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Short Message Service ( SMS ). Presented by Yaxiang Yang. Definition.

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short message service sms

Short Message Service ( SMS )

Presented by

Yaxiang Yang

  • Short message service (SMS) is a globally accepted wireless service that enables the transmission of alphanumeric messages between mobile subscribers and external systems such as electronic mail, paging, and voice-mail systems.
  • SMS appeared on the wireless scene in 1991 in Europe. The European standard for digital wireless, now known as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), included short messaging services from the outset.
  • In North America, SMS was made available initially on digital wireless networks built by early pioneers such as BellSouth Mobility, PrimeCo, and Nextel, among others. These digital wireless networks are based on GSM, code division multiple access (CDMA), and time division multiple access (TDMA) standards.
how it works
How it works?
  • Messages in Short Message Service (SMS) must be no longer than 160 alpha-numeric characters and contain no images or graphics.
  • Once a message is sent, it is received by a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), which must then get it to the appropriate mobile device.
  • To do this, the SMSC sends a SMS Request to the home location register (HLR) to find the roaming customer. Once the HLR receives the request, it will respond to the SMSC with the subscriber's status: 1) inactive or active 2) where subscriber is roaming.
  • If the response is "inactive", then the SMSC will hold onto the message for a period of time. When the subscriber accesses his device, the HLR sends a SMS Notification to the SMSC, and the SMSC will attempt delivery.
  • The SMSC transfers the message in a Short Message Delivery Point to Point format to the serving system. The system pages the device, and if it responds, the message gets delivered.
  • The SMSC receives verification that the message was received by the end user, then categorizes the message as "sent" and will not attempt to send again.
  • The number of mobile-phone users expects to reach 500 million worldwide by 2003, and with the help of SMS, 75 percent of all cellular phones will be Internet-enabled.
benefits of sms
Benefits of SMS

At a minimum, SMS benefits include the following:

  • Delivery of notifications and alerts
  • Guaranteed message delivery
  • Reliable, low-cost communication mechanism for concise information
  • Ability to screen messages and return calls in a selective way
  • Increased subscriber productivity
benefits of sms cont
Benefits of SMS (cont.)

More sophisticated functionality provides the following enhanced subscriber benefits:

  • Delivery of messages to multiple subscribers at a time
  • Ability to receive diverse information
  • E-mail generation
  • Creation of user groups
  • Integration with other data and Internet-based applications
benefits of sms cont7
Benefits of SMS (cont.)

The benefits of SMS to the service provider are as follows:

  • Ability to increment average revenue per user (due to increased number of calls on wireless and wireline networks by leveraging the notification capabilities of SMS)
  • An alternative to alphanumeric paging services, which may replace or complement an existing paging offer
  • Ability to enable wireless data access for corporate users
  • New revenue streams resulting from addition of value-added services such as e-mail, voice mail, fax, and Web-based application integration, reminder service, stock and currency quotes, and airline schedules
  • Provision of key administrative services such as advice of charge, over-the-air downloading, and over-the-air service provisioning
  • Protection of important network resources (such as voice channels), due to SMS’ sparing use of the control and traffic channels
  • Notification mechanisms for newer services such as those utilizing wireless application protocol (WAP)
network elements and architecture
Network Elements and Architecture

The basic network structure of the SMS in an IS–41 network.

external short messaging entities
External Short Messaging Entities

An ESME is a device that may receive or send short messages. The short message entity (SME) may be located in the fixed network, a mobile device, or another service center.

  • VMS—The VMS is responsible for receiving, storing, and playing voice messages intended for a subscriber that was busy or not available to take a voice call. It is also responsible for sending voice-mail notifications for those subscribers to the SMSC.
  • Web—The growth of the Internet has also affected the world of SMS. Therefore, it is almost mandatory to support interconnections to the World Wide Web for the submission of messages and notifications. The increasing number of Internet users has a positive impact on the SMS traffic increment experienced in the last few years.
  • SMSC is a combination of hardware and software responsible for the relaying and storing and forwarding of a short message between an SME and mobile device.
  • The SMSC must have high reliability, subscriber capacity, and message throughput. In addition, the system should be easily scalable to accommodate growing demand for SMS in the network.
  • Normally, an IN–based solution will allow for a lower entry cost compared to point solutions because it can support other applications on a single hardware platform and share resources, thereby spreading the deployment cost over several services and applications.
  • Another factor to be considered is the ease of operation and maintenance of the application, as well as the flexibility to activate new services and upgrade to new software releases.
external short messaging entities cont
External Short Messaging Entities (cont.)
  • E-Mail—Probably the most demanded application of SMS is the ability to deliver e-mail notifications and to support two-way e-mail, using an SMS–compliant terminal. The SMSC must support interconnection to e-mail servers acting as message input/output mechanisms.
  • Others—There are several other mechanisms to submit short messages to the SMSC that include, but are not limited to, paging networks, specialized software for PC–based messaging and operator bureaus.
stp and hlr

Signal Transfer Point

  • The STP is a network element normally available on IN deployments that allows IS–41 interconnections over signaling system 7 (SS7) links with multiple network elements.


