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Be One Step Ahead With MQTT Bridge: Its Advantages vs a UDP Packet Forwarder

Be One Step Ahead With MQTT Bridge: Its Advantages vs a UDP Packet Forwarder

In our accelerating world that does not stop for anyone, information that helps us keep things in order must be quickly distributed. Data transmissions should happen in a snap and messaging should reach even the far ends of our planet. Technology has already fulfilled these demands for speedy and stable connection by giving us the Internet of Things (IoT). However, many believe that we can go faster and even more secure with our communication. Advanced network protocols in IoT are then born, specifically MQTT.

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is a machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity protocol for the Internet of Things. MQTT is used as a lightweight publish-and-subscribe protocol, through which you can send and receive messages in for machine-to-machine telemetry in low bandwidth environments. MQTT is also ideal for mobile applications because of its small size, low-power usage, minimized data packets, and efficient distribution of information to one or many of its receivers. As a matter of fact, Facebook has already taken advantage of this protocol and used it for its Messenger application.

Ever since MQTT’s standardization, the protocol has been easy to adapt for a wide variety of IoT devices, platforms, and operating systems. MQTT allows constrained IoT devices to send information on a topic (process of registering for incoming messages) to a server that receives and filters messages, the MQTT broker. This simple process ensures speed and security in your messages, making MQTT favored by developers over User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

UDP is a protocol usually utilized for establishing low-latency and loss-tolerating connections between applications on the internet. In a normal LoRa set-up with servers, nodes and gateways, the Semtech Packet Forwarder found in LoRa gateways forwards the data from the gateway, after adding metadata, to the back-end server over UDP or IP (Internet Protocol). You simply enter the IP and port of the network server to which you want to send your data. This simple set-up, unlike MQTT, is heavily unreliable. There is no function that lets you see that data is received in the same order as it was transmitted. It does not also use any error control that detects any error in the received packet. Congestion controls are also not present that are supposed to control the large number of users transmitting lots of data.

Many solutions providers around the world then opted to enhance their gateways by using an MQTT bridge instead that of UDP. A gateway that has this service subscribes to MQTT topics. An MQTT broker handles the routing of the uplink and downlink frames to send. Using the LoRa gateway bridge, it is possible to use MQTT over Transport Layer Security (TLS), indicating that the transport between the gateway and the server is encrypted and secure.

To know how to configure this LoRa gateway MQTT bridge, take the RAK7258 from RAKwireless as an example micro LoRa gateway used for industrial applications. The configuration in this high-quality gateway starts with you enabling the authentication of the MQTT Broker Address/Port (port 8883 is default) via the slider. Afterwards, you should choose “TLS Version (TLSv1)” and select a self-signed server and client certificate for the SSL/TLS mode. Setting up and subscription MQTT topics then follow.

The set-up may be as easy as UDP’s but, you can guarantee more efficient information distribution and gathering, and increased scalability. MQTT with TLS also decreases network bandwidth consumption, improves real-time update speed and protects more with its permission-based security. With the MQTT gateway bridge operating directly to an MQTT broker, you can expect a reduced overhead signaling despite having more than a thousand sensors communicating.

MQTT is a technological wonder to our fast-paced world. The simplicity and speed in communication that it offers helps everyone of us to reach each other without any worry of a basic security threat. If continued to be improved by developers, amazing breakthroughs can be produced – solving our advanced problems now in communication. However you go with your project in IoT, using MQTT with TLS will already ensure you reliable solutions.

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About This Author

Karanbir SinghKaranbir Singh
Internet Marketing Manager at RAKwireless | Marketing Lead |
Joined: March 30th, 2020
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