit hub like Apple TV 4K?
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Feb 21, 2021
Hello Neven! As of today the HomePod mini is the only Thread Border Router for HomeKit. As for other home hubs from Apple, you should ask Apple about their plans. Best regards, Volker
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Feb 22, 2021
Norbert
Warum ist eigentlich aus Bluetooth 5 Mesh nichts geworden? Irgendwann gab es einen Blogbeitrag bei EVE oder Elgato darüber (ich finde ihn nicht mehr), dass ihr das unterstützen wolltet.
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Feb 19, 2021
Hallo Norbert! Thread is der Standard. Bluetooth 5 Mesh für HomeKit ist nie verfolgt worden, wird auch nicht mehr. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Feb 20, 2021
Manfred
Hallo
Ich habe mehrere Eve-Produkte „noch nicht Thread Fähig“ mit „2 HomePods und „ 2 AppleTV im Einsatz . Da es wenn auch selten zu Verbindungsprobleme gekommen ist, stelle ich jetzt auch, je nach Verfügbarkeit, auf Thread um.
Aktuell habe ich jetzt 2 HomePod Minis platziert. Und 2 Eve Energy mit Thread-Funktion neu eingerichtet.
Die Installation funktionierte wie gewohnt sehr einfach und das Thread-Netzwerk hat sich sauber aufgebaut.
Bis auf die Benennung der HomePod Minis (Router) die nicht angepasst werden kann ,wie im obigen Beitrag schon beschrieben,
Bin ich sehr zufrieden für die erste Umstellung.
Da die Benennung der Router (HomePod Minis) wohl nur durch das Thread-Netz erfolgt und nicht geändert werden kann,
Frage ich, ob durch Eve nicht einfach ein Bemerkungsfeld in der Eve-App unter Thread bei den Router (HomePod Minis) eingefügt werden könnte ?
Dann wäre alles top aus meiner Sicht
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Feb 18, 2021
Hallo Manfred!
Die Daten kommen so aus dem Thread-Netzwerk, daran können wir leider nichts ändern, sorry.
Viele Grüße, Volker
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Feb 19, 2021
Hallo Volker! Seit heute 6.4.21 fällt mir auf, das über die EveApp unter Thread Übersicht, auf einmal in der Anzeige „Unbekannter Raum“ wo meine HonePod Minis stehen ,
Auf einmal hinter einem HomePod mini statt der Routerkennung „Router 30 2 wie seither,
Die Benennung : HomePod (Lautsprecher Büro 2) steht ?
Der HomePod mini steht auch im Büro ,wenn auch nur 1Homepod mini
Wird versucht doch die Benennung auf der HomeApp in Thread zu übernehmen ???
Danke im Voraus für eine Rückinformation
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Apr 6, 2021
Hallo Manfred! Ist neben anderen Thread-fähigen Geräten auch ein Eve Energy (EU) dabei, werden HomePod mini in 'Unbekannter Raum' angezeigt und zwar als 'Router'. Die Benennung in der App Home hat leider keine Auswirkung auf die Namensgebung von Thread, darauf haben wir keinen Einfluss. Wenn Du das Thread Netzwerk in Eve öffnest, warte bitte je nach Zahl der Thread-fähigen Geräte etwas, bis alle Daten abgefragt sind. Viele Grüße, Volker
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Apr 7, 2021
Mikael
Would be nice to see a FW update bringing Thread support to the Water Guard since this is connected to main power all the time. Is this planned as well? Bringing support to the Aqua and not the Water Guard seems kind of weird otherwise...
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Feb 18, 2021
Hello Mikael!
The current generation of Eve Water Guard is not ready for Thread. We will be releasing new hardware generations of many Eve devices with Thread support later this year, but unfortunately can't give any further details on when this will be the case for Eve Water Guard at this time. Best regards, volker
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Feb 19, 2021
Arjan Koole
No if ONLY Apple would release that HomePod mini here in NL.

Had I known I would have postponed those 5 eve lightswitches last year. 🤣
Reply
Feb 17, 2021
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