Appendix A. SMS-based Reporting System

Table of Contents
A.1. Introduction
A.2. SMS Overview
A.3. Simple Object Access Protocol
A.4. A Send Only Service
A.5. Access Control and Authentication
A.6. A Database Backend
A.7. Dealing With Received SMS
A.8. Applications of the Service
A.9. Future Work
Appendix A. References

Appendix A reproduces a paper that was presented by the author at the Southern African Telecommunications, Networks and Applications Conference in September 2002. This paper describes a service that uses the simple object access protocol to provide a means for applications to send messages using the GSM short message service.

This SOAP service is used by the intelligent reporting system described in Section 7.3.3 to send notification of faults to the network administrator.

A bi-directional SOAP / SMS gateway service

Guy Antony Halse and George Wells, Rhodes University


Many applications need the ability to do real-time notification when events occur. Often the people who need to be kept aware of events are in a remote location.

This paper looks at a bi-directional gateway between networked computers and the GSM short message service. The gateway is implemented as a web service, and uses the Simple Object Access Protocol to facilitate data communication.

The service interacts with a database in order to facilitate retrieval of sent or received messages, as well as provide accounting abilities.

It is intended as a practical proof-of-concept application demonstrating some of the capabilities of the Simple Object Access Protocol.

A.1. Introduction

Remote notification is a facility that many monitoring and control applications could benefit from. For example, network managers are often interested in being automatically informed of exception conditions that occur on their network. It was just such an application that was the birth of the service described in this paper

With more than eleven million cellular telephone subscribers in South Africa [1], it seems reasonable to assume that majority of professionals in the country have, or have access to, a cellular phone. With this in mind, the most obvious and effective way to provide notification is to use the cellular networks' short message service (SMS).

The problem, therefore, is to provide a way for computers to interface with the short message service. While discussing the issues involved in doing this, it became quickly apparent that requirements for remote notification such as this extended well beyond the authors' network monitoring application.

Rather than have many people investigating different approaches to the same problem, it was agreed that it would be better to provide a single, unified method of providing remote notification using the cellular network. The final approach adopted was a web service, which will now be discussed in detail.

Appendix A. References

[1] Statistics of Cellular in South Africa, Cellular Online, January 2002.

[2] SMS (Short Message Service), GSM Association, .

[3] What is SMS?, GSM Association, July 2000.

[4] ETSI TS 127 007 - AT command set for User Equipment (UE), ETSI, March 2002.

[5] The AT Command Set Reference — History, Frank Durda, 2002.

[6] Web Services Activity, World Wide Web Consortium, January 2002.

[7] Web Services Architecture Requirements, World Wide Web Consortium, April 2002.

[8] Introduction to SOAP, Frank Manteck, .

[9] The Expat XML parser, SourceForge, .

[10] Webmaster in a Nutshell, S. Spainhour and V. Quercia, 1996, 1st Edition, O'Reilly.

[11] vixie-cron, Paul Vixie, January 1994.

[12] service guide, eXcell Technologies, .