ANU SMS setup

johnboy 25 April 2007 31

The ABC has a a story on the ANU’s grand plans to get every student’s mobile phone number into their emergency messaging system.

A death sentence for all the inconsiderate bastards who can’t be arsed maintaining a phone?

Outstanding!


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Sammy Sammy 12:43 pm 28 Apr 07

which would have an image or sound that could be used to verify the authenticity of the message

And someone couldn’t just forge the sound/image in a fake MMS?

Hasdrubahl Hasdrubahl 6:50 pm 26 Apr 07

Animal husbandry?

schmerica_ schmerica_ 5:20 pm 26 Apr 07

Its Schmerica first off, and I didn’t have a choice. They don’t have my degree at the ANU.

terry_wrist terry_wrist 4:01 pm 26 Apr 07

Delays and the time it takes for a message to be dispatched are reliant on many factors. Local network load, individual cell tower usage and back-end capacity such as the servers which the message goes through.

One also has to question what form of message the ANU will use. If they use just plain SMS, then anyone can send prank warnings. So they may use MMS, which would have an image or sound that could be used to verify the authenticity of the message. IF they were to use MMS, the we are no longer talking a few bytes (i think about 64byts for a full SMS), but a few kilobytes. That may not sound like a lot, but when you multiply it by 15,000… you have a massive influx of data on to the network.

The point I think though is not to get the message out to every single person, but rather to get the message out to a broad group, from whom others can hear the news. All you need are a few dozen people on campus, in Civic and around the CBD and the message will soon spread.

LlamaFrog LlamaFrog 3:44 pm 26 Apr 07

Yea Schmeria, but that is UC, and really does anybody care about UC? compared to ANU it really doesn’t matter.

schmerica_ schmerica_ 3:21 pm 26 Apr 07

Well, I have friends who recieve text messages days after they were sent. So, it depends on the network your with and I guess your phone. My phone is prone to dropping off the network which is a pain.

At UC, in some lecture theatres you can’t recieve a single bar of reception, good for not being distracted, but I guess bad in case of emergency.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 2:36 pm 26 Apr 07

Is SMS guaranteed delivery? Email, for example, is not.

johnboy johnboy 2:05 pm 26 Apr 07

Maybe jamming up the phone networks is actually part of the plan to reduce public panic!

Spreading the load over the whole network would be better anyway.

Al Al 2:00 pm 26 Apr 07

Caf: there has been some talk about the ACT emergency services establishing an opt-in SMS alert service as one way to get better alert penetration.

caf caf 1:25 pm 26 Apr 07

Why not put the question to the telcos? ANU should have done this themselves, but I’m guessing that they haven’t – because the answer most likely would be along the lines of “the mobile phone network is not designed as an emergency warning system”. SMS traffic is treated as low-priority, I wouldn’t be surprised to see delays of several hours if this was actually used.

There’s a reason that the cops and firies still use push to talk radios.

johnboy johnboy 1:05 pm 26 Apr 07

As is Canberra Stadium, where things bog down just with normal traffic having all those people in the one spot.

bonfire bonfire 1:02 pm 26 Apr 07

anu is covered by several cells, from diff telcos.

all this info is online.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 12:32 pm 26 Apr 07

Bear in mind that SMS can only send 160 characters per message. I’m not sure whether that is in a single data packet or split into several (I couldn’t be assed checking), but it is still a small amount of data in the scheme of things, especially when compared to voice calls. It’s worth noting that in terms of cost per character, SMS is just about the most expensive form of electronic communication on the planet!

johnboy johnboy 10:29 am 26 Apr 07

It still needs to hold the connection open though right? So it’s the capacity of the phone to receive and send back an acknowledgment of receipt that forms the bottleneck?

To say nothing of during a campus wide emergency you’re going to see a *lot* of people trying to use their phones while this flood of messages is going out?

I’m just thinking about the way a big crowd at Canberra Stadium stresses the infrastructure.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 10:26 am 26 Apr 07

To clarify, 15,000 SMS messages with a short period of time (say 15 minutes) should be easily achievable.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 10:22 am 26 Apr 07

15,000 SMS messages won’t tax the mobile comms as much as you think, because they do not have the Quality of Service requirements as for a voice call. That is, a voice call has time requirements for getting the data passed through so the call sounds ok, with SMS it’s just a few characters that can get sent when the space is available. For large scale commercial infrastructure, a single SMS will take considerably less than a couple of seconds.

terry_wrist terry_wrist 6:33 pm 25 Apr 07

true. But would they hear with their iPod headphones at full volume?

Also, during the Blitz, 43,000 civilians had been killed and more than a million houses destroyed or damaged. I suspect the sound only encouraged people to go and see what all the noise was about.

terubo terubo 5:55 pm 25 Apr 07

All far too complicated. This is one instance where we could learn from the past, screw modern technology.

How did they alert hundreds of thousands during the London blitz? With bloody great klaxons everywhere.

I’d have thought that’d be the best answer if ANU wanted to raise a campus-wide alarm.

johnboy johnboy 5:11 pm 25 Apr 07

hmm, if it’s a couple of seconds per message that could be hours of delay.

terry_wrist terry_wrist 4:56 pm 25 Apr 07

Oh, sorry JohnBoy. I though you meant cell as in cell phone.
I’m not sure how many messages can be sent through each cell tower on networks in Australia. However, Vodafone states the following on their website:

“A typical Vodafone base station can accommodate approximately 40-60 simultaneous voice and data signals.”

A message to 15,000 people would therefore cause a sudden traffic jam on the network. Message may be delayed.

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