What Are SMS Gateways?

sms-gateways Credit: Dean Belcher/Stone/Getty Images

SMS, or Short Message Service, gateways allow computers to send and receive SMS messages, also known as text messages, over a telecommunications network. These messages are often routed to mobile devices and/or sent via email.

Gateway software providers make agreements with different mobile networks for the transmission of their clients' SMS messages. These providers are known as aggregators. When a mobile device receives an SMS message, it then sends back a report to the aggregator to document any errors.

Some programs, such as AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger and Skype, include SMS capabilities. Certain client email programs, such as Microsoft Outlook, are equipped with their own SMS Gateway and do not need an aggregator.