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Wireless Application Protocol 201

Seminar Report
Wireless application protocol(WAP)
Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirement for the award of degree of Master of
technology in specialization in SACA

By ,

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This is to certify that PG seminar report entitled

K.Raghavendra Reg. No 09SY06F for the partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the award of M.Tech
degree in System Analysis and Computer Applications
under the Department of MACS.


Name: Name:

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S.No Topic Page No










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1. An introduction to WAP:
Here we will compose a description of the WAP concept. We aim to give an overview
of the relevant technology aspects and do not focus on explaining how to specifically
use the different parts of the WAP technology.
Barely a decade ago, when Internet was in its infancy, the mere thought that a person could
access a global database of information right from his/hers room was thought to be science
fiction. In the late nineties when Internet had spawned into a behemoth that we so greatly
depend upon, human race was faced with another such awe inspiring thought. Could a person
chat with his wife, bid at the stock exchange, keep in touch with the latest in sports and
business, catch up on some research, all while commuting to and from his office? The
technology that will make this feasible is WAP.
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

2. What is the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)?

The WAP standard specifies a set of protocols and an application environment for the
delivery of interactive and real-time information services over a mobile network to
conforming hand-held digital devices. Examples of such devices are PDAs and mobile
telephones with displays. WAP aims to integrate Internet, wireless data, and telephony.

WAP works with all types of wireless networks including GSM, TDMA, CDMA, and the
upcoming 3G networks.

WAP is the wireless counterpart of the Internet protocol HTTP and the Web markup
language HTML. WAP addresses issues relating to wireless interaction, which is
characterized by low bandwidth and devices with small displays, limited processing power
and memory, and batteries that can operate only for limited periods without being recharged.

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Although WAP follows the client-server Web model of interaction, WAP is incompatible
with HTTP and HTML. Consequently, WAP gateways (proxies) are needed to sit between
the client (WAP device) and the Web servers. Incidentally, the newer version of WAP, WAP
2.0, supports HTTP, but a gateway is still required for reasons such as WML compression,
dynamic conversion of HTML to WML, etc.

WAP gateways intercept and handle user requests to Web servers and process the responses.
A Web server may generate WML content for WAP devices or it may simply dish out HTML
(or XML). In case the Web server generates HTML (XML), the WAP gateways must convert
the HTML (XML) to WML. Before sending the WML to the WAP device, the gateway
compresses it to WMLC (the C in WMLC is for compressed). If the WML generated by the
Web sever is already WMLC, then the compression step is skipped and the server response
passed on to the WAP device.

3.(WAP) Forum:
Ericsson, Nokia and Unwired Planet (now known as founded WAP Forum in
June 1997 and since then a lot of new members have entered. WAP Forum has over 500
members consisting of some of the world’s premier service developers, handset
manufactures, infrastructure providers and software developers. This forum has developed a
de facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile
phones and other wireless terminals called Wireless Application Protocol – WAP. WAP is an
open global specification that introduces the concept of providing access and interact with
information as well as services to the mobile users with wireless devices. This information
may reside on the Internet or the Intranet of an organization. WAP can be seen as integration
and defragmentation of wireless communication and the Internet towards a completely new
market of information telecommunication. Technically, WAP can roughly be described as a
set of protocols that has inherited its characteristics and functionality from existing Internet
technologies and technologies for wireless communication. The delivery of a set of
specifications in order to enable potential suppliers to develop WAP enabled products and
services for early deployment has been the initial thrust for the WAP Forum. In April 1998
this goal was achieved as the WAP version 1.0 specifications were approved and made

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4. Motivation for WAP
WAP is positioned at the convergence of two rapidly evolving network
technologies, wireless data and the Internet. Both the wireless data market and the Internet
are growing very quickly and are continuously reaching new customers. The explosive
growth of the Internet has fuelled the creation of new and exciting information services. Most
of the technology developed for the Internet has been designed for desktop and larger
computers and medium to high bandwidth, generally reliable data networks. Mass-market,
hand-held wireless devices present a more constrained computing environment compared to
desktop computers. Because of fundamental limitations of power and form-factor, mass-
market handheld devices tend to have:
 Less powerful CPUs,
 Less memory (ROM and RAM),
 Restricted power consumption,
 Smaller displays, and
 Different input devices (e.g. a phone keypad).
Wireless devices are, as a rule not equipped with amounts of memory and
computational power comparable to desktop computers. Even though the trend shows that
more powerful hardware will be included in wireless devices, the relative difference between
handheld devices and desktop computer will most likely be sustained. Wireless
communication of today suffers from the restricted operating time due to battery power
consumption. Even though batteries are being developed to last longer and the radio
interfaces are tuned to consume less power, there is still more to ask for in this area. There
has been a strive to make wireless hand-held devices as small as possible in order to make
them convenient when the user is on the move and thus provide large portability. This need
for portability set the constraints on the size of the display used for service interaction on a
wireless hand-held device. Similarly, wireless data networks present a more constrained
communication environment compared to wired networks. Because of fundamental
limitations of power, available spectrum, and mobility, wireless data networks tend to have:
 Less bandwidth,
 More latency,
 Less connection stability, and

