WIRELESS APPLICATION PROTOCOL
In the first decade of the 21st century, most people will access the Internet from wireless handheld devices like personal digital assistants and mobile cellular telephones. Decisions made today about the protocols that form the technical basis of wireless Internet access markets are as important as the decisions made about the design of the first Internet protocols in the 1960s. This paper takes a closer look at the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), which is emerging as the dominant standard in the wireless data transmission protocols market segment. A policy analysis of WAP reveals that its network architecture inherently results in tight vertical integration of content with conduit. WAP limits end-user choice of access to Internet-based content and value-added services. This vertical integration and consumer choice limitations caused by WAP will become important policy concerns in the Internet and telecommunications convergence space. 1.2
WHERE DID ALL THIS WAP TALK COME FROM?
Currently, the number of mobile phone users in the world is exploding. Globally, mobile phone users outnumber desktop PCs. Worldwide; there are about 380 million mobile phone users, compared to 200 million PC. By 2003, mobile phone users were expected to reach at least one billion, or one out of every six people on the planet. Mobile phone users have a huge user base, and mobile telephony already has a gigantic platform for communication—and this platform is growing every day. In 1997 the WAP forum was founded. The forum’s main aim was to bring together the various technologies by a standardized protocol. This meant developers would have to follow similar guidelines, set by the common protocols and technologies at the time. The significance of this was to prevent the market becoming too fragmented by each manufacturer developing their own specialized technology. Also it would prevent the problem of incompatibility between users Now, imagine the emergence of a new technology—one that enables all these mobile phone users to access the Internet, A mobile internet. With a thriving mobile internet, m-commerce would not be far behind. The mobile internet exists today. It is made possible by a new technology that links wireless devices to the Internet. This technology is WAP. Ordinary web pages contain too much information to display properly on the small screens of mobile phones. CHAPTER TWO
WHAT IS A PROTOCOL
When two humans converse, they may have to use the same language but they generally understand each other without having to adhere to rigid rules of grammar or formal language frameworks. Computers, on the other hand, have to have everything explicitly defined and structured. If computers wish to communicate with one another, they have to know in advance exactly how information is to be exchanged and precisely what the format will be. Therefore, standard methods of transmitting and processing various kinds of information are used and these methods are called "protocols". Protocols are established by international agreement and ensure that computers everywhere can talk to one another. Imagine the number of people communicating in the world, the number of different languages they use, the number of different machines they use, the number of ways in which they transmit data and the different software they use. We would never be able to communicate worldwide if there were no ‘standards’ governing the way we communicate and the way our machines treat data. These standards are sets of rules.
Definition: A network protocol defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices. Network protocols include mechanisms for devices to identify and make connections with each other, as well as formatting rules that specify how data is packaged into messages sent and received. Some protocols also support message acknowledgement and data compression...
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