Latency and Error Monitoring for SMPP

A telecom service provider works with a TV network customer using SMS shortcodes for voting on a televised competition to assure accurate vote counts and avoid public humiliation.

The Problem

A television production company that uses SMS short code message voting has noticed an unusual drop off in votes involving several of its television programs. The production company's application server receives HTTP callbacks from the network provider's SMS API for vote tallying.


Network providers provide network APIs which include access to their SMS services. Additionally, SMS aggregators provide global SMS services through a common API. This eliminates the complexity of interfacing to several different network providers. Typical access to the SMS API is via HTTP or direct SMPP. ExtraHop's ability to decode these protocols provides unparallelled visibility across the entire delivery chain of these SMS shortcode systems.

Desired Outcome

  • Determine the cause of the unexpected drop in voting volume
  • Assure that all votes being submitted via SMS shortcode are being counted
  • Remedy the issue of lost votes so that the outcome of the competition is not affected by SMS shortcode votes being lost due to tech issues.

SMS is a large revenue driver for network operators, SMS aggregators, and businesses worldwide. SMS short codes are used by many businesses in their marketing campaigns to engage customers through methods such as voting campaigns, subscription requests, information requests, and more.

The Solution

Fortunately, the ExtraHop platform was deployed by the network provider. Using the ExtraHop platform, the network provider was able to quickly see HTTP callback errors from the 3rd party application server. Since Extrahop stores the wire data metrics, they were also able to recover the vote tallies. They continued to use ExtraHop to tally votes while their developers worked on fixing the issue with the application server.

User Impact

The production company and network provider were able to quickly recover the short code votes, resume vote tallying, and avoid public embarrassment.

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