MQTT: all you need to know about the main M2M protocol of the Industrial Internet of Things

MQTT is an M2M data transfer protocol used for IIoT. Find out everything you need to know about it: how it works, advantages, use cases…

MQTT is a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) data transfer protocol allowing SCADA systems to access IIoT data. It is considered one of the main messaging protocols of the Internet of Industrial Objects (IIoT).

MQTT: What are the advantages of this protocol?


Indeed, although there are multiple technologies and IIoT protocols available, the MQTT has several assets to make the most of the game. Its very light header weighs only 2 bytes, it has bidirectional capabilities, and is based on a publish/subscribe model allowing to collect more data than polling type protocols while consuming less bandwidth. All these qualities enable it to meet the requirements of industrial control systems.

Among the other benefits brought by the MQTTThese include efficiency of information distribution, scalability, or reduction of network bandwidth consumption. Thus, it allows to maximize the bandwidth.

This protocol also reduces update rates to just a few seconds and reduces development time. It ‘fits perfectly with sensing and remote control. Its permission-based security system is very reliable. The oil and gas industry, as well as thegiants like Amazon and Facebook use this protocol.

How does the MQTT work?

MQTT is a publish/subscribe protocol that allows edge-of-network devices to publish to a broker. Customers connect to this broker, which then acts as a mediator between the two devices. Each device can subscribe to specific topics. When another client publishes a message on a topic, the broker forwards the message to all other clients who subscribed to it.

The protocol is bi-directional, and ensures that the devices remain connected. If an edge-of-network device loses connectivity, all clients connected to it will be notified using the “Last Will and Testament” feature of the associated server. This will allow all authorized clients to publish a new value back to the edge-of-device in order to maintain two-way connectivity.

The lightness and efficiency of the MQTT increases the amount of data monitored or controlled. Previously, Nearly 80% of the data remained in remote locations.. So it was not possible to exploit them. Thanks to the MQTT, it is now possible to collect, transmit and analyse much more data.

The history of the MQTT

Dr. Andy Stanford-Clark and the president of Cirrus Link Solutions, Arlen Nipper, invented the MQTT in 1999. This protocol allows data to be collected from many devices and then transported to an IT infrastructure.

Who uses the MQTT?

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Originally, MQTT was developed for the high latency, low bandwidth data links used in the oil and gas industry. Many other applications work with this data transfer system.

Many connected objects for individuals, as well as applications such as Facebook Messenger, are based on MQTT. As well as Amazon IoT is based on this protocol. In general, this protocol is the most suitable for control systems used by industrial companies. Its adoption rate is expected to continue to increase in the coming years.

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