Postmaster @ (or what are best practice to send SMS these days)

We've noticed that is no longer a very reliable form of delivery for alerts from Nagios, et al. It seems as our volume of alerts has risen, our delivery rate has dropped precipitously.

We don't expect much trying to actually reach a postmaster for so I thought the better question would be to ask what the current best practice is to get SMS alerts out?

Back in the day, I remember a company I worked for had something called a TAP gateway. Is that still a good route? I've also been told to check out an SMS gateway/api service called -- anyone using them to delivering timely notifications?

Is the best thing to do to try and get a programmable cellphone in a

What else are operators doing to get the pages out when things go wonky?


David Ulevitch wrote:


What else are operators doing to get the pages out when things go wonky?

Get a pager! :slight_smile: SMS is just not as reliable.



My solution is to use a modem / POTS line hanging off the nagios box along with the qpage daemon to send alerts out through a TAP gateway. If you need the specs and 800 number for Verizon's TAP gateway I can send it offlist.

This is important not only to avoid the inconsistency of the vtext email-sms gateway but to get an alert out in case of a major network disruption that breaks email functionality.

Patrick Shoemaker
President, Vector Data Systems LLC
office: (301) 358-1690 x36
mobile: (410) 991-5791

David Ulevitch wrote:

If you stick with SMS messages, the weakest link will always be the carriers
SMS gateway. Since this is the last item in the chain, any upstream service
will still be handicapped by the gateway. I've worked with a variety of
carriers, and they have all had problems at one point or another with their
SMS gateways getting overwhelmed with SMS spam, etc.. causing long SMS
delivery queues or dropped messages. If you can find the SMS gateway admin
at Verizon they can probably comment on what the issue is and any planned
resolutions, else you may need to switch providers to one with a more
cluefull SMS gateway team.

So far this year, I have only had a couple instances of delayed/dropped SMS
delivery via the AT&T/Cingular SMS Gateway..

Peter Kranz
Founder/CEO - Unwired Ltd
Desk: 510-868-1614 x100
Mobile: 510-207-0000

I have one of these babies
with SMS Server Tools 3 running (hacked up for CDMA, cuz they dont’
support CDMA out of the box)

$40 a month does the trick

There was a good thread about sms notifications not so long time ago.
Here is what the summary was:

Yes, this is still a good route for those of us with old pagers
(cell/pager via e-mail have had horrendous drop rates for me, likely due
to the volume of messages). If the network issue is severe enough that
your Internet access is not working, you can still dial via a modem.
Even then things don't always get through the provider, so I have two
Nagios systems running in tandem. This means receiving two notices for
each outage, but often enough we still only receive one (even though
each Nagios/qpage server reports a success on both sides).

I still use and love qpage with Nagios.

Your best bet is to also attach a modem to your system and let it dial out to the gateways.

This site provides a central spot for TAP gateway numbers and SNPP systems. Use your Nagios parent configuration to send snpp when the Internet is working and fall back to TAP modem pages when your system can no longer reach the net.

It’s the only modem I still have in use but it works great every time for sending out those text messages and pagers.


My recommendation as of late has been to use WCTP with a TAP backup. (using qpage at $WORK)

This way you get the faster delivery/rate of WCTP, with an OOB fall-back should it be needed.

Most pager companies (and presumably many cell providers) provide interfaces for one/both of the above.

  - d.

In my experience, even with TAP, sending messages to a cell phone is spotty at best. I have folks on both uni-directional pagers via TAP or SNPP, as well as cell phones via e-mail and TAP. There isn't a noticeable difference in delivery time between e-mail and TAP on the phones.

Cell to Cell is probably the best option if you want to stick with SMS to cell phones. I have no idea how reliable it is between carriers. I still get some comfort knowing that people have pagers with a TAP gateway - I've no idea how the technology differs between a pager and SMS, but it seems much more reliable. All of the pager problems I've had in the last few years have been, erm, 'payment related'.

David Ulevitch wrote:

Verizon at least, uses SS7 signaling to deliver on-network SMS. This means they can provide delivery confirmation with their SMSes. I am not aware of another US network that does this or interacts with Verizon over SS7 for SMS exchange.

So, if you are using a phone's SMS capability on the same network (e.g. Verizon) and it has delivery confirmation you might be very happy.


David Coulson wrote:

Piecing together the information I've learned over time, is it possible that
VeriSign handles some of that for Verizon?


Deepak Jain

I added asterisk and a cheap X100P card to my Nagios setup. Now I
can get a voice call if things are really bad.

I started to install some text-to-speech tools also, but got depressed
by all the additional ports that were coming along for the ride.
So for now it just plays a prerecorded message: "go check nagios!"


If I'm not mistaken, messages for one-way pagers are broadcasted from
every transmitter in the pager's compagny service area. Couldn't this
be a security issue ?

* David Ulevitch <> [2008-04-16 19:18]:

What else are operators doing to get the pages out when things go wonky?

a UMTS/3G card, that just attaches a usb controller (ohci) and a
usb-serial converter behind it (ubsa), and a "modem" behind that takes
AT commands. the commands are even somewhat standardized. Add a bit of
kermit and shell scripting around and you have a very reliable
out-of-band notification mechanism.