In our mobile-device and digitally driven world, sending dozens of text messages per day is second nature to most of us. The average American spends approximately 32 texts per day. Most of us take it for granted these days but have you considered how SMS messaging works, why it's so popular, and how it compares to other text messaging applications and protocols?

Defining SMS and MMS Messages

SMS (Short Message Service) text messages have been moving across cellular networks for over twenty-five years. The first message was "Merry Christmas" between devices on the Vodafone network. SMS is one of the oldest texting technologies, and the most commonly used. Over 8.5 trillion of the messages are sent per year in the United States alone.

SMS messages are sent "between" phone protocols and can be up to 160 characters in length. These characters need to be those from the GSM 7-bit alphabet. Apple and Goole Messaging apps convert SMS messages into MMS (Multimedia Message Service) messages. In some cases, messages are received and sent as MMS messages automatically, though device users sometimes need to configure their devices to do so. SMS messages are strictly text messages, while MMS messages can include images, video and/or audio.

Mapping and Routing SMS Messages

For SMS messages to travel between your device and that of the person receiving your message, there are a number of steps which take place:

  • Your carrier's control center maps the route between the devices which send and receive the message. This mapped route includes towers, antennae, and transmitters, which transmit signals through radio waves at a defined frequency.
  • These radio waves travel two and from devices at the same time. Devices sometimes have to "work harder" to send signals to towers and other network infrastructure while the device is traveling between cells when devices are inside buildings.
  • Messages moving across signals are sent from cellular towers to mobile switching centers, which distribute messages between carriers, or to devices on the same carrier network based on the device's phone number and unique signature. if a device is not powered on or accessible by a carrier switching center, the message is stored in the switching center until the device is discovered again.

SMS messages are sent across your cellular network like traditional phone calls, whereas MMS and other messaging formats are transmitted through Wifi, your data plan, or other network connectivity format.

How 8x8 Virtual Office Enhances SMS and Instant Messaging

Your mobile device likely has multiple messaging apps which send MMS messages, such as Unified Communications apps like 8x8 Virtual Office Mobile and Desktop. 8x8 Virtual Office Instant Messaging (IM) transmits messages between extensions on a common PBX (Private Branch Exchange, think company phone network). IM Messages are like MMS messages, so they can be longer than 160 characters, and allow for click to call connections on the same PBX.

8x8 Virtual Office SMS services send messages of up to 160 characters to any mobile device in the US or Canada which is equipped to send and receive SMS messages. Virtual Office on mobile, desktop and laptop devices can send and receive both IM and SMS messages. The Virtual Office application and network infrastructure provide a highly secure environment for your internal Instant Messaging and SMS transmissions. They ensure reliable message distribution within North America, and to receive SMS messages from around the world.

What about Other Messaging Apps on My Phone?

iMessage on iPhone devices are not technically SMS messages, even though they are often combined into SMS message counts by some. Android Messenger and Apple Messenger also combine SMS and MMS transmissions in a single conversation stream. Though your company's employees can continue to use the messaging functions of native apps on their phones, they won't have the same context, security, or integration into apps like CRM which Virtual Office provides.

Internal and external conversations take many forms in the digital age, be they through voice, video, or text messages. 8x8 Virtual Office Unified Communications applications bring all of these forms of communication together on a single cohesive, intuitive interface, which provides security, ease of access and integration with your business technology.

How does SMS messaging work you asked? With 8x8 Virtual Office solutions, it works seamlessly with voice, video and instant messaging.

Collaboration is key to the success of any business. Whether you are using the Virtual Office Mobile app or the 8x8 Virtual Office desktop app, 8x8 makes collaboration quick and simple. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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