An SMS gateway is a software that is installed to a corporate computer and
gives access to an SMSCs. This software offers various interfaces for the
corporate office users, IT systems and corporate applications to send and
receive SMS messages automatically or manually.
For example Ozeki NG SMS Gateway is an SMS Gateway application.
SMS messaging in the mobile network are handled by
Short Message Service Centers
(SMSCs). These SMSCs communicate with mobile phones through
the standard GSM protocol.
To connect an SMS Gateway
to an SMSC you can use an SMS modem. An SMS modem is a standard
mobile phone or a simplified mobile phone, that is called
a GSM/GPRS modem.
This mobile phone can
be attach to the computer with a phone to pc data cable and it
can be used to send and receive SMS messages. The advantage of this
connection, that it is very easy to setup and it works on all mobile
networks. The drawback is that the number of messages you can send
through a wireless link is limited. On a standard GSM link,
approximately 10 SMS messages can be sent per minute.
Another option is to connect an SMS gateway to an SMSC through the Internet or a private network connection (e.g.: VPN, leased line, etc). Through this connection you can send your messages to the SMSC over the Internet Protocol (IP). The problem with this approach is that SMSCs are developed by different companies and they use their own communication protocol to accept IP SMS connections. For example, Nokia SMSCs can accept IP SMS connections through a protocol called CIMD2. CMG, another SMSC vendor has implemented an SMSC protocol called UCP/EMI, yet another Logice is using SMPP. The best SMS gateway implements all major protocols and gives a hand to deal with this problem.
To setup an IP SMS connection to an SMSC, you need to connect a mobile network operator or an independent SMS service provider. They will tell you which protocol do they support and will give you an IP address (or hostname), a port number a username and a password. You can use this information when you setup the IP SMS service provider connection in your SMS Gateway.
The advantage to IP SMS Connections is that they are fast, they often allow you to send several messages per second. The disadvantage is that it is often hard to sign an agreement with mobile network operators and in general due to administration it takes a long time to setup these connection.
Mobile network operators use SMS gateways to interconnect SMSCs with
each other to interchange traffic. In this context an SMS gateway acts as a
protocol translator for example it translates SMPP into UCP/EMI.
SMS content providers use their own SMS gateway to be able to provide SMS query based services and SMS push services. They use various API's, such as an HTTP SMS API, SQL to SMS API, PHP SMS API to create custom logic to serve content.
SMS aggregators are often called independent SMS Service providers, are providing IP SMS service to their clients. They connect to the one or more mobile networks and they resell SMS messages. These companies are using the built in SMPP server of the SMS gateway, they are interested in billing support and inbound SMS routing and outbound SMS routing.
Corporate users use an SMS gateway mainly for SMS notifications and alerting. A common application in this segment is e-mail to SMS notifications.
Software developers and solution providers use an SMS gateway to save time and software complexity. The developer of an SMS text messaging application often does not want to waste time on implementing several IP SMS protocols, and does not want to work on implementing the complex SMS encoding standards. These developers prefer to use an API, such as the C# SMS API, ASP SMS API, Delphi SMS API or a simple SMS gateway configuration, such a text file to SMS gateway configuration, or an SQL to SMS gateway configuration to send and receive SMS messages. This way they can concentrate on application logic, and can make their work more efficient.
An SMS gateway is responsible for handling capacity differences between the
input and output channels. For example if an SMS application wants to send
10000 SMS messages at once, it will store these messages in a queue and will
send them as capacity on the IP SMS service provider connection or GSM modem
connection becomes available. This
functionality is called store and forward functionality.
SMS routing is also built into most SMS Gateway's to make sure that incoming messages and outgoing messages end up where they should. SMS routing is based on message source and matching patterns, that determine the destination for a message. For example messages containing a certain keyword can be routed to a certain application.
Cost control makes it possible to prevent certain users of the SMS gateway to send too many messages and these feature provide support for billing purposes. Cost control in SMS Gateways is handled by built in SMS traffic logging and SMS accounting systems.
If you connect your SMS Gateway to the mobile network through a GSM or GPRS
modem, you need a SIM card. The SIM card can be purchased from a mobile network
operator. The SIM card will have an associated price plan, that will determine
the cost of each SMS message.
If you connect your SMS Gateway to the mobile network, through an IP SMS connection, you will have to pay for each SMS message to the mobile network operator or IP SMS service provider, who has given you access (IP address, username, password) to the network.
There is no way to get around this, and send SMS free of charge. (After all if you think about it, somebody has to operate the network and it is not free to operate the network.)
- SMS basics
- Why is SMS so successful?
- Example applications of SMS messaging
- SMS number formats
- SMS and MMS message types
- Short Message Service Center (SMSC)
- Two way SMS system - Ozeki NG
- Hardware and software requirements
- 2.2 Network requirements
- Ozeki SMS Gateway - General information about the software
- Message types
- Delivery reports
- GSM modem
- SQL to SMS
- HTTP to SMS gateway
- E-mail to SMS and SMS to E-mail forwarding
- Autoreply database
- Performance and scalability
- Problem resolution
- Cost control and usage statistics
- Trial version of the SMS Gateway
- Commercial questions