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Android Things Gets Better With LoWPAN Support

December 21, 2017
Google has introduced Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPAM) support on Android Things Developer Preview 6.1. You will be able to configure and manage LoWPAN networks on Android Things 6.1. The purpose of the support is to enable devices running under Android Things to act as edge nodes.

The LoWPAN technology is mainly used to cover devices, which make use of radio frequency to communicate. Sometimes, it may not be viable for companies to embed Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support. Hence, they can make use of LoWPAN. The mechanism will be useful for door locks, window/industrial sensors including wearable devices for transactions and medical purpose.

The LoWPAN support includes a new API, which enables you to configure and manage networks such as scanning nearby networks, creation, joining a specific LoWPAN network. Moreover, it can also monitor connectivity and state changes. The main purpose of Android Things is to address Thread networks, which is a secure and fault-tolerant system. It provides a low-power consuming protocol to manage mesh networks in partnership with companies such as Alphabet, ARM, Samsung, and others.

The Thread implementation is provided by OpenThread, which is the open-source networking protocol provided by Nest. If you are unaware, OpenThread is written using C++ and provides support for two radio platforms such as Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840, and Zolertia Firefly.

To enable edge computing, you need to establish devices in such a way that it communicates directly with other peer devices. It leverages edge nodes to perform processing and computing tasks quickly. The new computing technology also reduces latency for mission-critical applications. It is also capable of handling the sheer amount of data produced by IoT devices.