NEW to SMS and just a few questions

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James Bender
New member
Username: Jbbmsgnet

Post Number: 1
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 - 01:06 pm:   

Good Morning!

I've read through all the FAQ's I could find and have not found the answer i am specifically looking for. I apologize if this is a frequent question.

My company has recruited me to design an app that allows our technicians to respond back to a TEXT message. I need to pull the content of that TXT message into a database. either SQL or Access.

1.) Will the NowSMS gateway product allow me to receive those TXT messages and directly push them into my DB?

2.) What would be the easiest modem to use in this case? I would have a high volume of TXT messages both sent and received

3.) Do I have to have tmobile or cingular (att) GSM modem and sim card? Does verizon not offer such a thing?

4.) Can I TXT to different carriers? Verizon, tmobile, att, etc??

5.) Would it be advantageous to have multiple modems from different carriers. So that when my app TXT a phone from a particular carrier, it would use that modem? Would I need to define multiple NOWSMS gateways?

I haven't had a chance to install NOWSMS yet, cause i'm running vista, and i dont have a GSM modem yet, but can I send the TXT via a VBSCript. Or does it use an HTTP POST. how is that accomplished?

Thanks So Much!!!

Bryce Norwood - NowSMS Support
Board Administrator
Username: Bryce

Post Number: 7259
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 - 04:08 pm:   

Hi JB,

When you say "high volume", what type of volume are you talking about? I just want to get an idea of whether or not a modem could keep up with your needs. (Generally speaking, you're not going to get more than 10 messages per minute through a single modem. Particularly in the US where it seems that the providers have turned off SMS over GPRS/EDGE support, which does offer higher speeds.)

Regardless, I would recommend using a modem for prototyping and proof of concept. It can be rather involved getting setup with an SMS service provider. But if you go through your proof of concept with a modem, it's easy to add an SMS provider to your configuration when you're ready. (A lot of people with applications like yours end up sending outbound SMS via an SMS provider, but they receive inbound SMS via a modem. They do this because it tends to be more expensive to get an account with an SMS provider that accepts inbound messages ... but sending outbound is not as difficult.)

Ok ... what that said, let me try to answer your questions.

1.) Yes. However, we do not interface directly with a database. You need to be familiar with an HTTP scripting language (PHP, ASP, Perl, etc.) in order to make this work.

Basically, NowSMS will issue an HTTP URL request when it receives a text message. It passes the details about the message in this URL request ... and you then have one or more scripts that are on the receiving end of this HTTP request to do whatever processing and/or database integration is needed for your application.

There's an old thread that has some simple examples ...

2.) In the US, Multitech. You can get their GPRS modems through a variety of web stores.

You do need a SIM card from a mobile operator in order to actually send/receive with the modem. It's usually easiest to get the SIM under contract with a phone, and then move it to a modem. The reason I say this is because most of the modem-oriented plans assume that you are going to be using the modem for internet access, not for texting. But I haven't checked the plans for US operators recently.

Alternatively, you could prototype it with a GSM/GPRS phone that has modem support. For example, it seems that one out of every 2 people in the US has a Motorola RAZR. The GSM models of those phones do have a GSM modem interface that can be used for sending/receiving SMS (note for advanced users...these phones can only send text SMS messages, they have a bug that prevents them from being able to send binary SMS messages).

3.) Multitech does have a CDMA model. We have a few customers that have used it, and it seems to work ok.

The issue is that there was never a standard for this type of modem in the CDMA environment. But the standard bodies in the GSM environment defined such an interface rather early on. The Multitech CDMA modem implements a subset of the GSM modem standard. It only supports text messages (no binary types) ... but it sounds like it'd be ok for your needs.

Our expertise is really on the GSM side, so we're a lot better troubleshooting GSM issus.

4.) As long as the mobile operator that the modem account is subscribed to has an SMS interoperability agreement with the recipient's operator. (In most countries, including the US, intra-country SMS interoperability between the operators is quite stable.)

5.) If you maintained your own table of what phones were on which mobile operators, then there could be some advantage. The problem is that because of number portability, there is no easy way to tell from a number which mobile operator it belongs to. (There are services that can do these lookups, but they wouldn't be practical for the type of app you're talking about.)

You can have multiple inbound/outbound SMSC connections in a single NowSMS installation ... whether it be multiple modems ... mixes of modems and connections to different SMS serivce providers ... etc.

Other ...

