Tag Archives: Message

SIP SIMPLE – Instant Messaging with SIP

People think SIP they think VoIP & phone calls, but SIP it’s the Phone Call Initiation Protocol it’s the Session Initiation Protocol – Sure VoIP guys like me love SIP, but it’s not just about VoIP.

Have you sent an SMS on a modern mobile phone recently? Chances are you sent a SMS over SIP using SIP MESSAGE method.

So let’s look a bit at SIP SIMPLE, the catchily titled acronym translates to Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (Admittedly less catchy in it’s full form).

There’s two way SIP SIMPLE can be used to implement Instant Messaging, Paging Mode with each message sent as a single transaction, and Session Mode where a session is setup between users and IMs exchanged with the same Call ID / transaction.

I’m going to cover the Paging Mode implementation because it’s simpler easier to understand.

Before we get too far this is another example of confusing terminology, let’s just clear this up; According to the RFC any SIP request is a SIP Message, like a SIP OPTIONS message, a SIP INVITE message. But the method of a SIP INVITE message is INVITE, the method of a SIP OPTIONS message is OPTIONS. There’s a SIP MESSAGE method, meaning you can send a SIP MESSAGE message using the MESSAGE method. Clear as mud? I’ll always refer to the SIP Method in Capitals, like MESSAGE, INVITE, UPDATE, etc.


The basis of using SIP for instant messaging relies on the MESSAGE method, laid out in RFC 3428.

The SIP MESSAGE method looks / acts very similar to a SIP INVITE, in that it’s got all the standard SIP headers, but also a Message Body, in which our message body lives (funny about that), typically we’ll send messages using the Content-Type: text/plain to denote we’re sending a plaintext message.

Example MESSAGE Message Flow

Like a SIP OPTIONS Method, the MESSAGE method is simply answered with a 200 OK (No Ack).

Let’s have a look at how the MESSAGE message looks:

MESSAGE sip:[email protected] SIP/2.0
Via: SIP/2.0/TCP user1pc.domain.com;branch=z9hG4bK776sgdkse
Max-Forwards: 70
From: sip:[email protected];tag=49583
To: sip:[email protected]
Call-ID: [email protected]
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Length: 18

Hello world.

After receiving the SIP MESSAGE message, the recipient simply sends back a 200 OK with the same Call-ID.

Simple as that.

You can read more about the SIP MESSAGE method in RFC 3428.

I used the SIP MESSAGE method in a Kamailio Bytes example recently where I sent a MESSAGE to an IP phone when a HTTP GET was run against Kamailio, and again to send an alert when an emergency services destination was called.

Kamailio Bytes – SIP UAC Module to act as a UAC / SIP Client

Kamailio is a great SIP proxy, but sometimes you might want to see requests originate from Kamailio.

While this isn’t typical proxy behaviour, RFC definitions of a proxy and technical requirements are often two different things. The UAC module allows us to use Kamailio to act as a User Agent Client instead of just a UAS.

There’s one feature I won’t cover in this post, and that’s initiating and outbound SIP Registration using the UAC module, that will get a post of it’s own in the not to distant future.

You may already be sort of using Kamailio is a UAC, if you’re using Dispatcher and sending SIP Pings, then Kamailio is sending SIP OPTIONS messages to the dispatcher destinations. If you’re using the NAT module and sending Keepalives, then you’re also using Kamailio as a UAC. The only difference is the Dispatcher and NAT Helper modules do this for us, and we’re going to originate our own traffic.

There’s a bit of a catch here, when Kamailio receives a request it follows a set of logic and does something with that request. We’re going to remain constrained by this for our example, just to keep things simple.

So let’s work on an example, if a user on our network dials a call to an emergency services number, we’ll send a text message to my IP phone to let me know who’s dialed the emergency services number.

So to start with we’ll need to load the Kamailio UAC module, using LoadModule as we would with any other module:

loadmodule "uac.so"

If you’re working on the default config file that ships with Kamailio you’ll probably have to change how record routing is handled to support UAC,

modparam("rr", "append_fromtag", 1)

Now we should have UAC support added in Kamailio, I’m going to do a bare bones example of the routing logic below, but obviously if you wanted to put this into practice in real life you’d want to actually route the SIP INVITE to an emergency services destination.

First we’ll need to find if the request is an INVITE with the Request URI to an emergency services number, I’ve programmed this in with the Australian emergency services numbers:

if(is_method("INVITE") && ($rU == "000" or $tU == "112" or $tU == "116")){      
  #Matches any INVITEs with the Request URI to Address as 000, 112 or 116
  xlog("Emergency call from $fU to $rU (Emergency number) CSeq is $cs ");

Now calls to 000, 112 or 116 will see the alert apear in Xlog:

07:22:41 voice-dev3 /usr/sbin/kamailio[10765]: ERROR: : Emergency call from Test to 112 (Emergency number)

So next up we need to handle the sending a SIP MESSAGE request to my IP phone on the IP – You’re probably thinking we could use the Registrar module to lookup my registered IP address, and you’re right, but to keep things simple I’m just hardcoding it in.

So to keep our routing neat we’ll send calls to the route route(“EmergencyNotify”); and so the demo works I’ll send back a 200 OK and exit – In real life you’d want to handle this request and forward it onto emergency services.

if(is_method("INVITE") && ($rU == "000" or $tU == "112" or $tU == "116")){      
#Matches any INVITEs with the Request URI to Address as 000, 112 or 116
  xlog("Emergency call from $fU to $rU (Emergency number) CSeq is $cs ");
  #You obviously would want this to route to an emergency services destination...
  sl_reply("200", "ok");

  #Matches everything else
  xlog("Just a regular call from $fU to $rU");

Obviously we need to now create a route called route[“EmergencyNotify”]{ } where we’ll put our UAC logic.

For the UAC module we need to craft the SIP Request we’re going to send; we’re going to be sending a SIP MESSAGE request,

  xlog("Emergency Notify Route");
  $uac_req(furi)="sip:Emergency Alert";
  $uac_req(hdrs)="Subject: Emergency Alert\r\n";
  $uac_req(hdrs)=$uac_req(hdrs) + "Content-Type: text/plain\r\n";
  $uac_req(body)="Emergency call from " + $fU + " on IP Address " + $si + " to " + $rU + " (Emergency Number)";

So now we’ve sort of put it all together, when a call comes into an emergency destination, like 000, the route EmergencyNotify is called which sends a SIP MESSAGE request to my IP Phone to alert me.

When a caller dials 000 I can see Kamailio sends a SIP MESSAGE to my IP Phone:

Let’s have a look at how this looks on my IP Phone:

I’ve fleshed out the code a little more to handle SIP REGISTER requests etc, and put the full running code on GitHub which you can find here.