Simple Network Paging Protocol - Version 2
RFC 1645

Document Type RFC - Informational (July 1994; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1861
Obsoletes RFC 1568
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                           A. Gwinn
Request for Comments: 1645                 Southern Methodist University
Obsoletes: 1568                                                July 1994
Category: Informational

               Simple Network Paging Protocol - Version 2

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
   does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
   this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

   This RFC suggests a simple way for delivering both alphanumeric and
   numeric pages (one-way) to radio paging terminals.  Gateways
   supporting this protocol, as well as SMTP, have been in use for
   several months for nationwide paging and messaging.  In addition,
   email filters and SNPP client software for Unix and Windows are
   available at no cost.  Please contact the author for more
   information.

   Earlier versions of this specification were reviewed by IESG members
   and the "822 Extensions" Working Group.  They preferred an alternate
   strategy, as discussed under "Relationship to Other IETF Work",
   below.

1. Introduction

   Beepers are as much a part of computer nerdom as X-terminals
   (perhaps, unfortunately, more).  The intent of Simple Network Paging
   Protocol is to provide a standard whereby pages can be delivered to
   individual paging terminals.  The most obvious benefit is the
   elimination of the need for modems and phone lines to produce
   alphanumeric pages, and the added ease of delivery of pages to
   terminals in other cities or countries.  Additionally, automatic page
   delivery should be somewhat more simplified.

2. System Philosophy

   Radio paging is somewhat taken for granted, because of the wide
   availability and wide use of paging products.  However, the actual
   delivery of the page, and the process used (especially in wider area
   paging) is somewhat complicated.  When a user initiates a page, by
   dialing a number on a telephone, or entering an alphanumeric page
   through some input device, the page must ultimately be delivered to

Gwinn                                                           [Page 1]
RFC 1645                    SNPP - Version 2                   July 1994

   some paging terminal, somewhere.  In most cases, this delivery is
   made using TAP (Telocator Alphanumeric input Protocol, also known as
   IXO).  This protocol can be a somewhat convoluted, and complicated
   protocol using older style ASCII control characters and a non-
   standard checksumming routine to assist in validating the data.

   Even though TAP is widely used throughout the industry, there are
   plans on the table to move to a more flexible "standard" protocol
   referred to as TME (Telocator Message Entry Protocol).  The level two
   enhancements to SNPP (as described below) are intended for use with
   this forthcoming standard.

   However, acknowledging the complexity and flexibility of the current
   protocols (or the lack thereof), the final user function is quite
   simple: to deliver a page from point-of-origin to someone's beeper.
   That is the simple, real-time function that the base protocol
   attempts to address.  Validation of the paging information is left
   completely up to the paging terminal, making an SNPP gateway a direct
   "shim" between a paging terminal and the Internet.

3. Why not just use Email and SMTP?

   Email, while quite reliable, is not always timely.  A good example of
   this is deferred messaging when a gateway is down. Suppose Mary Ghoti
   (fish@hugecompany.org) sends a message to Zaphod Beeblebrox's beeper
   (5551212@pager.pagingcompany.com). Hugecompany's gateway to the
   Internet is down causing Mary's message to be deferred.  Mary,
   however, is not notified of this delay because her message has not
   actually failed to reach its destination.  Three hours later, the
   link is restored, and (as soon as sendmail wakes up) the message is
   sent.  Obviously, if Mary's page concerned a meeting that was
   supposed to happen 2 hours ago, there will be some minor
   administrative details to work out between Mary and Zaphod!

   On the other hand, if Mary had used her SNPP client (or simply
   telnetted to the SNPP gateway), she would have immediately discovered
   the network problem.  She would have decided to invoke plan "B" and
   call Zaphod's pager on the telephone, ringing him that way.

   The obvious difference here is not page delivery, but the immediate
   notification of a problem that affects your message. Standard email
   and SMTP, while quite reliable in most cases, cannot be positively
   guaranteed between all nodes at all times, making it less desirable
   for emergency or urgent paging.  This inability to guarantee delivery
   could, whether rightly or wrongly, place the service provider in an
   uncomfortable position with a client who has just received his or her
   emergency page, six hours too late.
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