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Wireless Application Protocol

Published on Apr 02, 2024


The Wireless Application Protocol Forum is an industry group dedicated to the goal of enabling sophisticated telephony and information services on handheld wireless devices. These devices include mobile telephones, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other wireless terminals.

Recognizing the value and utility of the World Wide Web architecture, the WAP forum has chosen to align its technology closely with the Internet and the Web. The WAP specification extends and leverages existing technologies, such as IP, HTTP, XML, SSL, URLs, scripting and other content formats. Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Unwired Planet founded the WAP Forum in June, 1997.

Since then, it has experienced impressive membership growth with members joining from the ranks of the world's premiere wireless service providers, handset manufacturers, infrastructure providers, and software developers. WAP Forum membership is open to all industry participants.

Goals of WAP Forum

The WAP Forum has the following goals:

To bring Internet content and advanced data services to Wireless phones and other wireless terminals.

To create a global wireless protocol specification that works across all wireless network technologies.

To enable the creation of content and applications that scale across a wide range of wireless bearer networks and device types.

To embrace and extend existing standards and technology wherever possible and appropriate.

It is also very important for the WAP Forum's specification in such a way that they complement existing standards. For example, the WAPV1.0 specification is designed 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. When the WAP Forum identifies a new area of technology where a standard does not exist, or exists but needs modification for wireless, it works to submit its specifications to other industry standard groups.

WAP Protocol Stack

Any network is organized as a series of layers or levels where each level performs a specific function. The set of rules that governs the communication between the peer entities within a layer are called protocols. The layers and protocols together forms the Protocol Stack. The request from the mobile device is sent as a URL through the operator's network to the WAP gateway, which is the interface between the operator's network and the Internet.

Why WAP is necessary

Ensure interoperability

Service providers must feel secure that their investments will yield benefits in the future. They will not be able to do so until equipment and software offered by different suppliers can be made to work together. The WAPspecification has been designed to encourage easy, open interoperability between its key components. Any solution component built to be compliant with the WAP specification can interoperate with any other WAP-compliant component. Service providers can choose equipment and software from multiple WAP-compliant vendors, selecting each piece of the solution that is appropriate for the service provider's particular needs.

Bearer and device independence both help foster interoperability. But interoperability goes beyond these two principles to require that each WAP-compatible component will communicate with all other components in the solution network by using the standard methods and protocols defined in the specification.

Encourage and Foster Market Development

The WAP specification is designed to bring Internet access to the wireless mass market. By building open specifications, and encouraging communication and technical exchanges among the industry players, the WAP Forum has already begun to open the wireless data market in new ways. Just over a year ago, the idea of a single wireless data standard was unheard of, yet today the WAP specification is available to the public, and dozens of companies are promoting this vision of the future. The revolution is under way to bring information access to any handset, at a reasonable price and in an easy to use form factor.

The WAP protocol stack

WAP is designed in a layered fashion in order to be extensible, flexible, and scalable. With the Open System Interconnection model (OSI model) in mind, the WAP-stack basically is divided into five layers. They are:

• Application Layer Wireless Application Environment (WAE)

• Session Layer Wireless Session Protocol (WSP)

• Transaction Layer Wireless transaction protocol (WTP)

• Security Layer Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS)

• Transport Layer Wireless Datagram Protocol (WDP)

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