15 August 2013

Fixing the "smsbox_list empty" error in Kannel

I got this error even though I had an smsbox defined. 

Unfortunately I had forgotten to create the smsbox-route group, so this is a very quick fix:

#---------------------------------------------
## SMS ROUTING
##---------------------------------------------
group = smsbox-route
smsbox-id = mainbox
smsc-id = ztemodem-smsc-group
sim-buffering = false
... continues ...

Just make sure the id's matchup, so my smsbox group begins with this:
#---------------------------------------------
## SMS BOX
##---------------------------------------------
group = smsbox
smsbox-id = mainbox
... continues ...

And my SMSC looks like this:
#---------------------------------------------
## GSM MODEM SMSC
##---------------------------------------------
group = smsc
smsc-id = ztemodem-smsc-group
... continues ...

This successfully cleared the "smsbox_list empty" error and allowed messages to be delivered properly. Kannel had until then been able to send messages and receive delivery reports, but was not reading messages stored on the SIM.

I've included sim-buffering = false in the above config because some people on the kannel mailing list suggested experimenting with it.

Also, the "message-storage" tag in my modem definition is set to "sm". Some people suggested trying it on "me", but this didn't solve the problem for me and setting to "sm" now works.
Tip

14 August 2013

Setting up a Kannel SMS centre on a Raspberry Pi with a K3565-Z modem

Our office (who wants me to mention how awesome they are) had a need for a means to send/receive automated sms messages relating to online banking. We decided to give a Raspberry Pi the job and so I have had the fun of setting it all up.

First off I installed Rasbian ( http://www.raspbian.org/ ) which is a Debian fork and is sufficiently easy to do following the guide on eLinux ( here ) which is linked to from the Raspberry Pi project website downloads page.

Next came a standard LAMP stack install.  I needed to have a web-server running because we will be running a management package on the box to track messages etc.

Next came Kannel.  I used the default package available from the Rasbian repositories so there was no need for fiddling.

My kannel.conf file was the next hurdle.  For the most part this is pretty easy to set up from the examples given on Kannel's site and elsewhere on the web.  I want to just mention the modem part, which was perhaps the most challenging part of this endeavour:

 #---------------------------------------------                
 ## GSM MODEM SMSC  
 ##---------------------------------------------   
 group = smsc  
 smsc = at  
 smsc-id = ztemodem-smsc-group  
 device = /dev/gsmmodem  
 log-level = 0  
 connect-allow-ip = "127.0.0.1; localhost; 192.168.3.*"  
 modemtype = auto  
 speed = 9600  
 my-number =   
 sms-center = +27831000113  
 #validityperiod = 167  
 alt-charset = "ASCII"  
 #---------------------------------------------                
 ## MODEM DEFINITION  
 ##---------------------------------------------   
 group = modems  
 id = vodafone  
 name = "vodafone"  
 detect-string = "ZTE INCORPORATED"  
 message-storage = sm  
 init-string = "ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0"  

Note that I've set an init string explicitly. This is because I was getting the "got +CMT but pdu_extract failed" error consistently when I sent a message. I obtained that init string by using wvdialconf, so if you have a modem other than the K3565-Z you might be able to use it to get your init string. Apparently it's not required for all modems though.

Ah, but I'm missing the best part... how do you actually get the modem to be a modem? The K3565-Z is a "zerocd" modem. When you plug it into a Windows box it mounts as a CD-ROM, installs drivers, which then flip it into being a modem.

To illustrate here is the output of lsusb on the Raspberry with the modem as it is on powerup:

 Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9512 Standard Microsystems Corp.  
 Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub  
 Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp.  
 Bus 001 Device 004: ID 19d2:2000 ZTE WCDMA Technologies MSM MF627/MF628/MF628+/MF636+ HSDPA/HSUPA  

And here is the output after using usb_modeswitch -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf to flip it into a modem:

 Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9512 Standard Microsystems Corp.  
 Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub  
 Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp.  
 Bus 001 Device 006: ID 19d2:0063 ZTE WCDMA Technologies MSM K3565-Z HSDPA  

Note that the device product has changed, as well as the description. I am not sure why but the stick was never mounted as a cdrom for me, so I could not eject it to flip its state. So I had to use usb_modeswitch to do it.

 sudo usb_modeswitch -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf  

I found the correct settings for this on a forum (here ) which also gives some useful information on how to accomplish the flip. You need to append the following snippet to your /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf file.

 #######################################################  
 # ZTE-K3565 , VODAFONE BITE GSM  
 # Gediminas Simanskis  
 # www.edevices.lt  
 DefaultVendor= 0x19D2  
 DefaultProduct= 0x2000  
 TargetVendor= 0x19D2  
 TargetProduct= 0x0052  
 MessageEndpoint=0x01  
 MessageContent="5553424308E0CC852400000080000C85000000240000000000000000000000"  

You will need to experiment on finding the best way to execute the flipping, but this is really the only complication in the setup.

Tip