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Everything Matter: Home Controls Guide to the New Smart Home Standard

Written by
Home Controls
Published on
July 19, 2023 at 8:00:00 AM PDT July 19, 2023 at 8:00:00 AM PDTth, July 19, 2023 at 8:00:00 AM PDT

Competition within the smart home market has created closed bubbles of wireless connectivity, forcing users to commit to devices or brands that communicate across a single wireless protocol, such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Wi-Fi. This has created a challenge for new and existing smart home users to find a smart home solution that is cost effective and flexible. This usually means users are looking for devices with wide compatibility, like a central smart hub, that will connect with their pre-purchased devices and their wish-listed items; or users are waiting for a new innovation to arise that will meet their needs. The Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly the Zigbee Alliance) has recently launched such an innovation, a new wireless communication technology designed to centralize control and enable interoperability between a spectrum of smart devices across multiple networking technologies and branded ecosystems. This new wireless connectivity standard is called Matter.

What is Matter?

Matter acts as a universal translator for wireless communication protocols (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Thread), smart assistant ecosystems (Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit) and various other smart home devices. Matter uses Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols to enable devices from different manufacturers across multiple technologies normally incapable of working together to communicate and coordinate with each other on a single network. Matter alternates between wireless frequencies depending on the amount of bandwidth required: Thread for low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smart lights and sensors, and Wi-Fi for audio/video streamed from cameras and multimedia players. Simply put, Matter bridges the gap between competing technologies to create a simpler smart home experience. 

Matter directly connects smart devices on a shared local IP network without requiring a constant cloud service connection. Matter networks are capable of operating without an Internet connection since it directly connects devices with a point-to-point mesh system. Cloud connectivity is optional and allows for remote control of Matter compatible devices and routines when away from home.

All of this is possible with two integral pieces of hardware: Matter-compatible controllers and Matter/Thread border routers. Matter controllers include smart home hubs, dedicated smart assistant devices, and even multimedia streaming devices. Matter controllers primarily onboard devices to your network, translate communications between various technologies, store lists of connected devices and programmed automations, and facilitate remote access (when enabled).

Matter/Thread border routers are an Internet connected device that use its transceiver to communicate with Thread & Matter compatible devices on top of their primary communication protocol (such as Wi-Fi or Zigbee). Their function is to maintain connections between Matter devices and assist in translating communications between them. Matter/Thread compatible border routers already exist within various internet routers, smart assistant devices, smart home hubs, and more: including the Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Google Nest Hubs, and eero 6 Mesh routers. 

How Do I Control Matter-Compatible Devices?

Matter compatible devices are controlled from a Matter compatible app on your smart mobile phone or tablet, including the Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung/Aeotec Smartthings, Google Home, and Home Assistant apps. From any of these apps, you will be able to control both the devices and automated routines natively controlled by the apps, plus any connected Matter devices on your Internet network. Additionally, multiple admins using different OS devices can both control a single Matter network. This allows multiple users within a household or business that have iOS or Android phones to control Matter devices.

What is Thread and what is its relationship to Matter?

Matter and Thread are both categorized as wireless communication protocols and work in tandem with each other. Thread functions as the foundational network, establishing and maintaining connections between various devices using a local IP or Wi-Fi network. When coordinating low bandwidth, low power devices like sensors and smart switches, Matter utilizes Thread connections. For high bandwidth applications including transmitting surveillance footage or audio from a receiver to a wireless speaker, Matter uses Wi-Fi signals. Additionally, Matter and Thread piggyback off of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions when connecting new devices or reestablishing Thread connections.

The following Matter compatible devices are available here at Home Controls:

Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Dimmer, 600W (2nd Gen)

Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 15A Switch (2nd-gen)

Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 2nd-gen devices

Yale Assure Lock 2 (via Thread Smart Module, coming soon)

Flic Hub LR and Flic 2 Smart Buttons

As more Thread and Matter compatible devices become available, Home Controls will seek to expand our catalog of available devices and provide updates on the ever growing list of compatible devices. For more questions about Thread, the differences in wireless communication protocols, or any other home automation or home security topics, check out other entries in our blog or talk to our team over the phone at (858)-693-8887 or email us at