Particle had a pretty darn exciting announcement this week — their latest series of devices available for pre-order have mesh networking built in! Here’s a summary of the new devices, along with some questions Zach Supalla, founder and CEO of Particle, was kind enough to answer for us!
Particle’s new mesh devices create a local wireless mesh that other devices can join. They work together to “ensure that messages get where they’re going, and power products that aren’t possible or economically feasible with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity”. They actually use OpenThread, an open source implementation of Nest’s Thread® technology, as the foundation of their own Particle Mesh.
Their devices are:
The Particle Argon is their Wi-Fi connected, Particle Mesh Gateway option and has:
The Particle Boron is their LTE or 2G/3G connected, Particle Mesh Gateway option (similar to the Particle Electron). It comes in two variations, the LTE one and the 2G/3G one:
Finally, the Particle Xenon is their mesh endpoint and network repeater option. You’d want a bunch of these low cost ones connected to sensors everywhere. It has:
I had a few dev-focused questions for Zach Supalla, founder and CEO of Particle, here’s the info he had for us!
Zach: “Our 3rd-generation hardware builds upon the same foundation as our existing products – a foundation we call our Device OS & Device Cloud. That means the same programming style and APIs will be available on the Particle Mesh boards, with the addition of the newer mesh-related APIs. That includes things like local communication, dealing with battery-powered/partially offline devices, cloud network management (think your Wi-Fi’s admin portal) and more. So yes, same standard APIs + new ones for mesh accessible in the same calls Particle developers are already familiar with.”
Zach: “Absolutely, mesh networking technology tackles some major challenges with building connected products — from reliability issues to network growth to power consumption to creating networks in places that before wasn’t possible. For example, when scaling a network across something like a park you would before have to place Wi-Fi or cellular gateways to capture sensor data at specific locations which can start to be costly with hardware, connectivity, and power consumption.”
“With Particle Mesh, you can extend your network through low-cost, low-power nodes that send the sensor data back to the gateways and then to the cloud.” — Zach Supalla
“Or, you can leverage the power of local network in places where connectivity is a challenge such as an industrial mine. You could build a sensor network that measures air quality and sends the data reliably to your above ground cellular gateway for mission critical information. If any node fails, the data stays safe and the network self-heals itself to the next nearest node.”
Zach Supalla says that the Photon and Electron will still be sticking around:
“The new Particle Mesh family is the most advanced version of Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, built to be the next generation of Particle products. The Particle Photon and Electron will continue to be supported and manufactured.” — Zach Supalla
Zach: “Device OS makes it easy so that existing Wi-Fi and cellular products will require minimal configuration changes.”
A huge thank you to Zach Supalla for taking the time to answer some questions — and for all the amazing work he and the Particle team have done to bring developers some fantastic boards to begin their projects. If you’re keen to get your hands on some of these new Particle Mesh devices, head over to their website and put in a pre-order!
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