IoT Network Protocols: 12 Best Used IoT Protocols and Standards

The world of the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding at a rapid pace, with billions of devices being connected every day. To facilitate this connectivity, various protocols, and standards have been developed.

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used IoT protocols and standards, each with its own unique features and benefits.

According to Statista, number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide is forecast to almost double from 15.1 billion in 2020 to more than 29 billion IoT In 2030

First up, we have AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol), an open standard protocol that enables messaging interoperability between systems. It offers security, interoperability, and reliability, making it suitable for a wide range of IoT applications.

Next, we have Bluetooth and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), which provide short-range wireless connectivity. Bluetooth is widely used for audio streaming, while BLE is optimized for IoT connections with lower power consumption.

Another popular option is Cellular, which offers wide coverage and is ideal for long-distance IoT communications. As legacy standards like 2G and 3G are being phased out, new technologies like 5G are taking their place.

CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) is designed specifically for resource-constrained IoT devices. It provides a lightweight option for communication and is commonly used in applications like smart homes and industrial automation.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is a well-known protocol that enables communication between web servers and clients. While it is primarily used in web applications, it can also be adapted for IoT deployments.

LoRa (Long Range) is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol that allows long-range communication with low power consumption. It is commonly used in smart cities and agricultural applications.

LWM2M (Lightweight M2M) is a device management protocol designed for IoT environments. It is especially suitable for low-power devices with limited processing capabilities.

MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) is a lightweight messaging protocol that enables M2M communication. It is designed to work in low-bandwidth situations and is widely used in IoT deployments.

OPC UA (Unified Architecture) is a standard for interoperability in industrial automation and IoT. It provides a platform-independent communication framework for exchanging data between different systems.

SIGFOX is a low-cost, low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol that enables long-range communication for IoT devices. It is particularly useful for applications that require low bandwidth.

Wi-Fi, a widely used wireless communication technology, has also found its place in the IoT world. However, its power consumption and limited range can be limiting factors for certain IoT deployments.

XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open-source protocol originally designed for real-time human-to-human communication. It is now used for M2M communication in lightweight middleware and consumer-oriented IoT deployments.

Zigbee is a mesh network protocol commonly used in building and home automation applications. It offers a flexible, self-organizing mesh and is well-suited for IoT environments.

Lastly, Z-Wave is a wireless mesh network protocol that provides secure communication for IoT devices. It is commonly used in home automation, security systems, and commercial applications.

These are just a few of the most commonly used IoT protocols and standards. Each protocol has its own advantages and is best suited for specific use cases.

By understanding these options, businesses can make informed decisions when choosing the right protocol for their IoT deployments.

Now, let’s delve deeper into each protocol to uncover its features and benefits.

AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol)

AMQP is an open standard protocol used for message-oriented middleware. It enables messaging interoperability between systems, offering security, reliability, and even functioning over poor networks. AMQP supports communication even when systems are not available simultaneously.

incompatible message brokers or platforms

This protocol is widely used in IoT deployments for its ability to ensure messages are sent and received correctly, regardless of the platforms being used. With AMQP, you can enjoy seamless messaging interoperability without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. So, if you want to avoid the headache of dealing with incompatible message brokers or platforms, AMQP is the way to go. It’s like a universal translator for your IoT communication needs. Say goodbye to communication barriers and hello to seamless connectivity!

Bluetooth and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy):

Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are short-range wireless technologies that enable communication between devices. While Bluetooth has traditionally been used for audio streaming, it has now become a significant enabler of wireless and connected devices, including IoT deployments. BLE is a new version of Bluetooth that is optimized for IoT connections, consuming less power than standard Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Low Energy

With its low-power, low-range connectivity, Bluetooth and BLE are popular choices for personal area networks and IoT implementations. They are particularly appealing in various use cases such as health and fitness trackers, smart home devices, and even for in-store navigation.

So, if you want your IoT device to communicate wirelessly and have a limited power budget, Bluetooth and BLE can be your go-to options. They offer flexibility, ease of use, and are supported by a wide range of devices. Just make sure you don’t lose your Bluetooth earphones or you’ll be stuck with another pair of tangled wired headphones!


