Now SMS/MMS Android Modem – Quick Start Guide

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Support Blog

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This document is intended to provide a quick start for setting up the Now SMS/MMS Gateway to use an Android modem for sending and/or receiving SMS and/or MMS messages. The configuration steps are similar in NowSMS Lite, however there is a separate Quick Start Guide available at http://www.nowsms.com/nowsms-lite-android-modem-quick-start-guide that contains instructions specific to that product.

Using a GSM modem, or an Android phone as a modem, is a quick and efficient way to get started with SMS and/or MMS applications. No special service provider subscriptions are required, just a standard SIM card that has been activated for use with a mobile operator.

NowSMS controls the modem to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.

NowSMS allows end users to send and receive SMS and MMS messages via a web interface or their regular e-mail client.

NowSMS enables applications to send and receive SMS and MMS messages using standard protocols such as HTTP, SMTP/POP3/IMAP, SMPP or MM7, or using API examples for Java, PHP or command-line interfaces

NowSMS and NowSMS Lite versions 2014.04.15 and later support the ability to use Android phones as GSM modem devices for both sending and receiving SMS and MMS messages.

For most customers, using an Android phone as a modem is preferable to using a dedicated GSM modem device. These reasons include:

  • LTE Support – LTE based Android devices can provide higher speed support for MMS sending and receiving.
  • Network Compatibility – Some mobile operators (and modem device manufacturers) assume that modems are used for internet access only and disable SMS and/or MMS support for modems. This is not an issue for Android phones.
  • CDMA Support – For years, US based customers have asked us about modems that can support Verizon and Sprint. Android phone support allows us to support those network operators using both CDMA and high speed LTE.
  • Broad Device Availability – For customers interested in trying NowSMS, it is far easier to locate or acquire an Android device than a conventional modem.
  • MMS Performance – With conventional GSM modems, MMS performance is limited by the mode switching required to switch between data and SMS channels. There are no mode switching delays mixing SMS and MMS traffic on Android devices.
  • Multiple Modems – USB connectivity (and driver quality or lack thereof) is a major limitation for systems with multiple conventional GSM modems. For Android phones, the NowSMS server connects to the Android phones over WiFi, providing far greater performance for NowSMS to simultaneously control multiple modems. Modems can even be located in different physical locations to maximize signal strength. (The NowSMS server communicates over WiFi to a new app running on the Android phone.)

 

System Requirements

1.) Android Phone running one of the following Android versions:

  • 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • 4.0 or 4.1 (Ice Cream)
  • 4.2 or 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4.4 (Kit Kat)
  • 5.0 or 5.1 (Lollipop)

2.) WiFi Connectivity for Android Device

3.) PC running Windows for NowSMS software. Supported versions of Windows include Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 Server, and Windows 2012 Server. Server, workstation, 64-bit, 32-bit, business and home editions of these operating systems are supported.

 

Supported SMS and MMS Message Types

SMS text message formats supported include all standard text formats, including long messages, Unicode characters and emoticons. (Other binary SMS formats, such as WAP Push, are not supported at this time, and can only be supported by dedicated GSM modem devices. Message class attributes such as Flash are also not supported by the Android interface.)

MMS support may be limited by content types and size restrictions imposed by the mobile operator.

 

Preparing the Android Phone

The Android phone should be running an Android version between Gingerbread (2.3) and Lollipop (5.0/5.1).

The Android phone must be connected to a WiFi network.

The NowSMS software runs on a Windows PC and will communicate with the Android device using TCP/IP.

For a first time configuration, we recommend that the NowSMS PC and the Android device should be on the same local network, so that they can easily communicate with each other. When running on the same local network, the NowSMS PC and Android device can find each other without requiring manual IP address configuration.

Use the default messaging client in the Android device to verify that it has and active SIM card and is able to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.

The next step is to install the NowSMS Modem software on the Android device.

 

Important Notes About NowSMS & the Android Phone

Please note that after the NowSMS Modem software is installed on the Android Device, received SMS and MMS messages will be processed by NowSMS instead of the built-in messaging client.

It is possible to configure NowSMS in a send only mode to prevent this, but it is important to note that the NowSMS software assumes that in most configurations, NowSMS will be the only application processing SMS and MMS messages on the device.

Of course, the NowSMS Modem software can be easily removed or temporarily stopped to allow other standard applications to again process messages.

