I am trying to see the big picture of IoT Communication Protocols. For now, I am not interested in lower levels of communications such as WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth etc. I wanna see the possible communication methods or protocols which are upper level than data-link layer

I found till now:

Device-to-Device: DDS, CoAP

Device-to-Gateway: MQTT, MQTT-SN

Gateway-to-Cloud or Cloud to Cloud: XMPP, STOMP, AQMP, HTTP (or REST), WebSocket

I always see these protocols.
Are there more protocols like them for D2D or Device-to-Gateway or C2C, etc.?

  • 4
    There isn't a real question here.
    – hardillb
    Nov 7, 2017 at 14:45
  • 1
    Yeah, you may be right. I edited the question. I am still not quite sure that it makes sense to ask like this.
    – Creed
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:06
  • 2
    MQTT can be in the Gateway-to-Cloud list as well. Look at AWS IoT and IBM IoTF for examples (there may be more)
    – hardillb
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:09
  • Thanks for the tip. I will check them. I guess most of them can be used at any level depending on the device power. My point is to learn all communication methods.
    – Creed
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:14
  • This feels like it could be useful - but I also agree there is no actual question. Nov 8, 2017 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


The OSI Communications Model provides an abstract model that covers most of the various communication protocols. The beauty of the model is that it helps you to see the similarities between various types of communication standards.

Using the OSI Model you can see how something such as how MQTT provides facilities on top of the TCP/IP transportation mechanism to implement messaging. Then while thinking in those terms you could take those facilities and replace the transportation layer of TCP/IP with a different transportation mechanism such as USB instead.

The OSI Model is the best place to start for a big picture of communication protocols.


There are some public efforts to answer this question for the industrial IoT

The Industrial Internet Consortium has published the "Industrial Internet Reference Architecture." http://www.iiconsortium.org/IIRA.htm

Platform Industrie 4.0 has produced "Reference Architectural Model Industrie 4.0" and worked to harmonize this effort with the IIRA. http://www.plattform-i40.de/I40/Navigation/EN/InPractice/Online-Library/online-library.html

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