Blog/Definitions

SMS Gateway for Text Messages and MMS

An SMS, MMS, or text message gateway is a system that makes it easy for mobile networks and SMS applications to communicate.

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While often overlooked, an SMS gateway is a piece of technology that makes critical aspects of text marketing and other forms of mass SMS messaging possible. 

Similar to technologies like text-enabled landlines or virtual phone numbers, an SMS or text message gateway can be a valuable feature for businesses or organizations that need to reach more customers than a physical cell phone allows. 

But what is an SMS or MMS gateway, and how does it actually work? We’ll explain all of this, and some more, in the article below. 

SMS Gateway Basics

There are a lot of different mobile networks out there, and they all have different ways of communicating over the airwaves. This can make it really tricky to send mass text messages to large groups of SMS subscribers who might be spread out all across those networks.

Fortunately, there’s a way to solve this pesky problem of mobile carrier incompatibility: by using an SMS gateway.

What Is an SMS Gateway?

Also known as a text message gateway, an SMS gateway is a device that allows for efficient communication between mobile networks and short message service (SMS) applications such as SimpleTexting.

An SMS gateway enables a computer to send text or multimedia messages to cellphones or other SMS and MMS capable devices by translating the message and making it compatible for delivery over a mobile network. 

How does an SMS or text message gateway work?

Years ago, SMS gateways were actual hardware devices complete with built-in radios and SIM cards. The gateway was individually connected to mobile networks, which simulated the experience of sending a text message like a typical cell phone.

Today, gateways use a Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP) interface to route SMS messages to the mobile networks. A person could do this directly, but it’s a complicated process. That’s where SMS aggregators, like us, come in to help facilitate the message delivery process to networks!

What Is an MMS Gateway?

An MMS gateway, much like an SMS gateway, is the enabling technology through which businesses and individuals can send individual rich media messages to multiple recipients, all at the same time. 

The two work precisely the same way. The only difference is MMS sends photos, videos, and other multimedia content. Plus, with an MMS gateway, you can include up to 1,600 characters in your message!

SMS and MMS Gateway Benefits

As we mentioned already, someone with development experience might be able to create their own SMPP interface. But it’s a highly technical process. 

Using an SMS gateway however, can save you valuable time and money. 

Some additional benefits of SMS and MMS gateways include: 

  • Faster development
    With an MMS, SMS, or text message gateway in place, you can build your SMS and MMS application a whole lot faster because you don’t have to worry about ensuring compatibility with all those carriers. Just line it up with the gateway and let it go.
  • Reduced complexity
    Since compatibility isn’t necessary, you’ll also be able to keep your application a whole lot simpler.
  • Reduced costs
    Finally, an SMS or MMS gateway saves you money that would have gone down the drain during initial development—as well as during any updates needed as a result of carrier changes.

MMS and SMS Gateway Features

Anytime someone uses SimpleTexting’s web or mobile application to send a mass text campaign, they’re sending it through an SMS gateway, whether they realize it or not.

The same holds true, of course, for customers who use SimpleTexting’s API with their own applications.

The point is, these customers have a lot riding on their mass text messages. So it makes sense that an SMS/MMS gateway or aggregator would need to work consistently and quickly.

With that in mind, here are a few things to look for in a good SMS gateway or MMS gateway:

  • High system security
  • High throughput
  • Minimal downtime
  • Easy integration with other systems
  • Diligent monitoring and reporting
  • Great customer support

Frequently Asked Questions About SMS Gateways

Is an SMS Aggregator different from an SMS Gateway?

Occasionally, people refer to SMS gateways as SMS aggregators. The two are the same thing. The reason some people choose the term SMS Aggregator is that gateways “aggregate” all of the different mobile carriers into one place.
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You can think of an MMS gateway, or SMS aggregator, as a translator that’s fluent in all the mobile carrier languages—and it speaks your application’s language, too. A text message polyglot, if you will.
{"@type": "Question", "name": "How is a gateway a translator for SMS and MMS applications?", "acceptedAnswer": {"@type": "Answer", "text": "You can think of an MMS gateway, or SMS aggregator, as a translator that’s fluent in all the mobile carrier languages—and it speaks your application’s language, too. A text message polyglot, if you will."}}

Mobile carriers handle all the necessary SMS messaging processes—e.g., routing, forwarding, and storing messages—inside Short Message Service Centers, or SMSCs.
{"@type": "Question", "name": "What are mobile carrier SMSCs?", "acceptedAnswer": {"@type": "Answer", "text": "Mobile carriers handle all the necessary SMS messaging processes—e.g., routing, forwarding, and storing messages—inside Short Message Service Centers, or SMSCs."}}

Each mobile carrier typically builds a proprietary SMSC that isn’t compatible with any other SMSC. Say you’re developing a web app to send bulk SMS messages. At some point, you’ll run into a fairly complex communication problem involving multiple mobile carriers and all of their incompatible SMSCs. It’s a big-time language barrier. Without an SMS or text message gateway, your application would need to know how to talk to many different carrier services using a bunch of other languages and protocols. However, with a gateway, your application only needs to talk to a single service—the gateway itself, which resolves the application-carrier conflict by taking orders from your app and translating them into all of the different dialects of SMSC speak.
{"@type": "Question", "name": "How do SMS gateways manage SMScs?", "acceptedAnswer": {"@type": "Answer", "text": "Each mobile carrier typically builds a proprietary SMSC that isn’t compatible with any other SMSC. Say you’re developing a web app to send bulk SMS messages. At some point, you’ll run into a fairly complex communication problem involving multiple mobile carriers and all of their incompatible SMSCs. It’s a big-time language barrier. Without an SMS or text message gateway, your application would need to know how to talk to many different carrier services using a bunch of other languages and protocols. However, with a gateway, your application only needs to talk to a single service—the gateway itself, which resolves the application-carrier conflict by taking orders from your app and translating them into all of the different dialects of SMSC speak."}}

With SimpleTexting, you can rest assured that your mass texts are in good hands.

Got any questions? Just contact us and ask away!

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