If you're running Vista, we did post a version that added full Vista compatibility awhile back. But at this point, I'd suggest the pre-release of our next major release ...

I've been running Vista on my primary desktop for several months now, and it works well with NowSMS.

There are just some annoying things ... since NowSMS runs as a service, NowSMS has to ask for administrator rights in order to install/start/stop the services. It also has to ask for administrator rights when you setup a modem connection for MMS sending/receiving (not an issue for you). It also stores its configuration and data files in a different location than when NowSMS runs on Windows XP or 2003. In older versions of Windows, all of our configuration and data files are stored under the "Program Files\NowSMS" directory. Under Vista, only actual executable files are stored there, and our data and configuration files are stored under the "ProgramData\NowSMS" directory.

Regarding VBScript ... you might find the following link helpful ... Actually, I guess we used JScript for that example, but the technique would be similar ... we are using HTTP ... usually HTTP GET, although you can use POST if you want.

James Bender
New member
Username: Jbbmsgnet

Post Number: 2
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2007 - 03:48 am:   

Bryce! You Rock!

I went to tmobile and purchased a noxia 6133. I connected the phone via bluetooth and used the BT modem as my GSM device. I was able to start the service (under vista) and use the web-utility to send a txt message to my Verizon phone.

Now I get to dig into the ASP scripting to see how to pull data from the phone. i need the responses from the text messages.

You mentioned some stuff about volume. I am expecting large volume of incomming messages. Most outgoing messages will be 1 message sent to many recipients. I dont want to have to pay another provider.

What does it require from a hardware standpoint to be able to send and receive large volumes of SMS though the NOWsms gateway?


Bryce Norwood - NowSMS Support
Board Administrator
Username: Bryce

Post Number: 7264
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 04:51 pm:   

Hi JB,

Hopefully the 6133 supports delivering receives SMS messages over the GSM modem interface. This capability has been disappearing from newer model Nokia phones.

From a volume perspective, most of the limitation is on the modem. SMS is point-to-point, so one message to many recipients requires one transmission per recipient.

GSM modem performance varies based upon a lot of factors ... the modem itself, signal strength, operator network performance. Typically, you are looking at between 6 and 10 messages per minute. The capability exists for higher speeds if the operator supports SMS over GPRS/EDGE, where a good modem can come close to 1 message per second. However, we have observed that operator support for this tends to be not very consistent. I remember one past thread where it was observed that T-Mobile in New York and Philadelphia did not support SMS over GPRS, but it was supported in Baltimore. Since then, it seems that SMS over GPRS support is very rare, as I think operators are actually disabling it on purpose to slow down bulk sending with modems.

There is a configuration setting in NowSMS, where you can specify whether or not to use SMS over GPRS. Some modems fall back to GSM if SMS over GPRS is not available. Some modems fail to send completely if SMS over GPRS is not available and this configuration setting is present. All you can do is try. Send 30 messages or so, and look at the timestamps recorded in SMSOUT-yyyymmdd.LOG to get an idea of what speed you're getting.

So that's your biggest issue ... this speed.

NowSMS can support multiple modems (as many as you can configure Windows to be happy with supporting). And that can provide you with some more speed outbound ... but for inbound, each modem only receives messages addressed to its phone number.

For higher speeds, you need to go with an SMS service provider. They basically act as aggregators for connecting to the operators (why not connect directly to an operator ... well, the operators prefer supporting a few larger aggregators instead of dealing with bulk messaging cusomters directly). I generally don't recommend providers, but just to give you an idea ... Sybase365 and mBlox are a couple of the bigger providers. Clickatell comes up in discussions here quite frequently. There are also a class of providers that are more oriented toward business applications that sound more like what you're doing ... frequently you'll see the term M2M (machine to machine) in descriptions for these providers. Kore Wireless is a long time customer of ours that specialises in being an M2M provider ... they may be worth your looking at.

When it comes to the actual hardware for NowSMS, it depends on the volume. Until you get beyond several messages per second, the CPU requirements are light. When you get to higher speeds, we like multicore processors, hyperthreading, faster disks, ane enough memory for the operating system to be comfortable. I know I'm not being very specific here, but generally speaking, NowSMS is more disk intensive than memory intensive ... so in configuration trade-offs, I'd generally opt for a faster disk subsystem (maybe with RAID 0 or RAID 1) rather than maxing out the RAM. And in most configurations, NowSMS is running quite a few threads, so multicore processors, multiple processors, hyperthreading, is all something that NowSMS can take advantage of.


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