You are on page 1of 35













Signature of the Signature of the

Lecturer In-charge Head of the Dept.

Mobile Computing and Communications is a

major part of wireless communication technology.
Mobile communication today is a defacto standard by
itself. It commands the single largest share of the
Global wireless technologies in the market. Mobile
communications popularity grew many folds over the
past few years and is still growing to a greater extent.
Through WAP development of Mobile Computing
Applications is becoming easy and affective. It has
also become a foundation for many wireless LAN

This manual will give a brief introduction about

Mobile Computing and summarized study on Mobile

1. Applications of Mobile Communications.

2.Mobile and Wireless Devices.

3.A Simplified Reference Model.

4.Mobile World meets Cyberspace.

5.WAP (wireless application protocol).

6.WAP Communications Protocol & its Components.

7.Future Outlook for WAP.

8.WAP Applications.

9.Wireless LAN
(a) Advantages of WLANs.
(b) Disadvantages of WLANs.

10.Infrastructure and Ad hoc networks.

11.Mobile Network Layer.


Mobile Computing and Communications is useful

for wireless Networks. The study of different versions
will give differences between Mobile Computing and
Communictions, Access Control, Security etc., The
traditional mobile phone only had a simple black and
white text display and could send / receive voice or
short messages. Today, however, mobile phones
migrate more and more toward PDAs. Mobile phones
with full color graphic display, on the internet browser
are available.

1.Mobile Communications book by

2.Web Site From MobileComputing.Com


What will computers look like in ten years, in the next country? No wholly
accurate prediction can be made, but as a general feature, most computers will
certainly be portable. How will users access networks with the help of computers
or other communication devices? An ever-increasing number without any wires,
i.e., wireless. How will people spend much of their time at work, during vacation?
Many people will be mobile already one of the key characteristics of today’s
society. Think, for example, of an aircraft with 800 seats. Modern aircraft already
offer limited network access to passengers, and aircraft of the next generation will
offer easy Internet access. In this scenario, a mobile network moving at high sped
above ground with a wireless link will be the only means of transporting data to an
from passengers. Furthermore, think of cars with Internet access and billions of
embedded processors that have to communicate with for instance cameras, mobile
phones, CD-players, headsets, keyboards, intelligent traffic signs and sensors.

There are two different kinds of mobility: user mobility and device
portability. User mobility refers to a user who has access to the same or similar
telecommunication services at different places, i.e., the user can be mobile, and the
services will follow him or her. Examples for mechanisms supporting user
mobility are simple call-forwarding solutions known from the telephone or
computer desktops supporting roaming (i.e., the desktop looks the same no matter
which computer a user uses to into the network)

With device portability the communication device moves (with or without a user).
Many mechanisms in the network and inside the device have to make sure that
communication is still possible while it is moving. A typical example for systems
supporting device portability is the mobile phone system, where the system itself
hands the device from one radio transmitter (also called a base station) to the next
if the signal become too weak. Most of the scenarios described in this book
contain both user mobility and device portability at the same time.

With regard to devices, the term wireless is used. This only describes the
way of accessing a network or other communication partners, i.e., without a wire.
The wire is replaced by the transmission of electromagnetic waves through the air
(although wireless transmission does not need any medium).

Although wireless networks and mobile communications can be used for many
applications. Some of them are given as follows.

Tomorrow’s cars will comprise many wireless communication systems and
mobility aware applications. Music, news, road conditions, weather reports, and
other broadcast information are received via digital audio broadcasting (DAB) with
1.5 Mbits/s. For personal communication, a global system for mobile
communications (GSM) phone might be available offering voice and data
connectivity with 384 kbits/s. For remote areas satellite communication can be
used, while the current position of the car is determined via global positioning
system (GPS). Additionally, cars driving in the same area build a local adhoc
network for fast information exchange in emergency situations or to help each
other keeping a safe distance. In case of an accident, not only will the airbag be
triggered, but also an emergency call to a service provider informing ambulance
and police. Cars with this technology are already available. Future cars will also
inform other cars about accidents via the ad hoc network to help them slow down
in time, even before a driver can recognize the accident. Buses, trucks, and train
are already transmitting maintenance and logistic information to their home base,
which helps o improve organization (fleet management), and thus save time and

The following figure shows a typical scenario for mobile communications with
many wireless devices. Networks with a fixed infrastructure like cellular phones
(GSM, UMTS) will be interconnected with trucked radio systems(TETRA) and
wireless LANs(WLAN). Additionally, satellite communication links can be used.
The networks between cars and also inside a car will more likely work in an ad hoc
works between cars ad also inside a car will more likely work in an ad hoc fashion.
Wireless pico networks inside a car can comprise PDAs, laptops, or mobile
phones, e.g., connected with each other using the Bluetooth technology.

2. Emergencies:
Just imagine the possiblibities of an ambulance with a high quality wireless
connection to a hospital. After an accident, vital information about injured persons
can be sent to the hospital immediately. There, all necessary steps for this
particular type of accident can be prepared or further specialists can be consulted
for an early diagnosis. Furthermore, wireless networks are the only means of
communication in the case of natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.
Today’s typical traveling salesman needs instant access to the company’s
database: to ensure that the files on his or her labtop reflect the actual state, to
enable the company to keep track of all activities of their traveling employees, to
keep databases consistent etc., with wireless access, the laptop can be turned into a
true mobile office.


