Home > News > MQTT vs CoAP, the battle to become the best IoT protocol
21 Oct 2019

 

MQTT and CoAP both are the most popular Internet of Things protocols. During the next post, we will talk about pros and cons of each one.

What is MQTT?

Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT), is a publish-subscribe protocol that facilitates one-to-many communication mediated by brokers. Clients can publish messages to a broker and/or subscribe to a broker to receive certain messages. Messages are organized by topics, which essentially are “labels” that act as a system for dispatching messages to subscribers.

 

 

What is CoAP?

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), is a client-server protocol that, unlike MQTT, is not yet standardized. With CoAP, a client node can command another node by sending a CoAP packet. The CoAP server will interpret it, extract the payload, and decide what to do depending on its logic. The server does not necessarily have to acknowledge the request.

 

 

The following table compares different features and shows the strengths and debilities of each protocol:

 

Features MQTT CoAP

 Base protocol

 TCP  UDP

 Model used for communication

 Publish-Subscribe

Request-Response 
Publish-Subscribe

 Communication node

 M:N  1:1

 Power consumption

 Higher than CoAP  Lower than MQTT

 RESTful

 No  Yes

 Number of messages type used

 16  4

 Header size

 2 Bytes  4 Bytes

 Messaging

 Asynchronous  Asynchronous & Synchronous

 Reliability

 3 Quality of service levels
 QoS 0: Delivery not guaranteed
 QoS 1: Delivery confirmation
 QoS 2: Delivery double confirmation
 Confirmable messages
 Non-confirmable messages
 Aknowledgements
 Retransmissions

 Implementation

 Easy to implement
 Hard to add extensions
 Few existing libraries and support

 Security

 Not defined
 Can use TLS/SSL
 DTLS or IPSec

 Other

 Useful for connections with remote location
 No error-handling
 Low overhead
 Low latency
 NAT issues

 

Other IoT protocols

There are other protocols that can be used for IoT applications like AMQP, XMPP, DDS or LwM2M. In fact, what is really important is the knowledge of one’s own business needs and requirements, awareness of the advantages and drawbacks of the protocols offered by the market, and the ability to pick the one that best suits a given use case.

 

Documentation and other information

    MQTT - Official website

    CoAP - Official website

 

If you are interested in learning more about topics related to Internet of Things, Big Data, Industry 4.0 and Analytics, do not hesitate to continue reading our publications in the News section.


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