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Mobile Internet
CMclick wireless Go to using your WAP-enabled mobile phones to get access cmclick information wirelessly.

As the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) has become a new standard for mobile internet, and new services are opening all the time, people are getting used to the services. The keyword on the WAP hype has been "mobile internet" but in fact the services can be used as efficiently when accessed from your PC, and it does not matter if you are mobile or connected with a Local Area Network (LAN). 

The Wireless Internet promises to explode in popularity in the coming years. It will take browsing the web to new levels of ease and use. Information will be at your fingertips while on the go. Shopping will take on an entirely new meaning done anywhere and anytime. This is the next step in global communications where WML and WMLScript will provide much of the functionality on this new frontier.

This section of CMclick, is intended to help you understand this wonderful technology and encourage its use. We will provide you with an easy to understand "behind the scenes" explanation of the technology. Frequently Asked Questions are also available to de-mystify the most common inquiries concerning WAP, how WAP works, and how to use WAP products. We offer a glossary as well, to keep you up-to-date on the lingo surrounding WAP.

This section will evolve as the technology evolves. As the need arises, more features will be added to it. 

Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary of WAP

Frequently CMclick wireless Asked WAP Questions

Here you can find answers to all your questions about WAP: what is it, what's it good for, how can you use it and others. 


What is WAP? 
WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol. It is a set of standards that enable Internet-like applications for mobile devices. 
Today, WAP is a method of browsing "mini-webpages" on your mobile phone or PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The key difference of WAP as compared to the Web is that WAP is designed and optimised for devices with small screens and slow data connections. Therefore WAP pages consist mainly of text and/or black and white images. 

What are WML and WMLScript, then? 
WML (short for Wireless Markup Language) is the language WAP pages are written in. Being a tag-based display language, it is quite similar to HTML, the language used to create ordinary webpages. In close comparison, however, some key differences emerge: WML is very simple, no nested tables can be used, font options are limited and the pages have to be quite small to avoid extended downloading times. Though ordinary HTML pages cannot be viewed on a WAP enabled device, WML is fully compliant with XML, the new meta-language currently being developed.

Why is WML used then, instead of HTML? The most important reason is that WML requires very little bandwidth resources compared to HTML. With the introduction of technologies that provide higher bandwidth for wireless devices, however, this reason will become less important. WML is also easire to render on the client-side since it is based on strict XML specifications. 

Just like WML carries strong resemblances to HTML, WMLScript is the WAP equivalent for JavaScript. WMLScript has been modified to fit the limitations of the WAP environment. 

Who controls WAP? 
WAP standards are decided upon by an organisation called the WAP Forum

How does it work? 
First, the user's device (mobile phone, hand-held computer..) contacts a server called WAP Gateway. This is done either trough a data phone call or using short text messages (SMS). 

When a WAP Gateway receives a request, it makes another request to the content server, for example, a news agency. The content server is actually just a normal Web server which is enabled to serve WAP files in addition to normal WWW files. The WAP Gateway then checks the content is OK by format, packs it up for wireless transfer and then sends it to the user. 

Finally, the user's device unpacks the data and renders the page for display. If the content page contained images, similar requests are made to get them one by one.

Where can I find more information on WAP and WML? 
WAP Forum is an industry association comprising more than 200 members including the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers that concentrates on furthering WAP development. Their website ( is a good source of up-to-date information on WAP, especially if you're interested in the technical side of things. 

Probably the most comprehensive collection of WAP related questions and answers can currently be found at 

CMclick wireless


How can I use WAP services? 
To access WAP services, you need a WAP-capable mobile phone such as Nokia 7110 or the Ericsson T68. Additionally, you might need to contact your phone operator about allowing WAP use on your phone account. 

You can also preview WAP services using a WAP emulator, such as  the WinWAP browser for Windows PC's, which you can download at 

What kind of WAP services are there? 
As on the Internet, there are innumerable different kinds of services available on WAP. WAP services include news, sports, entertainment, shopping, finance and many others. 

WAP is growing at an ever-expanding rate, and soon you can expect to find almost any service on WAP too that the Internet currently offers. 

Can I shop on WAP?
Yes. There are many online shops, where you can buy anything from books to flowers or movie tickets on your handset. 

Currently, most WAP shops won't allow you to pay for the goods, as WAP payment systems are still at an early stage. In Finland and Sweden, some banks already offer WAP payment services that allows you to pay for your purchases using special access codes acquired from the bank. There are numerous projects around the world to develop WAP payment systems and in the very near future mobile commerce will be as common as a quick stop at nowadays. 

Can I read my e-mail on WAP? 
Yes, you can. There are numerous WAP services that allow you to set up a new e-mail address or access your existing e-mail account. 

How come WAP is so slow? 
WAP may sometimes seem a bit slow. The current access speed is 9.6 kilobits per second, as compared to the computer modems today which run at 56.6 kilobits/s. Just to solve the problem, WAP pages are much smaller than Web pages and they can contain only black and white images. 

WAP will soon be getting faster, powered by new technologies such as HSCSD and GPRS. HSCSD can speed the connection up to 57,6 kilobits/s. GPRS will make WAP an "always-on" service, allowing you to access WAP services anytime, meaning that the phone doesn't have to place a separate data call for each session. 