Currently, laptops are considered to be the upper end of the mobile device range.
Following list gives some examples of mobile and wireless devices graded by
increasing performance (CPU , Memory , Display , Input devices etc.,)

A very simple wireless device is represented by a sensor transmitting state
information. An example for such a sensor could be a switch sensing the office
door. If the door is closed, the switch transmits this state to the mobile phone
inside the office and the mobile phone will not accept incoming calls. Thus,
without user interaction the semantics of a closed door is applied to phone calls.

A very simple receiver, a pager can only display short text messages, has a
tiny display, and cannot send any messages. Pagers can even be integrated into

Mobile Phones:
The traditional mobile phone only had a simple black and white text display
and could send / receive voice or short messages. Today, however, mobile phones
migrate more and more toward PDAs. Mobile phones with full color graphic
display, on the internet browser are available.

Personal digital assistant:

PDAs typically accompany a user and officer very simple versions of office
software (calendar, notepad, mail). The typical input device is a pen, with built in
character recognition translating hand writing into characters. Web browsers and
many other software packages are already available for these devices.
Palmtop/pocket computer:
The next step toward full computer are pocket computers offering tiny
keyboards, color displays, and simple versions of programs found on desktop
computers (Text processing, Spread Sheets etc.,).

Finally, laptops offer more or less the same performance as standard desktop
computers; use the same software, the only technical difference being size,
Weight, and ability to run on a battery.



Network Network
Data Link Data Link
Data Link
Data Link

Physical Physical

Radio Medium

The above diagram shows a personal digital assistant (PDA) which provides
an example for a wireless and portable device. This PDA communicates with a
base station in the middle of the p9ictue. The base station consists of a radio
transceiver (sender and receiver) and an interworking unit connecting the wireless
link with the fixed link. Finally, on the right-hand side, the communication partner
of the PDA, a conventional computer, is shown.

Underneath each network element (such as PDA, interworking unit,

computer), the figure shows the protocol stack implemented in the system
according to the reference model. End-systems, such as the PDA and computer in
the example, need a full protocol stack co0mprising the application layer, transport
layer, network layer, data link layer, and physical layer. Applications on the end-
systems communicate with each other using the lower layer services. Intermediate
systems, such as the interworking unit, do not necessarily need all of the layers.
The figure shown only shows the network, data link, and physical layers. As
(according to the basic reference model) only entities at the same level
communicate with each other (i.e., transport with transport, network with network),
the end-system applications do not notice the intermediate system directly in this
scenario. The following explain the functions, of each layer in more detail in a
wireless and mobile environment.

Physical Layer:
This lowest layer in a communication system is responsible for the
conversion of a stream of bits into signals that can be transmitted on the sender
side. The physical layer of the receiver then transforms the signals back into a bit
stream. For wireless communication, the physical quency, signal detection
(although heavy interference may disturb the signal), modulation of data onto a
carrier frequency and (depending on the transmission scheme) encryption.

Data Link Layer:

The main tasks of this layer include accessing the medium, multiplexing of
different data streams, correction of transmission errors, and synchronization (i.e.,
detection of a data frame). It is responsible for a reliable point-to-point connection
between two devices or a point-to-multipoint connection between one sender and
several receivers.

Network Layer:
This third layer is responsible for routing packets through a network or
establishing a connection between two entities over many other intermediate
systems. Important topics are addressing, routing, device location , and handover
between different networks.

Transport Layer:
This layer is used in the reference model to establish an end-to-end
connection. Topics like quality of service, flow and congestion control are
relevant, especially if the transport protocols known from the Internet, TCP and
UDP, are to be used over a wireless link.

Application Layer:
Finally, the applications are situated on top of all transmission oriented
layers. Topics of interest in this context are service loation, support for multimedia
applications, adaptive applications that can handle the large variations in
transmission characteristics, and also wireless access to the world wide web using
a portable device.

Mobile world meets cyberspace

Mobile Internet is all about Internet access from mobile devices. Well, it’s true, but
the ground realities are different. No doubt Internet has grown fast, well really fast!
but mobile Internet is poised to grow even faster. The fundamental difference lies
in the fact that whereas academics and scientists started the Internet, the force
behind mobile Internet access is the cash-rich mobile phone industry. Mobile
industry has always been looking for more avenues to make more money and in
this attempt, the mobile industry besides carefully finding about the needs and
requirements for a mobile data user is also creating new demand patterns also.
What makes things even more favorable for the mobile Internet is that it already
has a lot of Internet-based content from which to draw. This can be adapted for
display on mobiles in a number of ways. A website can be viewed using a phone
that is WAP-enabled.

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.

Well, 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 won’t 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:

Less powerful CPUs,

Less memory (ROM and RAM)
Restricted power consumption
Smaller displays
Different input devices (e.g., a phone keypad, voice input, etc.)
and on the network side, wireless networks are constrained by
Less bandwidth
More latency
Less connection stability
Less predictable availability
However, 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 handset’s 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 experience.

Here comes WAP!

The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is the de-facto world standard for the
presentation and delivery of wireless information and telephony services on mobile
phones and other wireless terminals. The WAP Forum has published a global
wireless protocol specification, based on existing Internet standards such as XML
and IP, for all wireless networks. The WAP specification is developed and
supported by the wireless telecommunication community so that the entire industry
and most importantly, its subscribers, can benefit from a single, open specification.
WAP is designed to work with most wireless networks such as CDPD, CDMA,
Mobitex. Actually, Ericsson, Nokia and many others began developing
standards independently of each other, but it was soon realized that it would make
more sense to focus development around a common standard. WAP forum was
thus born with a desire to establish a common format for Internet transfers to
mobile telephones, without having to customize the Internet pages for the
particular display on every different mobile telephone or personal organizer.

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.