The Cellular protocol is one of the most well-known and widely available options for IoT applications. It is highly suitable for deployments that require communication over longer distances. While legacy cellular standards like 2G and 3G are being phased out, the reach of cellular networks is rapidly expanding with the introduction of 5G. This protocol offers reliability and wide coverage, making it a go-to choice for many IoT implementations.

According to Yahoo Finance, The cellular IoT market is set to grow by USD 8,073.13 million from 2022 to 2027.

Cellular connections provide a secure and stable connection, allowing devices to communicate effectively. It is particularly useful in cases where other protocols may not be viable due to limited range or power consumption issues. With its wide availability, it ensures that IoT devices can stay connected in various environments and locations.

cellular protocol

However, it’s worth noting that cellular connectivity may incur additional costs, especially for data transfer. Depending on the specific implementation, the cost factor should be considered while choosing this protocol. Despite this consideration, cellular remains a popular and reliable choice for IoT deployments.

So, if you want your IoT devices to communicate seamlessly across long distances without compromising on reliability, the Cellular protocol is here to save the day!

CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol)

CoAP, also known as Constrained Application Protocol, is a lightweight communication protocol designed for IoT devices with limited resources. It is perfect for devices that operate in constrained environments such as low-power, low-memory, and low-bandwidth networks. CoAP is built on top of the UDP protocol, making it ideal for constrained IoT devices as it reduces overhead.

One of the key advantages of CoAP is its simplicity. It follows a RESTful architecture, making it easy to understand and implement. CoAP uses simple methods like GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE to perform operations on resources. It also supports caching and proxying functionalities, further enhancing its performance.

With its small code and message size, CoAP minimizes resource consumption and enables efficient communication between IoT devices. It is commonly used in smart cities, industrial automation, and home automation applications.

So, if you’re looking for a lightweight protocol that can handle communication in constrained IoT environments, CoAP is the way to go. It offers simplicity, efficiency, and resource optimization, making it a valuable choice for IoT deployments.

Now, let’s move on to the next protocol…

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

When it comes to IoT communication protocols, we can’t forget about the good ol’ HTTP. You know, that thing you use every day to browse the internet? Yep, that’s the one. But did you know that HTTP can also be used in IoT applications? It’s true!

HTTP is a request-response protocol, which means that devices can send requests to a server and receive responses back. This makes it a great choice for IoT applications where devices need to gather data from a central server or send data to it. Plus, since HTTP is widely supported and understood by developers, it’s easy to integrate into IoT systems.

HTTP protocol

But here’s the catch: HTTP isn’t exactly the most lightweight protocol out there. It’s a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. So, while it’s great for certain IoT applications, it may not be the best choice for low-power devices or applications that require real-time communication.

However, if your IoT deployment doesn’t have strict power or latency requirements, HTTP can be a reliable and familiar choice. So, don’t dismiss it just because it’s not the newest kid on the block. Sometimes, the classics still have a lot to offer.

LoRa (Long Range)

LoRa, as the name suggests, is a long-range protocol that is widely used in IoT environments. It offers extensive coverage, making it ideal for applications that require communication over long distances, such as smart cities and agriculture. Unlike other protocols, LoRa uses low-power radio frequency technology, which allows for efficient and energy-saving communication between devices.

One of the key advantages of LoRa is its flexibility. It supports bidirectional communication, enabling devices to both send and receive data. This makes it suitable for scenarios where devices need to relay information, such as in asset tracking and logistics. Additionally, LoRa has a strong focus on security, providing encryption capabilities that protect the privacy and integrity of data transmitted over the network.

data transfer

Another noteworthy feature of LoRa is its ability to create a self-organizing mesh network. This means that devices can connect to each other and form a network without relying on a centralized infrastructure. This makes it a cost-effective solution for large-scale deployments where setting up traditional infrastructure would be impractical.

With its long-range capabilities, low-power consumption, and robust security features, LoRa continues to be a popular choice for IoT deployments across various industries. Its versatility and scalability make it a valuable protocol for connecting a wide range of devices and enabling innovative IoT applications. So, if you’re looking for a protocol that offers extensive coverage, low power consumption, and secure communication, LoRa is definitely worth considering.