  • The HLR is a database used for permanent storage and management of subscriptions and service profiles. Upon interrogation by the SMSC, the HLR provides the routing information for the indicated subscriber. Also, if the destination station was not available when the message delivery was attempted, the HLR informs the SMSC that the station is now recognized by the mobile network to be accessible, and thus the message can be delivered.
vlr and msc

Visitor Location Register (VLR)

  • The visitor location register is a database that contains temporary information about subscribers homed in one HLR who are roaming into another HLR. This information is needed by the MSC to service visiting subscribers.


  • The MSC performs the switching functions of the system and controls calls to and from other telephone and data systems. The MSC will deliver the short message to the specific mobile subscriber through the proper base station.
air interface and the base station system
Air Interface and The Base Station System

Air Interface

  • The air interface is defined in each one of the different wireless technologies (GSM, TDMA, and CDMA). These standards specify how the voice or data signals are transferred from the MSC to the handset and back, as well as the utilization of transmission frequencies, considering the available bandwidth and the system’s capacity constraints.

The Base Station System

  • All functions related to the transmission of electromagnetic radio signals between the MSC and the mobile devices are performed in the base station (BS). The BS consists of base station controllers (BSCs) and the base transceiver stations (BTSs), also known as cell sites or simply “cells.” The BSC may control one or more BTSs and is in charge of the proper resource assignment when a subscriber moves from one sector of one BTS to another, regardless of whether the next sector lies within the same BTS or in a different one.
the mobile device
The Mobile Device

The mobile device is the wireless terminal capable of receiving and originating short messages. Commonly, these devices have been digital cellular phones, but more recently the application of SMS has been extended to other terminals such as POS, handheld computers, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The wireless network signaling infrastructure is based on SS7. SMS makes use of the mobile application part (MAP), which defines the methods and mechanisms of communication in wireless networks and employs the services of the SS7 transactional capabilities application part (TCAP). An SMS service layer makes use of the MAP signaling capabilities and enables the transfer of short messages between the peer entities.

signaling elements
Signaling Elements

The MAP layer defines the operations necessary to support SMS. The following basic MAP operations are necessary to provide the end-to-end SMS:

  • Routing Information Request
  • Point-to-Point Short Message Delivery
  • Short Message Waiting Indication
  • Service Center Alert
service elements
Service Elements

SMS is comprised of several service elements relevant to the reception and submission of short messages:

  • Message Expiration
  • Priority
  • Message Escalation

In addition, SMS provides a time stamp reporting the time of submission of the message to the SMSC and an indication to the handset of whether or not there are more messages to send (GSM) or the number of additional messages to send (IS–41).

subscriber services
Subscriber Services
  • SMS comprises two basic point-to-point services:
    • Mobile-originated short message (MO–SM)
    • Mobile-terminated short message (MT–SM)
network infrastructure
Network Infrastructure

A generic network infrastructure for realizing the innovative SMS services

mt sm scenario gsm

The short message is submitted from the ESME to the SMSC.

