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I have the hex string for the SMS bearer data, GSM MAP, etc part of a network capture. Rather than providing an entire capture file to the Wireshark application, I just want to provide the hex stream of the SMS bearer data for decoding. Does Wireshark provide tools or an API for such a task?

For example, below I have provided the hex string for the GSM Mobile Application and GSM SMS TPDU parts of a packet capture. It is an SMS-SUBMIT request which I have manually decoded.


    GTT: 1951009088102300
    MSISDN: 1957531052932
    Message Reference (TP-MR): 00
    TP-DA: 2396453000
    Timestamp: 01-09-2014 15:03:23 GMT+0
    Text Message: this is a test from the QA team!

I am hoping that I don't have to go spelunking through ANSI/GSM specification documents, since Wireshark has probably already done that...

asked 09 Jan '14, 08:53

tongerny's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Hi, you can do this with some manual steps:

  • put your hex string in a file following the text2pcap format (
  • in case of GSM SMS, as direction matters (to differentiate a SMS-DELIVER from a SMS-DELIVER REPORT for example) it's better to put it in the text file (see text2pcap -D option description)
  • in Wireshark GUI, click on File -> Import from Hex Dump
  • In the new window, select your file, click on "Direction indication" checkbox in case you put a I or O to indicate the direction, and select a USER 0 to 15 encapsulation type
  • Then go to Edit -> Preferences -> DLT USER and configure the protocol used to decode the user layer type you selected (see For GSM SMS, the protocol name is gsm_sms and for GSM MAP, it is gsm_map

Note that to call directly the GSM SMS dissector, you need to use a Wireshark 1.11.2 or later development version.

Good luck,


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answered 10 Jan '14, 08:46

Pascal%20Quantin's gravatar image

Pascal Quantin
accept rate: 30%

Nice! It worked. Thanks.

I do have another related question though. Can this be done using a command line tool?

For example, I would like to be able to display GSM MAP in human readable format via a Perl script. As a debugging tool.

(10 Jan '14, 12:24) tongerny

Yes it can be done using a small script / program. You need to:

(10 Jan '14, 13:24) Pascal Quantin
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question asked: 09 Jan '14, 08:53

question was seen: 10,713 times

last updated: 10 Jan '14, 13:26

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