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 Less predictable availability.
A WAP service must not consume much bandwidth when transmitted in order to be suitable
for wireless access. Compared to wired networks, the wireless networks have high latency.
This restriction is addressed in WAP by minimizing the roundtrips between the wireless
device and the wireless network. Wired network access provide a connection which can be
unstable and unpredictable for shorter or longer periods due to for example lost radio
coverage and deficient capacity.Mobile networks are growing in complexity and the cost of
all aspects for provisioning of more value added services is increasing. In order to meet the
requirements of mobile network operators, solutions must be:
 Interoperable – terminals from different manufacturers communicate with services in
the mobile network;
 Scaleable – mobile network operators are able to scale services to customer needs;
 Efficient – provides quality of service suited to the behavior and characteristics of the
mobile network;
 Reliable – provides a consistent and predictable platform for deploying services;
 Secure – enables services to be extended over potentially unprotected mobile
networks while still preserving the integrity of user data; protects the devices and services
from security problems such as denial of service.
Many of the current mobile networks include advanced services that can be offered to end-
users. Mobile network operators strive to provide advanced services in a useable and
attractive way in order to promote increased usage of the mobile network services and to
decrease the turnover rate of subscribers. Standard features, like call control, can be enhanced
by using WAP technology to provide customized user interfaces. For example, services such
as call forwarding may provide a user interface that prompts the user to make a choice
between accepting a call, forwarding to another person, forwarding it to voice mail, etc. The
WAP specifications address mobile network characteristics and operator needs by adapting
existing network technology to the special requirements of massmarket, hand-held wireless
data devices and by introducing new technology where appropriate.

5. The Need For WAP

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In this chapter we’ve explored a variety of converging technologies and forces. The time is
right to deliver data to mobile devices. A question remains: What technologies are most
appropriate for delivering that data?
The most obvious answer is to simply use existing Internet technologies. Before WAP,
people were able to get Internet access from wireless devices. Unfortunately, the standard
Internet technologies have several flaws making them unsuitable for wireless access:

➣ Web pages as we currently know them are fine for desktop and laptop computers with
large, color screens, gobs of processing power, and bandwidth 5 to 1000 times higher than a
typical wireless connection. Smart phones and handheld devices have small screens, modest
processing power, low speed wireless connections, and limited input abilities. Typical
web pages just don’t work with those types of devices.
➣ HTML, the language used to create web pages, is a text-based language which wastes a
significant amount of bandwidth. It takes more time and bandwidth to send data with HTML
than with binary-encoded, compressed information. The same is true of TCP/IP, the protocol
used to deliver web pages to desktop computers. It wastes bandwidth.
➣ Current Internet technology uses TCP/IP, which does not have robust technology for
handling the interference and lost signals commonly found in the wireless world.
➣ TCP/IP is not inherently secure. Transmissions can be intercepted and read by others.
➣ TCP/IP is not supported by all wireless networks.
The WAP specification was designed to accommodate all of the features, advantages, and
disadvantages of Internet access through a wireless connection. WAP is:
Tailored for small devices. As we explore in a later chapter, you can easily create WAP
applications that accommodate a wide range of devices.
Binary encoded. The connection between a smart phone and a WAP gateway is encoded and
compressed to maximize throughput on low bandwidth networks.
Robust.WAP’s design accounts for the challenges of wireless connections.
Secure. Data to and from the WAP device is encrypted, preventing eavesdropping.
Independent.WAP’s design makes it device and network independent. WAP operates across
a wide range of devices and wireless networks.

6. WAP Architectural Overview

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This chapter gives an overview of what the WAP architectural model is and how closely it’s
related to the World Wide Web model. For this purpose a comparison of the two models is
presented. An example of a WAP network is provided.

6.1 The World Wide Web model

Figure 2.1

The Internet World Wide Web (WWW) architecture provides a very flexible and powerful
programming model (Figure 2.1). Applications and content are presented in standard data
formats, and are browsed by applications known as web browsers. The web browser is a
networked application, i.e. it sends requests for named data objects to a network server and
the network server responds with the data encoded using the standard formats.
The WWW standards specify many of the mechanisms necessary to build a generalpurpose
application environment, including:
 Standard naming model – All servers and content on the WWW are named with an
Internet-standard Uniform Resource Locator (URL).
 Content typing – All content on the WWW is given a specific type thereby allowing
web browsers to correctly process the content based on its type.
 Standard content formats – All web browsers support a set of standard content
formats. These include the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the JavaScript
scripting language, and a large number of other formats.

