Home Assistant launches SkyConnect USB stick with Zigbee, Thread, Matter support

The Home Assistant SkyConnect is a USB stick with support for Zigbee, Matter, and Thread connectivity designed to work with the popular Home Assistant open-source home automation solution, and enables users to bring Home Assistant Yellow (previously known as Home Assistant Amber) functionality to any platform running Home Assistant.

The USB dongle is based on a Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 Gecko Series 2 Arm Cortex-M33 wireless microcontroller with an 802.15.4 multi-protocol 2.4 GHz radio that can concurrently run both Zigbee 3.0 (EmberZNet/EZSP) and Thread/Matter (OpenThread/Spinel) stacks/protocols at the same time by using firmware in RCP RCP (Radio Co-Processor) mode.

Home Assistant SkyConnect

Home Assistant SkyConnect specifications:

  • MCU – Silabs EFR32MG21 Arm Cortex-M33 microcontroller @ up to 80 MHz with DSP and FPU, up to 1024 KB flash, up to 96 KB RAM, 2.4 GHz radio
  • Wireless
    • Protocols – Zigbee, Matter, Thread
    • TX Power – up to +20dBm
    • RX sensitivity – -104dBm (250kbps)
    • 2.4 GHz PCB antenna
    • Stack – EmberZNet Serial Protocol (EZSP)
  • USB – USB 2.0 Type-A male up to 12 Mbps
  • Bridge – Silabs CP2102N USB to UART chip
  • Power Supply – 5V DC / up to 150mA
  • Dimensions – 38.5 x 18 x 4.5mm
  • Weight – 4 grams

The SkyConnect dongle supports Over-The-Wire (OTW) firmware updates, which will notably enable Matter support in November since at launch only Zigbee and Thread are supported. The USB stick will ship with a 50cm extension cable because the “USB 3.0 ports (the ones with blue on the inside) are known to cause significant noise and radio interference to any 2.4Ghz wireless devices”.

The Home Assistant SkyConnect USB stick is up for pre-order for $29.99 on Seeed Studio, Ameridroid, and several European distributors that you can find on the product page. The first batch is supposed to ship in November or December. The price tag is higher than for the Sonoff ZBDongle-E ($19.90) based on the same EFR32MG21 microcontroller, but the official dongle is quite smaller and I suppose you’d sponsor the open-source project that way.

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