Quality Guru's – Home of QA/QE SW Testing Workshops

February 26, 2010

Test Status to SMS/MMS: Using SMS service v.s. Getting your own GSM device

Filed under: Test Status to SMS/MMS — natiku @ 5:10 pm

This entry is part of Test Status to SMS/MMS workshop.

Using SMS service v.s. Getting your own GSM device

For sending SMS/MMS you can use some external services, but most of them use Internet connection and they can impose unpredictable delays in similar way as e-mails.
Plus most of them reliable ones want some fixed monthly fee, so benefits of such 3rd party services are disputable.

For building in house solution is ideal to use your own GSM/UMTS Digital Mobile Network device connected to PC,
but many today’s mobile phones don’t have needed HW capabilities of hardware modems plus mobile phones get
overheated over time because they contain batteries.

To be able make a good reliable solution you need a so called GSM modem, device which is designed to be connected to computer.

Ideal GSM modem device will be:

  • Works with your local digital GSM/UTMS mobile provider (Will not work with most analog networks)
  • Must support an extended AT command set for sending/receiving SMS messages, as defined in the ETSI GSM 07.05, 3GPP TS 27.005
  • Will easily attach to your PC and will not need a proprietary drivers (Preferable both Linux and Windows)
  • Selected device still have active support, so you can get firmware updates and real help
  • You can attach to it an external antenna (remember you will want to have final solution inside buildings, may be even in data center)

Generally, two options are available:

  1. Simple & Cheap USB stick – my preference is Huawei E160, it is sold across Europe, can attach optional antenna and it’s have direct support in Linux kernel from 2.6.20+
  2. Professional device – Teltonika ModemCOM/G10 – Example of industrial set which also includes antenna

Hint: You can check your local Linux forums, how actual GSM modems offers are supported, for example in Czech Republic we have dedicated ABCLinuxu GSM forum

Selecting you Mobile Provider (Mobile Carrier in US)

Your digital Mobile Provider will give you a SIM card which will activate your GMS modem and will provide you access
to Provider’s mobile network, while services provided by different Providers can be very similar, quality of network in
your location can vary. Many Providers offer lending of equipment for actual usability test.

You will be mostly sending SMS with optional access to Internet (DATA), so ask you Provider to design for you best
user program (In Europe we call it usage tariff), my for example include 100 free SMS per Month.

PS: If you will plan to use a prepaid SIM card, it’s also good to select provider which allow you to check left amount
of credit (deposit) and SIM card expiration time with SMS. This is not standard SMS service and is very useful, you don’t
need to take SIM card out from GSM modem to check credit/expiration, if SMS check is not available, select provide
which will at least allow you to check credit from another phone.


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