In the Public Safety and Emergency Management world,
making sure your messages are always delivered and received
is incredibly important. There are many different ways
to send messages and it can sometimes be confusing and
frustrating to know what to do and how to do it. With
that in mind, here are the best methods available to
Public Safety and Emergency Management services for
sending SMS messages.
Using a Cellular Modem is the fastest and most reliable
way to send SMS messages, regardless of where you are.
The cellular modem provides a cellular connection to
the computer and the modem is capable of responding
to the AT command set. This allows our program to use
the cellular modem to send SMS messages just like a
cel phone. This is the only method of server based SMS
delivery outside of the US, Canada and the UK.
There are a variety of cellular modems made by a variety
of companies but the type our end users have had the
most success with is this particular line of cellular
modem from a company called Multitech: http://www.multitech.com/en_US/PRODUCTS/Families/MultiModemCell/
The specific model you'll want to purchase is directly
related to where in the world you are as different areas
of the world use different cellular technology and,
as such, the hardware required needs to match. The Multitech
website has a plethora of information about which specific
makes and models are appropriate for what areas, so
be sure to consult with them before making any purchase.
There are three internet based protocols that can be
used to send text messages: SMTP, SNPP and WCTP.
Unfortunately, most carriers don't provide the most
efficient methods of delivery, SNPP and WCTP. Most carriers
only provide an Email to SMS function that uses the
SMTP protocol for message delivery. This is often times
the least reliable protocol to use because it's not
point to point communication. Which is to say, when
you send a message using the SMTP protocol, you're actually
relaying through a series of servers rather than transmitting
your message directly to the destination server or device.
There are, however, three notable exceptions to this:
Verizon, Sprint and AT&T Verizon provides a service
they refer to as their EMAG System. The Verizon EMAG
system provides access to their SNPP and WCTP hosts.
For non-Public Safety and Emergency Management Systems,
they do charge a monthly or annual fee. However, they
provide access to these gateway for free to Public Safety
and Emergency Management Services. To register with
their EMAG System, you'll need to contact your city,
county or state's Verizon Account Representative. The
Verizon Account Representative will then provide a special
number and a PDF form that must be filled out and submitted.
Once the registration is complete, you can begin using
their expedited hosts.
Sprint provides a service they refer to as their Enterprise
Messaging Gateway (EMG). They do require you to register
with their gateway in order to use it and as long as
you're only sending to personnel within your organization,
they don't charge for it. To register with the Sprint
EMG, you can go to this site: https://emg.sprint.com/
AT&T provides a service they refer to as their Enterprise
Paging Network (EPN). Unlike Verizon and Sprint, however,
the end user whose cellphone needs to be messaged must
contact AT&T and request that the EPN function be added
to their phone. Also, unlike the other carriers, AT&T
will charge the end user a monthly fee for having their
phone listed on the EPN. As far as we are aware, and
the information AT&T has provided with regards to their
EPN is limited. We would recommend contacting AT&T directly
for more information.
Every major carrier still supports a modem based method
of SMS delivery called TAP. TAP can be, and often is,
an important component of Public Safety and Emergency
Management messaging systems. Using our software, PageGate,
you can configure a failover function so that in the
event your internet connection goes down or is unavailable,
our software can immediately start using a modem or
series of modems to dial directly in to the TAP messaging
gateways for the major carriers. While the message delivery
speed is slightly slower than the internet based protocols,
sending messages via the TAP protocol is one of the
most reliable ways of delivering messages. All you need
is a dial-up modem with a phone line plugged in to it
attached to the PageGate system.
For specific steps on how to configure any of these
methods within our software, feel free to contact us
and we'll be happy to help you however we can.
About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage,
Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.
|| Pentium 500
mhz or better
|| 128 Mb of RAM
(typically 256 Mb total memory for Win 2000, XP,
2003, or 1 Gig for Vista)
|| 50 Mb Hard
Drive Free (for application & database)
|| 300 baud or faster modem
for dialup connections
serial cable for direct connections or a
dedicated Internet connection
2000, XP, 2003, Vista (32 bit)