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14 Dezember 2017

LoWPAN on Android Things

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Posted by Dave Smith, Developer Advocate for IoT

Creating robust connections between IoT devices can be difficult. WiFi and Bluetooth are ubiquitous and work well in many scenarios, but suffer limitations when power is constrained or large numbers of devices are required on a single network. In response to this, new communications technologies have arisen to address the power and scalability requirements for IoT.

Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network (LoWPAN) technologies are specifically designed for peer-to-peer usage on constrained battery-powered devices. Devices on the same LoWPAN can communicate with each other using familiar IP networking, allowing developers to use standard application protocols like HTTP and CoAP. The specific LoWPAN technology that we are most excited about is Thread: a secure, fault-tolerant, low-power mesh-networking technology that is quickly becoming an industry standard.

Today we are announcing API support for configuring and managing LoWPAN as a part of Android Things Developer Preview 6.1, including first-class networking support for Thread. By adding an 802.15.4 radio module to one of our developer kits, Android Things devices can communicate directly with other peer devices on a Thread network. These types of low-power connectivity solutions enable Android Things devices to perform edge computing tasks, aggregating data locally from nearby devices to make critical decisions without a constant connection to cloud services. See the LoWPAN API guide for more details on building apps to create and join local mesh networks.

Getting Started

OpenThread makes getting started with LoWPAN on Android Things easy. Choose a supported radio platform, such as the Nordic nRF52840, and download pre-built firmware to enable it as a Network Co-Processor (NCP). Integrate the radio into Android Things using the LoWPAN NCP user driver. You can also expand support to other radio hardware by building your own user drivers. See the LoWPAN user driver API guide for more details.

To get started with DP6.1, use the Android Things Console to download system images and flash existing devices. Then download the LoWPAN sample app to try it out for yourself! LoWPAN isn't the only exciting thing happening in the latest release. See the release notes for the full set of fixes and updates included in DP6.1.


Please send us your feedback by filing bug reports and feature requests, as well as asking any questions on Stack Overflow. You can also join Google's IoT Developers Community on Google+, a great resource to get updates and discuss ideas. Also, we have our new community, where everyone can share the amazing projects they have built. We look forward to seeing what you build with Android Things!