Matter 1.2, what it is and what new features it introduces for the smart home

Exactly one year ago, in October 2022, a large group of industry leaders announced the approval of Matter’s final specifications. It was a real milestone because manufacturers who until then had put non-interoperable devices on the market suddenly started talking to each other. Matter 1.2 strengthens that bond by placing new possibilities in the hands of developers and end users, capable of promoting scenarios that were unthinkable until recently.

What is Matter 1.2 and how does it work

Before the work done by Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), there were many technologies for the world of smart home and the Internet of Things which did not allow mutual communication. Over the years, many have therefore been trained closed ecosystems, supported by various manufacturers, who did not allow the addition of devices made by other companies. Think of the many smart devices which require their own specifics to function hub. The topic of interoperability between smart devices is particularly felt by users, together with that of security and privacy.

Matter wanted to bring some order by ensuring that devices from different manufacturers can speak the same language and be easily integrated into systems set up by each individual professional or private user.

New devices embrace the Matter 1.2 standard

The approval of the Matter 1.2 specifications, brought the Matter Working Group to extend support for the innovative a 9 new device types. Among the latest generation products that embrace Matter there are refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, dishwashers (basic features are included, such as remote start and progress notifications in addition to various alarms and notifications), dryers, robot vacuum cleaners , smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, air quality sensors, air purifiers and fans.

L’Matter update just released coincides with the release of a new and important version of the SDK development package, additional testing tools and the expansion of the certification program.

Matter 1.2 introduces, for example, a common mechanism for configuring smart locksan addition that allows us to describe theappearance of the device (enables consistent representations of each client-side device), the ability to hierarchically compose trained devices using complex endpoints. This last point allows you to modeling household appliancesmulti-unit switches and equipment multi-light.

The new ones semantic tags they provide an interoperable way to describe the location and functions of clusters of smart devices and individual endpoints. For example, this functionality is useful for representing the location and function of each button on a remote control. The generic descriptions of the operational states they also allow you to express the different operating modes of a device and manage its functions even more effectively.

How Matter works in detail

Matter uses the Internet Protocol (IPv6) at the network layer and the UDP and TCP protocols at the transport layer. The first version, unveiled in October 2022, despite being compatible with standard WiFi (IEEE 802.11), Ethernet/LAN (IEEE 802.3) and Thread (IEEE 802.15.4), supported only certain types of devices: light bulbs, light switches, lighting controllers, plugs and sockets, door locks, thermostats and other air conditioning controllers, shutters and shutters , home security sensors (motion, contact, carbon monoxide/smoke detectors).

The concept is to resort to rete IP and proven technologies to connect and build reliable and secure IoT ecosystems. Matter is also one certification capable of ensuring that any object built to this standard is reliable, safe and compatible.

Thread is a protocol for low-power wireless mesh networks that facilitates reliable communication between nodes. Allows one extended coverage and reliable connections to improve the overall performance of IoT ecosystems.

Matter also builds a bridge to other pre-existing technologies, such as ZigbeeBluetooth Mesh e Z-Wave. This allows the older IoT devices to integrate themselves into a highly interoperable environment. The seamless compatibility and integration between brands effectively creates a unified ecosystem where smart devices work in harmony.

The two network topologies

In topology Single Network, Matter works exclusively on one network. This means that the Matter network can operate on a Thread 802.15.4 network or on a WiFi network. The other most common network topology is the star networkwhich consists of multiple peripheral networks connected by a core network.

Regardless of the network topology used, Matter has the concept of Fabric. A Fabric Matter is a security domain that contains a collection of nodes: these nodes are identified and can communicate with each other within the context of the domain. Each Fabric Matter uses a Unique ID for each node within the Fanbric and consists of a ID Fabric unique.

Matter is also divided into a stratified structure to separate different responsibilities and encapsulate various parts of the protocol stack.

One of the main advantages of using Matter is the improved security that offers. The protocol requires that all devices have a secret code specific and requires that all devices have immutable, verifiable credentials to ensure that the devices are certified. Network credentials are provided to the Matter device after it is authenticated and verified. This helps keep the Matter network safe from external and insecure devices, greatly improving the overall security of the network.

Who supports Matter

The CSA consortium that oversees the development of Matter technology sees the participation of names such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, LG, Oppo, Siemens, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Espressif, Schneider Electric, NXP, Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Tuya, Huawei , Signify, Legrand, IKEA, Somfy, Haier and many others as participants.

For the testing of devices, CSA also provides the platform Harness. It is useful for ensuring that Matter specifications and features are implemented correctly. The testing system is available as an open source product, making it easier for developers to make sure products stick in full to the specifications.

The opening image is taken from the CSA presentation.


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