Saturday, March 03, 2007
WAP / GPRS
What is WAP?
WAP stands for 'Wireless Application Protocol' and is a miniature version of the internet optimised for handheld devices, usually a mobile cell phone, but also handheld or palmtop mini computers. WAP is used for providing information and services to your mobile cell phone wherever a signal is available. WAP is also the means of delivering much content such as ringtones, logos and games to mobiles. What WAP is not, is an information superhighway of unlimited proportions. WAP is excellent though for providing up to date real time information services such as news headlines and sports reports, or a city guide.
If you do not have a WAP compatible mobile phone you can still use an online emulator.
How to use Wap?
All new handsets are wap compatible but may require the settings sent from your network operators to authorise. Please be aware of the costs involved, as some operators charge up to 10p per minute for a dial up connection. Connecting with GPRS does not incur a time based charge, instead the cost is for the amount of data sent to your phone. Check the costs with your network before connecting.
Once connected, using WAP is a cross between using the Internet on PC and reading a text message. Due to device limitations only one page, know as a card on WAP, is open at a time. Scroll through the WAP text and images in the same way as an SMS message. Unlike on a PC where you use a mouse to point at any area of the screen to click, WAP browsing is a vertical experience scrolling up and down. Links between pages are always highlighted in a different way to surrounding text, choose the link you require by scrolling up and down between them. Click the links to move between pages, just as on a PC.
The main item to note when using WAP are action buttons. All WAP phones have two buttons beneath the screen. The actions produced by these buttons will vary depending on what is on screen. You will often have a description of the action, at the bottom of the screen, just above the buttons. Examples of actions would be 'select' or 'back', which would obviously move you back to the previous screen. In all cases one button on your handset will always be allocated to 'back'. The best way of finding out how it works is to try it.
Save time by bookmarking pages you will use often. The best WAP site to bookmark: http://wap.mobilkicker.se obviously!
GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service. It is merely a way to transmit data to your phone. It does this in small 'packets' without requiring a phone call connection and so is always on.
In ideal conditions GPRS can deliver data at three times the speed of a dial up connection. In practice it takes the same time as a dial up connection to receive the data, especially the initial parts.
The main advantage is the cost. You only pay for the data downloaded, not the time connected. You could write a long email at your leisure for example. Generally your network provider will allow thousands of WAP pages per month for just a few pounds. Additionally if you receive a call whilst using GPRS the phone will still ring, and you can immediately return to your WAP session after the call. All new handsets are GPRS enabled, but you must check your handbook.
GPRS and WAP problems
The mobile nature of WAP especially when used with GPRS can sometimes prevent a true transmission of the entire code to a phone. Sometimes only a part of a file is received. When this happens your phone will display an error message on all occasions. This is unlike using a web browser on your pc. The large processing power of your pc is able to smooth over any problems with the code and still show some results. Your phone simply does not have sufficient processing power to cope with any code problem, no matter how small.If this happens your first option is to reload the WAP page. This will rectify most problems. On some occasions the cache memory on the phone will retain the bad code, and you will need to clear the cache or in some circumstances it is necessary to switch the phone off and back on to clear the memory completely. If you have followed these steps and still cannot view the WAP content then we must assume there is a problem with the code as stored on the server, and no amount of reloading will cure the problem.