An I on Things To Come

By: Keith Hearne
Many people will have heard of the acronym WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) in connection with wireless devices especially mobile phones. However, not so many will have heard of i-Mode but are probably guaranteed to sometime soon.
First introduced in Japan in February 1999 by NTT DoCoMo, i-mode is one of the world’s most successful services offering wireless web browsing and e-mail from mobile phones. Whereas until recently, mobile phones were used mostly for making and receiving voice calls, i-mode phones allow users also to use their handsets to access various information services and communicate via email. When using i-mode services, you do not pay for the time you are connected to a website or service, communications fees are charged by the amount of data transmitted/received rather than the amount of time online. That means that you can stay connected to a single website for hours without paying anything, as long as no data is transmitted. As with WAP phones, i-Mode phones use a microbrowser to view specially marked up pages (WAP pages are in WML, i-Mode pages in cHTML or compactHTML). However when comparing these two services you must remember that WAP is a protocol, while I-mode, now japans biggest internet access platform, is a complete wireless internet service, presently covering almost all of Japan with over 13 million subscribers.
Japan’s i-Mode offers more affordable access rates, more robust content, and higher connection speed. Services available let users send and receive email, exchange photographs, do online shopping and banking, reserve tickets, find a good restaurant, download personalized ringing melodies for their phones, access the internet directly and navigate among more than 7,000 specially formatted Web sites.
The whole i-Mode experience when compared with WAP is much easier for users. When retrieving web content, before accessing a site WAP users must agree to pay extra charges and even type in URLs to browse through sites other than the service provider’s portal. i-Mode phones have a one-button browsing method, eliminating the need to type in Web addresses.
Currently, i-Mode accounts for over 60 percent of the world’s mobile Internet users, and 99.9 percent of these users are Japanese, but this will soon change. DoCoMo is currently bringing i-mode to the United Kingdom and Europe, and has already started using an English version in Japan for foreigners. This means it’s time to dust off your Kanji and hop on the i-mode bus. So keep an I on the shape of things to come.

Internet Protocol Version 6 – Evolution or Revolution?

By: John Ronan

If you have Internet access, you use IPv4 every time you connect to the Internet, every time you send an email or every time you look at a web page. IPv4, Internet Protocol version 4 or just plain IP, is the protocol or set of rules for communication, which is used today on the Internet.
IPv4 was designed a long time ago in computer terms (about 1980) and since its inception, there were many requests for enhanced capabilities. Currently IPv4 serves what could be called the computer market, the driving force behind the growth of the Internet.
However, as nomadic personal computing devices seem set to become ubiquitous with their prices dropping and their capabilities increasing, it seems likely that the next phase of growth will probably not be driven by the computer market. Replacing the current generation of mobile phones, pagers, and personal digital assistants (PDAs), these types of devices will need to communicate with the current generation of computers and the new Internet protocol will need to support this.
With the advance of digital high definition television comes the possibility that every television set will become an Internet host, blurring the difference between a computer and a television and adding another functionality requirement to the Internet protocol.
It’s also possible that the next generation Internet protocol could be applied to controlling devices. This consists of the control of everyday devices such as lighting equipment, heating and cooling equipment, motors, and other types of equipment currently controlled via analog switches and in aggregate consuming considerable amounts of electrical power. The size of this market is enormous and requires solutions, which are simple, robust, easy to use, and very low cost. The potential pay-back is that networked control of devices will result in substantial cost savings.
IPv6 is a new protocol, intended to supersede IPv4 and it has been the proposed standard since November 1994. IPv5 is already reserved for another protocol, which never really made it to the public, hence IPv6. As a natural increment to IPv4, IPv6 is designed to be the evolutionary step forward to provide a platform for the new Internet functionality that will be required in the near future.
The challenge was to pick a protocol that meets today’s requirements and also matches the requirements of emerging markets such as the ones we have described. These markets will happen with or without IPv6 but if IPv6 is a good match for them it is likely to be used. If not, then the market leaders will develop their own protocol.
Due to the size and scale of the new markets, it is also probable that they will each develop their own protocols anyway, perhaps proprietary. If this happens then these new protocols would not interoperate with each other i.e. your phone could not talk to your fridge, or your DVD player/recorder and the opportunity to create an immense, interoperable, world-wide information structure with open protocols would be lost.
The alternative is a world of disjointed networks with protocols controlled by individual vendors.

Value-Based Billing in a 3G IP Services Environment

Value-Based Billing in a 3G IP Services Environment. Ryan, C., Donnelly, W., de Leastar, E. & Cloney, J. 2002. G IP Services Environment, in 6th Int’l Conf. on Systemics, Cybernetics & Informatics (SCI 2002), Orlando, Florida, USA. (Awarded best paper);

Consumer Choice in a Multi-Service Residential Access Network Environment

Consumer Choice in a Multi-Service Residential Access Network Environment. Ronan, J., Crotty, M., Scharf, E., Hamer, P., Smparounis, K. & Payer, W. 2002. 8th Euromicro Conf. on Multimedia and Telecommunications (MTT2002), Dortmund, Germany;

Federated Accounting: Service Charging and Billing in a Business-to-Business Environment

Federated Accounting: Service Charging and Billing in a Business-to-Business Environment. Donnelly, W., Bhushan, B., Tschichholz, M. & Leray, E. 2002. 5th IFIP/IEEE Int’l Conf. on Management of Multimedia Networks and Services (MMNS 2002), ed.s K.C.Almeroth & M.Hasan, Springer-Verlag Heidelberg;

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