The 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 technologies.

The Wireless Application Protocol is a standard developed by the WAP Forum, a

group founded by Nokia, Ericsson, (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

Wireless Application Protocol – WAP

Where does WAP Fit in the Wireless Computing Application?

Three are three essential product components that you need to extend your host
applications and data to WAP-enabled devices. These three components are:
1. WAP Microbrowser – residing in the client handheld device
2. WAP Gateway – typically on wireless ISP’s network infrastructure
3. WAP Server - residing either on ISP’s infrastructure or on enduser
organization’s infrastructure
WAP Micro-browser
A WAP micro-browser is a client software designed to overcome challenges of
mobile handheld devices that enables wireless access to services such as Internet
information in combination with a suitable network server
Lots of WAP browsers and emulators are available free of cost which can be used
to test your WAP pages. Many of these browsers and emulators are specific to
mobile devices. For example the R380s WAP emulator is intended to be used for
testing WML applications developed for the WAP Browser in the Ericsson
Smartphone R380s. You can find a list of downloadable WML Browsers/
Emulators at

WAP emulators can be used to see how your site will look like on specific phones.
As these images show, the same thing can look different on different mobile
phones. So, the problems that web developer faces with the desktop browsers
(Netscape/Iexplorer) is present here also. So, make sure you test your code on
different mobile phones (or simulators)
WAP Products - Microbrowser, WAP Gateway, WAP servers
WAP Gateway
The idea behind WAP specifications is to connect the mobile networks to the
To connect these two mega-networks, the WAP Specification assumes there will
be a WAP Gateway. At its simplest level, this is a stack converter, which will
convert the WAP request into a Web request and the Web response into a WAP
WAP Gateway is a piece of software that sits between the mobile device and the
external network like the Internet. The gateway does the job of converting Internet
content i.e. the WML pages into byte code (WMLC) which can be understood by a
WAP device. Usually located on a server of a mobile operator it handles incoming
requests from your WAP phone, takes care of the conversion required during
WTLS/SSL sessions and handles incoming requests from your WAP phone.
Although in theory, the gateway could also be made to convert the HTML page
content itself on-the-fly as well, there are some problems. HTML pages can be full
of graphics and with inline scripting. Converting these to WML may return
something that is not of any relevance to anybody.
Some of the WAP Gateway products that are now coming on to the market (such
as Nokia's WAP Server) also provide hosting capabilities themselves. In future it
could be possible to integrate your WAP Server into the mobile network to gain
information about the subscriber's location.
If you host your own gateways, then it may be required to maintain some sort of
connection with the mobile network. For example, in case of GSM networks you
may need to have say a dial up connection with the network's SMS engine or you
may need to provide dial in modems for CSD access

(Circuit Switched Data, around 9.6 kbps data rate)

Source: WAP for web developers,
A WAP server is simply a combined web server and WAP gateway. WAP devices
do not use SSL. Instead they use WTLS. Most existing web servers should be able
to support WAP content as well. Some new MIME types need to be added to your
web server to enable it support WAP content. MIME stands for Multipurpose
Internet Mail Extension, and in the web context, MIME can be thought of as a
piece of header information that comes down with every file sent from a web
server to a browser.

Wireless Application Protocol - WAP

WAP Communication Protocol & its Components
The WAP Protocols cover both the application (WAE), and the underlying
transport layers (WSP and WTP, WTLS, and WDP). WML and WMLScript are
collectively known as WAE, the Wireless Application Environment. As described
earlier the 'bearer' level of WAP depends on the type of mobile network. It could
be CSD, SMS, CDMA, or any of a large number of possible data carriers.
Whichever bearer your target client is using, the development above remains the
same.Although it’s not absolutely essential for a developer to know the details of
the WAP communication protocols, a brief understanding of the various protocols
involved, their significance and the capabilities can help a lot while looking for
specific solutions.
WML and WMLScript are collectively known as WAE, the Wireless Application
WML is the WAP equivalent to HTML (HyperText Markup Language). It is a
markup language based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language). The WAE
specification defines the syntax, variables, and elements used in a valid WML file.
This means that it is a series of rules for how to create other languages for specific
applications. Content is not directly encoded in XML, but in a specific markup
language defined, using XML. WML is an example of a specific language for
wireless applications that is fully compliant with XML's rules. WML is thus an
XML application.
For those who know HTML, WML should be quite easy to learn since many tags
and attributes in WML are almost the same as in HTML, but there are fewer tags.
Unlike HTML, you can play around with variables in WML, making it more
dynamic. In WML it is also possible to have many sub-pages (cards) in one WML
page (deck). Each WML card works like a web page and it's content is displayed to
the user.
WML introduces the concept of decks and cards. A WML deck consists of one or
several cards, and each card functions like an independent page, with it’s own title
and preferences. This approach helps conserve valuable bandwidth because so the
HTTP header information is not occupying bandwidth for each single little page.
WML is an application of XML. So WML is more XML than HTML, but the
syntax of WML is a lot like HTML. Where as in HTML one can take some
liberties of skipping some end tags and omit quotation marks, the rules in WML
are much stricter. In WML documents, the DOCTYPE definition must always be
written in the beginning of each deck, after the XML declaration, while this is
optional in HTML documents. The head tag in WML is not used very often.
Instead, http header information is sent using some server-side script language. In
WML the <card> tag replaces the <head> tag in HTML. There is no body tag in
In WML, it is possible to use variables, which opens for slight dynamic

Some editors you can use for creating WAP pages:

• WAPPage:
• WAPtor is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is what You Get) editor for writing
WML and testing how it looks.
• For those developing WML with ASP, ASPEdit, Frontpage or Visual
InterDev can be used.
• Other possible editors are: Notepad, TextPad, Emacs, SynEdit (for Java, Perl
& PHP).
Note that there is a limitation on the maximum compiled deck code size. The size
limitation varies from phone to phone. Maximum size for a compiled deck or
image on Nokia 7110 is 1397 bytes. Maximum deck size on Ericsson R320 is 3000
bytes (excluding images). Therefore it makes sense to limit the size of your deck to
less than 1300 bytes.
Just as javascript allows client side processing for use with HTML, WMLScript
(Wireless Markup Language Script) is a client side script language for use with
WML. JavaScript can be used to make the pages more dynamic, and to perform
advanced mathematical calculations in HTML pages. WMLScript is very similar to
JavaScript and therefore easy to learn for those who have used that before.
WMLScript is actually based on ECMAScript (which is based on Netscape’s
JavaScript language), however it has been modified in places to support low
bandwidth communications and thin clients. WMLScript makes minimal demands
on memory and CPU usage, while omitting a number of functions that are not
required from other scripting languages. WMLScript is integrated with WML in a
particularly flexible way for developers.
Server based computation means that several round trips to and from mobile to
server have to made in case of any interaction or computation. This is not very
desirable in case of low bandwidth systems. WMLScript allows code to be built
into files transferred to mobile client so that many of these round-trips can be
eliminated. WML script also allows developer to provide interactivity in WAP
pages without taxing the very valuable air interface.

WBMP stands for Wireless BitMaP. It is the default picture format for WAP. The
current version of WBMP is called type 0. WBMPs are uncompressed,
monochrome black/white bitmaps intended for use in devices with small screens
and narrow bandwidth connection. The constraints when using WBMP are the
small screen size, limited graphics capabilities and the limited bandwidths
available. As a thumb rule, a WBMP should not be wider than 96 pixels and higher
than 48 pixels (at 72 dots per inch). Nokia’s toolkit have a nice WBMP editor
where you can draw and edit. Other WBMP tools create the WBMPs from BMPs,
GIFs or JPGs. There are also plug-ins available for Paintshop, Photoshop and
Gimp, which let you save WBMP files with these programs.
• Teraflops online converter
• pic2wbmp
• WAP Pictus
• WAP Draw
• WBMPconv & UnWired plug-in for Photoshop/PaintShop
• Plug-in for Gimp
You can also use online services like
• Teraflops online converter
• Applepie Solutions
to convert your existing pictures to WBMP
A look at the following pictures will give you a clear idea about graphics and graphics support in
WAP. Remember that WAP is designed to enable Internet access in low bandwidth systems.
Therefore the idea is providing content fit for low bandwidth and low resolution devices rather
than providing high resolution content. If you are confused as to which picture is in WDMP
format, feel free to mail me!

The Security layer protocol in the WAP architecture is called the Wireless
Transport Layer Security, WTLS. The WTLS layer operates above the transport
protocol layer. The WTLS layer is modular and it depends on the required security
level of the given application whether it is used or not. WTLS provides the upper-
level layer of WAP with a secure transport service interface that preserves the
transport service interface below it. In addition, WTLS provides an interface for
managing (e.g., creating and terminating) secure connections.
WTLS is fast becoming the de facto standard for providing privacy, data integrity,
and authentication for applications in cellular phones and other small wireless
terminals. WTLS bears a close resemblance to the SSL and TLS protocols.
Already WTLS has found place in a large number of mobile devices.
WTLS, though similar to SSL and TLS has some differences basically because of
the nature of mobile data communications. The differences arise due to specific
requirements of the WTLS protocol because of the constraints presented by the
mobile data systems.
• Long round-trip times.
• Memory limitations of mobile devices
• The low bandwidth (most of the bearers)
• The limited processing power of mobile devices
• The restrictions on exporting and using cryptography
WTLS is designed to function on connection-oriented and/or datagram transport
protocols. Security is assumed to be an optional layer above the transport layer.
The security layer preserves the transport service interfaces. The session or
application management entities are assumed to provide additional support
required to manage (e.g., initiate and terminate) secure connections. Using WTLS
the client and server agree on protocol options to use. The negotiation may include
the security parameters (e.g., cryptographic algorithms and key lengths), key
exchange and authentication. Since this exchange of parameters involve several
steps it is possible for either client or server to terminate the negotiation process at
will (if e.g. some parameters are not supported.
The Transport layer protocol in the WAP architecture consists of the Wireless
Transaction Protocol (WTP) and the Wireless Datagram Protocol (WDP). The
WDP protocol operates above the data capable bearer services supported by
multiple network types. As a general datagram service, WDP offers a consistent
service to the upper layer protocol (Security, Transaction and Session) of WAP and
communicate transparently over one of the available bearer services.
The protocols in the WAP family are designed for use over narrow band bearers in
wireless telecommunications networks. Since the WDP protocols provide a
common interface to the upper layer protocols (Security, Transaction and Session
layers), they are able to function independently of the underlying wireless network.
This is accomplished by adapting the transport layer to specific features of the
underlying bearer. WDP services include application addressing by port numbers,
segmentation and reassembly of messages and error detection (optional).

Source: WAP- WDP Specifications

Who are the players in this WAP game?

