MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport)

What is it?

MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) is a lightweight messaging protocol designed specifically for resource constrained IoT devices to facilitate communication over networks with varying levels of unreliability. It was originally developed in 1999 for use in remote sensing applications but has since gained widespread acceptance and is now commonly used in IoT systems. 

How does MQTT work?  

MQTT employs a publish-subscribe messaging model. Devices, called publishers, publish messages to specific topics on a broker. Other devices, called subscribers, can then subscribe to these topics and receive the published messages. The broker acts as an intermediary that facilitates message routing and delivery. 

MQTT Broker: An MQTT broker is a server that acts as a central messaging hub. It receives and routes messages from publishers to the relevant subscribers. MQTT brokers can handle multiple clients and provide features like message persistence, quality of service (QoS) handling, and security mechanisms. 

Types of MQTT Messages: 

  1. Publish Messages: These are messages published by devices to specific topics on the broker. Subscribed devices receive these messages. 
  1. Subscribe Messages: Devices send subscribe messages to the broker to indicate their interest in receiving messages published to particular topics. 
  1. Unsubscribe Messages: Devices can send unsubscribe messages to the broker to stop receiving messages from specific topics. 
  1. Disconnect Messages: Devices send disconnect messages to cleanly end their connection with the broker. 

Benefits of using MQTT: 

  • Efficiency: MQTT is designed to be lightweight, minimizing network bandwidth and power consumption. 
  • Reliability: It provides configurable message QoS levels to ensure messages are delivered reliably even in unreliable network conditions. 
  • Scalability: MQTT supports a large number of devices and can handle millions of connections. 
  • Flexibility: It allows both one-to-one and one-to-many communication patterns, making it suitable for various IoT use cases. 
  • Asynchronous Communication: MQTT supports asynchronous messaging, allowing devices to publish and subscribe to messages at any time. 

Drawbacks of MQTT: 

  • Lack of native security: MQTT does not provide built-in encryption or authentication mechanisms. Additional security measures need to be implemented. 
  • Complexity: While MQTT is designed to be lightweight, setting up, configuring, and managing MQTT infrastructure can be complex. 
  • Higher latency for QoS 2: MQTT’s highest QoS level (QoS 2) introduces higher latency due to the additional message acknowledgments and handshakes. 

MQTT Protocol Applications and Use Cases: 

  • IoT Device Communication: MQTT is well-suited for IoT applications, enabling efficient communication between resource-constrained devices and cloud platforms. 
  • Real-time Monitoring and Control: MQTT enables real-time data streaming for monitoring and controlling devices and processes. 
  • Telemetry and Sensor Data: MQTT is used for collecting and transmitting telemetry and sensor data for analysis and decision-making. 
  • Home Automation: MQTT is commonly used in home automation systems to connect and control smart home devices. 

How is MQTT Used in IoT?  

MQTT is widely used in IoT applications due to its efficiency, low overhead, and support for low-power devices. It enables devices and systems to send and receive data in real-time, facilitating automation, monitoring, and control in various IoT domains. 

MQTT Protocol Versions: The MQTT protocol has evolved over time.  

The key versions are: 

  • MQTT v3.1.1: This version is the most widely used and provides support for bi-directional communication, QoS levels, and last will messages. 
  • MQTT-SN: MQTT for Sensor Networks extends the protocol’s reach to non-TCP/IP networks, enabling connectivity with low-power and lossy networks. 
  • MQTT v5.0: The latest version of MQTT brings enhancements such as extended QoS options, improved authentication mechanisms, and better error reporting. It offers more flexibility and efficiency compared to earlier versions. 
To be informed about our latest news subscribe to our newsletter