So, we’ve covered some of the most commonly used IoT protocols and standards. Each protocol has its own unique characteristics and use cases, so it’s important to carefully consider your specific requirements before selecting the right one for your IoT deployment. Whether you choose AMQP, Bluetooth, Cellular, CoAP, HTTP, LoRa, LWM2M, MQTT, OPC UA, SIGFOX, Wi-Fi, XMPP, Zigbee, or Z-Wave, make sure to prioritize factors such as power consumption, communication range, security, and scalability.

In conclusion, the world of IoT is constantly evolving, and the protocols and standards play a crucial role in enabling seamless communication between devices and systems. By choosing the right protocol for your IoT deployment, you can ensure efficient data transmission, enhanced security, and improved overall performance. So, dive into the exciting world of IoT and design your connected ecosystem with confidence!

LWM2M (Lightweight M2M)

LWM2M, also known as Lightweight M2M, is a device management protocol designed specifically for sensor networks and M2M environments. It’s the perfect choice for devices with limited processing and storage capabilities that need to be managed remotely. It’s like having a personal assistant for your low-power devices!

With LWM2M, you can easily monitor and control your IoT devices without breaking a sweat. Whether it’s telemetry data or device configuration, LWM2M provides a lightweight and efficient solution.


Imagine having the power to manage your devices from anywhere in the world. Need to update the firmware? Check. Want to monitor the battery level? Check. LWM2M has got you covered.

And let’s not forget about the security features. LWM2M ensures that your devices are protected against unauthorized access with its built-in authentication and encryption mechanisms.

So, if you have low-power devices that need to be managed remotely, look no further than LWM2M. It’s the smart choice for smart devices.

MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport)

MQTT is a messaging protocol designed to enable communication between devices with limited processing capabilities and in low-bandwidth situations. This lightweight protocol uses a publish-subscribe architecture, allowing multiple devices to exchange information.

With MQTT, devices can send messages to a central server, known as a broker, which then distributes these messages to other devices subscribed to receive them. This asynchronous communication model ensures efficient and reliable data transfer.

One of the main advantages of MQTT is its simplicity, making it easy to implement and integrate into IoT applications. It also supports message persistence and quality of service (QoS) levels, ensuring that messages are delivered reliably, even in unreliable network conditions.

MQTT is widely used in various IoT scenarios, such as smart homes, industrial automation, and remote monitoring systems. Its low bandwidth requirements and efficient message exchange make it a popular choice for resource-constrained devices.

So, if you’re looking for a messaging protocol that can handle low-power devices and unreliable network conditions, MQTT is a great option to consider. It’s lightweight, reliable, and widely supported in the IoT ecosystem.

OPC UA (Unified Architecture)

OPC UA, which stands for Unified Architecture, is a popular IoT protocol that provides a standardized and secure way for different devices and software applications to communicate with each other. It offers a comprehensive set of services and functionalities that make it ideal for industrial applications.

One of the key advantages of OPC UA is its platform independence. It allows seamless communication between devices and software running on different operating systems and architectures. This means that you can connect devices from various manufacturers and suppliers without worrying about compatibility issues.


OPC UA also provides robust security features such as encryption and authentication, ensuring that data transfers are protected from unauthorized access. It also supports data modeling, allowing for the easy representation of complex data structures and relationships.

Furthermore, OPC UA is highly scalable and can be used in both small-scale and large-scale industrial deployments. It supports efficient data exchange and real-time communication, making it suitable for mission-critical applications.

In summary, OPC UA is a versatile and secure protocol that simplifies communication between IoT devices and software applications. Its platform independence, robust security features, and scalability make it a popular choice for industrial IoT deployments. So, if you’re looking for a reliable protocol for your IoT project, OPC UA is definitely worth considering.


SIGFOX is a global communication service provider that offers low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) connectivity for IoT devices. It is designed to provide low-cost, low-bandwidth connectivity for devices that require long battery life and do not need to transfer large amounts of data. SIGFOX operates on unlicensed radio frequencies, which means that devices using this protocol do not need a SIM card and can be deployed easily without requiring complex network infrastructure.

