SMS gateways or servers are powerful applications or programs that allow users to send a text message with or without the use of a mobile phone. More specifically, it is a device which allows the transformation of data from other media into data which can be processed on a mobile phone network, and vice-versa. A common use of this device is sending email to a mobile phone user. The email data is transformed as data able to be processed on the mobile network. Once received, if the recipient wishes to send back a reply, the reply which is sent out as mobile data will be transformed as email data once it passes through the SMS gateway. You can think of gateways as language translators or simply as aggregators.
Applications of the use of an SMS server are numerous. Among its most common use is the sending and receiving of messages from PC to cell phones and vice-versa; communication between instant messaging and mobile phones; and email clients being able to communicate to mobile networks and mobile devices being able to access email clients.
Security issues cropping up from the use of SMS server deals mainly with issues of privacy and hacking. Data stored on the gateway can be stolen. So any user data is potentially vulnerable if security loopholes aren’t covered. This goes much the same for the messages being sent through the gateway.
Ways to protect sensitive or private information include removing messages or information which is not needed, obfuscating the first few numbers in the users’ phone numbers list and keeping only the last four, using encryption programs to try to protect sensitive data.
Many websites and application now offers users services which require the use of SMS servers. Websites who do offer these services need SMS servers or SMS aggregators. These are companies that operate SMS servers that are able to support thousands of users without the system being overloaded. Security would also be top-notch by using SMS aggregators.
DIY SMS Servers
It is possible to set up a homemade SMS gateway using your own mobile phone, an internet connection, and a piece of software or program. Be warned however that this is not commercially feasible (if you are planning to set up a gateway for the intent of profiting) due to the fact that using your own mobile phone account as base to send messages can be quite expensive, and due to the poor capability of this set up to support premium rate services.
SMS Gateways in the market
There are many SMS server applications/solutions being sold in the market. Many of them offer stable and excellent messaging capabilities and have a more than capable security system to thwart most security threats. Purchasing and running them however still require the services of a capable IT or communications personnel. Due to the highly technical nature of this application, laymen would be hard put to make the software run properly.