Checking MQTT Subscription Acknowledgements- Python Code Examples

When you subscribe to an MQTT topic there is always a chance that the subscription will fail.

Therefore it is important that your code checks that the subscription succeeded.

MQTT provides message Ids for this purpose.

The subscribe function returns a tuple to indicate success, and also a message id which is used as a tracking code.

(result, mid)

Therefore the subscribe call needs to check this.

This is what to docs say:


So in pseudo code we have

  • Try to subscribe and raise an error if it failed
  • check result for 0 and if not zero then fail
  • If result =0 then store mid value so we can check it is acknowledged.

This is the python code I use:

def subscribe_topics(client,topics,qos=0):
   print("topic ",topics,"  ",qos)
   if type(topics) is not list: #topics should be list of tuples
      if type(topics) is not tuple: #topics isn't tuple?
      if r[0]==0:
"subscribed to topic "+str(topic_list)+" return code" +str(r))
          client.topic_ack.append([topic_list,r[1],0]) #keep track of subscription

"error on subscribing "+str(r))
          print("error on subscribing "+str(r))
          return -1

   except Exception as e:"error on subscribe"+str(e))
      return -1
   return r

Notes: when subscribing the topic and mid value are stored in a list. This list is updated by the on_subscribe callback function as shown below:

def on_subscribe(client,userdata,mid,granted_qos):
   """removes mid values from subscribe list"""
   logging.debug("in on subscribe callback result "+str(mid))
   if len(client.topic_ack)==0:
          #print("All subs acknowledged")
   for index,t in enumerate(client.topic_ack):
      if t[1]==mid:
         client.topic_ack.pop(index)#remove it
         #print("removed from list")

Now all we need to do is wait for all subscriptions to be complete.

I use a check_subs function that checks the subscribe acknowledgements. Here is the code:

def check_subs(client):
   while wcount<10: #wait loop
      if len(client.topic_ack)==0:
          return True
      if not client.running_loop:
         client.loop(.01)  #check for messages manually
   return False

The code waits about 10 seconds before it gives up.

Flags and variable used that need to be assigned

client.running_loop #set False if running manual loop otherwise set true

client.topic_ack=[] #list for subscribe topics and mids.

To use the above code we do this:

  • subscribe
  • wait for all subscriptions

The code looks like this:

if not check_subs(client):
   print("missing subscribe acknowledgements")

Subscribing to multiple topics

When you subscribe to multiple topics using a topic list then you only get a single acknowledgement for all topics.

The screen shot below shows the mid values when subscribing to single topics, tuple and topic list



Demo Subscribe acknowledge Script

VideoChecking MQTT Subscribe Acknowledgements

Related Tutorials:


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  1. Upon subscribing to a topic.. i am expecting to get a json response for the subscribe function… How to get it done, kindly help with this pls!!

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