To reduce frustration, remember that you can preview the WAP site at using Mobone's own WAP browser. This allows you to check out WAP services on your desktop, and avoid unnecessary surfing time on the mobile device. 

You can also try out other WAP gateways to speed up your WAP sessions - some gateways are faster than others and/or compress the pages better. 

Is WAP expensive to use? 
Normally, a WAP data call costs just as much as any other data phone call through your GSM operator. Thus, the amount of charges depend on how much you use WAP. 

Currently WAP usage may be relatively expensive. Rates depend on your service provider, but the data calls run from approx. 0,15 EUR per minute. 

With most operators, WAP usage is metered per minutes spent online. Many operators are starting to introduce transaction-based payments, meaning that you'll pay for the content you use. 

Most of the WAP services are made fast to use and contain only the necessary information, as a result the surfing takes less time. 

How long is WAP going to be in use? 
Currently, most of the new mobile phone models developers introduce are WAP enabled and it is expected that by the end of the year nearly all new handsets sold will be WAP enabled. Furthermore, PC web browsers will soon be equipped with a built-in ability to view WAP sites. 

Even if mobile phone data speeds will gradually get faster, enabling more sophisticated wireless solutions - especially mobile multimedia services - the progess is still quite slow. We still have to wait a while to receive streaming media over a mobile connection. So, even if no one can predict the future, it seems that WAP is going be around for at least three or four years, if not for decades. WAP is being developed just like HTML and supported by various device manufacturers. 

Can I use whatever WAP service I like? 

The short answer: depends on your operator. If your operator has decided to offer you a limited selection of WAP services, you need to modify your phone's settings to access all WAP services.

The long answer needs some explanation of how WAP works. To transmit WAP pages to your phone, WAP devices communicate with a WAP gateway. WAP gateways are servers that fetch WAP pages from another server and deliver them to your screen. Every telecom operator has its own WAP gateway and many content providers also offer gateways. 

A WAP gateway can be "open" or "closed". Some gateways are closed, meaning that your service provider allows you access to only certain WAP services. In contrast, open gateways have no restrictions as to what WAP services you can use, and allow you to surf to any WAP site. 

The battle of whether WAP is going to be open or closed is an ongoing one, and it's been fought between the different parties that wish to benefit from WAP services.

How can I use whatever WAP services I want? 

As some of the mobile phone companies will only let you visit sites that they approve of, you may need to use independent gateways (see the list below) to surf any WAP site you like. You will need to set up your phone to use this new WAP gateway. There is absolutely no risk in doing this; you can change the settings back whenever you like. 

As not every WAP gateway is available everywhere in the world, you might have to do some testing before finding a suitable WAP gateway. You must also remember that some of the independent gateways are only available to registered users. In some cases open gateways may not be as reliable either as the ones provided by big companies. 

How about WAP and security?
In general, WAP is as secure as the mobile phone standard that your phone works on (usually GSM, CDMA or TDMA). Basically, it is very secure. As for m-commerce, however, you may need to be a bit more cautious. 

The signal from your phone to the WAP gateway and then from the gateway on is totally secure - it can be authenticated and encrypted with a specification called WTLS. Nevertheless, there is a moment at the WAP gateway, a fraction of a second, when the information is not encrypted and in theory, the owners of the WAP gateway could print off your information. Opinions on whether users should therefore refrain from giving credit card details over a WAP phone differ. No wonder, end-to-end security is one of the key interest areas for WAP developers right now. 

Can I use WAP services when I'm abroad?
When you are abroad, you can access WAP services on your WAP device the same way you would do in your home country. The only prerequisites are that you must enter the phone number that is used to make the data connection in international form and that data calls must be enabled from the country you're in to the country where your service provider is located. 


How does a WAP phone connect to a WAP site? 

To surf WAP sites, each WAP device connects to a WAP gateway, an Internet server that acts as a translator and compresser between the phone and the Internet. When you want to visit a WAP site, your handset sends a request to the gateway, which then sends a request to the WAP site. When the gateway has received a copy of the page you want to view, it compresses it and sends it back to your phone. Finally, the phone renders the contents for the user. 

How quickly this happens depends on how busy the site is and how congested the Internet is. The gateways also vary in how efficiently they compress pages and how fast their connections to the Internet are. You may be able to view a WAP page on one gateway or device while failing on another. 

Can I view pictures on my handset? 

Yes, you can, but as of yet, they are rarely of very good quality. As mostly black and white is supported, most pics tend to be grainy. Some new phones like the Ericsson T68 now come in full colour and better picture quality. The main reason for the current state of things is the slow data speed - as WAP phones are much slower at downloading than PC's, WAP pages are kept simple so that the downloading won't take ages. 

Can I choose my WAP opening page? 

Yes, most WAP phones allow to change the starting page freely. Remember that the gateway must allow access to the page. 