  • After completing its internal processing, the SMSC interrogates the HLR and receives the routing information for the mobile subscriber.
  • The SMSC sends the short message to the MSC using the forward short message operation.
  • The MSC retrieves the subscriber information from the VLR. This operation may include an authentication procedure.
  • The MSC transfers the short message to the MS.
  • The MSC returns to the SMSC the outcome of the forwardShortMessage operation.
  • If requested by the ESME, the SMSC returns a status report indicating delivery of the short message.
MT–SM Scenario (GSM)
mobile terminated short message example 2
Mobile-Terminated Short Message Example (2)
  • MT Short Message Scenario (IS–41)
mt short message scenario is 41
MT Short Message Scenario (IS–41)
  • The short message is submitted from the ESME to the SMSC.
  • The SMSC sends an acknowledgement to the ESME, indicating reception of the short message.
  • After completing its internal processing, the SMSC interrogates the HLR.
  • The HLR sends the routing information for the mobile subscriber to the SMSC.
  • The SMSC sends the short message to the MSC using the SMSDPP Invoke operation.
  • The MSC transfers the short message to the MS.
  • The MS returns an acknowledgement to the MSC.
  • The MSC returns to the SMSC the outcome of the SMSDPP operation.
  • If requested by the ESME, the SMSC returns a delivery receipt indicating successful delivery of the short message.
mo sm scenario gsm
MO–SM Scenario (GSM)
  • The MS is powered on and registered with the network.
  • The MS transfers the SM to the MSC.
  • The MSC interrogates the VLR to verify that the message transfer does not violate the supplementary services invoked or the restrictions imposed.
  • The MSC sends the short message to the SMSC using the forwardShortMessage operation.
  • The SMSC delivers the short message to the SME (and optionally receives acknowledgment).
  • The SMSC acknowledges to the MSC the successful outcome of the forwardShortMessage operation.
  • The MSC returns to the MS the outcome of the MO-SM operation.
mo sm scenario is 41
MO–SM Scenario (IS–41)
  • The MS transfers the SM to the MSC.
  • The MSC interrogates the home SMSC to verify that the message transfer does not violate the supplementary services invoked or the restrictions imposed. The MSC sends the short message to the home SMSC using the SMSPP Invoke operation
  • The SMSC delivers an acknowledgment to the MSC.
  • The MSC returns order release to the MS.
  • The SMSC queries the HLR for the location of the destination MS.
  • The HLR returns the destination (MSC) serving the destination MS.
  • The SMSC delivers SM to the MSC serving the destination MS.
  • The SMSC delivers the short message to the MS.
  • The MS acknowledges to the MSC the successful outcome of the SMSDPP operation.
  • The MSC returns to the SMSC the outcome of the MO–SM operation (delivery successful).
ATM asynchronous transfer mode

BS base station

BSC base station controller

BTS base transceiver station

CDMA code division multiple access

CMT cellular messaging teleservice

CPT cellular paging teleservice

ERMES European Radio Messaging System

ESME external short message entities

ETSI European Telecommunications Standards Institute

GSM Global System for Mobile Communications

HLR home location register

IN intelligent network

IP Internet protocol

LAN local-area network

MAP mobile application part

MO mobile originated

MO–SM mobile-originated short message

MSC mobile switching center

MT mobile terminated

MT–SM mobile-terminated short message

PDA personal digital assistant

POS point of sale

PP point to point

SIM subscriber identity module

SM short message

SMD short message delivery

SMD–PP short message delivery–point to point

SME short messaging entity

SMS short message service

SMSC short message service center

SS7 signaling system 7

STP signal transfer point

TCAP transactional capabilities application part

TDMA time division multiple access

VLR visitor location register

VMN voice-mail notification

VMS voice-mail system

WAN wide-area network

WAP wireless application protocol

faqs 1
FAQs (1)
  • 1. What is it? The Short Message Service (SMS) allows people to send and receive short ( up to 160 characters ) written messages using their GSM telephones.
  • 2. How does it work? Every GSM network has a Message Centre, which is responsible for the managment of the messages. When someone sends an message to another user, this goes to the Message Centre, which finds where the other user is. It adds to the message the date, time and number of the sender and sends it to receiptient. If his telephone is deactivated, then the message is stored and will be send as soon as the receiptient connects to the network.
  • 3. What is SMS-MT, SMS-MO and SMS-CB ? When a telephone supports SMS-MT means that it can receive short messges. When a telephone supports SMS-MO means that it can send short messges. When a telephone supports SMS-CB means that it can receive short messges send by the network (Cell Broadcasting).
faqs 2
FAQs (2)
  • 4. Do all telephones support SMS ? All telephones are capable of receiving short messages (SMS-MT). However, many of the older telephones do not support message sending (SMS-MO). All the new ones, (according to Phase II ) support receiving-sending of messages.
  • 5. What should be done in order to be able of receiving short messages ? Nothing. You do not need to configure anything on your phone. As soon as you receive a message, you will be aple to read it on the sceen of your telephone.
  • 6. What should be done in order to be able of sending short messages ? Before you send a message for the first time, you have to enter into the telephone, the number of the SMS centre of your network. This number is entered once, and saved so that you don't have to write it ever time you want to send a message. If you don't know this number then you should contact your network.
  • 7. How do you send a message ? From the menus of your telephone, select "write message". Then type in, using the keypad of your telephone, the message (which should be maximum 160 characters). Then you will be asked the number of the receiptient. Enter it and press send.
faqs 3
FAQs (3)
  • 8. How much does this service cost? Most networks allow you to use this service without having to make a special subscription. You only pay for the messages you send. However, some networks will charge you even if you receive a message.
  • 9.Why use this service ? Using SMS you can send important information and numbers to someone else (ex. bank account numbers, telephone numbers etc) with secure. He will have them saved into his phone and will be able to read them as many times as he wants. Even more, many companies can send you your e-mail to your mobile phone, or even give you information you have requested via SMS.
  • 10. Anything else ? You can use the short message service while you are talking on your mobile phone. This means, while you talk you are able to receive and send messages.