FYI, Nabu Casa’s Zack Barett has announced on Twitter that Home Assistant founders are planning on releasing an official Home Assistant SkyConnect USB Stick (ie. a physical radio adapter/dongle hardware that is used to control compatible wireless devices via integrations they officially support).
Order it here → https://www.home-assistant.io/skyconnect/
Documentation → https://skyconnect.home-assistant.io/
It will initially support controlling Zigbee 3.0 devices (as well as most other Zigbee devices), and then later they plan on updating the firmware for it to also support controller Thread/OpenThread devices via other integrations/add-ons, and that will hopefully also include integrations/add-ons for nativly supporting for upcoming Thread devices that uses the Matter standard too.
Nabu Casa electronics engineer developer (and Home Assistant developer) agners is leading the hardware design of the circuit board and firmware development for this USB RF-radio hardware.
It is designed for direct attachment via a USB port and will be based on a Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 SoC that has an IEEE 802.15.4 multi-protocol 2.4GHz radio MCU that is on paper capable of concurrently running both Zigbee 3.0 (Silabs EmberZNet/EZSP) and Thread (Silicon Labs OpenThread/Spinel, which indirectly includes support for Matter/CHIP over Thread) stacks/protocols at the same time by using firmware in what is called RCP (Radio Co-Processor) Multi-PAN mode to enable simultaneous multiprotocol support. Direct local serial communication will be done via an onboard USB-to-UART bridge/converter (presumably a chip in Silicon Labs CP210x series), however, when running in RCP Multi-PAN mode the host also needs to run each network protocol stacks a daemon/service which the application communicates with through TCP/IP.
Be sure to fill out Home Assistant SkyConnect interest form so they know how many they should make:
Again, this radio USB dongle hardware adapter is based on the EFR32MG21 SoC/MCU same chip that is onboard the Home Assistant Yellow (formerly Home Assistant Amber) all-in-one embedded computer appliance, although rather than a board built from scratch like this Home Assistant SkyConnect USB Stick the adapter inside the Home Assistant Yellow uses an Silabs MGM210P radio board (which in turn is a pre-certified RF module that contains the combination of an EFR32MG21 SoC and an onboard Ceramic Chip Antenna as its core components + will use a different firmware as GPIO pinout are not the same as the Home Assistant SkyConnect USB Stick dongle/adapter).
Official stable and beta firmware releases look to be able here from Nabu Casa:
Home Assistant / Nabu Casa developer agners are also working on several add-ons that will also allow both these adapers to concurrently as Zigbee Coordinator and as an OpenThread Border Router (OTBR) for Thread-based Matter/CHIP-compatible devices (communicating locally over a USB-to-serial port using OpenThread RPC Spinel interface over UART. Silabs EmberZNet EZSP interfaces for Zigbee via the zigpy libraries will also enable support to the ZHA (Zigbee Home Automation) integration out-of-the-box.
There’s also ZHA/zigpy development discussions about Zigbee and Thread adapter compatibility here:
PS: EFR32MG21 is by the way the same Silabs radio MCU SoC radio chip used in "ITead Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus V2” (model “ZBDongle-E”) and their previous ITead Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle (Model: 9888010100045). More information about those competing and possibly compatible adapters here: