Thingsquare IoT Platform 4.4 Released

Adds support for a new hardware platform, improvements for very large networks, and a new Bluetooth scanning mode

Adam Dunkels, Thingsquare CEOBy Adam Dunkels, Thingsquare CEO – May 13, 2020

Our goal is to deliver IoT systems to our customers that are as efficient as possible, both to develop and to operate. For this we use the Thingsquare IoT platform.

Today we release version 4.4 of the platform with support for new hardware, improvements for very large installations, and new exciting remote Bluetooth scan mode technology.

A wireless network with 200 nodes in action

What is the Thingsquare IoT platform?

The Thingsquare IoT platform is the software stack we use to build world leading IoT solutions with our customers.

The Thingsquare IoT platform is unique in many aspects:

  • Support for very large networks: 10x area coverage compared to competing solutions
  • The ability to run for years on batteries the size of a coin cell
  • Native IPv6 wireless mesh networking that supports networks with 1000+ devices
  • Built-in support for native apps (iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS)
  • HTML5/JS frontend development for quick and powerful prototyping

What’s new in version 4.4?

The news for the 4.4 release are:

  • Support for the new CC13x2R family of SoC chips from Texas Instruments: CC1312R and CC1352R
  • Support for the new LPSTK hardware platform
  • Improvements for very large network installations: faster mesh synchronization and new ways to quickly view the network state in the frontend
  • A new Bluetooth scanning mode based on temporal multiplexing
  • The backend can easily move between cloud instances through network connection indirection

A new Bluetooth scanning mode through temporal multiplexing

The Thingsquare system uses IPv6 networking over radio frequency that is in the sub-GHz band: that is, its frequency is lower than 1 GHz. This is different from the radio frequencies used by WiFi and Bluetooth, which both operate on the 2.4 GHz band.

But because the Thingsquare wireless IP technology does not need to use the radio all the time, we can sneak in another radio technology in there as well. We call this temporal multiplexing and it is new from release 4.4.

Temporal multiplexing allow us to both send and receive Bluetooth messages at the same time as we are running a wireless IPv6 network.

This opens up a whole bunch of interesting applications such as lightweight asset monitoring through Bluetooth beacons and large-scale fitness tracking with Bluetooth fitness trackers.

Expect to hear more from us on this.

Very large installations

With release 4.4 we improve the support for very large (200+ nodes, 10+ hops) installations in two ways:

  • Quicker network synchronization for large networks
  • Improved frontend support for large numbers of devices

Quicker network synchronization

Every node in each wireless network is synchronized to support the built-in channel hopping mechanism and to allow nodes to know what time it is. With the 4.4 release, we have improved the synchronization mechanism so make very deep networks (10+ hops) synchronize faster. This makes networks quicker to setup and operate.

Additionally, we have made improvements to how data finds its way through deep networks. This is useful for networks with 200+ nodes.

This shows how a network with 100 nodes synchronizes itself. The animation is taken from Thingsquare’s network simulator.

Synchronization with 100 nodes

Easier to see what is going on in large networks

When deploying, operating, and trouble-shooting installations with many hundreds of devices, it is often difficult to understand what is going on. To improve this, we have added several new ways to find devices in the default Thingsquare device viewer app.

The search box now can be used to filter all devices that meet certain criteria:

  • Activity time
  • Platform
  • Name
  • Firmware version
  • Variables
  • RSSI level
  • ETX and rank
  • etc.
The search box can be used to filter devices that meet certain criteria, such as the most recently active devices.

The network graph now also has a search box with the same functionality. This highlights the nodes that match the search criteria.

The network graph view now also has a search box that can be used to highlight nodes, such as the nodes that have an older version of their firmware.

A new hardware platform

Finally, the last but not the least addition in 4.4 is the addition of the new CC1312R1 / CC1352R1 family of wireless systems-on-a-chip from Texas Instruments.

The main addition is the support for the LPSTK (pronounced lipstick) prototyping and development platform. The LPSTK platform is very well suited for prototyping and can be used for projects (such as our hand wash sensor experiment).

Release 4.4 adds support for the LPSTK hardware platform.

Thingsquare customers can download the 4.4 SDK from the product console.


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