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Particle platform unlocks mesh networking

Steve Rogerson
February 15, 2018
California-based Particle has announced Particle Mesh, hardware for unlocking developer access to mesh networking technology. With Particle Mesh, the company says networks can cover more ground and capture more data with higher reliability at a reduced cost.
This should help developers working in industries from manufacturing and logistics to smart home devices.
Particle Mesh is built to solve the IoT problems many companies run into while building connected products. Historically, IoT devices connect directly to the cloud through cellular or wifi communications and depend on the cloud to relay messages between devices.
This approach is not optimal for all use cases as it requires all devices to be wifi or LTE connected, which can create added cost, power demands and downtime.
Particle Mesh lets developers create local networks with low-cost, low-power devices that communicate with one another, then back to a single wifi or LTE connected gateway to the cloud. This also instils redundancy so if one endpoint fails the network automatically self-heals to the nearest device with no downtime or lost data.
It includes a family of mesh-ready devices with wifi and LTE connectivity, integrated with the Particle Device Cloud:

  • Argon is a wifi and mesh-enabled, battery-powered device that works for stand-alone IoT products and acts as a gateway for mesh nodes;
  • Boron is a global LTE, 2G, 3G and mesh-enabled, battery-powered device that works for stand-alone IoT products and acts as a gateway for mesh nodes; and
  • Xenon is a mesh-only endpoint device that creates a local network when connected with an Argon or Boron.
"In the six years we've been supporting IoT creators, we're honoured to have helped more than 150,000 creators bring their products online, and learned a lot about the toughest problems that innovators encounter," said Zach Supalla, Particle co-founder and CEO. "We built Particle Mesh to address a gap in the market: building local networks to connect IoT products to each other without being a networking guru. We're excited to see what problems our customers solve with this new technology."
Particle is also continuing investment in open source standards alongside IoT partners in both hardware and software. Particle Mesh capabilities are built on the mesh networking technology OpenThread by Alphabet's Nest Labs. The portfolio of hardware is built to comply with Adafruit's Feather form factor, providing compatibility with more than 50 FeatherWing hardware accessories. Development kits are open-sourced giving developers access to board layout and schematics.
"Thread was created to support developers in building connected products with a networking protocol that activates the internet in IoT," said Grant Erickson, president of Thread Group. "Built on Thread, Particle Mesh enables a welcomed expansion beyond the connected home to industrial use cases that will drive the next wave of growth of IoT."
Particle provides a scalable, reliable and secure IoT platform that enables any enterprise or developer to build, connect and manage any device and unlock the power of the IoT. More than 8500 users, 140,000 developers and half the Fortune 500 have deployed the company's hardware and software, with customers ranging from global energy provider Engie and design studio Ideo to indoor crops provider Grow Labs and coffee pioneer Keurig.