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 Standard Protocols – Standard networking protocols allow any web browser to
communicate with any web server. The most commonly used protocol on the WWW
is the HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP).
This infrastructure allows users to easily reach a large number of third-party applications and
content services. It also allows application developers to easily create applications and
content services for a large community of clients.
The WWW protocols define three classes of servers:
 Origin server – The server on which a given resource (content) resides or is to be
 Proxy – An intermediary program that acts as both a server and a client for the
purpose of making requests on behalf of other clients. The proxy typically resides
between clients and servers that have no means of direct communication, e.g. across a
firewall. Requests are either serviced by the proxy program or passed on, with
possible translation, to other servers. A proxy must implement both the client and
server requirements of the WWW specifications.
 Gateway – A server, which acts as an intermediary for some other server. Unlike a
proxy, a gateway receives requests as if it were the origin server for the requested
resource. The requesting client may not be aware that it is communicating with a
6.2 The WAP Model

Figure 2.2

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The WAP programming model (Figure 2.2) is similar to the WWW programming model.
This provides several benefits to the application developer community, including a familiar
programming model, a proven architecture, and the ability to leverage existing tools (e.g.,
Web servers, XML tools, etc.). Optimizations and extensions have been made in order to
match the characteristics of the wireless environment. Wherever possible, existing standards
have been adopted or have been used as the starting point for the WAP technology.
WAP content and applications are specified in a set of well-known content formats based on
the familiar WWW content formats. Content is transported using a set of standard
communication protocols based on the WWW communication protocols. A micro browser in
the wireless terminal co-ordinates the user interface and is analogous to a standard web
browser. WAP defines a set of standard components that enable communication between
mobile terminals and network servers, including:
 Standard naming model – WWW-standard URLs are used to identify WAP content on
origin servers. WWW-standard URLs are used to identify local resources in a device,
e.g. call control functions.
 Content typing – All WAP content is given a specific type consistent with WWW
typing. This allows WAP user agents to correctly process the content based on its
 Standard content formats – WAP content formats are based on WWW technology and
include display markup, calendar information, electronic business card objects,
images and scripting language.
 Standard communication protocols – WAP communication protocols enable the
communication of browser requests from the mobile terminal to the network web
server. The WAP content types and protocols have been optimized for mass market,
handheld wireless devices. WAP utilizes proxy technology to connect between the
wireless domain and the WWW. The WAP proxy typically is comprised of the
following functionality:
 Protocol Gateway – The protocol gateway translates requests from the WAP protocol
stack (WSP, WTP, WTLS, and WDP) to the WWW protocol stack (HTTP and
 Content Encoders and Decoders – The content encoders translate WAP content into
compact encoded formats to reduce the size of data over the network.

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This infrastructure ensures that mobile terminal users can browse a wide variety of WAP
content and applications, and that the application author is able to build content services and
applications that run on a large base of mobile terminals. The WAP proxy allows content and
applications to be hosted on standard WWW servers and to be developed using proven
WWW technologies such as CGI scripting. While the nominal use of WAP will include a
web server, WAP proxy and WAP client, the WAP architecture can quite easily support other
configurations. It is possible to create an origin server that includes the WAP proxy
functionality. Such a server might be used to facilitate end-to-end security solutions, or
applications that require better access control or a guarantee of responsiveness, e.g. WTA.
7. The WAP Protocol Stack
This chapter introduces the components of WAP architecture. The WAP architecture
provides a generic protocol stack, which ensures that all the requirements of the WAP forum
are fulfilled.
The WAP architecture provides a scaleable and extensible environment for
application development for mobile communication devices. This is achieved through a
layered design of the entire protocol stack (Figure 3.1). Each of the layers of the architecture
is accessible by the layers above, as well as by other services and applications.

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The WAP layered architecture enables other services and applications to utilize the features
of the WAP stack through a set of well-defined interfaces. External
applications may access the session, transaction, security and transport layers directly. The
following sections provide a description of the various elements of the protocol stack

8.Advantages of WAP:

Using WAP, which is a global and open standard, has the following advantages:

• Portability: A WAP application on one network should be easily portable to a

different environment with little or no change. The alternative to using WAP is to
write applications using proprietary protocols. Such applications will require
substantial code rewriting when porting to a
o different type of network (examples of network types are GSM and CDMA),
o different bearer protocol (examples of bearer protocols are SMS, short
message service or CSD, circuit switched data), or
o a new device type.
• User Experience: WAP aims to enhance the user experience by addressing
characteristics of wireless environment:
o Narrow bandwidth connection.
o Devices with small screens, limited battery use without recharging, limited
memory, and limited processing power.
• Cost and Application Development Time Reduction: New services can be added
quickly and at a lower cost using WAP. This is made possible by the easy availability
of standardized WAP tools and platforms such as WAP software development tool
kits, WAP gateways, and WAP devices.
 Expensive.
 Did not have a packet-based service for long time.
 Limited size of RAM and ROM.
 Limited power supply.
 Low bandwidth.

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 Difficult to keep the phones up-to-date with new WAP services.


In conclusion, WAP is suitable for the creation of mobile learning training course
material. The optimisation of WAP and the handling of the design challenges makes it
feasible to use mobile handheld devices for distance learning in real-time. The
application developer must always be aware of the user and take into account the
usability issues if the application is to be a success.

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1) Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) architecture

ILHO LEE - WAP Forum magazine, 2002 -

2) Wireless Application Protocol

Dave Singel´ee and Bart Preneel, International Journal of Network Security, Vol.1, No.3,
PP.161–165, Nov. 2005 ( 161.

3) WAP- the wireless application protocol

C Erlandson, P Ocklind - ERICSSON REV(ENGL ED), 1998 -

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