16 Replies Latest reply: May 6, 2010 3:20 AM by Lea Weinbaum RSS

SMS vs IP

Newbie

Hi,

 

We are in the process of developing an application that requires very little data to be passed, and we are trying to decide whether we should develop the application to use SMS only or use IP over the data networks.  Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this? Pros and Cons of SMS only and IP would be great.

 

Nicky

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    Hi Nicky,

     

    Is the data "mission critical"?   You should keep in mind that SMS is subject to delays  based on volume (e.g. American Idol voting).  For this reason, I usually prefer using IP.  That being said, how often are you passing data?  Are you constantly sending small updates?  If you use IP, you need to pay attention to how your provider rounds data sessions.

     

    We'd probably need a little more detail on your application to give a stronger recommendation.


    Thanks, Rob

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    Hi Nicholas,

     

    Another point regarding SMS vs. IP: if you want ot send some information to your remote system, it is much easier to send SMS (to the phone number of the SIM) that though IP due to dynamic and private IP issue.

     

    Also, it is easier ot negociate SMS subscription taht data subscribtion with carriers (SMS does not cost much to operators)

     

    But it is right that you do not control the transmission time of a SMS.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Laurent

    • Re: SMS vs IP
      Newbie

      Hi Laurent,

       

      I am not sure I would agree with this statement.  In the M2M world sending an SMS can take as much up front effort from a configuration perspective as sending data traffic over IP.

       

      In order to send SMS from an application to the mobile (MT SMS), the application server has to be integrated in with the carriers SMSC.  This is typically done over an SMPP Bind that needs to be set up with the carrier.  The application server needs to also be running a bind client, that would need to be configured which takes some knowledge and skill and then you need to know how to "drive" the bind client in order to send the SMS to the devices phone number.

       

      There are some carrier (AT&T through their Control Center platform)  that provide an API set that allows for using more standard web services call to accomplish the same thing as the bind, but again this requires a certain level of expertise in order to accomplish this.

       

      Sending information down to a mobile that as has active context on the network, via IP, is no more complicated than obtaining the IP address of the mobile (typically done through an api or DNS querry) opening a socket and sending the data.  All very common stuff for those that are familiar with this type of communication.

       

      Depending on the carrier you are working with a device can maintain an active PDP context for as long as 14 hours of idle time (during which time it maintains the same IP address) and will be available to receive MT traffic.  Some carrier will also offer fixed (static) IP solutions that will reduce the steps by one since the device IP address will never change.

       

      I think there are certain types of applications that are suited for SMS only, but I would not say one of the driving factors for choosing SMS over IP would be ease of sending MT data.

       

      Mike

      • Re: SMS vs IP
        Newbie

        Just set up a digital modem to send the SMS commands to the phone number.

        Not so difficult. Will take a little programming to set it up in the application though.

        You need to look up the phone number in the database and then have the pre canned commands ready to send to the mobile unit.

        There may be some latency but our experiance is not much. For more complicated reconfiguration messages you can use good old Hyper Terminal.

        • Re: SMS vs IP
          Newbie

          Hi Don,

           

          Are you putting a SIM in the digital modem?  How are you getting the device to communicate down to the device over the carrier network?  Don't you need to somehow interface into the carrier's SMSC?

           

          From my experience with sending from an application down to a device, you need to interface into the carriers SMSC traditionally over a bind...although some will offer an API set to accomplish the same thing.

           

          Are you accomplishing this in a different way?

           

          Mike

        • Re: SMS vs IP
          Newbie

          Hi Don,

           

          I migrated several company that used to have this solution to notify their field force technician from modem based SMS to direct interconnection to carrier SMS-C. In this business, SMS was critical as they had to reach the technician in a given time to dispatch incident in order for the entreprise to fullfil its SLA.

           

          In my experience, using modem to reach out device on the field with SMS is ok for trial but as you are growing number of devices and SMS traffic it is very unreliable. You need to monitor modem, sometimes reboot them manually, you can have limited storage capability, no status report of delivery, ... When it comes to heavy traffic, you need to build up architecture with series of modem to drive the traffic which makes things more complex.

