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IoT : Protocol and Architecture

The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IoT Protocol

Specific IoT Protocols List

  • MQTT – Message Queue Telemetry Transport Protocol

  • DDS – Data Distribution Service

  • AMQP – Advanced Message Queuing Protocol

  • CoAP – Constrained Application Protocol

1). Message Queue Telemetry Transport Protocol

Machine to machine communication can be with this MQTT. It was developed by IBM. Message queue telemetry transport protocol is a messaging protocol. This protocol collects the data from the devices and forwards to the network. So the connection between the devices and network can be done by this protocol. It’s a simple protocol which sends the data from the sensors to devices and then towards the network. This is the top protocol of the TCP/IP protocol reference model. The three elements in MQTT protocol in IoT. They are subscriber, publisher and dealer/broker. The data can be interchanged between subscriber and publisher. The dealer/broker enables the safety connection between the subscriber and publisher. MQTT runs over the TCP/IP model. Because of this MQTT protocol cannot be used for all types of IoT applications.


2). Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

This advanced message queuing is a suitable protocol for the message-oriented middleware environments. This was developed by John Hara from JP Morgan Chase, London. This IoT communication protocol useful for the exchange of reliable message can be done with this AMQP.

The publisher can communicate with subscriber through AMQP carrier. The messages from the publisher can be store in the carrier of AMQP and as per the message queue and order, they will be forwarded to the relevant subscriber with proper security system line. AMQP has the following three capabilities which make it more reliable and secure. This protocol has the below processing chain.


Exchange: Receives the messages from the publishers and based on priorities they are forwarded to message queues.

Message Queue: Stores the messages until they are properly processed with client software.

Binding: The connection between the exchange and message queue will state by this binding component.

3). Data Distribution Service (DDS)

This protocol is an IoT standard which is developed by Object Management Group (OMG). This DDS can be used in small devices which occupies less area and as well as in the cloud. This is a middleware protocol (lies between operating system and application) and API (Application Programming Interface) which enables the data connectivity between devices. This architecture is best suitable for IoT application. This protocol software is best for interchanging the information and quick data integration in IoT systems. This one supports the major software programming languages. Scalable, real-time and reliable communication can be possible with this Data Distribution Service (DDS).


This DDS standard has two layers. They are:

  • Data-Centric Publish-Subscribe (DCPS)

  • Data Local Reconstruction Layer (DLRL)

DCPS layer delivers the information to all subscribers whereas DLRL providing the interface to the functionalities of DCPS.

4). Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

This protocol is an internet utility protocol for the few (restricted) IoT gadgets. It is useful in most of IoT applications. Initially, CoAP is used in the machine to machine communications. CoAP is the alternate protocol for the HTTP. This protocol has an effective XML interchange data format technique. It is a different technique of binary data format has more preferable in terms of space. This could be better than plain text HTML/XML file. CoAP has four different types of messages. They are: non-confirmable, confirmable, reset and acknowledgment. For reliable and secure transmission over UDP confirmable messages are used and the responses can be in the form of acknowledgment. CoAP is a very lightweight protocol and it uses DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security) for providing more security and reliable communications.

IoT Architecture Layer

1. Three-layer IoT Architecture

This architecture introduced in the early days of research of IoT technology. The three-layers are in IoT architecture is for


Application Layer: This layer is to deliver the specific application to the end-user. The specific applications can be done with this application layer. Example of this layer like a smartwatch, smartphone, smart TV, etc. which is used for a specific application.

Network Layer: Network layer have an important role in IoT architecture. It connects to the other smart electronic devices (smartwatches, servers, etc). The network layer is for transmitting and processing the sensor data.

Perception Layer: It is the physical layer and it gathers the surroundings data by sensing the area with help the of sensors.

2. Five-layer IoT Architecture

Another architecture which is five-layers IoT architecture is proposed by the researchers who were worked on IoT. In this five-layer IoT architecture, the three-layers which are the application, network, and perception layers are having same architecture like three-layer IoT architecture. Additionally, the Business layer, Transport layer, and processing layer are the new one.


Business Layer: This layer is the head of the IoT architecture. It manages the complete IoT system even applications, user’s privacy, profit models, etc.

Processing Layer: It is in the middle of the IoT architecture. It’s having an important role in this five-layer IoT architecture. This layer stores the data and process the data which comes from the transport layer. This processing layer able to implement latest technologies like big data, DBMS and cloud computing, etc.

Application Layer: This layer is to deliver the specific application to the end-user. The specific applications can be done with this application layer. Example of this layer like a smartwatch, smartphone, smart TV, etc. which is used for a specific application.

Network Layer: This layer forward the data from the processing layer to perception layer and vice versa through wireless networks like LAN, 3G, and Bluetooth, etc.

Perception Layer: It is the physical layer and it gathers the surroundings data by sensing the area with help the of sensors.

Types of IoT Protocol

IoT protocols and standards can be broadly classified into two separate categories.

