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A WAP Primer

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WAP Network Architecture

Let's look at the network architecture of a WAP system. At the heart of a WAP deployment is the WAP gateway (see Figure 3), which acts as a mediator between a mobile client and a Web server. Although other configurations are possible, including intranet deployment and integration of the WAP gateway and Web server, the WAP gateway remains the contact between the mobile device and content sources.

Figure 3

WAP Network Architecture

As illustrated in Figure 3, the WAP client (the mobile device) does not communicate directly with a Web server as is the case with a typical Web client/browser (see Figure 4). Instead, the WAP client talks to a WAP gateway via a mobile network (a combination of air interface and cellular infrastructure). The gateway translates between the WAP protocol, understood by the client, and the Internet protocols required by the Web server. The gateway communicates on behalf of the WAP client, appearing to the Web server as a regular Web client. The gateway also reduces the processing load on the client in a number of ways, including content encoding (providing compact, easy-to-process content formats), session support, and caching.

Figure 4

Web Network Architecture

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