Home > Articles > Networking > Wireless/High Speed/Optical

  • Print
  • + Share This

Where Are We Now?

Right now wireless appears to be rising from the trough of disillusionment and moving up its own slope of enlightenment. I say this because there is less hype surrounding wireless than before, and companies are realizing that wireless is fundamentally different from wired connectivity. Devices matter and user interfaces can't be ignored.

Across the industry, developments are occurring along different fronts, including WAP, XHTML, 3G rollout, WLANs, and Java for handhelds. Let's take a brief look at each.


WAP is taking a serious look at itself and restructuring to better deliver content to users. The upcoming WAP 2.0 specification calls for replacing WAP's own Wireless Markup Language (WML) with XHTML, the new W3C XML-ized version of HTML. XHTML is especially exciting for wireless content delivery in that it's extensible—capable of accommodating the requirements of different handheld devices, including PDAs and cell phones. Because WAP layers itself on top of any carrier technology, the arrival of higher-speed 2.5G and 3G networks will improve bandwidth. Additionally, the "always on," packet-switched connectivity provided by 2.5G and 3G networks will sidestep the need to dial in to get connected. The coming generation of WAP will always be "on."


Both Japan's i-mode and British Telecomm have postponed the rollout of their 3G networks due to technical problems with handsets and infrastructure. However, the rollout of 2.5G services such as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is pushing bandwidth up to 3G levels. 2.5G requires only software changes to existing 2G systems. This increases bandwidth, but more importantly moves networks to "always on" packet switching, which many attribute to the success of Japan's i-mode service.

Wireless LANs (WLANs)

Wireless local area networks (WLANs) are the slow-but-steady gainer in the quest for wireless connectivity. Instead of trying to cover the globe with a wireless umbrella, WLANs, based on the IEEE 802.11b standard, are carving out wireless turf with fixed points of access. The net effect is an evolving concept of mobility that includes users moving into the coverage area of WLAN access points.

Case in point: Starbucks Coffee Company is installing WLANs with Internet connectivity in 400 of its stores, so mobile, laptop-carrying coffee drinkers can connect laptops using wireless LAN cards that can be rented or purchased at Starbucks. Also planned are options for enrolling in wireless access plans, either per minute or monthly.

The joint venture of Starbucks, Microsoft, and MobileStar is following the "if you build it, they will come" strategy of setting up fixed zones of wireless connectivity. Already in the mix is a plan to allow roaming from WLAN to WLAN, so that users moving from one WLAN to another can do so with a single account identity.

Interestingly, the developments occurring in WLANs represent a bottom-up approach to wireless that contrasts with the top-down strategy of the major telecomm carriers.

Devices and Development

In the desktop world, PCs are virtually interchangeable. But in the wireless realm, devices matter. The key to success in building or extending applications for wireless deployment is getting the device right. Options include cell phones, PDAs, pagers, handheld computers, and laptops. Cell phones excel at voice, with very limited screen real estate and phone keypads. Pagers deliver instant messaging and now sport full but small keyboards, good for two-way messaging. Because each of these device types relies on a different underlying operating system to provide application services, device selection brings with it the added risk of platform lock-in. For example, an application built for the PalmOS platform requires significant modification in order to work on a Blackberry pager.

Table 1 lists the various platform options and their pros and cons.

Table 1 Mobile Device Operating Systems: Pros and Cons

Wireless OS





Palm PDAs; Handspring Visor; Kyocera phones

Tight coupling with hardware; extensive developer base

Difficult to augment with additional functionality

RIM Blackberry

RIM Blackberry Pagers

Tight coupling with hardware; "always on" message delivery

Difficult to add capabilities


Compaq iPAQ; Sony CLIÉ; HP Jornada; Casio Cassiopeia

Mobile versions of familiar Windows programs

Expense; battery usage


Symbian handhelds and cell phones

Designed from bottom up for cell phones and handheld computers

Not widely used in U.S.

Java and Wireless

Java is turning out to be the great equalizer in the device platform wars. Java for wireless devices is available as the Java2 Micro Edition (J2ME), a streamlined version of Java designed for the constraints of handheld devices. Because J2ME is available for the PalmOS, Microsoft's PocketPC, RIM's Blackberry, and Symbian's EPOC, it's possible to develop a Java application for one platform and port that application to another platform without modification. This of course assumes that the screen display is comparable. Keep in mind that devices matter, and what works on one device from a user interface perspective may fail miserably on a smaller device. Yet overall, J2ME reduces the risk of targeting a specific platform for deployment and getting locked into an operating system.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020