MQTT vs AMQP – Security Boulevard

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The Initial Overview: Learning about MQTT & AMQP

In the dynamic arenas of Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, communication protocols that are robust, reliable and capable of handling high traffic volumes have become essential. The two protocols that have recently gained significant ground in this regard are MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) and AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). Even though MQTT and AMQP employ message-centric interaction across distributed networks, they showcase categorical differences in their working methodologies and intended circumstances of utilization.

Firstly, let’s discuss MQTT, an optimized protocol framed explicitly for the technique of publish/subscribe messaging. Having been devised keeping in view tools with restricted capabilities, networks with minimal data bandwidths and elevated latency periods, MQTT was brought forth by IBM in 1999 for telemetry applications in the sectors of oil and gas. Nevertheless, it’s now extensively employed for IoT applications due to its uncluttered design and efficacy.

Here’s a basic elucidation of MQTT’s operation:

import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt

# When the server sends a CONNACK response, this function gets triggered.
def on_connect(client, userdata, flags, rc):
    print("Connection established with result code "+str(rc))

# This function is triggered when a PUBLISH message arrives from the server.
def on_message(client, userdata, msg):
    print(msg.topic+" "+str(msg.payload))

client = mqtt.Client()
client.on_connect = on_connect
client.on_message = on_message

client.connect("", 1883, 60)

On the other hand, AMQP is a sophisticated protocol replete with various features, which supports diverse messaging modes such as publish/subscribe, one-to-one, and request/reply. Introduced by JP Morgan Chase in 2004, it catered to the requirement of a multifaceted protocol for messaging at an enterprise level.

Here is an elementary rundown of how AMQP functions:

import pika

connection = pika.BlockingConnection(pika.ConnectionParameters('localhost'))
channel =


def callback(ch, method, properties, body):
    print(" [x] Message received %r" % body)


print(' [*] Awaiting messages. Press CTRL+C to exit')

MQTT and AMQP, each dutifully fulfilling the purpose of message-based communication, have unique structural designs, functionalities, and use-case scenarios. The choice between MQTT and AMQP is largely influenced by specific requirements such as efficient communication, assured message delivery, or complex messaging patterns.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the complexities of MQTT and AMQP, assess their efficiencies, scrutinize their real-world applications, and guide you towards the most suitable decision for your enterprise. Furthermore, we’ll examine the future prospects that can potentially supersede MQTT and AMQP as the area of IoT and cloud technologies continue to expand rapidly.

Decoding MQTT: A Summary of the Fundamentals

what is mqtt

Moving into the heart of the constrained appliances and low-bandwidth, high-latency, or unstable networks, take a deep dive into the minimalist Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT). With IBM as the mastermind behind its inception in 1999, MQTT is currently a publicly accessible standard preserved by the alliance of OASIS. The foundational structure of MQTT is built around the publish-subscribe mechanism, a perfect fit for spread-out systems where limiting bandwidth and conserving battery life is given utmost priority.

For a more comprehensive look, let’s dissect the fundamental elements of MQTT:

  1. Originator: This entity symbolizes the data’s point of origin or the gadget that catapults the data.

  2. Recipient: In contrast to the Originator, a Recipient refers to the data’s destination or the gadget that accepts the data.

  3. Controller: The Controller is intrinsic to MQTT functioning. It acts as a reception to all communications, sifting through them, determining their relevance, and consequently dispatching the message to every client that has subscribed.

  4. Theme: In essence, a Theme is designed to be a UTF-8 string, and the Controller employs it to differentiate messages for every client linked. Segmented by forward slashes, a Theme might include multiple levels, for instance, “humidity/probe1”.

To better understand MQTT’s functionality, here’s a Python code sample:

import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt

def on_link(client, userdata, flags, rc):
    print("Link successful with result code "+str(rc))

def on_transmission(client, userdata, msg):
    print(msg.topic+" "+str(msg.payload))

client = mqtt.Client()
client.on_link = on_link
client.on_transmission = on_transmission

client.connect("", 1883, 60)

In this Python code, the Paho MQTT library paves a path to link with a public MQTT Controller. The on_link function activates when the client successfully links with the Controller and subscribes to the “humidity/probe1” theme. The on_transmission function comes into action upon receipt of a message related to a subscribed theme.

