MQTT (formerly MQ Telemetry Transport) is an ISO standard (ISO/IEC PRF 20922) publish-subscribe-based "lightweight" messaging protocol for use on top of the TCP/IP protocol. It is designed for connections with remote locations where a "small code footprint" is required or the network bandwidth is limited. The publish-subscribe messaging pattern requires a message broker. The broker is responsible for distributing messages to interested clients based on the topic of a message. Andy Stanford-Clark and Arlen Nipper of Cirrus Link Solutions authored the first version of the protocol in 1999.
The specification does not specify the meaning of "small code footprint" or the meaning of "limited network bandwidth". Thus, the protocol's availability for use depends on the context. In 2013, IBM submitted MQTT v3.1 to the OASIS specification body with a charter that ensured only minor changes to the specification could be accepted. MQTT-SN is a variation of the main protocol aimed at embedded devices on non-TCP/IP networks, such as ZigBee.
Historically, the "MQ" in "MQTT" came from IBM's MQ Series message queuing product line. However, queuing itself is not required to be supported as a standard feature in all situations.
Alternative protocols include the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol, the IETF Constrained Application Protocol, XMPP. and Web Application Messaging Protocol (WAMP).