Difference between GPRS and WAP

Key difference: GPRS is a packet oriented mobile data protocol that allows the network to transmit IP packages to external networks. This service is compatible with 2G and 3G networks. WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol, which is a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. It allows mobile devices such as mobile phones to access information on WAP browser, a type of web browser for mobile phones.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. This is the network that we connect to through our computers and modems. WAP is the Wireless Application Protocol, which is a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. This is what we use on our mobiles and smartphones to view web pages, check e-mails, and social networking sites. GPRS (General packet radio service) is an addition to GSM that enhances the network and adds more features. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) is a set standard for mobile communication by European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI). It is the most widely used technology in the world for global communications.

The GSM standard or (2G) is a replacement for analog cellular networks (1G). Prior to GSM, the analog cellular networks consisted of mix technologies and protocols that varied from country to country, making phones incompatible in different countries.

When GSM technology came to standstill and no new developments could be added on to it, GPRS was created as an addition to the network. GPRS was commercially launched in 2000. GPRS is a packet oriented mobile data protocol that allows the network to transmit IP packages to external networks. This service is compatible with 2G and 3G networks. GPRS usage is typically charged based on volume of data transferred, compared to the earlier billed per minute of connected time. The GPRS brought a flow of new features such as multimedia messaging service (MMS), internet access, push to talk services (walkie talkie) and the latest boom of internet applications.Today, phone systems are available with 3G and 4G networks, which mean faster service.

WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol, which is a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. It allows mobile devices such as mobile phones to access information on WAP browser, a type of web browser for mobile phones. WAP uses Wireless Markup Language (WML), which includes the Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML) developed by Phone.com. A markup language is a way of adding information to your content that tells the device receiving the content what to do with it. The best known markup language is Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Traditional web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari, allow us to access web pages on the Internet. However, these web pages are huge in data, due to their graphic inter-phase, high image resolution, a lot of text and information, etc. WAP, however, scales this down. It shows WAP pages, which are mainly text based, i.e. less graphics and images, and more text based information.

There are three main reasons why wireless Internet needs the Wireless Application Protocol: transfer speed, size and readability and navigation. As compared to a typical 56 Kbps modem, a cable modem or a DSL connection, mobile phones have much slower data transfer rates. The smaller less graphic and more text based pages are easier and faster to load to these slower data transfer rates.

Furthermore, the size of the screen of the cell phone is much smaller with less resolution then computer monitors. The tradition Web pages are designed for the resolution of a monitor, and hence will not appear properly on a phone screen. WAP pages solve this problem.

Navigation is another problem, as we traditionally scroll down a web page with a mouse and point and clicks using a mouse. However, on mobile phones we use either scroll keys or touch to navigate. WAP pages take this into account in their design, and hence make it easier to navigate, ensuring that you don’t accidentally click on any links.

Essentially, the difference between WAP and GPRS is that GPRS is the method to connect to the internet via the phone, similar to how one connects to the Internet using the computer. GPRS is the internet connection. WAP, on the other hand, is the web browser, which we can use to view information, similar to how we use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer on the computer.

Furthermore, GPRS connection is not only used by the WAP alone. There are many apps and programs that use the GPRS to transfer data and information. One of these is SMS service or text messages. Using the GPRS allows a greater number of messages to be sent in a short period of time, as compared to traditional methods.

Image Courtesy: seeklogo.com, alcovetechnologies.com

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