MQTT offers three levels of service quality (QoS):

three levels of service quality (QoS)

  1. QoS 0 (Single Delivery): Each message will be delivered once or possibly not at all. This method prioritizes speed but compromises on reliability.

  2. QoS 1 (Guaranteed Delivery): Ensures the delivery of the message but also allows the possibility of duplicates.

  3. QoS 2 (Unambiguous Delivery): Promises a single delivery of the message. While the most reliable, it is the least speedy.

Below is a comparative table for these three QoS levels:

QoS Level Message Delivery Pace Dependability
0 Single Delivery Swift Low
1 Guaranteed Delivery Fair High
2 Unambiguous Delivery Slow Supreme

MQTT even provides a feature known as the “Final Wish and Testament” (FWT). If by chance a client disconnects unexpectedly, the Controller will disseminate a message on behalf of the disconnected client to its subscribers.

Wrapping it up, the simplicity and weightlessness of MQTT make it a sterling choice for IoT applications where resource allocation is minimal. MQTT’s architecture built around the publish-subscribe principle along with its support for varied QoS levels and the FWT feature make it a malleable and reliable pick for a wide array of applications.

Let’s take an insightful look into the ins and outs of AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) in Chapter 3.



Dissecting AMQP: Key Concepts Elaborated.

AMQP, an open-standard protocol at the application layer, paves the way for message-centric middleware. While MQTT has its place for simple and lightweight publish/subscribe message exchange, AMQP is carved with greater intricacy and equipped with enriched features, making it the go-to choice for systems that are reliant on high performance and vital for business operations.

AMQP lays its foundation on the peer-to-peer principle, where communication is established through the transmission of information from the sending party to the receiving end across a network. It encompasses an array of message exchange patterns, comprising point-to-point, request/reply, and publish-subscribe paradigms, thus offering adaptability for myriad types of applications.

Now, let’s dissect the fundamental principles that make AMQP:

  1. Message-Centricity: With AMQP, the limelight is on message dissemination. Whether it’s as compact as an email or extensive as a video file, AMQP facilitates the independent transmission of messages, or self-contained data packets, across a network.
# Illustrative representation of a simple AMQP message
element = {
    'content': 'Hello, World!',
    'metadata': {
        'content_variant': 'text/plain',
        'delivery_form': 2,
  1. Queue Functionality: Implementing queues, AMQP accommodates messages that are in-flight or have landed for processing. This paves the way for asynchronous communication, doing away with the need for the sender and receiver’s synchrony.
# Demonstrating queue creation in AMQP
  1. Smart Routing: Routing in AMQP is no ordinary affair. It accommodates intricate routing mechanisms, enabling message allocation to various queues or consumers depending on diverse factors like the message topic or other properties.
# Illustrating routing in AMQP
channel.exchange_announce(exchange='topics', exchange_variant='topic')
channel.queue_bind(exchange='topics', queue='hello', routing_id='hello.*')
  1. Precision: When it comes to message delivery, AMQP prioritizes precision. It assures that no messages are missing during transit and are rightly delivered to the recipient through a blend of acknowledgments, transactions, and durable storage.
# Demonstrating message acknowledgment in AMQP
def callback(ch, transaction, metadata, content):
    print("Received %r" % content)

channel.basic_consume(queue='hello', on_message_callback=callback)
  1. Safety Measures: Safety is inbuilt in AMQP with tools like SSL/TLS encryption and SASL authentication to uphold the sequence and privacy of messages.
# Illustrating the use of SSL/TLS in AMQP
connection = pika.BlockingConnection(

To encapsulate, AMQP is a stalwart and malleable message exchange protocol, brimming with a plethora of features and functionalities. Its ability to handle reliable, safe, and intricate patterns of message exchange makes it an ideal choice for applications demanding these attributes. Nonetheless, its complexity and system resource demands may pose a challenge in lightweight or resource-strapped environments, where a simpler protocol such as MQTT may better meet the requirements.

