An updated release of NowSMS & NowMMS is now available for general release.
Existing customers who have a current software update license can use the trial download to update their existing installation. Please see the Serial # page of the NowSMS configuration program to determine software update eligibility.
There are numerous enhancements in this release, some of which have been made available and tested in interim releases over the past year.
This document will highlight some of the more significant changes in this release. For additional detail, please refer to our changes log for NowSMS.
Burst Mode Licensing
Burst mode is a licensing enhancement to help customers better handle bursts of SMS and/or MMS messaging activity. Instead of just tracking message throughput per minute or second, NowSMS also keeps track of activity over the past two hours, and allows unused throughput capacity during that period to be applied as a performance burst. Performance burst activity will provide up to double the license throughput for up to 60 minutes.
For additional detail, see Burst Mode Licensing Support.
MMSC Diameter MM9 Implementation
The Now MMSC supports the use of MM9 or Diameter based charging for MMS messages. This MM9/Diameter implementation is highly configurable, with configuration options that allow the Diameter requests to be tuned to meet the requirements of different operator charging systems.
For Extensive additional information, see Now MMSC Diamteter MM9 Implementation.
SMS Hubbing Considerations
NowSMS is frequently used to provide SMS message routing connectivity between multiple SMSCs using the SMPP protocol.
In SMS hubbing configurations, NowSMS is connected to one or more service providers using the SMPP protocol. Service providers route selected SMS messages to NowSMS over an SMPP connection, and NowSMS is then used to route the SMS message to a different service provider over another SMPP connection.
This update includes several enhancements to provide flexibility for SMS hubbing configurations.
Configuration options allow inbound deliver messages to be rerouted to outbound submit format for delivery to another SMSC connection. Delivery report message ID tracking has been enhanced to support these rerouted messages to the extent that is technically possible with extensive configurable support for the SMPP data_sm message format.
SMPP Optional TLV Parameter Support
The SMPP protocol defines support for optional parameters, known as TLV parameters. SMS service providers are free to define their own TLV parameters, which sometimes may be required when interfacing with a mobile operator. These TLV parameters might include operator information for inbound messages, pricing information for premium rate SMS, or other security and fraud prevention parameters required by that service provider.
NowSMS has long supported configurable TLV parameters. This version adds improved support for long integer format parameters.
Learn more about TLV parameter settings in the article SMPP Optional TLV Parameters.
MM7 and MM4 Performance
Overall speed and performance has been greatly improved for message processing over MM7 and MM4 protocol, and for conversions between different MMS message formats including MM1, MM4 and MM7.
MM4 forward.RES acknowledgment performance has also been greatly enhanced to remove potential performance bottlenecks with operator interconnects.
Outbound connections can now be configured to specify the number of concurrent connections allowed and the maximum number of recipients per message instance. (For proper delivery report handling across some MM4 interconnects, it is necessary to break multiple recipient messages into separate message instances for each recipient.)
MMSC Group Messaging Support Across MM4 & MM7 Interconnects
MMS is about more than just sending pictures and videos. The biggest growth driver in MMS messaging volume over the past year has been increased usage of MMS to deliver group text messages. The benefit of MMS for group text messages is that a complete list of recipients can be maintained, allowing recipients to reply all, and hence driving a large increase in messaging traffic.
Most current Android, iPhone and Windows Phone devices now default to using MMS for group messaging.
ICAP Protocol Support for Additional MMSC Deployment Flexibility
The Now MMSC can now support subscriber identification/authentication for configurations that do not use a WAP gateway or proxy server, or for configurations where some subscribers use a proxy/gateway and other subscribers do not.
The MMSC can issue ICAP client requests to request subscriber identification from an ICAP server that can provide HTTP Header Enrichment.
The latest version of NowWAP has been enhanced to provide HTTP Header Enrichment via an ICAP server interface for the type of configuration described. This ICAP server interface can also be used for configurations that are using a Squid based proxy server, as Squid can easily be configured to selectively request HTTP Header Enrichment from NowWAP.
Emoticons and Emoji in SMS Messages
Emoticons have long been part of text messaging (and before that e-mail), ranging from simple smileys such as : – ) to flowers @>->-. Traditionally, emoticons have been pictorial representation of a feeling or expression, with that picture being constructed by combining punctuation characters and other standard text characters. In Japan, emoji characters were added to mobile phones to provide users with access to graphic pictograms that were richer in presentation than this character based representation.
