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MQTT vs SignalR: What are the differences?

Key Differences between MQTT and SignalR

MQTT and SignalR are two popular communication protocols used in web development. While both offer real-time communication capabilities, there are some key differences between them.

  1. Message Handling: MQTT is a lightweight publish-subscribe messaging protocol that uses a broker to handle message delivery. Clients subscribe to specific topics and receive messages when published. SignalR, on the other hand, provides a real-time bi-directional communication framework using WebSocket, allowing for instant communication between the server and clients.

  2. Protocol Support: MQTT supports multiple protocols, including TCP/IP, WebSockets, and other custom protocols. This flexibility enables MQTT to be used in various scenarios and devices. On the other hand, SignalR primarily relies on WebSocket for communication, offering better performance and efficiency but limiting its compatibility to platforms that support WebSocket.

  3. Broadcasting vs Point-to-Point: MQTT is designed for broadcasting messages to multiple subscribers. When a message is published to a topic, all subscribed clients receive it. SignalR, however, enables both broadcasting and point-to-point communication. It allows for direct communication between specific clients or groups of clients.

  4. QoS and Reliability: MQTT provides various levels of Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure message delivery reliability, including At Most Once, At Least Once, and Exactly Once. SignalR, on the other hand, focuses more on real-time capabilities and does not offer the same level of QoS guarantees. It provides a best-effort delivery model that prioritizes low latency and high responsiveness.

  5. Transport Mechanism: MQTT can work over different network protocols, such as TCP/IP and WebSockets, making it adaptable to different network conditions and device capabilities. SignalR, on the other hand, relies heavily on WebSocket for communication, providing a more efficient and low-latency transport mechanism suitable for modern web applications.

  6. Use Case and Scalability: MQTT is widely used in IoT (Internet of Things) and machine-to-machine communication scenarios, where lightweight communication and scalability are crucial. It is designed to handle large-scale deployments with minimal resource consumption. On the contrary, SignalR is commonly used in web applications that require real-time updates, such as chat applications, collaborative editing, and live dashboards. It offers a more feature-rich framework for building interactive web applications.

In summary, MQTT is a lightweight protocol with robust message handling and scalability features, primarily used in IoT scenarios. SignalR, on the other hand, provides a real-time bi-directional communication framework that focuses on performance and efficiency, suitable for web applications requiring real-time updates.

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Pros of MQTT
Pros of SignalR
  • 3
    Varying levels of Quality of Service to fit a range of
  • 2
    Lightweight with a relatively small data footprint
  • 2
    Very easy to configure and use with open source tools
  • 32
    Supports .NET server
  • 24
  • 18
  • 16
    Fallback to SSE, forever frame, long polling
  • 15
  • 10
  • 9
    Open source
  • 8
    Ease of use
  • 8
  • 5
  • 0

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Cons of MQTT
Cons of SignalR
  • 1
    Easy to configure in an unsecure manner
  • 2
    Expertise hard to get
  • 2
    Requires jQuery
  • 1
    Weak iOS and Android support
  • 1
    Big differences between ASP.NET and Core versions

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What is MQTT?

It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.

What is SignalR?

SignalR allows bi-directional communication between server and client. Servers can now push content to connected clients instantly as it becomes available. SignalR supports Web Sockets, and falls back to other compatible techniques for older browsers. SignalR includes APIs for connection management (for instance, connect and disconnect events), grouping connections, and authorization.

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What companies use MQTT?
What companies use SignalR?
See which teams inside your own company are using MQTT or SignalR.
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What tools integrate with MQTT?
What tools integrate with SignalR?

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What are some alternatives to MQTT and SignalR?
RabbitMQ gives your applications a common platform to send and receive messages, and your messages a safe place to live until received.
An architectural style for developing web services. A distributed system framework that uses Web protocols and technologies.
It is a set of open technologies for instant messaging, presence, multi-party chat, voice and video calls, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, and generalized routing of XML data.
Google Cloud Messaging
Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) is a free service that enables developers to send messages between servers and client apps. This includes downstream messages from servers to client apps, and upstream messages from client apps to servers.
Kafka is a distributed, partitioned, replicated commit log service. It provides the functionality of a messaging system, but with a unique design.
See all alternatives