The MQTT protocol in the IoT

Find out what the MQTT protocol is and how it is used in the IoT.

Jochen Möller
Jochen Möller
EcholoN Blog - What is MQTT? Message Queuing Telemetry Transport

The MQTT protocol has established itself as one of the most important communication protocols in the Internet of Things - IoT. It enables the reliable and efficient transmission of messages between clients and brokers.

In this article, we will take a closer look at MQTT and its basics, learn how to set up an MQTT broker, the different quality of service levels of MQTT and the importance of MQTT in the IoT.

Author: Jochen Möller (Managing Director and CoFounder of EcholoN)
creation: 07.12.2023, last change: 02.01.2024

What is MQTT?

What are the basics of MQTT?

MQTT stands for Message Queuing Telemetry Transport and is a lightweight protocol that was originally developed for use on devices with limited bandwidth and computing power. It enables the efficient transmission of messages between sensors, actuators and other IoT devices.

What role does MQTT play in the Internet of Things (IoT)?

MQ Telemetry Transport plays a crucial role in the IoT as it enables reliable and scalable communication between IoT devices. With MQTT, devices can transfer data in real time and communicate with each other securely. It is particularly suitable for industrial applications, where reliable communication between sensors and actuators is of great importance.

How does communication with MQTT work?

Communication with MQTT takes place via an MQTT broker. A broker acts as an intermediary and enables the exchange of messages between MQTT clients. Clients can connect to the broker to send and receive messages. Communication takes place via so-called topics, which serve as channels for the exchange of messages. A client can subscribe to a specific topic and receive messages from it.

EcholoN Blog - How to set up an MQTT broker?

How do you set up an MQTT broker?

What options are there for an MQTT broker?

There are various options for setting up an MQTT broker. Some popular MQTT brokers are Mosquitto, IBM MQ and AWS IoT Core. These brokers offer extensive features such as authentication and authorisation to ensure the security of communication.

How do I connect to an MQTT broker?

To establish a connection to an MQTT broker, the client needs the address of the broker and a unique client name. The client can then establish a connection to the broker and send or receive messages.

How are MQTT messages sent and received?

MQTT messages are sent and received via publish and subscribe actions. A publisher sends a message to a specific topic, while a subscriber subscribes to that topic and receives the messages that are published on that topic.

EcholoN Blog - Which Quality of Service Level (QoS) does MQTT support?

What quality of service level (QoS) does MQTT support?

What does QoS mean in the context of MQTT?

Quality of Service refers to the reliability of message transmission. MQTT supports various QoS levels that determine how messages are sent and received.

Which QoS levels are available and how do they work?

MQTT supports three QoS levels: QoS 0 (At most once), QoS 1 (At least once) and QoS 2 (Exactly once). With QoS 0, a message is transmitted minimally without confirmation or retransmission. With QoS 1, the message is transmitted at least once to ensure that it arrives, but can be received several times. With QoS 2, the message is transmitted exactly once and acknowledgements of receipt are used to ensure that the transmission was successful.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different QoS levels?

The advantage of QoS 0 is the minimal transmission, which minimises the bandwidth and computing power of the broker and clients. The disadvantage, however, is that there is no acknowledgement or retransmission, which can lead to potential data loss. QoS 1 ensures reliable transmission but does not guarantee the delivery order of messages. QoS 2 ensures that the messages are transmitted exactly once and in the correct order, but requires more bandwidth and computing power.

EcholoN Blog - What is the significance of MQTT in the Internet of Things?

What is the significance of MQTT in the Internet of Things?

How is MQTT used in the IoT?

MQTT is widely used in the IoT as it enables efficient and reliable communication between IoT devices. It is used for various applications, such as the transmission of sensor data, the control of actuators and the monitoring of devices in the IoT network.

What advantages does MQTT offer compared to other protocols in the IoT?

MQTT offers several advantages compared to other protocols in the IoT. It is lightweight and requires little bandwidth and computing power. It also supports the scaling of IoT devices and enables reliable and secure communication. MQTT is supported and further developed by various organisations such as OASIS, IBM and Cirrus Link Solutions, making it a reliable and widely used protocol for the Internet of Things.

EcholoN Blog - MQTT in industrial use - M2M

MQTT in industrial use - M2M

Industry benefits immensely from the flexibility and reliability that MQTT offers. It is not only a tool for increasing efficiency, but also an essential component for analysing and managing processes in Industry 4.0.

MQTT brokers and their role in industry

Industrial MQTT brokers must be particularly powerful and secure. Mosquitto or HiveMQ, for example, is a popular choice as it can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems and supports high throughput volumes.

