JavaIBM Brings Message Queuing Telemetry Transport to Eclipse

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IBM is contributing code to the open source Eclipse Foundation to help enable a new era of machine-to-machine communications.

The Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) has been used by IBM as a messaging protocol for a number of years. In 2010, IBM announced that MQTT would be freely available under a royalty-free license. Today IBM has expanded the openness by contributing an open source MQTT client for Java and C to Eclipse.

“MQTT runs on top of TCP/IP, it’s a simple API that sits on top,” Andy Piper, WebSphere Messaging Community Lead at IBM told “It doesn’t have any relationship with HTTP, it doesn’t have any kind of encapsulation where it runs through a tunnel, it’s not that kind of thing, it’s purely on top of the TCP/IP networking stack.”

Piper added that MQTT provides a header that has information about quality of service, and the user can attach whatever payload they want. For simple information updates, Pipe said that MQTT is a lightweight solution.

As opposed to AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol), another emerging open source messaging protocol, Piper said that MQTT is not necessarily aimed at traditional desktops and servers.

“MQTT is aimed at the potentially high-latency, unreliable network space and is used today to do things like monitor traffic in cities,” Piper said. “It’s built for the small lightweight space where you don’t have lots of bandwidth for additional application headers and you don’t want or need additional quality of service items that other protocols like AMQP add on top.”

XML RSS with the pubsubhub approach also provides a lightweight method for communications and information subscription. Piper noted that XML RSS is more suited for document type data, whereas MQTT is more about small bits of data.

“They both are implementations of a publish and subscribe model,” Piper said. “One of them is appropriate for the Web and MQTT is appropriate for machine-to-machine and the Internet of Things.”

The MQTT client project at Eclipse will be known as the Parho project. The project will be complemented with a new machine-to-machine working group at the Eclipse Foundation.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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