Glossary of WAP
Bytecode Content encoding where the content is typically a set of low-level opcodes and operands for a targeted hardware (or virtual) machine.
Card Basic unit of WML navigation or user interface.
Character Encoding Refers to the conversion between a sequence of characters and a sequence of bytes.  WML document character encoding is captured in transport headers, attributes, meta information placed within a document, or the XML declaration.
Client A device of application that initiates a request for connection with a server.
Content Subject matter or data stored/generated on the origin server.
Content Encoding Act of converting content from one format to another.
Content Format Actual representation of content.
Deck A collection of WML cards.  A WML deck is also an XML document.
Device Network entity capable of sending and receiving packets of information and has a unique device address.
JavaScript Programming Language used to add dynamic behavior to HTML documents.
Origin Server Server on which a given resource resides or is to be created.
Resource A network data object or service that can be identified by a URL.
Server Device or application that passively waits for connection requests from one or more clients.
Terminal Device providing the user with user agent capabilities.  Also mobile terminal or mobile station.
User Person who interacts with the user agent to view, hear, or use a resource.
User Agent Any software or device that interprets WML, WMLScript, or other resources.
Web Server Network host that acts as an HTTP server.
WMLScript A subset of JavaScript, used to program the mobile device.

AE Authenticating Entity
AIN Advanced Intelligent Network
AMPS Advanced Mobile Phone System (analogue)
ANSI American National Standards Institute
AP Access Point
API Application Programming Interface
AUC Authentication Center
BNF Backus-Naur Form
CAN Customer Access Network
CCAF Call Control Agent Function
CCF Call Control Function
CCITT Consultative Committee on International Telegraphy and Telephony
CCS7 Common Channel Signaling No.7
CER Call Event Record
CFB Call Forward Busy
CIC Carrier Access Code
CID Customer Identifier
CLI Calling Line Identification
CLIP Calling Line Identification Presentation
CLIR Calling Line Identification Restriction
CNM Customer Network Management
CPE Customer Premises Equipment
CPI Calling Person Identification
CSS Customer Support System (Systems)
CTI Computer Telephony Integration
CTIA Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
DCS1800 Digital Cellular (1800Mhz)
DECT Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephony
DTMF Dual Tone Multi Frequency
ECMA European Computer Manufacturer Association
ETR ETSI Technical Report
ETSI European Telecommunications Standards Institute
FCC Federal Communications Commission
FMC Fixed Mobile Convergence
FMI Fixed Mobile Integration
FNN Full National Number
GoS Grade of Service
GPS Global Positioning System
GSM Global System for Mobiles
HLR Home Location Register
HTML HyperText Markup Language (HTML4)
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol (RFC2068)
IANA Internet Assigned Number Authority
IMSI International Mobile Subscriber Identity
IN Intelligent Network
INAP Intelligent Network Application Part
IP Intelligent Peripheral
ISUP ISDN Signaling User Part (signaling)
ITU International Telecommunications Union
IVR Interactive Voice Response
IWU Interworking Unit
LSB Least Significant Bits
MAP Mobile Application Part
MML Man Machine Language
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
MSB Most Significant Bits
MSC Mobile Switching Centre
MTBF Mean Time Between Failure
MTBR Mean Time Before Repair
NE Network Element
NMT Nordic Mobile Telephone System
NSN National Significant Number
NTP Network Termination Point
OMS Operations and Maintenance System
OSS Operational Support System
PABX Private Automatic Branch Exchange
PACTS Public Access Cordless Telecommunication Service
PBX Private Branch Exchange
PCN Personal Communications Network
PCS Personal Communication Service
PDA Personal Digital Assistant
PHS Personal Handyphone System
PIN Personal Identification Number
PLMN Public Land Mobile Network
PMTS Public Mobile Telephone System
PN Personal Number
POI Point of Interconnect
POTS Plain Old Telephone Service
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network
PSTS Public Switched Telephone Service
PTO Public Telecommunication Operator
QEAN Quick Entry Access Number
QoS Quality of Service
RFC Request For Comments
SCE Service Creation Environment
SCF Service Control Function
SCP Service Control Point
SDF Services Data Function
SDK Software Development Kit
SDP Services Data Point
SIM Subscriber Identity Module
SIO Services In Operation
SMC Security Management Centre
SMF Service Management Function
SMS Service Management System
SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
SN Service Node
SQL Structured Query Language
SRF Specialised Resource Function
SSF Service Switching Function
SSP Service Switching Point
STD Subscriber Trunk Dialling
STP Signaling Transfer Point
TCAP Transaction Capability Application Part
TMN Telecommunications Management Network
UCS Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set
UI User Interface
UPT Universal Personal Telecommunication
URL Uniform Resource Locator (RFC2396)
UTF UCS Transformation Format
VAS Value Added Service
VLR Visitor Location Register
VMB Voicemail Box
VMP Voicemail Platform
W3C World Wide Web Consortium
WAE Wireless Application Environment
WAP Wireless Application Protocol
WBMP Wireless BitMaP
WDP Wireless Datagram Protocol
WIM Wireless Identity Module
WML Wireless Markup Language
WSP Wireless Session Protocol
WTA Wireless Telephony Application
WTAI Wireless Telephony Applications Interface
WTLS Wireless Transport Layer Security
WTP Wireless Transaction Protocol

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