MQTT topics and their significance for automation

In industrial automation, the topic ensures clear and structured data transfer. This allows processes to be monitored and controlled in a targeted manner. The correct naming and structure of the topic architecture is crucial for successful implementation.

MQTT client in the industry - networked intelligence

Connecting devices as MQTT clients creates networked intelligence that goes far beyond the boundaries of individual machines. The clients enable efficient data transmission and thus help to improve the understanding and control of industrial processes.

EcholoN Blog - Practical steps to get started with MQTT

Practical steps for getting started with MQTT

Getting started with MQTT is straightforward thanks to resources such as HiveMQ and the EcholoN Dataworkflow System. These tools offer an intuitive interface and a wide range of configuration options to ensure seamless integration into existing systems and applications. An MQTT-based dataflow can be set up within a short time and offers immediate benefits for network management and information exchange.

Tips for successful MQTT implementation

When implementing MQTT, a few key points should always be considered:

  • Choose a scalable and secure MQTT broker that meets your requirements.
  • Structure your MQTT topics carefully and use the hierarchy and wildcards to optimise message distribution.
  • Define a clear QoS strategy to meet the requirements of your application.
  • Take advantage of MQTT clients to achieve broader connectivity and data monitoring.
  • Consider security aspects and ensure that data traffic is specially protected.

Frequently asked questions - FAQs

What is the role of the broker in the MQTT protocol?

The broker is a central component in the MQTT protocol that manages the forwarding of messages between the clients. It receives, stores and forwards the messages to the corresponding recipients.

In which areas is MQTT suitable for use?

MQTT is particularly suitable for applications in the IoT area, such as in networked sensor networks, monitoring systems, smart home devices and industrial plants, where reliable and efficient communication between devices is required.

How is a connection to the MQTT broker established?

To establish a connection to the MQTT broker, a client needs the address of the broker and the corresponding login information. With this data, the client can establish a connection to the broker and send or receive messages.

What role do MQTT clients play in the protocol?

The MQTT clients are end devices or applications that use the MQTT protocol to publish or receive messages. They can be implemented in different devices or systems and enable communication with the broker.

What are the advantages of MQTT over other protocols in the IoT?

MQTT is characterised by its light weight, its minimal network bandwidth requirements and its precision in the transmission of messages, which makes it particularly efficient for use in the IoT area.

Which QoS levels are supported by MQTT?

MQTT supports Quality of Service (QoS) levels 0, 1 and 2. These levels define the reliability and confirmation of message transmissions between the client and the broker.

How is message delivery handled in the MQTT protocol?

In the MQTT protocol, message delivery is managed by the broker, which ensures that messages reach the intended recipient. Clients can also confirm the delivery of messages with the broker to ensure that they have been delivered.

Which known implementations and tools are compatible with the MQTT protocol?

There are various implementations and tools that are compatible with the MQTT protocol, including the well-known broker "Mosquitto". In addition, there are a large number of MQTT clients that enable the protocol to be used in various applications.

EcholoN Blog - EcholoN Dataworkflow System has MQTT Data Access

EcholoN and MQTT

The EcholoN data workflow system has MQTT data access

EcholoN and MQTT are important elements in the data traffic of the Internet of Things and other message streams. The "InsertWithoutSearch" function is used to send messages from EcholoN via MQTT, as there is nothing to search for in the target. The payload is compiled and then sent to the broker via "ByteArrayToStringConnector", also UTF-encoded. 

An important aspect when using MQTT is participation in the data traffic of the Internet of Things. EcholoN makes it possible to monitor field watcher events and send corresponding messages via the MQTT protocol. The concept of the topic also plays a decisive role in organising and managing the various message streams. Overall, the connection between EcholoN and MQTT is of great importance to ensure efficient and reliable communication in the Internet of Things. 

Conclusion - The future is connected

MQTT plays a crucial role in the networked world of IoT. Its simple and flexible architecture makes it an indispensable tool for modern machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT communication. With the right expertise and careful implementation, organisations can harness the power of MQTT to create more efficient and intelligent systems with potential as far-reaching as the Internet of Things itself.

Next steps and resources

When you're ready to explore the many possibilities of MQTT in your enterprise network, start with a reliable broker like Mosquitto and test communication with MQTT-enabled devices. Use online tutorials to help you get started and keep up to date with the latest developments and best practices in this ever-evolving field with our newsletter.

By finishing this article on MQTT, you'll be well on your way to taking the networking of your IoT devices to the next level. Take up the challenge and let MQTT transform your network!

Do you have questions about MQTT or would you like specific information about MQTT implementations in your company? Get in touch with us! We offer professional advice and practical solutions for your IoT challenges. Let's create a smart, connected future together.


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