Summary of Short Message Service (SMS)

1 . Introduction

Short Message Service (SMS) is the technology that enables user to deliver and receive text messages via mobile phones. It supports alphanumeric message as much as 160 characters, by packing the 7-bit ASCII characters into 8-bit octets. Message can be typed straight using cellular phones or via additional interfaces such as computers.

2 . SMS Service Types

There are two fundamental types of SMS:

o Point-to-point communication

Point-to-point communication service is the services that supports messages between two subscribers of the SMS services. This is the service type that is used by normal individual subscribers.

o SMS cellular broadcast service (SMSCB)

SMS cell broadcast service is the type of services whereby the same message is transmit to multiple SMS subscribers. This kind of service is only available to the system operators, and is normally used for messages like weather alerts and information reports.

3. SMS Network Architecture

SMS network architecture is based on the architecture of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

SMS is really a store and forward data providers. This means that messages are not sent to the destination directly. Instead, messages are usually routed and stored in SMS Information Centre (SMSMC), and then forwarded towards the destination.

An SMSMC provides an amount of services, including the regulation and exchange of text messages between mobile phones.
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Any time a subscriber sends a text message to some recipient, the mobile phone actually sends the message to the SMSMC. The particular SMSMC stores the message and delivers it to the designated recipient when they are available. The SMSMC generally has a configurable validity period that determine how long it will store the information, and the user can usually designate a shorter validity period if they want.

In addition to regulation of messages, the SMSMC also handles any charging that needs to take place. In general, there is certainly at least one SMSMC per network.

4. Conclusion

This article aims to provide a good introductory guide to the Short Message Service (SMS) which is part of the GSM specification. The limit in size associated with SMS is 160 characters if purely Latin alphabets are used. When non Latin alphabets such as Chinese language characters are used, the limit will be 70 characters.

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