My understanding is network protocols are BLE, Wifi, ZIgbee, etc. and messaging protocols are http, mqtt, etc. So my questions are:

  1. Is my understanding so far correct?
  2. Are network and communication protocol same and used interchangeably or they mean something else?
  • I suggest you read about the OSI network model (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model)
    – hardillb
    May 28, 2019 at 14:09
  • @hardillb I had read it few times before posting as well. I am not sure if it answers my specific question that is there a difference between "Network" and "communication" protocols or are they just used interchangeably.
    – PagMax
    May 29, 2019 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


For simplicity you are correct. However, those "messaging" protocols are typically only relevant at the IP layer which again for the sake of simplicity typically is understood as the WAN endpoint. When implementing BLE, LoRaWAN, ZigBee you would typically use the read/write/notify/indicate (or equivalent) defined by the standard. The processing overhead of implementing MQTT over BLE would remove much of the benefit of BLE (I won't go into MQTT-SN..) Typically you would transmit local data natively and use a less energy efficient base station (gateway) to reformat the data (JSON/CSV/etc) before publish/POST/etc.

There are so many possible implementations that it's near impossible to set a gold standard.. it's about understanding the tools well enough to pick the best combination for the job.

  • Thanks Brendan. I think I understand what you mean. However, is there a difference at all between "Network" and "communication" protocols or are they just loosely defined and used everywhere interchangeably?
    – PagMax
    May 29, 2019 at 6:43
  • Yes and no.. technically communication (in my opinion) would encompass all 7 layers of the standard OSI model. Network is one layer of that model. However, I believe this is not always understood and people do use the terms interchangably. May 29, 2019 at 11:46

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