SMS Full Form is Short Message Service. SMS is a service that allows short messages to be sent on smart phones and various mobile devices. It is meant to be a ‘short’ message with just 160 characters including numbers, letters, and symbols. It has become a very significant part of mobile communication. Today the world cannot be imagined without the use of SMS or the so-called ‘text messages’.
Bernard Ghilebaert and Friedhelm Hilebrand created the concept of short messaging in the year 1964. Though initially the usage of SMS was very less, gradually all networks and phones have adapted SMS as a part of their service. Currently, it is the most utilized data application all over the world. The recent developments allow users to keep track of financial transactions, receiver alerts and updates, etc.
In this age when communication is of prime importance for every activity, it is a necessity to have effective communication medium that can facilitate quicker contact for faster results. There are times when reaching a person through voice call is not feasible due to network issues or inability of the person to attend the call for various reasons. Thus, it is important to have a source through which the concerned person can be contacted in case of emergency, irrespective of the availability of the network. Short Message Service or SMS is the perfect medium to achieve this.
SMS Full Form – Additional Information
SMS or Short Message Service is a text messaging service that is used for transfer of mobile data between mobile devices or fixed line in the form of short alphanumeric messages that are made up of either 160 Latin characters or 70 non-Latin characters like Arabic or Chinese. This is receive, store and forward method of transmitting the message.
All Global System for Mobile Communications or GSM mobile phones as well as third generation (3G) wireless networks are suited to send SMS across the globe. There are different charges for local, roaming or international SMS transmissions. Even though each SMS can have a maximum of 160 characters and 140 bytes of data, longer messages can be sent as one message, albeit they are broken in bits of a maximum number of characters and then charged as separate messages.
SMS is sent from a mobile device to a collection center known as Short Message Service Center (SMSC). Here the location of the subscriber is established by the mobile network and then the message is forwarded to the desired destination device in the form of a small data packet. Even if the recipient is unavailable or the device is switched off, the message is retained at the center and delivered at a later stage.
Advantages of SMS
Unlike voice calls where if the person to be contacted is not available the call cannot be completed or if the mobile device is out of range or switched off, the connection cannot be established the SMS becomes an ideal mode of communication. Since the messages are stored at the SMS center and can be delivered when the mobile device is detected as active, it is guaranteed to be delivered at some point in time.
SMS are used for faster communication, for example, to set up an appointment, schedule the delivery of courier, pass on information to traveler regarding the vehicle and driver details or even for forwarding intimations about bank transactions, etc.
Once you send SMS you get an instant notification of the status of delivery whether the message is delivered instantly or not. In the case of a network error, the sender is intimated about the delay in message delivery or is requested to try again later. SMS are stored in the phone and thus unless you delete it or the storage capacity is full, the message remains in the device for further reference if need be. It is a good medium of instant communication for the majority of times.
Uses of SMS
SMS is an effective communication method for point-to-point transmission as well as Cell Broadcasting, that is advertising to all the subscribers in a particular geographical zone like target advertising. Person to person SMS is a personal communication. On the other hand, currently, application to person (A2P) is fast gaining popularity and importance.
This communication is from an application to a subscriber or vice versa. Airlines, hotels, railways etc use this to keep the customer updated on their status of booking, departure and arrival timings, etc. Financial institutions use A2P to inform the clients about deposits, withdrawals or transactions conducted using debit/credit card. This helps in the client being updated about the status of his account details.
There are times when one does not get much time for an extended voice call. Under such circumstances, the important message to be conveyed can be easily sent through SMS. Since the sender receives a delivery notification, it is easy to track if the message has been sent across successfully or not.
Sending SMS on various networks is facilitated thanks to the interconnectivity of different service providers. Even though SMS is predominantly from one mobile device to another, there are instances where a person can send the message across through some messaging sites from computers as well. This gives flexibility to some extent in case a person needs to send an important message while working on a laptop or PC.
Understanding the Process
We often use our mobile in various locations, either locally or while “roaming”, that is out of the home network area. Voice calls, as well as SMS, are charged differently for local network and roaming network. This is because you are out of the range of your home service provider and are currently using leased network connection for voice and messaging. Thus, when we send SMS, it is first directed to the SMSC or the receiving center.
The message is held there till they locate the position of the receiver whether it is local or roaming and if the receiver is active or inactive / switched off. Once the location of the subscriber is established, the SMSC sends the message in a small data packet form and the receiver gets it. It is crucial to have the receiver active on the network for instant delivery of the message; else the message is held back in the SMSC until the time they find the network open for a receipt.
SMS are encoded using various alphabets. By default, the GSM has a 7-bit alphabet that supports 160 characters, 8-bit data alphabet supports 140 characters and 16- bit UCS-2 (Unicode) has 70 characters. Thus, the messages can be written using the specified number of characters per message. Over and above the character limit accounts for a new SMS, even though it is a continuation of the long message.
Since the message transmission is done through a segmented information system, the number of assigned characters gets reduced. 160 characters come down to 153 for 7-bit encoding. For 8-bit encoding, the 140 mark becomes 134 and in 16-bit instead of 70, it is 67 characters. Theoretically 255 segments are permissible. However, practically maximum 6 to 8 are used. These segments need to be reassembled by the receiver’s handset in order to project the multiple short messages as a single long message.
Safety and Reliability of SMS
As the technology progresses, so does the threats to the security of networks. We constantly learn about cyber attacks and network hacking. Since SMS passes through many networks, sometimes including the internet especially while roaming, it is vulnerable to such attacks. Besides, as SMS is a receive-store and forward system of communication, the messages are likely to be intercepted and read by undesired persons.
Similarly, if the phone falls into the hands of an adversary, there are chances that your important and private messages are read and distributed. Every system has its pros and cons. It is up to us to use the facility wisely and make the most of what the progressive technology has to offer, whether it is the use of the internet or a simple thing like text messaging on the phone.