OpenThread Border Router (OTBR) RPC firmware for R21 based ConBee II and RaspBee II

FYI, dresden-elektronik is developing an OpenThread RCP firmware for ConBee II and RaspBee II:

It will not make it support multi-protocol like Nabu Casa’s Silicon Lab s Multi-PAN RCP firmware images for Home Assistant SkyConnect (and Home Assistant Yellow built-in 802.15.4 radio), but it will at least allow you to repurpose your old ConBee II or RaspBee II by reflashing it into a dedicated OpenThread Border Router (OTBR).

This alternative ConBee II or RaspBee II firmware is still in very early development, however, dresden-elektronik’s developers have stated their goal is to make this new OpenThread firmware image compatible with Home Assistant’s Thread and OTBR integrations/add-ons, e.i. allow you to form or join a Thread network and make Home Assistant a Thread Border Router:

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/thread/

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/otbr/

https://github.com/home-assistant/addons/tree/master/openthread_border_router

Thread-based consumer devices use one of the two Home Automation standards: Matter or HomeKit. So in the future using this OpenThread RCP firmware on a ConBee 2 or RaspBee 2 adapter will allow adding Thread-based device directly to Home Assistant, using the respective Home Assistant integration:

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/matter/

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/homekit/

https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2023/02/08/state-of-matter-and-thread/

This sounds quite interesting as I do have 2 Conbee II sticks.
I also noticed today there is a stand alone Thread firmware available for the SkyConnect now, but not sure how well it works as I flashed it as an experiment and ZHA still detects the SkyConnect, but won’t set it up and the Home Assistant OTB is not detecting it

USB Discovery reads the description from the USB-to-Serial converter chip’s EEPROM so it will continue to detect it unless you rewrite the description on the EEPROM of the the USB-to-UART bridge chip which is seperate from the application firmware, (e.i. not in the same firmware), otherwise just need to click ignore, see:

Thanks for the information.

Might be something to consider adding to firmware at some time, but yes I can ignore the ZHA for now.
Just have to work out how to get the OTBR integration to work with it :blush:

I am using a Conbee II on my Raspberry Pi with HA to control different Zigbee devices (deconz/Phoson).

Did I understand correctly that in order for me to use Matter/Thread via the Conbee II, I would loose the Zigbee functionality that I am using it for right now? So I guess I would need two devices, one for Zigbee, and one for Thread?

Correct. :slight_smile:

1 Like