Standalone Thread/Matter

Thank you in advance for reading.

I’m troubled by home assistant. I like privacy, this system was recommended to me. I figured i’d set up an isolated, offline, airgapped HA system.
I bought a SkyConnect, pi and installed ha. (Ran into unresolved CVE-2020-36517. Thats a cute one.) overlooking the off-system img tags from the gui aswell. Over looked the pwn partial-password sharing too.

Bought a heap of eve thread/matter devices, then found out i need an apple or google matter device AND smartphone. Wait, what?
Ok i’ll get a home pod and borrow a phone.
Wait, iOS thread/matter integration is broken??!!?? Gosh.

So now all the devices and in an apple homekit pan. Not sure i need home assistant now.??!!

I would love to dump apple for HA. Is the vision of home assistant to not require google/apple?

Thread works fine without an Apple/ Google device, you just need a local OTBR

Thankyou for your response. Why do you think the documentation states third-party devices are required, and that QR codes to download the companion app to a mobile device are displayed when using the HAOS web page?

I’m missing something.

Last time i added a device to my home Lan (100-BaseT/rfc1918 address space with dhcp), i did not have to register via google/apple first…

Surely i’m missing something.

" * Have the iOS version 16 or higher

  • Have the latest version of the Home Assistant Companion app installed.
  • If you are using ThreadThread is a low-power mesh networking standard that is specifically designed for smart home applications. It is a protocol that defines how devices communicate. [Learn more]: Make sure there is a Thread border router device (HomePod Mini or V2, Apple TV 4K) present in your home network.

[edit: clarity]

Documentation is not very clear

Home Assistant

Out of the box, Home Assistant Connect ZBT-1 and Yellow run Zigbee, not Thread. Currently, enabling Thread involves manual steps. The integration of the Home Assistant based Thread border router with Matter is work-in-progress.

(and the same works for other OTBR then SkyConnect, I use a nRF52840 flashed with OTBR firmware)

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

My feeling is that were I to select Zigbee for the ZBT-1 dongle, the Thread devices won’t join the HAN. Not unlike token ring devices trying to work on ethernet - they’re different.
Are thread devices multi-protocol compatible?

Correct. The ZBT-1 dongle can be flashed with Zigbee firmware, Thread firmware or Multiprotocol firmware, but Nabu Casa does not recommend the Multiprotocol firmware any more as they can’t get it stable enough.

Apologies, i should clarity. By devices i meant, plural.
I understand the zbt can be flashed.
I have in my hand an eve motion sensor.
On the box it says thread/matter.

You’re saying i can bind with zigbee??!!??
Thats awesome!! Flashing zbt now!!

No, it can’t bind with Zigbee. For thread you need the Thread firmware.


Do you, or anyone else know if the HaOS roadmap is to provide a thread/matter network without assistance from apple or google devices, accounts and integration.

AFAIK, if you do have an OTBR in HA, you don’t need a Google/Apple thread border router, just an Android phone for the commissioning.

if you have an iPhone, you do need an Apple Thread router, because Apple does not want to share credentials.

You still name a whole lot of things you want to go without. Some you need, some you don’t. What do you mean, without integration, or an account? HA has an account and Integrations. HA runs on an OS with accounts.

If you flash a skyconnect or similar local device with Thread firmware, use the (local) Matter addon and Thread integration and Open border router integrations you still have nothing to do with cloud.

The only thing Apple or Google you need right now is a mobile device to run the Companion app, for commisioning. I think I read this is because Bluetooth is required, and getting that to work with HA serverside is not trivial, especially because you need to be close to the matter device. Also QR codes are commonly used, these too are cumbersome without a smartphone.

I do not think you will find any other Matter controller that will work without using a smartphone somewhere in the process. That is more a consequence of how Thread/Matter is designed than HA’s fault. If that is a problem to you, then I’d stick with Zigbee and/or z-wave. These won’t go away anytime soon.

1 Like

I don’t mind accounts, they’re just data. I don’t like data crossing separation boundaries (caveats) or silos. This is good practice. ( hope you’re not using your banking password for this forum :wink: ). Providing han keys to my phone or icloud access to HAN devices on the pi seems unnecessary and bad practice.

I would not say nothing. That software is downloaded on demand and the flashing requires a live connection to the internet and possibly cloudflare (where the haos site is served). Some lookups are sent via the CVE.
The companion app tries to add devices to iCloud (which of course fails), before haos can access them. Home pod is required and that requires an active cloud and internet connection.
Thats to say nothing of requiring a google-connected device.

This is my point. I feel, and there may be others that feel similarly that requiring apple/google devices may not privide independence or privacy.
The pi has bluetooth.
QR codes are not necessary, the computer i access the HAOS webpage with has a keyboard. It even has keys.

As soon as a device is added to homekit, its cloud accessible.

This just makes me sad. Tcp was not designed to require a pdp-11.
Guess i’m off to buy zigbee gear.

I did not read the entire thread, but I am currently running a Matter/Thread network with just a SkyConnect.
I have no Google or Apple Thread Border Routers.
I have my Nokia Android phone for commisioning.
I have later flashed Matter only firmware on the SkyConnect, but ran with Multi-protocol in the same setup in the beginning.

