How to install kannel sms gateway on Debian Linux for nagios SMS notifications

What you will learn

In this article, you will learn how to install kannel server on Debian and integrate it to a Nagios server for sms notifications. We asume that the reader already has a working Nagios server and we will focus on Kannel installation and its integration with Nagios.


  • Privileged access to your Debian server
  • SMPP account or USB modem
  • A Nagios server
  • Privileged access to your Nagios server




# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Setting up Kannel

using kannel for nagios sms alerts

Install Kannel

The installation of kannel is simply done through apt-get command:

# apt-get install kannel

Initial configuration

After having installed kannel, we will put in place an initial configuration before going further.
Let’s backup the default configuration file and create ours.

$ cd /etc/kannel/
# mv kannel.conf kannel.conf.bak
# touch kannel.conf

Now let’s open the configuration file

# vi /etc/kannel/kannel.conf

And fill it with the following content

group = core
admin-port = 13000
admin-password = [password for kannel admin]
status-password = [password to get kannel status]
wdp-interface-name = "*"
log-file = "/var/log/kannel/kannel.log"
log-level = 0
access-log = "/var/log/kannel/access.log"
smsbox-port = 13001

group = smsbox
bearerbox-host =
sendsms-port = 13002
log-file = "/var/log/kannel/smsbox.log"

group = sendsms-user
username = [username for sending sms]
password = [password for sending sms]

Switch Kannel to smsbox mode

By default Kannel works as a wapbox, but in our case we want it to function as smsbox.
To do so, we will edit /etc/default/kannel

# vi /etc/default/kannel

Comment START_WAPBOX=1 and uncomment START_SMSBOX=1


Create a SMSC

For Kannel to be able to send text messages, it must use a SMSC (Short Message Service Center). Thus we need to create a SMSC configuration.

Using a SMPP account

If we want to send sms via a SMPP account, then we will add the following lines to /etc/kannel/kannel.conf:

group = smsc
smsc = smpp
smsc-id = smsc1
system-type = "VMA"
host = xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx
port = xxxx
smsc-username = "username"
smsc-password = "password"

Please adapt the configuration, using the values that your provider has given to you.

Using a USB modem

If we want to send sms via a USB modem, then we need to install wvdial:

# apt-get install wvdial

After installation, we will run wvdialconf to detect the USB modem and generate its suitable configuration.

# wvdialconf

Now we will add these lines to /etc/kannel/kannel.conf:

group = modems
id = myusbmodem
init-string = "ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0"
message-storage = "SM"
need-sleep = true

group = smsc
smsc = at
smsc-id = smsc2
my-number = [SIM card]
sms-center = [sms center number]
device = /dev/ttyUSB1
speed = 9600
sim-buffering = true

Restart Kannel

When all the configurations are done, we need to restart Kannel:

# service kannel restart

Useful Kannel URLs

To send SMS:

http://kannel_server_ip_address:13002/cgi-bin/sendsms?username=username_for_sending_sms&password=password_for_sending_sms&smsc=smsc-id_to_use&to=phone_number_1 phone_number_2&text=message_content

To check Kannel status:


To open Kannel admin page:


Integrating Kannel with Nagios

The Kannel server is ready and now we need to tell Nagios to use it for sms alert.

Create nagios commands for sms alert

Edit commands.cfg

# vi /usr/local/nagios/etc/objects/commands.cfg

And add this:

define command{
command_name    notify-host-by-sms
command_line    /usr/bin/curl http://kannel_server_ip_address:13002/cgi-bin/sendsms?username=username_for_sending_sms&password=password_for_sending_sms&smsc=smsc-id_to_use&to=$CONTACTPAGER&text=$HOSTNAME$ is $HOSTSTATE$
define command{
command_name    notify-service-by-sms
command_line    /usr/bin/curl http://kannel_server_ip_address:13002/cgi-bin/sendsms?username=username_for_sending_sms&password=password_for_sending_sms&smsc=smsc-id_to_use&to=$CONTACTPAGER&text=$HOSTALIAS$/$SERVICEDESC$ is $SERVICESTATE$


  • Please adapt the values in the URL except $CONTACTPAGER, $HOSTNAME$, $HOSTSTATE$, $HOSTALIAS$, $SERVICEDESC$ and $SERVICESTATE$
  • We have used curl, so if it’s not available on your system, you need to install it
# apt-get install curl

Add notification commands to contacts

Edit commands.cfg

# vi /usr/local/nagios/etc/objects/commands.cfg

And in the contact section, add this:

service_notification_commands notify-service-by-sms
host_notification_commands notify-host-by-sms
pager [phone_number]