What Is WAP GSM?

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  • Written By: Geisha A. Legazpi
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Wireless Application Protocol Global System for Mobile Communications (WAP GSM) is a wireless application protocol for cellular phones that make data services, such as Internet, possible. WAP is a series of data communications protocols at the link level to the application layer inside a mobile phone and at the GSM infrastructure. WAP GSM is very convenient for short-term transactional applications. For instance, a mobile WAP user can quickly make a funds transfer transaction using a mobile WAP phone.

The evolution of mobile cellular communications started with partly digital and partly analog services. The first-generation (1G) cellular phones supported voice using digital signaling and analog channels. Most of the 1G systems did not have short message service (SMS). Later, pure digital voice and data became available as second generation (2G) and second and a half generation (2.5G).

2G and 2.5G WAP phones are able to support the WAP browser. WAP browsers were the earliest browsers available in mobile WAP. These browsers require infrastructure that also supports WAP, and this means that web servers on the Internet meant to be visible in GSM phones require WAP support. Web servers are able to detect a difference in session between one from a standard personal computer or laptop as opposed to a WAP.


GSM is a popular cellular phone standard that allows eight digital timeslots, which are used in a scheme known as time-division-multiple access, on the so-called air interface. The air interface is made up of the radio frequency carrier that links the mobile WAP GSM phone to the cell site, which is further linked to controller sites and into the mobile switching center (MSC).

WAP GSM accesses the logical channels that are available as physical timeslots in GSM. When a virtual data channel is made available, the mobile WAP unit and the WAP web server can be linked, and the WAP browser may send requests to the WAP server. The result is a mobile WAP unit that is able to browse specific WAP-ready portions of the World Wide Web on the Internet.

In general, WAP GSM is best suited for phones that may not easily implement the speed and memory requirements of full web browsers on personal computers, laptops, netbooks, and tablets. Wireless markup language (WML) is also used by WAP web access for mobile-specific needs, such as minimal processing overhead, which is a prime consideration for optimum mobile data experience. As technology for mobile devices improves, the protocols available for these mobile devices are approaching their full counterparts.


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