"By 2004 mobile subscribers are expected to exceed 1 billion. This number
represents about one sixth of world population. No wonder every one wants to cash
in this huge opportunity"

The mobile data opportunity is huge and needless to say, every one has interests.
On the one side are hardware and technology vendors, the companies which supply
the physical infrastructure for mobile networks and have developed enabling
technologies such as WAP. The names include digital mobile phone manufacturers
such as Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson. Then there are software suppliers
developing wireless communicator operating systems to run on the next generation
of hand-held devices. These include the Symbian partnership comprising Psion,
Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Matsushita and Sony with the EPOC operating system,
and Microsoft Windows CE. Application software vendors are also a very
important part of the software community which have begun to offer applications
software such as e-mail and web browsers. At the other end are the mobile phone
network operators - Vodafone and others - which are expected to deliver content
and value-added services such as news, share quotes, timetable and weather data to
mobile devices with WAP.

WAP- An Extension of the Internet Model

The WAP model closely resembles the Internet model of working. In Internet a
WWW client requests a resource stored on a web server by identifying it using a
unique URL, that is, a text string constituting an address to that resource. Standard
communication protocols, like HTTP and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
Protocol (TCP/IP) manage these requests and transfer of data between the two
ends. The content that is transferred can either be static like html pages or dynamic
like Active Server Pages (ASP), Common Gateway Interface (CGI), and Servlets.
The following figure helps draw a parallel to the Internet protocols. You can see
how WAP extends or reuses Internet protocols to achieve mobile Internet access.

The strength of WAP (some call it the problem with WAP) lies on the fact that it
very closely resembles the Internet model. In order to accommodate wireless
access to the information space offered by the WWW, WAP is based on well-
known Internet technology that has been optimized to meet the constraints of a
wireless environment. Corresponding to HTML, WAP specifies a markup
language adapted to the constraints of low bandwidth available with the usual
mobile data bearers and the limited display capabilities of mobile devices - the
Wireless Markup Language (WML). WML offers a navigation model designed for
devices with small displays and limited input facilities (no mouse and limited
keyboard). WAP also provides a means for supporting more advanced tasks,
comparable to those solved by using for example JavaScript in HTML. The
solution in WAP is called WML Script. You will find more information about
these later in the coming sections.
The following figure will give a clear understanding of the WAP model.

How does WAP address limitations of wireless Internet?

WAP is based on existing Internet standards. The WAP architecture was designed
to enable standard off-the-shelf Internet servers to provide services to wireless
devices. While communicating with wireless devices, WAP uses many Internet
standards such as XML, UDP, and IP. The WAP wireless protocols are based on
Internet standards such as HTTP and TLS, but have been optimized for the unique
constraints of the wireless environment.

The trouble with Internet standards such as HTML, HTTP, TLS, and TCP is that
they require large amounts of mainly text based data to be sent which is a big
problem in bandwidth constrained systems like mobile wireless systems. As an
example HTTP sends its headers and commands in an inefficient text format
instead of compressed binary. Another example is the TLS security standard that
requires many messages to be exchanged between client and server. Also, standard
HTML web content generally cannot be displayed in an effective way on the small
size screens of pocket-sized mobile phones and pagers.. HTTP and TCP are not
optimized for the usual problems associated with wireless networks like
intermittent coverage, long latencies and limited bandwidth, which, with wireless
transmission latencies, results in a very slow response for the user.

WAP uses binary transmission for greater compression of data and is hence
optimized for long latency and low to medium bandwidth. WAP sessions cope
with intermittent coverage and can operate over a wide variety of wireless
transports using IP where possible and other optimized protocols where IP is
impossible. The WML language used for WAP content makes optimum use of
small screens and allows easy navigation with one hand. It also includes a built-in
salability from two-line text displays to the full graphic screens on smart phones
and communicators.

Future Outlook For WAP

“By 2004, there could be more than 700m mobile commerce users.”
The point brought about by many analysts against WAP is that with the emergence
of next generations networks (including GPRS), as the data capabilities of these
networks evolve, it will make possible the delivery of full-motion video images
and high-fidelity sound over mobile networks. On the other hand many believe that
with the introduction of packet-switched data networks will kick-start the take-up
of WAP services. Japan and South Korea are forging ahead, having already
introduced packet data on their networks.
What should be understood is that the limitations in mobile Internet access is not
just the low bandwidths available. The very nature of mobile devices presents
limitations like display etc. Internet access via WAP should infact become much
more easier with WAP.
Currently, WAP access needs a specific connection via an Internet service provider
(ISP) in much the same way as a PC accesses. But the system will come into its
own with the introduction of another enabling technology, general packet radio
services (GPRS), a method of sending Internet information to mobile telephones at
high speed. At present, services such as BT Cellnet's Genie deliver information at a
speed of 9,600 bits of information a second. With GPRS the speed will rise to
Mobile commerce is one such application that can open up lots of opportunities for
WAP. By 2004, there could be more than 700m mobile commerce users. M-
commerce is emerging more rapidly in Europe and in Asia, where mobile services
are relatively advanced, than in the US where mobile telephony has only just
begun to take off.

WAP is one of the family of technologies that have the potential of bringing about
the convergence of mobile communications and the Internet. Technologies like
bluetooth will connect the mobile to the personal computers. GPRS has the
potential to deliver Internet information to mobile phones many times faster than
conventional GSM technology. By allowing mobile to be in always connected state
GPRS (or other services like CDPD) will bring Internet more closer to mobile.

