Trying out Thread - and failing

I’m trying to connect my first smart light strip with Thread (not Matter) to my smart home, but so far with little success.

I have the following equipment:

  • Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen as Thread Border Router
  • Nanoleaf Essentials Light Strip (with Thread, but not Matter)
  • Apple TV 4K (older model without Thread)
  • iPhones
  • Android phone

In my dreams, the Nanoleaf light would use the Google Nest as border router and I could control the lights on my iPhone via HomeKit. I would be already happy with less (e.g. using Google Home app), but not even that works!

I setup the lights following the onboarding process via Bluetooth, and that works. But then it is supposed to switch to Thread, but that doesn’t happen. I was so naive to think that this would work seamlessly…

The boarder router seems to be working. I use the iOS app Discovery DNS-SD Browser to scan the network for a Thread router, and indeed my Google Nest Hub shows up.

I find it very surprising that Nanoleaf has a list of compatible Thread Border Routers. I don’t understand why such a list exists, since Thread is an standard and I thought every Thread device should compatible with everything. It’s like my laptop would only work with selected WiFi routers… very strange.
Now, on that list the Google Nest Hub is listed as non-compatible. So I can’t blame Nanoleaf for now. Nevertheless, a user at reddit got it working, so I hoped to be lucky as well.
But I wasn’t, so im left with a lame light strip.

Has anybody else tried Thread products with more success?

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There as an update from Nanoleaf and the page linked above now lists the Google Nest Hub as compatible. And yay, it works!

With the help of Nanoleaf support I was finally able to use the Google Home app and connect the lightstrip with it. By unplugging the Thread border router (Google Nest Hub) I tested whether there is a difference between the Google Home app and iOS HomeKit. And indeed, there is! Commands via Google Home app are much more responsive. When unplugging the Nest Hub, Google Home app stopps working, while the Nanoleaf app (uses bluetooth) still works, but very laggy. So the conclusion is: HomeKit cannot use a Google Nest Hub as thread border router. But the Google Home app on iOS can.

Here’s a video to help troubleshooting in case someone else also has issues to pair the Nanoleafs to Google Home app:

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