           

          I would strongly advocate for commercial use, to connect to operator SMS-C. It has been quite easy to do it now and every operator offers solution either directly of through SMS broker like Sybase M365, mBlox or Netsize.

           

          Regards

           

          Lea

          • Re: SMS vs IP
            Newbie

            Hi,

             

            i must confirm that we also recommend to directly connect to SMS-C, as we do for our SMS application for tank levels, where we have contract with various GSM operators to connect directly SMS-C, usually called "large account", mostly done by VPN connexion to GSM Operator platform.

             

            regards, J-M

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    Depenends on your application. For frequent reports TCP is the way to go. But for infrequent use SMS. If you need to send a message to the mobile unit use SMS no matter which you are using.

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Loic Bonvarlet Newbie

    Hi Nicholas,

    My recommendation and what I have seen in the industry quite a bit is to use UDP for low bandwidth application. You have only a 20 bytes overhead, and can control fully the traffic by implementing your own connection control over UDP (Acks, retransmission...). SMS will most likely being slower and a more expensive solution, typically used only today as a backup if GPRS fails.

    Regards,

    Loic

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    Nick

     

    we have devices installed across the US using SMS

    response time has not been an issue  and gateway set up was fine

     

    One other factor to consider - SMS will work in  lower coverage areas

    so if you are installing in locations with limited cellular coverage SMS can have an advantage

     

    regards

     

    martin

    • Re: SMS vs IP
      Newbie

      Also remember if you are using sms there  may be security issues. Be careful that  if you have a  device  repsonding to sms that it filters the source of the source of thesource of the sms or better still restruct the enviroenmnet to a closed environmnet. Ask your carrier about this. They may be able to set a closed sms environment for you.

      • Re: SMS vs IP
        Newbie

        Good Point David!

         

        To add to this, I would recommend that if you are using an SMPP bind with your carrier, that you run that over a VPN  to increase the security of the solution.

         

        AT&T does offer a "closed" SMS environment with their Control Center offering, which significantly increases security and limits any issues you might have with regard to "premium SMS" due to SPAM.

         

        Mike

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    And let's not forget that the cost difference can be very significant (the figs below are for US implementations):

    • Typically a few cents will buy 140 bytes* of SMS data (for wholesale MT or MO) plus any costs for the SMPP/ESME leg.
    • Typically a few cents will buy 10k bytes of GPRS data with no costs for the internet/VPN leg.
    • Either approach may require VPNs to protect the non-mobile leg and may have some setup for SMSC and GGSN/AP
    • (the pricing can be significantly different if bundles are used, note also the data rounding and session utilization issues).

                   * or 160 7 bit characters

     

    All other points above are also valid - it seems that many devices support both GPRS and SMS to provide increased redundancy and flexibility, and 'simpler' MT (for things like pet trackers where session initiation can be triggered from the owners phone by SMS to the device).

    • Re: SMS vs IP
      Newbie

        David

       

      I am not sure I agree with your pricing comparison.

       

      The comparison between an sms and the data required to send it is known , but  how that is effected by rounding really depends on the opertaor and teh application.

       

       

      re price for added security and reliability. I woudl suggest that this is always a wise investment , if not for yourself then for your customers.

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Harald Naumann Expert

    What about SMS vs IP vs USSD vs DTMF vs Data on Audio Codec?

    http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/how-to-send-data-over-gsm-voice-lines/

     

    On IP you have to register to GSM and after that to register to GPRS. This is a power consuming process. By small amount of data and sending once or twice per day SMS or USSD are better. It will save your battery. If you would like to get further details, then just send me an email to hn@gsm-modem.de

     

    With the digital audio codec you can do voice encryption as well.
    http://www.gsm-modem.de/gsm-voice-encryption.html
    If you can encrypt voice, then you can code data in audio stream as well.

  • Re: SMS vs IP
    Newbie

    At Sensile for our application which also require very little few data, we definitely choose SMS. We work in more than 34 countries and are happy not to deal with "simple" SMS. I say simple, cause we had already some issues depending on country or GSM operator.

     

    SMS: simple, effective, buffered by GSM operator

     

    regards, Jean-Marc