Unwired Planet Position Paper for
W3C Workshop on Mobile Access
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, USA, with overseas operations in the United
Kingdom and Japan, Unwired Planet, Inc.
(UP) is a leading supplier of open standards based servers and microbrowsers
to the wireless industry. Unwired Planet's UP.Link Server Suite has been
commercially available since 1996. Unwired Planet co-founded the Wireless
Application Protocol (WAP) Forum with Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola.
UP is happy to share its expertise with the W3C and looks forward to
discussing our current solutions to the wireless data problems. It
is our hope we can continue to work with both the W3C and WAP Forum
to expand this exciting field with open, standard technology.
Experiences from Mass Market Telecommunications
UP has learned a number of lessons delivering web software products to
the mobile telecommunications market and recommends the W3C consider this
information in the future as it makes recommendations and decides courses
The economic model, hardware capabilities, and physical form factor
of mobile phones are significantly different from those of desktop computers.
The primary use of wireless data on mobile phones and other small devices
is not to peruse content, but rather to gain immediate, interactive access
to timely information.
Mobile phones will always have a much more constrained computational environment
than desktop computers.
The limited displays of hand-held devices complicates the user interface
and navigation problem spaces.
Input mechanisms on mobile phones will be much more limited than on computers.
New technology should be designed for the capabilities of today's devices.
Protocols must be designed to send the fewest number of messages and bytes
over the air as possible.
User agents and applications must be very intelligent about when to send
requests to the server.
Telecommunications specifications tend to be more rigorous than you find
in the Internet.
Interoperability is a very high priority.
Issues Related to W3C
UP recommends the following issues to the Workshop on Mobile Access for
Relationship of WML, XML, and HTML
WML is an XML-based markup language and incorporates features from HDML
and HTML. Even though WML may be considered a super-subset of HTML,
it is a different markup language. The design philosophy behind WML
UP's position regarding WML, XML and HTML is:
To base the language on XML and other Web technologies
To incorporate features of HTML where they make sense (text formatting,
links, images, etc.)
To add features that address the constraints of wireless networks and mobile
phones, for example:
Deck and Card content structure
XML, HTML and CSS are the central language technologies of the World Wide
WML is a great example of using XML in the manner for which it was conceived
and designed, i.e. a domain specific markup language.
The constraints of mobile phones and other small devices are very different
from the design center of HTML.
WAP is doing a good job of mapping W3C technology to the mass market, wireless
Future versions of XML, HTML, and CSS may want to incorporated some of
the ideas from WAP.
A universal display language would benefit the industry, and UP believes
it must address the needs of these microbrowsers.
Proxies in the wireless network
The UP and WAP architectures rely heavily on the use of intelligent proxies
to offload computation and state management from the wireless devices,
allowing smaller and less capable devices to access the web. UP recommends
the W3C consider initiating some research into the issues of providing
proxy services to wireless networks, and perhaps adopting some of the work
specified by the WAP Forum. Issues that UP and WAP have already explored
Optimizing Communication between Client and Server
Because of the network costs associated with wireless data, it is critical
to optimize communication between client and server. UP and WAP have
taken the following approaches to reduce communication overhead.
UP recommends the W3C study and/or adopt the content encoding and protocol
technologies developed by the WAP Forum.
Remove redundant transmissions
March 20, 1997 PFK