Message Queuing Telemetry Transport For IoT Devices: Less is More (2021)

By Sweety Bertilla, Kristopher Linquist & Robert Farnum, Comcast Cable

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is a well-designed, lightweight messaging protocol that can be used for communication between mobile clients, microservices, and IoT devices. Unlike HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and other messaging protocols, MQTT is a low bandwidth, low latency alternative for IoT device transmissions, which is far more suitable because these devices may operate within tiny bandwidth, power, and transmission footprints. MQTT uses publish/subscribe operations to exchange data between client and server -- meaning an IoT device (or any other client) "subscribes" to atopic and asynchronously receives messages when data is published on that topic.

Also, unlike HTTP, this method saves a substantial amount of time previously spent on polling, which makes updates occur more quickly and smoothly. The lightweight nature of MQTT helps the end user –or customer - receive messages even when they are in low bandwidth situations, such as when traveling in areas with limited connectivity. Quality of Service (QoS) features supported by MQTT help clients opt into the level of service based on network reliability.

In this paper, attendees will learn how and why Comcast opted to adopt the MQTT protocol in customer facing applications such as the Xfinity Application when connecting and bridging communications with IoT devices such as Philips Hue, LIFX, Ecobee, August door looks, and other Zigbee devices (via a Residential Gateway) using the AWS IoT Core as the MQTT message broker.

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