One key advantage of SIGFOX is its simplicity. It provides a straightforward and efficient way to connect and manage IoT devices. It is particularly suited for use cases such as asset tracking, smart metering, and environmental monitoring, where long-range connectivity and low power consumption are essential.

SIGFOX’s network is currently available in over 70 countries, making it a viable option for global deployments. The protocol also offers strong security measures to protect the data transmitted by IoT devices.

In summary, SIGFOX is a cost-effective and energy-efficient protocol that enables long-range connectivity for IoT devices. Its simplicity and global availability make it a popular choice for a wide range of IoT applications.


As we dive into the world of IoT protocols and standards, let’s take a moment to appreciate the wonders of Wi-Fi. We all love having Wi-Fi at home, don’t we? Streaming our favorite shows, scrolling through social media, and pretending to work from our cozy beds. But when it comes to IoT deployments, Wi-Fi might not always be the best option.


Why, you ask? Well, for starters, Wi-Fi can be quite power-consuming for low-power or battery-powered devices. Imagine your smart toaster draining its battery just to send you a notification that your toast is ready. Not a great idea, right? Apart from that, Wi-Fi has limited range and scalability, which can restrict its use in many IoT environments.

But fear not, there are plenty of other options to explore in the vast IoT protocol landscape. So let’s keep moving and discover what else is out there!

XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)

XMPP, originally designed for real-time human-to-human communication, has found its way into the IoT world as a communication protocol for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. With its ability to support the exchange of structured and extensible data in real-time, XMPP is often used in consumer-oriented IoT deployments like smart appliances.

Supported by the XMPP Standards Foundation, this open-source protocol offers a reliable and scalable solution for IoT devices to communicate efficiently. Its lightweight middleware and XML data routing capabilities make it a popular choice for M2M communication.

So, if you’re looking for a protocol that enables real-time data exchange between multiple entities on a network, XMPP might just be the perfect fit for your IoT deployment. And hey, it’s open-source, so you have the added benefit of a supportive community backing you up. So go ahead, explore the realms of XMPP in the IoT world!

But wait, we’re not done yet. Let’s move on to another exciting protocol on our list!


Zigbee is a popular mesh network protocol used in building and home automation applications. It allows communication between multiple devices and offers a flexible, self-organizing mesh network. With its low power consumption and longer range than BLE, Zigbee is a preferred choice for IoT deployments.

The Zigbee Alliance oversees this protocol and ensures that it meets the requirements of various IoT applications. Its library of applications and ultralow power capabilities make it an attractive option for both consumer-oriented IoT devices, such as smart appliances, and commercial applications.

Zigbee’s wireless mesh network and encryption capabilities provide a level of security to the IoT deployment, making it suitable for home automation products and security systems. It’s no wonder that Zigbee has gained popularity in the IoT ecosystem, allowing devices to connect and communicate seamlessly.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable and secure protocol for your IoT deployment, Zigbee might be the way to go. Just make sure to consider your specific requirements before making a choice. Because, you know, not all protocols have the same capabilities. It’s like picking the right tool for the job, but with a bit more complexity and technology involved.


Z-Wave is another popular wireless communication protocol that operates on low-power radio frequency technology. It enables smart devices to communicate securely through encryption, making it a suitable choice for home automation products and security systems. In commercial settings, Z-Wave is commonly used for building automation and other applications. Its wireless mesh network architecture allows for an extended communication range over multiple devices.

With the rise of IoT, Z-Wave has gained traction due to its ability to provide reliable and secure connections. However, it is important to note that Z-Wave is a proprietary protocol, meaning it is not an open standard like some of the other protocols mentioned. This can limit interoperability and flexibility when it comes to device compatibility.

Despite this limitation, Z-Wave continues to be a popular choice for many IoT deployments, especially in the home automation space. Its focus on security and energy efficiency makes it an attractive option for consumers looking to create smart homes. So, if you’re planning to automate your home or enhance your security system, Z-Wave is a protocol worth considering.


So there you have it, the top 12 most commonly used IoT protocols and standards. Each has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your specific IoT deployment. Now go forth and conquer the IoT world with your newfound protocol knowledge!



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