MMSC in CDMA or CDMA2000 Environments

Delivering MMSC functionality in an CDMA or CDMA2000 environment can be challenging because the original WAP specifications for CDMA have technical requirements that require additional SMSC functionality.

(Technical note: CDMA2000 is different from WCDMA. CDMA2000 is an evolutionary upgrade path from CDMA. By contrast, WCDMA is an evolutionary upgrade from GSM/GPRS. CDMA2000 builds upon technical standards already deployed for CDMA, while WCDMA/UMTS builds upon technical standards already deployed for GSM/GPRS.)

MMS Message Notifications are generally sent via WAP Push over WDP (Wireless Datagram Protocol) over SMS. (It is also possible to deliver WAP Push over WDP over IP, but this is generally not practical unless there is an accessible database lookup for phone number to IP address translation. NowSMS currently can facilitate this IP only scenario, but in a way that is only suitable for test lab environments. This capability is described in a separate technical bulletin, and is outside of the scope of this bulletin.)

When a WAP Push message is larger than the network size limit for SMS (140 bytes in a GSM environment, and somewhat variable in CDMA environments), the WAP Push message must be segmented to enable it to be sent over multiple SMS messages.

In GSM environments, User Data Header (UDH) fields have been standardised to support the necessary segmentation, and the UDH parameters for segmentation are well understood and widely supported.

In CDMA environments, no standard for segmentation exists. Therefore, the WAP Forum defined its own standard for the sending of segmented WDP messages in a CDMA environment.

A key requirement of this standard is that each segment of the message must use the same CDMA SMS message id. However, the CDMA SMS message id field is a value that is generated by the SMSC, and cannot be set by an application that is submitting messages to the SMSC, such as an MMSC or WAP Push Proxy Gateway.

The authors of the WAP specification anticipated this limitation and defined a standard for WDP Adaptation over SMPP (WAP-159-WDPWCMPAdapt).

By default, NowSMS generates WAP Push messages (and MMS Notification messages which are based upon WAP Push) using a format that is specific to GSM (and WCDMA/UMTS) environments. However, there is also a configuration option defined on the “Advanced Settings” page of the SMPP configuration properties titled “Use WDP Adaptation for WAP Push and MMS Notifications (required for CDMA)”. This setting is primarily used when connecting to a CDMA based SMSC. When this configuration option is enabled, NowSMS uses a protocol independent format known as “WDP Adaptation”. This is usually the only practical option for delivering WAP Push messages in a CDMA environment. In this case, NowSMS will submit messages to the SMPP server using the “WAP” teleservice (SMPP service type), consistent with the WDP and WCMP Adaptation specification.

By default, even if a WAP push message is longer than 140 bytes, when this option is selected, NowSMS will deliver the complete message in a single submission to the SMSC. NowSMS then expects the SMSC to perform any necessary segmentation for delivering the message over SMS. (This expectation exists because the SMSC must use the same CDMA SMS message id for each segment of the message, and there is no place in the SMPP protocol for NowSMS to specify this message id.)

It is also possible to configure NowSMS to use segmentation for longer messages, even if WDP Adaptation is enabled by checking the “Use TLV parameters for port numbers and segmentation” option. In this case, NowSMS segments on a 140 byte boundary, the same as in GSM environments.

When configuring NowSMS in CDMA environments, segmentation issues are usually the biggest problem, because of the WAP protocol requirement that the SMSC use the same CDMA SMS message id for each segment of the message.

If you experience problems sending WAP Push and/or MMS notifications in a CDMA environment with WDP Adaptation, here are some suggestions:

Verify that the SMSC supports WDP Adaptation (WAP-159-WDPWCMPAdapt). If you are connecting via an independent SMS provider, it is likely that they are not aware of this protocol option, but it is likely to be supported by the CDMA operator’s SMSC.

Instead of troubleshooting by sending MMS messages, try sending simple WAP push messages first. Send a simple WAP push message via the NowSMS web interface, keeping the URL and text relatively short to ensure that the message can be delivered in a single segment. If that works, next try increasing the amount of text in the message. If the message delivery fails with longer WAP push messages, then you will want to take steps to limit the size of MMS notification messages that are generated by the NowSMS MMSC. This can be accomplished with the following suggestions:

  1. Use the shortest possible host name (in number of characters) for the “Local Host Name or IP Address” setting of the MMSC. This host name must be included in the every MMS Notification that is generated by the MMSC. Every byte saved in the host name saves a byte in the size of the resulting notification messages.
  2. If possible, use Port 80 as the “HTTP Port” for the MMSC. If a port other than port 80 is used, it must be appended to the host name when generating the URL.
  3. Edit MMSC.INI, and under the [MMSC] header, add CompactMMSURL=Yes. This setting shortens the length of the dynamic path that is generated when sending MMS messages and will save a few bytes in every MMS notification with no other effect.
  4. Edit MMSC.INI, and under the [MMSC] header, add MMSNotificationNoSubject=Yes. By default, NowSMS will include the message subject in the MMS Notification message. Having the subject present can help someone who has a mobile phone configured for manual message download to determine whether or not they want to download the message. However, the specification does not require the subject to be present in the notification, and omitting it can prevent long MMS notifications.
  5. Edit MMSC.INI, and under the [MMSC] header, add Nokia3510Compatible=No. This setting reduces the size of the MMS notification by approximately 30 bytes, at the expense of compatibility with early model GSM MMS phones (specifically the original Nokia 3510 and Panasonic GD87). These phones did not understand the short form of MMS content type encoding in the MMS header, and required the long form. The MMS specifications do require that the handsets support the short form of this encoding, and technically these early model handsets were non-conformant. While GSM operators may want to maintain compatibility with these early model handsets, this should not be a consideration in CDMA environments.

NowSMS 2006 has also been extended to provide extensions to the HTTP SMSC interface to facilitate MMS and WAP Push in CDMA environments. This functionality is intended primarily for test lab environments (specifically with Agilent’s CDMA test kit), but might also be useful for mobile operators whose SMSCs do not support WDP Adaptation.

To enable this support, define an HTTP SMSC connection in NowSMS as normal.

Next, manually edit the SMSGW.INI, and locate the [HTTP – server:port] section for this HTTP SMSC connection. Under this header, add CDMATemplateWAP=, where this is a URL template to be used for submitting WAP Push messages (MMS notifications are a special type of WAP Push). This URL template is similar to the existing text and binary templates, however you should use the @@CDMAWAPPDU@@ replacement parameter for NowSMS to insert the WAP PDU in CDMA format. (Do not use the @@TEXT@@, @@DATA@@, @@DATABIN@@ or @@UDH@@ parameters!)

By default, NowSMS will segment the CDMA WAP PDU to a size limit of 112 bytes, and issue multiple HTTP requests to submit the message in multiple segments. To change this size limit, specify CDMASizeLimit=### in the same section of the SMSGW.INI file.

An additional replacement parameter, @@CDMAWAPMMTS@@ is available. This parameter will be set to “1” for all segments except the final segment in a multiple segment WAP Push submission. This parameter will be set to “0” in a single segment WAP Push submission, and also in the final segment of a multiple segment WAP Push submission. (“MMTS” stands for “more messages to send”, and is used to indicate that an additional segment will follow. This is necessary because in CDMA, the SMSC must apply the same MESSAGE_ID value to all segments of a multiple segment message.)

If the HTTP SMSC does not support the MMTS flag, then you should follow the advice that was given earlier in this bulletin regarding how to limit the size of the MMS Notification message.

Additionally, ensure that the URL template sets whatever flag is necessary to indicate that the CDMA WAP teleservice should be used.