Matter requires IPv6 to work, but it usually run on the FE80 network, which is non-routable.

Yeah, yeah, I do not suppose you went to the local hardware shop to get your HA. I said Skyconnect - or similar - because you mentioned the first. I use an esp border router, I flashed it without using the convenience tools from HA.

It did get the software from the Internet, but downloading and flashing all happened outside HA. You can also buy an OpenThread border router pre-flashed but I would trust that a little less. What I meant is, when using your own border routers, all communication with the Matter/Thread devices (after comissioning) happens outside reach of Apple and Google.

This is where you make false assumptions. Using your own border routers and the Matter addon, you are not using Homekit or Google Home cloud. Just because you use an iPhone to commision it to HA, it does not immediately mean you are adding it to Homekit. If you use an Andriod phone, you are not necessarily adding it to Google Home.

Only if you add the border routers in Apple/Google devices to the same Thread network will they be able to relay Thread messages, and they will do so locally, because they can not make use of what is inside the messages. That has to do with the next:

Routing Thread traffic does not equal access to Matter devices. It is the transport layer. Even if you do decide to give the Thread credentials to Google Nest Hubs or Apple Homepods, that does not also mean they can operate the Matter devices. They will only be able to route the messages as Thread is just the transport layer. Matter uses Thread, but it is separate from it. You would need to add the devices to Apple’s/Google’s Matter controller for that. So just don’t.

The blog said this was due to a bug, so hopefully it is resolved soon. I know Apple thread credential-sharing/syncing has been in HA companion since the beginning of the year, so I’m guessing it’s an iOS bug? I can’t find an issue on HA GitHub.

You’re right, but the fact is this would be a new feature, and I can’t find it on any roadmaps. In the mean time, you should be able to add a Thread device to a standalone HA OTBR by temporarily joining the (android, presently) smartphone to the air-gapped HA WiFi network. (If you don’t have HA WiFi network, maybe you could put the Pi in AP mode while adding new devices)


Honestly my impression is that Matter/Thread have a long way to go yet. It’s a shame they have been hyped so much. But people love their new and shiny, I guess.

Personally I like Zigbee, it’s been around long enough to be pretty stable, there are lots of choices, typically inexpensive, and based on an actual IEEE protocol (I strongly believe in the idea of protocols, not platforms). Other people like Z-Wave, or even prefer Wi-Fi based devices. I actually have some of those, too. The nice thing about HA is that you don’t have to choose, you can mix and match and HA becomes the common glue and logic layer that ties everything together.

$BIGCORP involvement has always made me suspicious of Matter/Thread, so the symptoms you describe (assuming people have smartphones (particularly Apple or Android), valuing convenience over freedom, using IPv6, etc.) don’t surprise me at all. Which are yet more reasons I am still taking a “wait and see” approach when it comes to Matter/Thread.

Since you sound kind of new to the game, I will also try to temper expectations. You will ‘waste’ some amount of time, money, energy, and other precious resources, especially in the beginning, until you find what works for you. Just try and remember this is a hobby and we are having fun. Aren’t we?! Now excuse me while I go off to pull out some of my few remaining hairs over my latest frustrations. :smiley:

Thank you all, for your kind words. Well thought and detailed responses i’m grateful for you having spent the time to consider and respond.

Have a most awesome week.

Please correct me if I’m wrong but for Android it seems Google Play Services needs to be installed (along with the HA Companion App) in order to get the requisite Matter libraries. The GPS requirement means that private local control of Matter devices isn’t possible, at least using this installation path.

That is correct, the full version of the Android Home Assistant companion app (with GPS) is required, currently.

Yes, and supporting Matter without requiring Apple/Goolge frameworks is ultimately the goal. However, currently we don’t have the bandwidth to implement all at once: We currently focus on Matter device support in Home Assistant in general.

In fact, implement our own Matter commissioner on Apple and Android is somewhat challenging, and would require additional certification.

But it would be much nicer, I agree! So in a way: Patch welcome :smile:

We currently focus mostly on device support. Also keep in mind that while the frameworks are used, it is not mandatory to connect the device to the Apple Home/Google Home. The frameworks are merely used during commissioning. After that communication is direct and Apple/Google free.

That said: The Matter SDK and the Python Server does support commissioning via local Bluetooth on your HA server (via BlueZ). However, in the past it has been proven somewhat unreliable, depending on the Bluetooth stick. So YMMV. It also comes with the restriction that you need to have the device close to your instance :frowning_face:

Since it is rather hard to debug such issues, and with all the variety Bluetooth adapters, this commissioning mode is currently best effort only (read: Don’t open bug reports if it’s not working for you, thank you :pray: )

  1. Make sure you have a local Bluetooth adapter on your HA instance
  2. Make sure the regular Home Assistant Bluetooth integration is disabled (to avoid any potential interference between HA and the Python Matter server accessing the Bluetooth stack simultaneously).
  3. Navigate to the hidden config panel at /config/matter/dashboard. There you can use the “Commission device” button to use local Bluetooth for commissioning.

I think the location requirement is not for GPS, but Bluetooth.
Google have just put the Bluetooth permission under that setting.