Machine To Machine (M2M) Protocols

According to Techopedia,

Machine to Machine (M2M)refers to a wireless or wired network setup that enables same type of devices andcapability to communicate freely.

Illustration: Quora

In simple words, M2M is – two machines communicating or exchanging data, without human interfacing or interaction. Example of M2M communication in this case would be ATM machines getting authorization to dispense cash.

IoT and M2M have similar promises: to transform the way the world operates. M2M and IoT are almost similar — the exception is IoT typically refers to wireless communications, whereas

M2M will refer to any two machines—wired or wireless—communicating with one another.

M2M is among the fastest-growing types of connected device technologies in the market right now, largely because M2M technologies can connect millions of devices within a single network.

In order to establish alignment and trust in otherwise unmoderated and unmanaged technologies, certain standards are created.

Leading M2M/IoT Standards and Protocols


OMADM (Open Mobile Alliance Device Management) is a device management protocol designed to manage mobile devices such as phones and tablets. OMA DM is ideal for small foot-print devices that have a constraint onbandwidth of communication.


MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) is another M2M connectivity protocol. It was designed as a lightweight publish and subscribe messaging transport. It is ideal for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is very low.


TR-069 (Technical Report 069) is published by the Broadband Forum and entitled CPE WAN Management Protocol (CWMP). It defines an application layer protocol for remote management of end-user devices.

Google Thread

Google Thread is a network protocol developed by search engine giant Google. It focuses on low-power and security in IoT devices that use embedded data transmission via Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and/or ZigBee.

M2M Market Size and Share

According to a research by Zion Market Research, global machine to machine market was valued at approximately USD 18.96 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD 25.24 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 5.3% between 2017 and 2022.

Security Concerns

While all of these advantages and future of M2M looks great, the downside is, there are certain security concerns with M2M protocol.

According to a new research, Hackers can leverage machine-to-machine (M2M) protocols to attack Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems.

Trend Micro monitored activity associated with these protocols over a period of four months and identified over 200 million MQTT messages leaked by hundreds of thousands of Internet-exposed brokers and servers.

Security professional have said that there are problems with these M2M protocols where they could be leveraged for targeted reconnaissance, industrial espionage, targeted attacks and lateral movement.

Following are a couple of recommendations by security professionals.

1. Run periodic checks using internet-wide scan services or tools to ensure that none of the sensitive data is inadvertently leaked through public IoT services. It is often the case that — for fast prototyping — test systems use insecure IoT servers, which are then left unchanged, even when supposed to run in live mode.

2. Stay up to date with the standards in this M2M space because this technology is evolving rapidly. The small footprint of these software may justify in-house development, so it is likely that organizations have chosen to develop their standard M2M technology rather than buy existing implementations.

That was a quick glimpse of M2M protocols! Hope you liked it…!

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IoT Protocols

In this post, we will understand different available IoT protocols. If we look at the communication aspect between the different components of IoT, we want to have a common protocol which makes this communication streamlined.

Protocols come to the rescue in this scenario. At a higher level, managing the handshakes and data transfer with “Things”, one can easily think of the I in IoT and conclude Internet protocols are most relevant and important. Along with this, there is a requirement of unifying the communication between different layers which may not be limited to Internet protocols.

Based on your application, it is very important to select proper protocol giving due respect to the type, layer and function to be performed by the device.

Let us dive into the different protocols. We will start with our beloved Bluetooth protocol.


When it comes to bluetooth, we don’t need a special introduction to this protocol! This protocol is being used both as plain Bluetooth of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

Predominantly, plain Bluetooth is used for high data rate applications such as audio applications/streaming. BLE is used for low data rate applications such as NFC communication for accepting payment wirelessly.

As per a recent development, Bluetooth 5 is being looked as a great contender for IoT applications.


It is an acronym of IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks. 6LoWPAN can communicate with 802.15.4 devices on an IP network like WiFi.

This protocol enables the smallest devices with limited processing ability to transmit information using an internet protocol.

A good example for application of 6LoWPAN can be entertainment applications in home, office and factory environments. Also, smart metres and smart grids get benefits from this protocol.


WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity. For data extensive applications, where bluetooth capacities are exhausted, WiFi comes to a rescue. Typically, WiFi devices can provide bandwidth upto 10 metres, but by using private antennas, one can expect an extension upto 30 kms. The only issue with WiFi is the extensive power consumption.

WiFi Protocols

Very popular WiFi protocol is IEEE 802.11, but recently due to various types of demands in terms of type, size and data speed, below new versions are introduced since the first one in 1997.

  • 802.11a
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • and 802.11ac

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

Along with MQTT, Constrained Application Protocol(CAP) is emerging as most promising for small devices where low size and low bandwidth are the primary constraints. It consists of constrained devices called “nodes” to communicate with the wider Internet using similar protocols.

CoAP works similar to HTTP client/server model. Evidently, it is based on Web architecture. So in a practical world, a component level equipment as sensor or actuator can communicate with other devices in the IoT ecosystem.

This protocol finds it’s extensive use in the domains – Smart Homes, Smart Grid and other Smart Environments.

Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

One of the M2M protocols, Message Queue Telemetry Transport is used to transmit device data to servers. It used publish-scribe communication pattern. If there are wireless networks with varied levels of latency, MQTT is a great protocol to employ.

In MQTT, the message gets transferred between a Client, that can be a message Publisher and a message Broker. The publisher sends data on the MQTT broker specifying a definite topic in a message.

There are some specific messages for the communication with the Broker. The main types are-

  • Connect: establish connection to message broker
  • Disconnect: break the connection to message broker
  • Subscribe: subscribe to a topic on message broker
  • Publish: publish data on a topic within message broker
  • Unsubscribe: unsubscribe the topic

A typical application of MQTT protocol can be an action based on Facebook notifications.

As the development in IoT world progresses, many tech giants are coming up with their own protocols to support the future ahead. Stay tuned with the blog to keep yourself updated!

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