An Examination of MQTT and AMQP: Analyzing Their Impact on Performance

In the universe of messaging protocol technology, MQTT and AMQP boast prominent positions. While both provide valuable channels for device communication, variances in their performance capabilities can be significant. This chapter is dedicated to a careful inquiry into MQTT and AMQP, with a particular emphasis on their respective performance characteristics.

1. Message Delivery Speed

An essential performance measurement for messaging protocols is their message delivery speed or “throughput.”

Since it’s lean and lightweight, MQTT frequently outperforms AMQP in terms of message delivery speed. It employs a dynamic publish/subscribe model that enables swift and efficient dispersal of messages to numerous clients.

# MQTT Message
client.publish("topic/test", "Hello world!")

Contrarily, AMQP deploys a communication architecture rich with features. While this enhances its versatility, it might impede throughput due to the extra burden of executing these features.

# AMQP Message
                      body='Hello World!')

2. Transmission Timing

Transmission timing, or “latency,” is the interval between dispatchment and receipt of a message.

The sleek structural configuration of MQTT provides it with an advantage in terms of transmission timing. A meager 2-byte header lessens the message transmittal duration.

# MQTT Connection
client.connect("localhost", 1883, 60)

In contrast, AMQP’s intricate header and added features can potentially introduce greater latency. On the flip side, AMQP’s guaranteed delivery mechanism vouchsafes its reliability in circumstances where message delivery precision is mandatory.

# AMQP Connection
connection = pika.BlockingConnection(

3. Growth Capability

In the context of growth capability, MQTT and AMQP present unique advantages. MQTT’s pub/sub structure enables effortless horizontal growth, accommodating a large volume of subscribers conveniently.

# MQTT Subscription

Conversely, AMQP shines in the realm of vertical scalability. Its sophisticated features, including message queuing and routing, render it ideal for accommodating expansive, multifaceted systems.

# AMQP Queue Configuration
channel.queue_declare(queue='task_queue', durable=True)

4. Dependability

AMQP’s treasure chest of features imbues it with a notable degree of dependability. It supports guaranteed delivery, message queuing, and transactions, ensuring a fail-safe message transit process.

# AMQP Acknowledgement
channel.basic_ack(delivery_tag = method.delivery_tag)

Though MQTT is less feature-loaded, it offers various Quality of Service (QoS) tiers, thus granting a measure of control over message delivery.

client.publish("topic/test", "Hello world!", qos=1)

To sum it all up, both MQTT and AMQP bring distinctive strengths and potential challenges to the performance table. MQTT benefits from a lightweight architecture, enjoying superior throughput, lower latency, and impressive horizontal scalability. Conversely, AMQP’s feature-loaded model heightens its reliability and fits better with expansive, intricate systems. Choosing MQTT or AMQP would, therefore, be guided by the unique demands of your system.

A Comparative Examination of Use-case Variations: The Battle Between MQTT & AMQP

Navigating the thrilling eco-system of IoT and coordinated communication systems, MQTT and AMQP present themselves as colossal entities, celebrated for their individual features and competencies. The choice to employ MQTT or AMQP largely depends on the particular requirements of the current situation. The objective of this chapter is to dig deeper into distinctive cases where either MQTT or AMQP exhibits its strengths more emphatically.

1. Discovering MQTT

a. The Arena of IoT and Inter-Machine Communication

Emerging from an express necessity for proficient Machine-to-machine (M2M) information transfer, MQTT has grown to be a front-runner in the realm of IoT applications. Its exclusive publisher/subscriber pattern is a blessing for devices with limited processing capability and network connectivity, for instance, a smart thermostat conveying thermal data to a mediator. This data is then circulated to every apparatus on the subscribed roll.

import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt

def on_connect(client, userdata, flags, rc):
    print("Successfully connected with result code "+str(rc))

def on_message(client, userdata, msg):
    print(msg.topic+" "+str(msg.payload))

client = mqtt.Client()
client.on_connect = on_connect
client.on_message = on_message

client.connect("", 1883, 60)

b. Real-Time Data Analysis

In light of its virtually non-existent data transmission delay, MQTT displays its worth as an excellent choice for prompt analytics. A system supervising a fleet of vehicles, for instance, can make use of MQTT to accumulate live data from mobile trucks, thereby enabling immediate analytics.