WAP Applications

“At first, the most popular mobile Internet service is likely to be e-mail. SMS
(short message service) messages have proved a big success in the Nordic nations
and volumes are growing rapidly throughout western Europe”
One of the most significant advantages of Internet access from mobile rather that
your PC is the ability to instantly identify users geographic location. This opens up
a huge opportunity for highly customized services.
As Ericsson puts it,

Some of the interesting applications of WAP (already existing or being worked on)
• Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Nokia are working with a
Finnish fashion retailer who plans to send clothing offers direct to mobile
telephones using a combination of cursors, touch screen technology and
WAP to allow would-be shoppers to hot-link to order-entry pages on the
• In Finland, children already play new versions of competitive games such as
"Battleships", via the cellular networks. In the music world, Virgin Mobile
in the UK offers to download the latest pop hits to customers in a daily
• Scala has developed several WAP products for small to medium-sized
companies which would allow, for example, a field sales force to access
customer order information and stock availability details via a WAP
• A key growth area for the technology will be business-to-workforce, with
companies using WAP applications to reach employees at any time. Scala is
currently working on time-sheet applications and techniques for entering and
filing expense claims via the mobile phone.
• Nokia says applications that will benefit from WAP include customer care
and provisioning, message notification and call management, e-mail,
mapping and location services, weather and traffic alerts, sports and
financial services, address book and directory services and corporate intranet
As brought out by [1] and the examples above WAP services are currently limited
to simple information services, but as higher speeds become available and some of
the technical issues specific to WAP are resolved, several new service types will
emerge, including:
• Infotainment : They could include weather forecasts, stock quotes,
horoscopes and news
• Messaging : services such as e-mail, voicemail and unified messaging
• Personal information management : services such as call management and
personal directories, which enable the modification of personal information
• Financial services : mobile banking and mobile e-commerce services
• Location-based services : services that are dependent on location include
mapping and vehicle location information

Wiless LAN technology constitute a fast-growing market introducing the
flexibility of wireless access into office, home, or production environments.
WLANs are typically restricted in their diameter to buildings, a campus, single
rooms etc. and are operated by individuals, not by large-scale network providers.
The global goal of WLANs is to replace office cabling and, additionally, to
introduce a higher flexibility for ad hoc communication in, eg. Group meetings.
The following points illustrate some general advantages and disadvantages of
WLANs compared to their wired counterparts.

Some advantages of WLANs are:

Within radio coverage, nodes can communicate without further restriction.
Radio waves can penetrate walls, senders and receivers can be placed anywhere
(also non-visible, eg. Within devices, in walls etc.). Furthermore , sometimes
wiring is difficult if firewalls separate buildings (real firewalls made out of,
eg.bricks, not routers set up as a firewall). Penetration of a firewall is only
permitted at certain points to prevent fire from spreading too fast.

Only wireless ad hoc networks allow for communication without previous
planning, any wired network needs wiring plans. As long as devices follow the
same standard, they can communicate. For wired networks, additional cabling
with the right plugs and probably interworking units (such as switches) have to be

Only wireless networks allow for the design of small, independent devices
which can for example be put into a pocket. Cables not only restrict users but also
designers of small PDAs, notepads etc. Furthermore, wireless senders and
receivers can be hidden in historic buildings, i.e., current networking technology
can be introduced without being visible.

Wireless networks can survive disasters, eg., earthquakes or users pulling a
plug. If the wireless devices survive, people can still communicate. Networks
requiring a wired infrastructure will typically break down completely.

Some Disadvantages of WLANs:-

Quality of Service:
WLANs typically offer lower quality than their wired counterparts. The
main reasons for this drawback are the lower bandwidth dur to limitations in radio
transmission (eg., only 1-10 Mbits/s), higher error rates due to interference(eg.,
10-4 instead of 10-10 for fibre optics), and higher delay/delay variation.

While, e.g., high-speed Ethernet adapters are in the range of some 10 E,
wireless LAN adapters, e.g., as PC-Card, still cost some 100 E.

Proprietary Solutions:
Due to slow standardization procedures, many companies have come up
with proprietary solutions offering standardized functionality plus many enhanced
features (typically a higher bit rate using a patented coding technology). However,
these additional features only work in a homogeneous environment, i.e, when
adapters from the same vendor are used for all wireless nodes.

All wireless products have to comply with national regulations. Several
government and non-governement institutions worldwide regulate the operation ad
restrict frequencies to minimize interference. Consequently, it takes a very long
time to establish global solution like, e.g., IMT-2000. WLANs are limited to low-
power senders and certain licence-free frequency bands.

Safety and Security:

Using radio waves for data transmission might interfere with other high-
tech equipment in, e.g., hospitals. Here special precautions have to be taken.
Additionally, the open radio interface makes eavesdropping much easier in
WLANs than, e.g., in the case of fibre optics.


Many WLANs of today need an infrastructure network. Infrastructure networks
not only provide access to other networks, but also include forwarding functions,
medium access control etc. In these infrastructure-based wireless networks,
communication typically takes place only between the wireless nodes and the
access point (see figure) but not directly between the wireless nodes.
The access point additionally acts as a bridge to other wireless or wired
networks. The following figure shows three access points with their three wireless
networks and a wired network. Several wireless networks may form one logical
wireless network, thus, the access points together with the fixed network in
between can connect several wireless networks to form a larger network beyond
actual radio coverage.
Typically, the design of infrastructure-based wireless networks is simpler
because most of the network functionally lies within the access point, whereas the
wireless clients can remain quite simple. This structure is reminiscent of switched
Ethernet or other star-based networks, where a central element (e.g., a switch)
controls network flow. This type of network can use different access schemes with
or without collision. Collisions may occur if medium access of the wireless nodes
and the access point is not co-coordinated. However, if only the access point
controls medium access, no collisions are possible. This setting may be useful for
quality of service guarantees such as minimum bandwidth for certain nodes. Then,
the access point may poll the single wireless nodes to ensure the data rate.