Some messaging clients automatically replace common emoticons such as smileys with a graphic image, such as 🙂 .
Due to interoperability considerations, emoji characters were incorporated into the Unicode 6.0 standard. NowSMS now supports 32-bit Unicode characters in SMS messages, whereas previous versions were limited to 16-bit Unicode support.
More information on how these characters are encoded in the modern world of SMS can be found in the article Emoticons and Emoji in SMS Messages.
MMS to SMS Conversion for Multimedia Message Delivery
Sometimes the most cost effective way to deliver MMS message content is to convert the MMS content to a web-link that is sent via SMS.
Easier E-Mail to/from SMS and/or MMS
Additional flexibility has been added for bi-directional e-mail to SMS and/or MMS configurations. Instead of requiring NowSMS to be setup as a separate SMTP mail server, it is now also possible to configure NowSMS to route all e-mail communication through a shared POP3 or IMAP mailbox.
IMAP, with a service that supports the IDLE command, such as GMail, is recommended, as this allows e-mail messages to be pushed to NowSMS automatically as they are received. (POP3 requires periodic polling of the mailbox to retrieve new messages.) E-mail related settings have been moved to a separate configuration tab. E-mail services are provided by the MMSC service, which must be active. (GMail configuration notes: use Server Type IMAP with SSL/TLS. IMAP server is imap.gmail.com:993 and SMTP server is smtp.gmail.com:587.)
When sending an SMS or MMS to the shared mailbox via e-mail, the phone number of the recipient must be specified at the start of the subject line of the message.
Configuring NowSMS as an SMTP server provides more power and flexibility as the phone number is part of the e-mail address. However, this additional configuration option provides an additional option that is better suited for some deployment scenarios.
SMPP Server Enhancements
Numerous improvements have been made to the SMPP Server interface built into NowSMS.
Individual clients can be configured to use different formats for message delivery, including different default character sets, whether port numbers and segmentation are sent via TLV or UDH parameters, whether or not to use data_sm format for message delivery, and async mode support for message delivery.
Message speed limits for accepting messages from an SMPP client are also more accurately enforced at higher speeds.
Mobile Operator MMS APN Settings
NowSMS and NowSMS Lite are frequently used in configurations that include GSM Modems. We’ve updated our list of mobile operator MMS settings to include the preferred WAP2/HTTP proxy settings for several hundred mobile operators around the world.
If you are not currently using WAP2/HTTP settings, you might not be receiving all MMS messages sent to the GSM modem, as one of our customers recently encountered.
Updated settings are included in the latest release, but you can also find more information in the article Mobile Operator MMS APN Settings.
Using PHP Scripts to Extend NowSMS
PHP scripts are a great tool for integrating NowSMS into another application environment, or extending the functionality of NowSMS.
PHP scripts are often used for 2-way SMS or MMS processing, providing a convenient mechanism for processing the received message content in an application, and optionally replying back to the received message, updating or querying a database, or taking other action upon the message which could involve sending one or more messages to other parties.
PHP scripts are also frequently used to implement accounting or routing callbacks. Accounting callbacks can be used to record messaging activity, and to integrate with external billing or accounting systems. These accounting callbacks also support the ability to block messaging activity when external billing criteria indicates that a message operation should be be allowed. Routing callbacks can be used to provide additional control for selecting the outbound route to be used for message delivery, such as interfacing into mobile number portability databases or HLR lookups.
NowSMS interfaces with PHP scripts via an HTTP interface, which has historically required a separate HTTP web server with PHP installed. By using an HTTP interface, NowSMS can integrate with other web based scripting languages and environments, including ASP, ASP.Net, Java and Perl.
The separate web server requirement can make it more difficult to develop 2-way command scripts or accounting callbacks, especially when prototyping an application.
Since 2011, NowSMS has supported an interface that could work with a local copy of PHP without requiring a separate web server. However, this interface has relied on environment settings that were expected to be set by the PHP installation program, which were sometimes mysteriously missing. To better address these issues which are beyond our control, the new version of NowSMS is far more robust in detecting and enabling local PHP installations.
For comments and further discussion, please click here to visit the NowSMS Technical Forums (Discussion Board)...