2. Deciphering AMQP2. Deciphering AMQP

a. Business Level Communication

The stability and consistency of AMQP forge it to be an ideal choice for high-level business messaging. It caters to enhanced features such as transactions, security, and message endurance, elements that are crucial for applications managing core business activities. An exemplifying case would be a banking application built upon AMQP for secure and dependable transaction handling.

ConnectionFactory factory = new ConnectionFactory();
Connection connection = factory.newConnection();
Channel channel = connection.createChannel();

channel.queueDeclare("transactions", true, false, false, null);
String message = "Hello World!";
channel.basicPublish("", "transactions", null, message.getBytes());


b. Complex Workflow Management

Harnessing the power of AMQP’s know-how in message direction and surefire delivery, it emerges as a desirable protocol for controlling intricate workflows. An online shopping platform could utilize AMQP to oversee a transaction’s entire lifespan, from order placement to its successful realization.

A Comparative Recap of MQTT vs AMQP Use-case

Use-case MQTT AMQP
IoT and M2M Communication Outstanding Satisfactory
Live Data Analysis Outstanding Satisfactory
Business Level Communication Satisfactory Outstanding
Complex Workflow Management Satisfactory Outstanding

In summation, both MQTT and AMQP outshine in their respective specializations. MQTT’s light structure and minimal lag offer it an edge in IoT and real-time data investigation. Conversely, AMQP excels in business level communication and intricate workflow regulation due to its solid build and support for advanced functions. Hence, the resolution to go with MQTT or AMQP is fundamentally influenced by the absolute needs of your specific circumstance.

Discover an Ideal Fit: Comparing MQTT with AMQP to Determine the Superior Choice for Your Enterprise

Selecting either MQTT or AMQP as the primary protocol for your organization can indeed be a challenging mission. Both these communication protocols present particular merits and demerits, making your final choice a matter of matching their features with your distinctive needs. In this section, we’re going to inspect crucial aspects you should ponder when choosing between MQTT and AMQP.

1. Handling Capacity and Efficient Use of Networks

When your organization needs a system with the capability of managing countless connections competently, you may find MQTT to be a preferable option. This is because MQTT’s uncomplicated design, coupled with its ability to circulate messages (through a publisher/subscriber model), makes it a suitable candidate in scenarios where network bandwidth availability might be constrained.

# Setting up a connection using MQTT
import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt

def on_connect(client, userdata, flags, rc):
    print("Connection established with result code "+str(rc))

def on_message(client, userdata, msg):
    print(msg.topic+" "+str(msg.payload))

client = mqtt.Client()
client.on_connect = on_connect
client.on_message = on_message

client.connect("", 1883, 60)

In contrast, AMQP’s comprehensive feature array makes it a potentially better suit for intricate systems where message delivery assurance is required, although it might consume larger network resources.

2. Dependability and Message Transportation

AMQP exemplifies a richer set of features with regards to transporting messages. It supports the reliable transit of messages, enables message prioritization, and even permits transactional operations. Should such features be part of your business prerequisites, AMQP seems a more favorable bet.

// Setting up an AMQP connection
ConnectionFactory factory = new ConnectionFactory();
Connection connection = factory.newConnection();
Channel channel = connection.createChannel();

channel.queueDeclare("task_queue", true, false, false, null);

String message = "Hello World!";
channel.basicPublish("", "task_queue", 
System.out.println("Message '" + message + "' sent successfully");

Comparatively, MQTT is simpler and facilitates three notches of Service Quality (QoS) for message transit; however, it lacks the advanced delivery abilities of AMQP.

