How does the SMS service really work?

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Short Message Service (SMS) is a very popular feature available on most digital mobile phones. SMS allows users to send short messages to other mobile phones. These short messages are called text messages. SMS were invented by a Finnish official named Matti Makkonen. Many people understand what an SMS is, but few understand how it actually works.

In SMS, messages are sent with a “store and forward” mechanism. Messages are sent to a Short Message Service Center (SMSC) and then transmitted to the intended recipient. If the messages do not reach the recipient on the first attempt, the SMSC will try again. It is important to understand that SMS delivery is not guaranteed. Many messages cannot be delivered, but delivery is called “best effort.” The number of attempts to send a text message varies by company.

SMS messages are transmitted via SS7 within the standard GSM MAP framework. SMS messages have a certain payload length. The signaling protocol is precisely 140 bytes. In simple terms, SMS messages have very restricted character limits. That is why the messages are sent in “txt speak”. Text speech is the practice of shortening words and phrases to fit messages within the allowed amount of bandwidth. SMS messages cost different amounts in different countries. In the United States, the average message costs 10 cents.

Text messages don’t always have to be sent from one mobile phone to another. AOL Instant Messenger has an option that sends instant messages to a cell phone. In addition, there is a widget available for Mac OS X Tiger that will allow the user to send text messages to a cell phone from the dash. SMS messages can also be used to give news alerts. Additionally, SMS messages can be used to provide sports statistics and updates. In this way, SMS messages are very versatile.

Technology is constantly evolving. SMS services show that communication is getting wider and easier. Technologists predict that the SMS service will advance in such a way that the service will be more reliable and will be able to store more data for transmission purposes.

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