What is Wireless Application protocol in Networking

March 31, 2018 Author: munishmishra04_3od47tgp
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In the modern society, information and access is getting more and more important. During the last couple of years, there is a strong tendency towards mobility. This implies an increasing need for being online and having access to information all the time. Browsing on the internet is not restricted anymore to desktop computers, people can now also use their phones or PDA. This is done by WAP, the Wireless Application Protocol. WAP is a protocol stack for wireless communication networks, specified by the WAP forum.

Overview of Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a system designed to format and filter internet content for use in mobile devices. The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a worldwide standard for the delivery and presentation of wireless information to mobile phones and other wireless devices. The idea behind WAP is simple: simplify the delivery of Internet content to wireless devices by delivering a comprehensive, Internet-based, wireless specification. The WAP Forum released the first version of WAP in 1998. Since then, it has been widely adopted by wireless phone manufacturers, wireless carriers, and application developers worldwide. Many industry analysts estimate that 90 percent of mobile phones sold over the next few years will be WAP-enabled.

WAP is an application protocol is used to access services and information. The specifications continue to be developed by contributing members, who, through interoperability testing, have brought WAP into the limelight of the mobile data marketplace with fully functional .An open, global specification that empowers mobile users with wireless devices to easily access and interact with internet information and services instantly. The basic aim of WAP is to provide a web-like experience on small portable devices like mobile phones and PDAs. The wireless industry came up with the idea of WAP. The point of this standard was to show internet contents on wireless clients, like mobile phones.

WAP direction for the Forum is to enable operators, manufacturers and service content developers to quickly and flexibly build their own advanced, differentiated services. WAP goal of the Forum is:

  • Provide digital cellular phones and other wireless terminals Internet content and advanced data services.
  • Develop a global wireless protocol specification that works on a variety of wireless network technology.
  • Able in a wide range (including multiple bearer networks and device types) to generate content and applications.
  • where needed, the integration and expansion of existing standard variety of applications and technologies.

WAP Architecture

Figure 1: WAP Architecture

When the mobile device wants to connect to the Internet, all the communication passes through the WAP gateway. This WAP gateway translates all the protocols used in WAP to the protocols used on the Internet. For example, the WAP proxy encodes (and decodes) the content to reduce the size of the data that has been sent over the wireless link. Another example is the WTLS protocol. The communication between the mobile device and the WAP gateway is secured with WTLS. WTLS is only used between the mobile device and the WAP gateway, while SSL/TLS can be used between the gateway and the Internet. This means that the WAP gateway first has to decrypt the encrypted WTLS–traffic and then has to encrypt it again (using SSL/TLS), as shown in Figure 2.

WTLS traffic gets translated to SSLTLStraffic

Figure 2: WTLS-traffic gets translated to SSL/TLS–traffic

Merits and Demerits of WAP

WAP technology could bring about the convergence of mobile communications and the Internet. With any new technology come risks, bugs, and opportunities. With WAP, the opportunity and adventure definitely outweigh the risks. Following are the merits and demerits of WAP:


  • Open standard, vendor independent.
  • WAP can be used to send any alert or warning signal to mobile users.
  • Network standard independent.
  • Transport mechanism –optimized for wireless data bearers
  • Application down loaded from server, enabling fast service creation and introduction, as opposed to embedded software.


  • Speed of access: All devices have slow access
  • Limited for fragmented availability: Wireless web access is sporadic in many areas and entirely unavailable in other areas.
  • Price: Many technology limitations are being addressed by higher-end services. But the entry price for a good wireless web palmtop with decent display, keyboard, and speed is easily $700 to$900, but not including monthly access.
  • Lack of user habit: It takes some patience and overcoming the learning curve to get the hang of it.—connecting ,putting in an address ,typing .Users just are not used to the idea and protocol yet.


[1] “Chapter 8: Wireless Application Protocol”, available online at: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/24760/13/13_chapter8.pdf

[2] Dave Singel´ee and Bart Prenee, “The Wireless Application Protocol”, International Journal of Network Security, Volume 1, No.3, PP.161–165, Nov. 2005

[3] “WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)”, available online at: http://www.mobilecomms-technology.com/projects/wap/

[4] Ahmadpanah, Seyed Hossein, Abdullah Jafari Chashmi, and Vahid Jahan. “Wireless Application Protocol Architecture Overview.” arXiv preprint arXiv: 1606.07479 (2016).

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