Due to the wide variety of uses and the diversity of features required to meet an application, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are moving forward at a strong pace to meet this demand while at the same time trying to meet the time-to-market of these applications. The characteristics required by applications, such as coverage area, scalability, transmission data rate, and applicability, refer to the Physical and Medium Access Control (MAC) layer designs of protocols. This paper presents a deep study of medium access control (MAC) layer protocols that are used in IoT with a detailed description of such protocols grouped (by short and long distance coverage). For short range coverage protocols, the following are considered: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth IEEE 802.15.1, Bluetooth Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4, Wireless Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol (Wireless-HART), Z-Wave, Weightless, and IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ah. For the long range group, Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT), Long Term Evolution (LTE) CAT-0, LTE CAT-M, LTE CAT-N, Long Range Protocol (LoRa), and SigFox protocols are studied. A comparative study is performed for each group of protocols in order to provide insights and a reference study for IoT applications, considering their characteristics, limitations, and behavior. Open research issues on the topic are also identified.