nRF9160: Azure IoT Hub

The Azure IoT Hub sample shows the communication of an nRF9160-based device with an Azure IoT Hub instance. This sample uses the Azure IoT Hub library to communicate with the IoT hub.


The sample supports the following development kits:

Hardware platforms


Board name

Build target





nRF9160 DK




The sample is configured to compile and run as a non-secure application on nRF91’s Cortex-M33. Therefore, it automatically includes the Secure Partition Manager that prepares the required peripherals to be available for the application.

You can also configure it to use TF-M instead of Secure Partition Manager.


The sample supports the direct connection of an IoT device that is already registered to an Azure IoT Hub instance. Alternatively, it supports the provisioning of the device using Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service (DPS) to an IoT hub. See the documentation on Azure IoT Hub library for more information.

The sample periodically publishes telemetry messages (events) to the connected Azure IoT Hub instance. By default, telemetry messages are sent every 20 seconds. The default interval can be configured by setting the device twin property desired.telemetryInterval, which will be interpreted by the sample in units of seconds. The format of a telemetry message is shown below:

  "temperature": 25.2,
  "timestamp": 151325

where temperature is a value between 25.0 and 25.9, and timestamp is the uptime of the device in milliseconds.

The sample has implemented the handling of Azure IoT Hub direct method with the name led. If the device receives a direct method invocation with the name led and payload 1 or 0, LED 1 on the device is turned on or off, depending on the payload. On Thingy:91, the LED turns red if the payload is 1.


For the sample to work as intended, you must setup and configure an Azure IoT Hub instance. See Additional configuration for information on the configuration options that can be used to create an Azure IoT Hub instance. Also, for a successful TLS connection to the Azure IoT Hub instance, the device needs to have certificates provisioned. See Prerequisites for connecting to Azure IoT Hub for information on provisioning the certificates.

Additional configuration

Check and configure the following library options that are used by the sample:

If DPS is used, configure the following library options:


The sample sets the option CONFIG_MQTT_KEEPALIVE to the maximum allowed value, 1767 seconds (29.45 minutes) as specified by Azure IoT Hub. This is to limit the IP traffic between the device and the Azure IoT Hub message broker for supporting a low power sample. However, note that in certain LTE networks, the NAT timeout can be considerably lower than 1767 seconds. So as a recommendation, and to prevent the likelihood of getting disconnected unexpectedly, the option CONFIG_MQTT_KEEPALIVE must be set to the lowest of the aforementioned timeout limits (Maximum allowed MQTT keepalive and NAT timeout).

Building and running

This sample can be found under samples/nrf9160/azure_iot_hub in the nRF Connect SDK folder structure.

The sample is built as a non-secure firmware image for the nrf9160dk_nrf9160_ns build target. Because of this, it automatically includes the Secure Partition Manager. You can also configure it to use TF-M instead of SPM.

See Building and programming an application for information about how to build and program the application.


Microsoft has created Azure IoT Explorer to interact and test devices connected to an Azure IoT Hub instance. Optionally, follow the instructions at Azure IoT Explorer to install and configure the tool and use it as mentioned in the below instructions.

After programming the sample to your development kit, test it by performing the following steps:

  1. Connect the kit to the computer using a USB cable. The kit is assigned a COM port (Windows) or ttyACM device (Linux), which is visible in the Device Manager.

  2. Connect to the kit with a terminal emulator (for example, PuTTY). See How to connect with PuTTY for the required settings.

  3. Reset the development kit.

  4. Observe the log output and verify that it is similar to the Sample Output.

  5. Use the Azure IoT Explorer, or log in to the Azure Portal.

  6. Select the connected IoT hub and then your device.

  7. Change the device twin’s desired property telemetryInterval to a new value, for instance 10, and save the updated device twin. If it does not exist, you can add the desired property.

  8. Observe that the device receives the updated telemetryInterval value, applies it, and starts sending new telemetry events every 10 seconds.

  9. Verify that the reported object in the device twin now has a telemetryInterval property with the correct value reported back from the device.

  10. In the Azure IoT Explorer or device page in Azure Portal, navigate to the Direct method tab.

  11. Enter led as the method name. In the payload field, enter the value 1 (or 0) and click Invoke method.

  12. Observe that LED 1 on the development kit lights up (or switches off if 0 is entered as the payload). If you are using Azure IoT Explorer, you can observe a notification in the top right corner stating if the direct method was successfully invoked based on the report received from the device.

  13. If you are using the Azure IoT Explorer, navigate to the Telemetry tab and click start.

  14. Observe that the event messages from the device are displayed in the terminal within the specified telemetry interval.

Sample Output

When the sample runs, the device boots, and the sample displays an output identical to the following output in the terminal over UART:

*** Booting Zephyr OS build v2.3.0-rc1-ncs1-1453-gf41496cd30d5  ***
Azure IoT Hub sample started
Connecting to LTE network
Connected to LTE network
No 'telemetryInterval' object in the device twin
Sending event:
Event was successfully sent
Next event will be sent in 20 seconds


New telemetry interval has been applied: 60
Sending event:
Event was successfully sent
Next event will be sent in 60 seconds


This sample uses the following nRF Connect SDK libraries and drivers:

It uses the following sdk-nrfxlib library:

In addition, it uses the following sample: