How Reliable are Cell Phones?
Cellular phones and pagers are part of the "now"
generation, instant contact, anywhere at any time. People
are looking for convenience, comfort and security. The
question is how instantaneous and reliable is the contact?
Talking with someone is the main use for a cell phone,
yet due to poor reception how often do calls not go
through, or important calls "dropped" due to flaky coverage?
Let us not forget, that in a time of tragedy, lines
were congested and the resounding "all circuits busy"
messages were heard from coast to coast. There is certainly
room for improvement if you want to reach out and touch
The alternative to voice communication is traditional
text messaging, enjoyed by the young as SMS, a 'hip'
communication method, and the older as the tried and
true paging, a trustworthy means of communication. A
carrier receives pages or text messages via a traditional
dial up modem or Internet connection to their terminal,
and then broadcasts the messages over their network
to the appropriate wireless device. How instant is sending
a text message? The answer might surprise you...it depends.
Traditional means of sending text messages is surprisingly
reliable and fast. However, many cellular carriers,
wishing to merge technologies while keeping costs down,
have opted to utilize email technology to send text
messages. Why not, an email is nothing more than a text
message, using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).
On the surface this sounds like a great idea, nearly
everyone has email access, and the use of the Internet
streamlines the sending of messages.
What is often overlooked, is the fact that email was
not designed to be time sensitive. There can be significant
delays and an instantaneous receipt can be lost when
sending email to a pager or cell phone. Text messages
sent via the email protocol SMTP could take a more scenic
delivery route. While in many cases, receiving messages
in a timely fashion is not critical; some industries
require and benefit from the receipt of urgent messages.
It is therefore important to realize and make a distinction
between the protocols that are designed for instantaneous
communication and those that are not.
If sending messages immediately to a cell phone or
pager is required, more reliable protocols are available.
When sending text messages, via a modem, the Telocator
Alphanumeric Protocol (TAP) is extremely dependable,
albeit slower due to the modem dialing. If sending messages
with a high-speed Internet connection use the newer
time sensitive Internet protocols: Simple Network Paging
Protocol (SNPP) and Wireless Communication Transfer
Protocol (WCTP). If your carrier supports these protocols
they are the better options for sending important messages.
If carriers understand the "now" generation is about
speed and reliability, customer satisfaction will improve.
Text messaging is a reliable and useful communication
method, especially since voice is not always convenient
or possible. With public awareness and urging, carriers
will increase their offerings of text messaging protocols.
Carriers should offer email or SMTP, but they must also
support time sensitive protocols, regardless, of whether
the protocols are older such as TAP or newer such as
Carriers supporting SNPP - http://www.notepage.net/snpp.htm
Carriers supporting WCTP - http://www.notepage.net/wctp.htm
About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage,
Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.