3. Secure Communications

Both MQTT and AMQP utilize TLS/SSL mechanisms for ensuring secure communications. Nonetheless, AMQP outshines by introducing extra security attributes like SASL for user validation and authorization.

4. System Compatibility

In scenarios where your business requires seamless communication between various systems, the standardized nature of AMQP could be more advantageous. MQTT, although prevalent, does not match the standardization achieved by AMQP.

5. Simplicity in Usage

The uncomplicated nature of MQTT simplifies its implementation, especially for developers just starting with message-oriented middleware. AMQP, holding a more intricate set of features, could present a more challenging learning curve.

Tabulated Comparison: MQTT vs AMQP

Capacity and Network Efficiency Prominent Adequate
Assurance in Message Delivery Adequate Prominent
Secure Communications Adequate Prominent
Compatibility with Systems Adequate Prominent
User Friendliness Prominent Adequate

To sum up, your selection between MQTT and AMQP should be based primarily on your organizational necessities. If your needs lean towards a simplified protocol apt for IoT contexts, MQTT seems a more promising choice. On the other hand, if you seek a strong, safe, and compatible protocol applicable to complex systems, AMQP appears to be more apt. As always, the defining factor should be your specific case and accompanying requirements.



Envisioning Future Pathways: Beyond MQTT and AMQP

Progressing into the future of Internet of Things (IoT) interaction protocols, it’s key to acknowledge the existence of others beyond MQTT and AMQP. Whilst their performance has been consistent and solid, there is a swift move in technological advancements and the growing challenges in IoT systems pushing the need for improved, flexible solutions. In this part of the book, we will traverse the terrain of budding protocols that might surpass MQTT and AMQP in functionality, scalability, and adaptability.

1. CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol)

Primarily, a web-sharing protocol, CoAP, has been formulated for devices and networks operating under constraints. It’s essentially a straightforward protocol that employs a subset of HTTP methods while operating optimally on devices with controlled processing capacities or networks consuming low power.

# Sample CoAP code in Python
from coapthon.client.helperclient import HelperClient

host = ""
port = 5683
path ="test"

client = HelperClient(server=(host, port))
response = client.get(path)

2. DDS (Data Distribution Service)

DDS operates as an interface protocol that assures data distribution with high performance, alongside scalability and real-time Quality of Service (QoS). It’s the go-to protocol for high-performing systems and proposes a publish-subscribe structure for data dissemination.

// Sample DDS code in C++
#include <dds/pub/ddspub.hpp>
#include <rti/core/ListenerBinder.hpp>

void publish_temperature(dds::pub::DataWriter<Temperature>& writer)
    // Initiation of data sample for writing
    Temperature temperature;



3. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)

XMPP is a communication protocol that employs XML structures for near-instantaneous transfer of well-defined data between two or more entities on a network. Due to its versatility, it can be employed across myriads of applications ranging from instant chats to IoT.

<!-- Sample XMPP code in XML -->
<message from='[email protected]' to='[email protected]'>
  <body>Hello, Romeo!</body>
Methods Publish/Subscribe Peer-to-Peer, Publish/Subscribe Request/Response, Observe/Notify Publish/Subscribe Peer-to-Peer
Message Distribution At most once, At least once, Exactly once At most once, At least once, Exactly once At most once, At least once At most once, At least once, Exactly once At most once
QoS Yes Yes No Yes Yes

As we navigate the future, the selection of the communication protocol will hinge on the distinct requirements of the IoT system. Despite the benefits of MQTT and AMQP, up & coming tools such as CoAP, DDS, and XMPP boast of advantageous attributes that could potentially adapt to the shifting landscape of IoT systems. Because of this, it’s of vital importance for organizations to stay abreast of IoT communication protocol advances for informed decision making that’ll propel their IoT agendas forward.

The post MQTT vs AMQP appeared first on Wallarm.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Wallarm authored by Ivan Novikov. Read the original post at:


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