It is also important to note that the NowSMS Modem software will cause the battery of the Android device to be used more quickly. This is because NowSMS keeps WiFi active so that the device is available when messages need to be sent out. In most configurations it is expected that the Android phone will be connected to a power source at all times.

 

Installing NowSMS Modem on the Android Phone

Step 1: The settings on the Android Device must be configured to allow applications from unknown sources, so that the application can be downloaded from the NowSMS web site.

Go into Settings on the phone, look for Unknown Sources under Security Settings.

 

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Android will display a caution message about the security implications of installing applications that have not been verified by Google. This setting must be accepted to enable the setting.

We recommend that the Android phone running the NowSMS Modem software should be dedicated to that task and not be used for other applications, to minimize the risk of enabling this setting. This setting may be disabled after the NowSMS Modem application is installed.

 

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Step 2: Open the web browser or Chrome and go to the URL http://www.nowsms.com/apk

 

 

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apk is an acronym for Android Package (application). Some versions of Android will warn that this type of file may be harmful and require you to select OK before downloading the application.

 

Step 3: Install NowSMSModem.apk

NowSMSModem.apk was downloaded in the previous step and now must be installed. The easiest way to locate the download is to swipe down from the top of the screen where it will be shown in system notifications. Press on the notification to begin the install.

 

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If the download does not appear as a notification, go to Applications and use the Downloads app to locate NowSMSModem.apk.

Step 4: Complete the installation of NowSMSModem.apk by allowing the requested privileges.

 

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It may be necessary to press Next or scroll down before the Install option is presented.

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Step 5: Configure NowSMS Modem by opening the application. The default settings are acceptable for most installations.

Currently only the Device Name and Port Number can be configured. The default Device Name is the phone number, it it is available on the network. Some networks do not allow the phone number to be read by applications. In those instances, the Device Name will default to an Android unique device identifier.

Press Settings to change the Device Name or Port, then press Save.

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Step 6: On Android 4.4 (KitKat) or 5.x (Lollipop) devices, an additional settings button will be displayed: Hide Messages from SMS App.

By default, under Android 4.4 or later, SMS messages sent or received by NowSMS modem will be logged in the messaging database on the device. This may cause performance or storage issues. This button installs NowSMS Modem as the default messaging application and disables this logging.

 

 

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Step 7: The Android phone can now be accessed from a NowSMS installation. Note that the messages received counter will display “(not enabled)”until a PC running NowSMS has been configured to receive messages from this modem.

 

Installing NowSMS on a Windows PC

A fully functional, but time limited, trial version of NowSMS Lite can be downloaded from the NowSMS web site at http://www.nowsms.com/download-free-trial.

Run nowsms.exe to install or update the Now SMS/MMS Gateway software.

The installation requires administrative privileges on the Windows system and Windows will display a warning about administrative privileges before installing the application.

The default installation settings are acceptable for most installations, and the sequence of installation prompts should resemble the following. The button that must be pressed to continue is highlighted in the following images.

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When the installation is finished, NowSMS may again display a prompt about the number of days remaining in the trial license. Press OK to continue.

 

Configuring NowSMS

 

Configure NowSMS to use the Android device as an SMSC connection.

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NowSMS will query the local network to locate Android devices with the NowSMS Modem application loaded, and they will be displayed in a list. It may take up to 60 seconds for NowSMS to locate the device.

Select the device and press Test and Add Modem.

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NowSMS will assume that you want to send and receive both SMS and MMS messages.

MMS messaging may require additional configuration. NowSMS will attempt to read the MMS settings from the device, however in some instances this is not possible or incorrect. This is why we suggest testing MMS sending and receiving on the device before installing the Android app.

If Use Default MMS Settings is checked, this means that NowSMS believes that it has the correct MMS settings for your mobile operator. We recommend pressing Next to continue and use those settings.

If Use Default MMS Settings is not checked, this means that NowSMS cannot determine the correct MMS settings for your mobile operator. In this case the MMS Proxy Address and MMS Server URL settings must be manually configured in NowSMS, and the MMS APN must be configured in the Android device settings.

NowSMS will prompt to ask if a test message should be sent via the modem. Select Yes.

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If the NowSMS services have not yet been started, NowSMS will ask if the services should be started. Select Yes.

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Enter a phone number and use the buttons to send test messages.

To access the NowSMS web interface, it is necessary to define account credentials. This is done by creating an SMS user account in the NowSMS configuration. These account credentials can be entered when accessing the web interface at http://localhost:8800 or http://127.0.0.1:8800 from a web browser on the same system.

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