Infrastructure-based networks lose some of the flexibility wireless networks can

offer, e.g., they cannot be used for disaster relief in cases where no infrastructure is
left. Typical cellular phone networks are infrastructure-based networks for a wide
area. Also satellite-based cellular phones have an infrastructure – the satellities.
Thus, infrastructure does not necessarily imply a wired fixed network.
Ad hoc wireless networks, however, do not need any infrastructure to work.
Each node can communicate with another node, no access point controlling
medium access is necessary. The below figure shows two ad hoc networks with
three nodes each. Nodes within an ad hoc network can only communicate if they
can reach each other physically, i.e., if they are within each other’s radio range or
if other nodes can forward the message. Nodes from the two networks shown in
the below figure cannot, therefore, communicate with each other if they are not
within same radio range.
In ad hoc networks, the complexity of each node is higher because every
node has to implement medium access mechanisms, mechanisms to handle hidden
or exposed terminal problems, and perhaps priority mechanisms to provide a
certain quality of service. This type of wireless network exhibits the greatest
possible flexibility as it is , for example, needed fro unexpected meetings, quick
replacements of infrastructure or communications scenarios far away from any
Clearly, the two basic variants of wireless networks (here especially
WLANs), infrastructure-based and ad hoc, do not always come in their pure form.
There are networks that rely on access points and infrastructure for basic services
(e.g., authentication of access, control of medium access for data with associated
quality of service, management functions), but also allow for direct communication
between the wireless nodes.
However, ad hoc networks might only have selected nodes with the
capabilities of forwarding data. Most of the nodes have to connect to such a special
node first in order to transmit data if the receiver is out of their range.
From the three WLANs presented, IEEE 802.11and HIPERLAN 1 are
typically infrastructure – based networks, which additionally support ad hoc
networking (although HIPERLAN does not explicitly mention an infrastructure,
this will be the typical scenario). However, many implementations only offer the
basic infrastructure-based version. The third WLAN, Bluetooth is a typical
wireless ad hoc network. Bluetooth focuses precisely on spontaneous ad hoc
meetings or on the simple connection of two or more devices without the setup of
an infrastructure.

Mobile Network Layer

This topic introduces protocols and mechanisms developed for the network
layer to support mobility. The most prominent example is Mobile IP, which adds
mobility support to the Internet network layer protocol IP. While systems like
GSM have been designed with mobility in mind from the very beginning, the
Internet started at a time when no-one had a concept of mobile computers.
Therefore, the Internet of today lacks mechanisms for the support of users traveling
through the world. IP is the common base for thousands of applications and runs
over dozens of different networks. This is the reason for supporting mobility at the
IP layer, mobile phone systems, for example, cannot
offer this type of mobility for heterogeneous networks.

Another kind of mobility, rather portability of equipment, is supported by

DHCP. In former times computers did not change their location often. Today, due
to laptops or notebooks, e.g., students show up at the university with their
computers, want to plug them in or use wireless access. A network administrator
does not want to configure dozens of computers every day or hand out a list of
valid IP addresses, DNS servers, subnet prefixes, default routers etc. At this point
the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) sets in to support automatic
configuration of computers.

The following gives an overview of Mobile IP, the extensions needed for the
Internet to support the mobility of hosts. The following requires some familiarity
with Internet protocols especially IP.

Goals, assumptions, and requirements:

The Internet is the network for global data communication with hundreds of
millions of users. So why not simply use a mobile computer in the Internet?
The reason is quite simple: you will not receive a single packet as soon as
you leave your home network, i.e., the network your computer is configured for,
and reconnect your computer (wireless or wired) at another place. The reason for
this is quite simple if you consider routing mechanisms in the Internet. A host
sends an IP packet with the header containing a destination address besides other
fields. The destination address not only determines the receiver of the packet, but
also the physical subnet of the receiver. For example, the destination address shows that the receiver must be connected to the physical subnet
with the network prefix 129.13.42 (unless CIDR is used). Routers in the Internet
now look at the destination addresses of incoming packets and forward them
according to internal look-up tables. To avoid an explosion of routing tables, only
prefixes are stored and further optimizations are applied. Otherwise a router would
have to store the addresses of all computers in the Internet, which is obviously not
feasible. As long as the receiver can be reached within its physical subnet, it gets
the packets; as soon as it moves outside the subnet, no packet will reach it
anymore. Thus, a host needs a so called topologically correct address.

Quick ‘Solutions’:
One might think of a quick solution to this problem by assigning the
computer a new, topologically correct IP address. So moving to a new location
would also mean assigning a new address. Now the problem is that nobody knows
of this new address. It is almost impossible to find a (mobile) host in the Internet
which has just changed its address. Especially the domain name system (DNS)
need some time before it updates its internal tables necessary for the mapping of a
logical name to an IP address. This approach does not work if the mobile node
moves quite often. Furthermore, the Internet and DNS have not been built for
frequent updates. Just imagine millions of nodes moving at the same time. DNS
could never present a consistent view of names and address, for it uses caching to
improve scalability. It is simply too expensive to update quickly.
Furthermore, there is a severe problem with higher layer protocols like TCP
that rely on IP addresses. Changing the IP address while still having a TCP
connection open means breaking the connection. A TCP connection can be
identified by the tuple (source IP address, source port, destination IP address,
destination port), also known as a socket. Therefore, a TCP connection cannot
survive any address change. Breaking TCP connections is not an option, using
programs like telnet would be impossible. Additionally, the mobile node would
have to notify all communication partners about the new address.
Another approach is the creation of specific routes to the mobile node.
Routers always choose the best-fitting prefix for the routing decision. If a router
now has an entry for a prefix 129.13.42 and an address, it would
choose the port associated with the latter for forwarding, if a packet with the
destination address comes in. While it is theoretically possible to
change all routing tables all over the world to create specific routes to a mobile
node, this does not scale at all with the number of nodes in the Internet. Routers
are built for extremely fast forwarding, but not for fast updates of routing tables.
While the first is done with special hardware support, the latter is typically a piece
of software which cannot handle the burden of frequent updates. Furthermore,
routers are the ‘brains’ of the Internet, holding the whole net together. No service
provider or system administrator would allow changes to the routing tables,
probably sacrificing stability, just for the mobility of individual users.

