KBI 310363 Configuring Reliable And Scalable SMS Alerts


Argent Advanced Technology 3.1A-1304-L or above


23 Apr 2013


Argent Advanced Technology 3.1A-1304-L has a much-improved SMS alert implementation. The enhancements are done in all areas of performance, scalability and reliability. It helps both simple implementation of single engine and sophisticated Argent Non-Stop Monitor environment.

  1. Much Faster SMS Alert Of Multiple Phone Numbers

    Sometime user needs to send SMS alerts to multiple phone numbers. In previous version, the SMS alert is sent to each number separately. Due to the overhead of library initialization, it is significantly slower compared to sending the message from cellular phone.

    Argent AT 3.1A-1304-L and later can send the message to the phone numbers in a batch. As result, the performance is much improved.

  2. Enhanced SMS Debugging Facility

    Argent AT 3.1A-1304-L and later implements debug tracing facility for GSM modem. It helps debugging subtle issues that might come up on the field.

  3. Use SMS Email Gateway As Backup

    Most SMS service provider has email gateway so that user can send SMS message through email system. Argent AT 3.1A-1304-L and later implements the email gateway as the backup for SMS alert. AT bundles an email gateway database for major telecom companies in US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. In case that user’s phone company is not in the list, user or Argent Field Engineer can always update the database to make it show up. The database is in flat text file X:\ARGENT\ARGNTCONSOLE\SMS_EMAIL_GATEWAYS.TXT. Each line is in the format of <country><tab><telecom company><tab><email gateway>.

    It is possible to use email gateway solely without GSM modem to send SMS alert. Though it generally does not cost anything to use email gateway, user should understand the implications:

    • The reason that SMS alert is used instead of email alert in the first place is mostly to address user’s concern that he should be notified for important situation even Internet is down.
    • The SMS message sent from email gateway does NOT show your GSM modem number. The format is less pleasing.

    Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to use SMS email gateway as backup. When GSM modem is down due to hardware issue, user can continue receiving the SMS alerts.

  4. Use Argent Console Backup Engine And Alert Executor

    When user has only single main engine, he might want to keep it simple without setting up Argent Non-Stop Monitor environment. In the meantime, he wants some redundancy to have reliable SMS alerts. In this case, he can install an Argent Alert Executor in a separate machine, and attaches the second GSM modem to it.

    To install Argent Alert Executor for this purpose, user should install Argent Alert Executor together with AT client GUI.

    After the Argent Alert Executor and client GUI are installed, start the client GUI to configure Argent Alert Executor. The SMS setup is identical to the one in main engine.

    There are two possibilities that Argent Alert Executor can be used by main engine:

    • User may have both main engine and Argent Alert Executor attached with GSM modems. User intends to fire SMS alerts mainly from main engine. In case that GSM modem at main engine is not working, the one in Argent Alert Executor should be used. For this scenario, user configures COM port on main engine as normal, but specify the Argent Alert Executors (user can have multiple alert executors) in the field ‘Other SMS Engines“.
    • User may not have GSM modem at main engine at all. He wants to use GSM modem at alert executor always. For this scenario, select ‘FORWARD ONLY‘ as COM port at main engine.

    Sometimes user wants a SMS sent out from a specific GSM modem. A typical reason is to avoid long distance call. In this case, user can explicitly configure Relator to fire this SMS alert using a specific Argent Alert Executor.

  5. Argent Non-Stop Monitor

    Argent Non-Stop Monitor provides load balancing and failover naturally. But there is assumption behind that all motors are configured in the same way. In case of SMS configuration, it assumes all motors having same GSM modem attaching to the same COM port etc. In the real world, it might be and might not be the case.

    Argent AT 3.1A-1304-L and later enhances SMS support in two ways.

    • First, assuming all motors having the same configuration. In this case, the SMS messages will be evenly sent out from each motor. When a motor is down or just the GSM modem not working, other motors can continue doing the job and splitting the load evenly.

    • Second, if only some of the motors have GSM modem. It makes no sense letting the motor tries the non-existing modem first then fails over to other motor. Instead, user can explicitly configure the motor not doing SMS. As result, motor can quickly forward the SMS message to other motor to send out.

Technical Background