Industrial Internet of Things with MQTT and IO-Link

2019-08-21 14:45:58

There are many ways to achieve the kind of reliable machine-to-machine connectivity that powers the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport, or MQTT, is a highly configurable protocol that builds on the widely used TCP/IP standard.

Businesses and other IIoT users rely on MQTT for communicating between devices for various reasons. Its small size and ability to use a minimal amount of bandwidth appeal to those who want to maintain smaller code footprints in restricted applications. This protocol is standardized as per ISO/IEC 20922. As such, it may prove more effective in business applications that rely on consistency. It also operates on a subscription-based messaging scheme that’s particularly well-suited to architectures where the number or type of clients are unknown.

Other benefits of MQTT include the fact that clients can specify the quality of service they require. For instance, a subscriber might only want the sender to dispatch fire-and-forget messages, perform a message-received handshake or keep retrying transmissions until it gets a receipt acknowledgment. There’s also a range of different MQTT implementations that make it easy to choose the open-source or proprietary code best-suited to a given application. For instance, some IIoT operations may demand extra features, such as TLS or SSL. Developers might also need to test out their setups using free versions before switching to licensed software at deployment time.

IO-Link technology from Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol is an example of IIoT protocols in action. In addition to letting users work with standards like EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFINET IO and OPC UA, many Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol IO-Link products support MQTT. Since these devices are designed for enterprise use, they’re ideal for linking diverse sensors to create powerful distributed architectures. Using IO-Link MQTT products may ease the process of building IIoT systems. These devices can help companies and organizations streamline mission-critical tasks, such as maintaining IIoT quality of service.

IO-Link MQTT products that support a variety of protocols may be particularly useful platforms for creating new customized systems — Companies that want to experiment can do so freely without worrying about whether everything will work together. As they build new machine control networks around IO-Link devices, they can add their own custom sensor hardware using a broad range of proven platforms to fine-tune their implementations.

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