Since the quick ‘solutions’ obviously did not work, a more general
architecture had to be designed. Many field trials and proprietary systems finally
led to mobile IP as a standard to enable mobility in the Internet. Several
requirements accompanied the development of the standard:
• Compatibility: The installed base of Internet computers, i.e., computers
running TCP/IP and connected to the Internet, is huge. A new standard
cannot require changes for applications or network protocols already in use.
People still want to use their favorite browser for WWW and do not change
applications just for mobility. The same holds for operating systems. No-
one would use another operating system only for mobility, so mobile IP has
to be integrated into existing operating systems or at least work together
with them. Routers within the Internet should not necessarily require other
software. While it is possible to enhance the capabilities of some routers to
support mobility, it is almost impossible to change all routers. Furthermore,
mobile IP has to remain compatible to all lower layers used for the standard
non-mobile IP. This means that mobile IP must not require special media or
MAC/LLC protocols. So mobile IP has to use the same interfaces and
mechanisms to access the lower layers as IP does. Finally, end-systems
enhanced with a mobile IP implementation should still be able to
communicate with fixed systems without mobile IP. Mobile IP has to
ensure that users can still access all the other servers and systems in the
Internet. But that also implies access all the other servers and systems in the
Internet. But that also implies using the same address format and routing
• Transparency: Mobility should remain ‘invisible’ for many higher layer
protocols and applications. Besides maybe noticing a lower bandwidth and
some interruption in service, higher layers should continue to work even if
the mobile computer changed its point of attachment to the network. For
TCP, for example, this means that the computer must keep its IP address as
explained above. If the interruption of the connectivity does not take too
long, TCP connections survive the change of the attachment point. Clearly,
many of today’s applications have not been designed for use in mobile
environments. Therefore, the only effects of mobility should be a higher
delay and lower bandwidth. However, there are some applications for which
it is better to be ‘mobility aware’. Examples are cost-based routing or video
compression. Knowing that it is currently possible to use different
networks, the software could choose the cheapest one. Or if a video
application knows that currently only a low bandwidth connection is
available , it could use a different compression scheme. Therefore,
additional mechanisms are necessary to inform these applications about
• Scalability and efficiency: Introducing a new mechanism into the Internet
must not jeopardize the efficiency of the network. Enhancing IP for
mobility must not generate many new messages flooding the whole network.
Furthermore, special care has to be taken considering the lower bandwidth
of wireless links. Many mobile systems will have a wireless link to an
attachment point. Therefore, only some additional packets should be
necessary between a mobile system and a node in the network. Looking at
the number of computers connected to the Internet and at the growth rates of
mobile communication, it is clear that a myriad devices will participate in
the Internet as mobile components. Just think of cars, trucks, mobile
phones, every seat in every plane around the world etc. – many of them will
have some IP implementation inside and move between different networks,
thus requiring mobile IP. Therefore, it is indispensable for a mobile IP to be
scalable over a large number of participants in the whole Internet,
• Security: Mobility poses many security problems. A minimum requirement
is the authentication of all messages related to the management of Mobile
IP. It must be sure for the IP layer if it forwards a packet to a mobile host
that this host really is the receiver of the packet. The IP layer can only
guarantee that the IP address of the receiver is correct. There are no ways of
preventing faked IP addresses or other attacks. According to Internet
philosophy this is left to higher layers.

IP packet delivery:
The following figure(b) illustrates packet delivery to and from the MN using
the example network of figure(a). A correspondent node CN wants to send an IP
packet to the MN. One of the requirements of mobile IP was to support hiding the
mobility of the MN. Therefore, CN does not need to know anything about the
MN’s current location and sends an IP packet with MN as destination address and
CN as source address. The internet, not having information on the current location
of MN, routes the packet to the router responsible for the home network of MN.
This is done using the standard routing mechanisms of the Internet.

The HA now intercepts the packet, knowing that MN is

currently not in its home network. Thus, the packet is not forwarded into the
subnet as CNusual, but encapsulated and tunneled to the COA. This is done by
putting a new header Router
in front of the old IP header showing the COA as new
destination and HA as source of the encapsulated packet(step 2). The foreign
agent now decapsulates the packet, i.e., removes the additional header, and
forwards the original packet with CN as source and MN as destination to the MN
(step 3). Again, for the MN mobility is not visible. It receives the packet with the
same sender and receiver address as it would have done in the home network.
At a first look, sending packets from the MN to the CN is much simpler.The
MN sends the packet as usual with its own fixed IP address as source and CN’s
address as destination(step 4). The router with the FA acts as default router and
forwards the packet in the same way as it would do for any other node in the
foreign network. As long as CN is a fixed node the remainder is in the fixed
Internet as usual. If CN were also a mobile node residing in a foreign network, the
same mechanisms as described in step1 through 3 would apply now in the other