An Inventory of Knowledge

How IoT Protocols Secure Data Exchange in the IoT Sphere

IoT App Developers

With the continuously increasing number of IoT devices, cases of DDoS attacks are also being witnessed frequently. According to a Statista report, the number of connected devices will reach about 31B by 2020. Thus, this is the time when businesses, customers, stakeholders, and IoT app developers should garner knowledge about IoT protocols that can significantly hold the chances of security breaches at bay.

A Comprehensive Guide to IoT Protocols

IoT protocols are modes of communication that ensure end-to-end security of the data exchange between connected devices.

Basically, the IoT devices are connected to the cloud through an IP network. However, Bluetooth and RFID devices allow IoT systems to connect locally. In both cases, there is a difference in range, power, and memory consumption. IP network connectivity is relatively complicated, requires more power and memory from the IoT devices while the range is not an issue. On the contrast, non-IP networks need less memory and power and are limited to a specific range. As far as the IoT protocols are concerned, a blend of IP and non-IP networks can be considered as per to their usage.

IoT protocols can be classified into two different categories. Let’s have a look at them.

1.) IoT Network Protocols

IoT network protocols are the set of communication protocols used to connect devices and ensure secure data exchange within the scope of the network. Some of the IoT network protocols are:

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

HyperText Transfer Protocol has built the foundation of data transmission over the web. This protocol is commonly used for IoT devices when there is a massive amount of data to be published. However, HTTP is not the first choice of most IoT app developers because of its battery life, cost, energy consumed, and many other constraints.

3D Printing is one of the best use cases of the HyperText Transfer Protocol. It connects computers to the 3D printers over the network and enables systems to print 3D objects and pre-determined process prototypes.

LoRaWan (Long Range Wide Area Network)

LoRaWan is a low-power, long-range protocol that offers signals detection below the noise level. It connects battery-powered devices to the internet, wirelessly in private or global networks. This protocol is mainly used by smart cities, where there a myriad of devices that operate with less power and memory.

Smart street lighting is the most significant use case of the LoRaWan protocol. This protocol facilitates the connection of street lights to the LoRa gateway. The LoRa gateway further connects to the cloud app that controls the intensity of light bulbs and reduces power consumption during the daytime.


Bluetooth is an extensively used protocol for wireless, short-range, low-cost, low-power, and secure data exchange between electronic devices. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a subset of this protocol that cuts down power consumption and plays a significant role in connecting IoT devices.

Bluetooth protocol is mostly used in smartphones, smart wearables, and other devices, where small chunks of data can be communicated with low energy and memory consumption. With such high usage and demand, Bluetooth is deemed the most preferred IoT connectivity protocols by every IoT development company.


ZigBee protocol enables smart objects to work in tandem and is generally used in home automation. Well-known for industrial settings, ZigBee is integrated into applications that support low-rate data exchange over a short distance.

ZigBee protocol  is used in electric meters and street lights in urban areas, which provide low-power consumption. It is also used with security systems.

2.) IoT Data Protocols

IoT data protocols provide point-to-point data exchange with the hardware at the user side, with no need for internet connectivity. IoT data protocols connectivity takes place via a wired or a cellular network. The key IoT data protocols are:

 Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

MQTT protocol gathers data from multiple electronic devices and supports remote device monitoring. It is a publish/subscribe protocol that operates over TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), enabling it to support event-driven data communication via wireless networks.

MTQQ is mainly used in economical devices and demands less power as well as memory. For example, smartwatches, fire detectors, car sensors, and apps for text-based messaging.

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

CoAp is an internet-utility protocol for restricted devices. This allows the client to send a request to the server, and then the server can respond to the clients in HTTP. CoAP uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and reduces memory consumption for light-weight implementation.

Constrained Application Protocol is chiefly used in mobiles, automation, and microcontrollers. It sends a request to the app endpoints like appliances at homes and reverts resources and services in the application.

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

This is a software layer protocol for message-oriented middleware infrastructure that renders queuing and routing. AMQP provides reliable point-to-point connections and ensures secure data exchange between the connected devices and the cloud. This protocol comprises three components, named Message Queue, Exchange, and Binding, responsible for seamless, secure, and successful message exchange and storage. It also facilitates the relationship establishment of one message with another.

AMQP is mostly used in the banking sector. When a server sends a message, the protocol tracks it until is it is delivered to the destinations without hindrance.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Protocol

M2M is an open industry protocol accountable for remote application management of IoT devices. This protocol uses public networks and creates an environment where a machine can easily exchange data. Besides, it supports the self-monitoring of equipment and facilitates system adaptability to match with the changing environment.

M2M protocol is used for automated vehicle authentication, smart homes, ATM machines, and vending machines.

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)

The XMPP is designed in a unique way and runs on a push mechanism to communicate data in real-time. It is a flexible protocol and can easily integrate with the changes. XMPP operates as a presence indicator and shows the availability status of the devices or servers exchanging messages.

Apart from instant messaging applications like WhatsApp and Google Talk, XMPP is used on news websites, online gaming, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Final Words

According to the Economic Times, over 32,000 smart homes and businesses are at risk of data leakage. Knowing and exploring the potential of the afore-mentioned IoT protocols will help you to create a secure environment for communicating data with the cloud.

Since choosing an appropriate type of connectivity and protocol is an inevitable aspect for a successful IoT project, we suggest to consult the experts of a smart IoT Development Company. They will navigate you in your IoT project journey right from ideation and conceptualization to development and deployment.





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