1. IoT Network Protocols

IoT network protocols are used to connect devices over the network. These are the set of communication protocols typically used over the Internet. Using IoT network protocols, end-to-end data communication within the scope of the network is allowed. Following are the various IoT Network protocols:

a. HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) HyperText Transfer Protocol is the best example of IoT network protocol. This protocol has formed the foundation of data communication over the web. It is the most common protocol that is used for IoT devices when there is a lot of data to be published. However, the HTTP protocol is not preferred because of its cost, battery-life, energy saving, and more constraints.

Additive manufacturing/3D printing is one of the use cases of the HTTP protocol. It enables computers to connect 3D printers in the network and print three-dimensional objects and pre-determined process prototypes.

b. LoRaWan (Long Range Wide Area Network) It is a long-range low power protocol that provides signal detection below the noise level. LoRaWan connects battery operated things wirelessly to the Internet in either private or global networks. This communication protocol is mainly used by smart cities, where there are millions of devices that function with less power and memory.

Smart street lighting is the practical use case of LoRaWan IoT protocol. The street lights can be connected to a LoRa gateway using this protocol. The gateway, in turn, connects to the cloud application that controls the intensity of light bulbs automatically based on the ambient lighting, which helps in reducing the power consumption during day-times.

c. Bluetooth Bluetooth is one of the most widely used protocols for short-range communication. It is a standard IoT protocol for wireless data transmission. This communication protocol is secure and perfect for short-range, low-power, low-cost, and wireless transmission between electronic devices. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is a low-energy version of Bluetooth protocol that reduces the power consumption and plays an important role in connecting IoT devices.

Bluetooth protocol is mostly used in smart wearables, smartphones, and other mobile devices, where small fragments of data can be exchanged without high power and memory. Offering ease of usage, Bluetooth tops the list of IoT device connectivity protocols.

d. ZigBee ZigBee is an IoT protocol that allows smart objects to work together. It is commonly used in home automation. More famous for industrial settings, ZigBee is used with apps that support low-rate data transfer between short distances.

Street lighting and electric meters in urban areas, which provides low power consumption, use the ZigBee communication protocol. It is also used with security systems and in smart homes.

2. IoT Data Protocols

IoT data protocols are used to connect low power IoT devices. These protocols provide point-to-point communication with the hardware at the user side without any Internet connection. Connectivity in IoT data protocols is through a wired or a cellular network. Some of the IoT data protocols are:

a. Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) One of the most preferred protocols for IoT devices, MQTT collects data from various electronic devices and supports remote device monitoring. It is a subscribe/publish protocol that runs over Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which means it supports event-driven message exchange through wireless networks.

MQTT is mainly used in devices which are economical and requires less power and memory. For instance, fire detectors, car sensors, smart watches, and apps for text-based messaging.

b. Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) CoAP is an internet-utility protocol for restricted gadgets. Using this protocol, the client can send a request to the server and the server can send back the response to the client in HTTP. For light-weight implementation, it makes use of UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and reduces space usage. The protocol uses binary data format EXL (Efficient XML Interchanges).

CoAP protocol is used mainly in automation, mobiles, and microcontrollers. The protocol sends a request to the application endpoints such as appliances at homes and sends back the response of services and resources in the application.

c. Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) AMQP is a software layer protocol for message-oriented middleware environment that provides routing and queuing. It is used for reliable point-to-point connection and supports the seamless and secure exchange of data between the connected devices and the cloud. AMQP consists of three separate components namely Exchange, Message Queue, and Binding. All these three components ensure a secure and successful exchange and storage of messages. It also helps in establishing the relationship of one message with the other.

AMQP protocol is mainly used in the banking industry. Whenever a message is sent by a server, the protocol tracks the message until each message is delivered to the intended users/destinations without failure.

d. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication Protocol It is an open industry protocol built to provide remote application management of IoT devices. M2M communication protocols are cost-effective and use public networks. It creates an environment where two machines communicate and exchange data. This protocol supports the self-monitoring of machines and allows the systems to adapt according to the changing environment.

M2M communication protocols are used for smart homes, automated vehicle authentication, vending machines, and ATM machines.

e. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) The XMPP is uniquely designed. It uses a push mechanism to exchange messages in real-time. XMPP is flexible and can integrate with the changes seamlessly. Developed using open XML (Extensible Markup Language), XMPP works as a presence indicator showing the availability status of the servers or devices transmitting or receiving messages.

Advantages of IoT:

  • Efficient resource utilization: If we know the functionality and the way that how each device work we definitely increase the efficient resource utilization as well as monitor natural resources.

  • Minimize human effort: As the devices of IoT interact and communicate with each other and do lot of task for us, then they minimize the human effort.

  • Save time: As it reduces the human effort then it definitely saves out time. Time is the primary factor which can save through IoT platform.

  • Enhance Data Collection:

  • Improve security: Now, if we have a system that all these things are interconnected then we can make the system more secure and efficient.

Disadvantages of IoT:

  • Security: As the IoT systems are interconnected and communicate over networks. The system offers little control despite any security measures, and it can be lead the various kinds of network attacks.

  • Privacy: Even without the active participation on the user, the IoT system provides substantial personal data in maximum detail.

  • Complexity: The designing, developing, and maintaining and enabling the large technology to IoT system is quite complicated.

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