How Reliable are Cell Phones? Cellular phones and pagers are part of "now" generation, instant contact, anywhere at any time. People are looking for convenience, comfort and security. The question is how instantaneous and reliable is contact?
Talking with someone is main use for a cell phone, yet due to poor reception how often do calls not go through, or important calls "dropped" due to flaky coverage? Let us not forget, that in a time of tragedy, lines were congested and resounding "all circuits busy" messages were heard from coast to coast. There is certainly room for improvement if you want to reach out and touch someone.
The alternative to voice communication is traditional text messaging, enjoyed by young as SMS, a 'hip' communication method, and older as tried and true paging, a trustworthy means of communication. A carrier receives pages or text messages via a traditional dial up modem or Internet connection to their terminal, and then broadcasts messages over their network to appropriate wireless device. How instant is sending a text message? The answer might surprise you...it depends.
Traditional means of sending text messages is surprisingly reliable and fast. However, many cellular carriers, wishing to merge technologies while keeping costs down, have opted to utilize email technology to send text messages. Why not, an email is nothing more than a text message, using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). On surface this sounds like a great idea, nearly everyone has email access, and use of Internet streamlines sending of messages.
What is often overlooked, is fact that email was not designed to be time sensitive. There can be significant delays and an instantaneous receipt can be lost when sending email to a pager or cell phone. Text messages sent via email protocol SMTP could take a more scenic delivery route. While in many cases, receiving messages in a timely fashion is not critical; some industries require and benefit from receipt of urgent messages. It is therefore important to realize and make a distinction between protocols that are designed for instantaneous communication and those that are not.