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Wireless Application Protocol

Wireless Application Protocol ( WAP) is a suite of communicaiton protocols for the wireless and mobile devices designed to access the internet independant of manufacturer, vendor, and technology.

The WAP was developed by the WAP Forum, a consortium of device manufacturers, service providers, content providers, and application developers. WAP bridges the gap between the mobile world and the Internet as well as corporate intranets and offers the ability to deliver an unlimited range of mobile value-added services to subscribers—independent of their network, bearer, and terminal. Mobile subscribers can access the same wealth of information from a pocket-sized device as they can from the desktop. WAP is a global standard and is not controlled by any single company. Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, and Unwired Planet founded the WAP Forum in the summer of 1997 with the initial purpose of defining an industry-wide specification for developing applications over wireless communications networks.

The WAP specifications define a set of protocols in application, session, transaction, security, and transport layers, which enable operators, manufacturers, and applications providers to meet the challenges in advanced wireless service differentiation and fast/flexible service creation. There are now over one hundred members representing terminal and infrastructure manufacturers, operators, carriers, service providers, software houses, content providers, and companies developing services and applications for mobile devices. For more information, visit the WAP Forum at http://www.wapforum.org .

WAP also defines a wireless application environment (WAE) aimed at enabling operators, manufacturers, and content developers to develop advanced differentiating services and applications including a microbrowser, scripting facilities, e-mail, World Wide Web (WWW)–to-mobile-handset messaging, and mobile-to-telefax access.

The WAP Architecture
There are three major parts of a WAP-enabled system :
1. WAP Gateway
2. HTTP Web Server 
3. WAP Device

WAP Gateway
WAP gateway acts as mediator between Cellular device and HTTP or HTTPS web server. WAP gateway routes requests from the client (Cellular Phones) to an HTTP (or Web) server. The WAP gateway can be located either in a telecom network or in a computer network (an ISP).
The HTTP Web Server
Receive the request from WAP Gateway and process the request and finally sends the output to the WAP Gateway, which in turn the sends this information to the WAP device using it's wireless network.
The WAP Device
Wap device (Cellular phones) is part of wireless network. WAP Device sends the WAP request to the WAP Gateway, which in turn translates WAP requests to WWW requests, so the WAP client is able to submit requests to the Web server. After receiving the response from the the HTTP Web Server, WAP Gateway translates Web responses into WAP responses or a format understood by the WAP client and sends it to the WAP Device.

WAP Protocol Stack
For those of you who want to understand the deep down, nitty-gritty of the WAP, here''s a quick summary. The WAP relies on stacked architecture, as does Unix, Windows NT, and most other newer technologies. Because wireless devices have limited memory, some layers of the stack have been offloaded to the WAP gateway (which is part of the service providers'' system). The layers, from top to bottom, are:

  • the application layer, which relies on the Wireless Application Environment (WAE)

  • the session layer, which relies on the Wireless Session Protocol (WSP)

  • the transaction layer, which relies on the Wireless Transaction Protocol (WTP)

  • the security layer, which relies on the Wireless Transport Layer Security (WLTS)

  • the transport layer

  • and the network layer.

WAP Benifits:

Operators: New applications can be introduced quickly and easily without the need for additional infrastructure or modifications to the phone. This will allow operators to differentiate themselves from their competitors with new, customized information services. WAP is an interoperable framework, enabling the provision of end-to-end turnkey solutions that will create a lasting competitive advantage, build consumer loyalty, and increase revenues.

Content Providers : Applications will be written in wireless markup language (WML), which is a subset of extensible markup language (XML). Using the same model as the Internet, WAP will enable content and application developers to grasp the tag-based WML that will pave the way for services to be written and deployed within an operator's network quickly and easily. As WAP is a global and interoperable open standard, content providers have immediate access to a wealth of potential customers who will seek such applications to enhance the service offerings given to their own existing and potential subscriber base.

End Users: End users of WAP will benefit from easy, secure access to relevant Internet information and services such as unified messaging, banking, and entertainment through their mobile devices. Intranet information such as corporate databases can also be accessed via WAP technology. Because a wide range of handset manufacturers already supports the WAP initiative, users will have significant freedom of choice when selecting mobile terminals and the applications they support. Users will be able to receive and request information in a controlled, fast, and low-cost environment, a fact that renders WAP services more attractive to consumers who demand more value and functionality from their mobile terminals.

 

WAP Resources

WAP Forum Home Page

WAP Forum FAQs

Opensource WAP Gateway

WAP Tutorials

IEC WAP Tutorial

WAP / WML Tutorial

WAP / GPRS Settings for UK Mobile networks : O2, Orange, British Telecom (BT), Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin, Three, Tesco

WAP/GPRS Settings:

Nokia Support Settings (MMS/WAP/GPRS)