Wireless Application Protocol - WAP
What Is WAP ?
Mobile world meets cyberspace
A mobile is something that we take along with us where ever we go (unlike our computers) and that is one of the reasons many analysts believe that within three years more people will be accessing the Internet from mobile phones than from office or home computers.
a variety of mobile wireless standards exist today, each have different levels
of data capabilities. Thanks to the developments taking place in all the 2nd
generation mobile wireless data technologies, and the high data speeds being
promised by the 3rd generation systems, the distinction between the
wireless, wireline and the Internet service providers is beginning to blur.
Mobile Internet access surely is poised to be a major commercial success. While
the underlying network technologies keep on evolving, what is going to
differentiate on network from the other is finally the services that it provides
to the end user. Data services provided by the mobile networks are fast becoming
popular and in some countries in Europe people are spending more on mobile data
access compared to voice services. This presents a huge opportunity for the
mobile data service developers.
The issue is that with a range of mobile devices and underlying mobile wireless technologies, developing services specific to each type of equipment and specific to a particular technology is troublesome. An application written for specific equipment and a specific technology wonít work anywhere else. This calls for a standardization, which provides a generic model where applications can be written without keeping in mind the equipment and the technology. On the equipment side, the wireless devices represent the ultimate constrained computing device with:
on the network side, wireless networks are constrained by
most important of all, wireless subscribers have a different set of essential
desires and needs than desktop or even laptop Internet users.
With the emergence of 3G technologies, the constraint on the low data
rates may not be as limiting as it is today but is must be understood clearly
that, as bandwidth increases, the handsetís power consumption also increases
which further taxes the already limited battery life of a mobile device.
Therefore, even as wireless networks improve their ability to deliver higher
bandwidth, the power availability at the handset will still limit the effective
throughput of data to and from the device. A wireless data solution must be able
to overcome these network limitations and still deliver a satisfactory user
The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) addresses the issues mentioned above by introducing the concept of the Internet as a wireless service platform. By addressing the constraints of a wireless environment, and adapt existing Internet technology to meet these constraints, the WAP Forum has succeeded in developing a standard that scales across a wide range of wireless devices and networks. The WAP specifications complement existing wireless standards. For example, the WAP specification does not specify how data should be transmitted over the air interface. Instead, the WAP specification is intended to sit on top of existing bearer channel standards so that any bearer standard can be used with the WAP protocols to implement complete product solutions. It defines a protocol stack that can operate on high latency, low bandwidth networks such as Short Message Service (SMS), or GSM Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel. In addition to being air interface independent, the WAP specification is also independent of any particular device. Instead, it specifies the bare minimum functionality a device must have, and has been designed to accommodate any functionality above that minimum.
WAP specification uses the best of existing standards, and has developed new
extensions where needed. For example, a WAP Gateway communicates with other
Internet nodes using the standard HTTP 1.1 protocol and the wireless handsets
use the standard URL addressing scheme to request services. The WAP forum is
also working with many other standards organizations to develop or modify
standards related to new technologies, which need modifications for wireless
environment. The WAP forum has liaison relationships (or is in the process of
having) with Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), World Wide
Web Consortium (W3C), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF). This ensures that when new standards emerge,
these standards remain compatible with the work of the WAP Forum. For example,
the WAP Forum will be working with the W3C and IETF to ensure future convergence
with HTML-NG (Next Generation) and HTTP-NG specifications, and to provide input
to these groups regarding the requirements of future wireless network
The Wireless Application Protocol is a standard developed by the WAP Forum, a group founded by Nokia, Ericsson, Phone.com (formerly Unwired Planet), and Motorola. The WAP Forum has now expanded to include more than 200 members, including operators, infrastructure suppliers, software developers and content providers.
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