Unlocking the Power of WAP

So you want to know about WAP. Well, first of all, what is WAP? WAP is an acronym that stands for Wireless Access Protocol, which is (on a very basic level) the technology that a cellular phone uses to connect to the internet. There are several WAP browsers, and the one that will be described today is called Openwave, which comes preinstalled on a bunch of cellphones. I have personally seen Openwave in use on LG and Kyocera phones, but I’m sure these aren’t the only phone brands that use Openwave.

Openwave is generally not that hard to tweak. Once the browser is running on a cellphone, one just has to press and hold down the zero button (or menu button, depending on the phone manufacturer) on their phone until they are greeted with a menu full of everyday browser features, such as “Reload” and “Bookmarks.” The last item on the menu is “Advanced”, which is where the configuration of your WAP setup will eventually end. If you’re following along on your own cellphone and you’re seeing what I’m describing, you most likely have a cellphone manufactured by LG or Kyocera, and your cellphone company (if you live in the US) is probably Verizon.

You’ll notice that in the “Advanced” menu, there is an option called “Set WAP Proxy”. Keep this function in mind. A WAP Proxy is just an IP and a port that point to what’s called a WAP gateway, a program running on a computer that acts as a gateway (hence the name) allowing a cellphone to connect to the wireless internet. It’s fairly easy to set up your own gateway, using your own computer’s internet connection–I use a gateway called WAP3GX. A detailed explanation of a configuration of a WAP gateway is beyond the scope of this article, but just know that the gateway (at least this is true for WAP3GX) listens on UDP ports 9200 and 9201, and that you’ll need to configure your router and/or firewall accordingly to forward these ports to your computer. If you’re too lazy or don’t want to attempt to set up your own WAP gateway, you can just use the free, public WAP gateway provided by WAPTunnel, at 207.232.99.109:9200 or 207.232.99.109:9201. The only reason I recommend setting up your own WAP gateway is because WAPTunnel’s tends to not work very well most of the time (although you can find other public gateways if you look around on Google.) For now, let’s just assume you have acquired an IP and a port of an active WAP gateway. The next problem is just getting all of this information into your cellphone.

My main areas of expertise include cellphones made by LG and Kyocera, so I’ll briefly describe how to get into the service menu of cellphones made by those respective companies. On the newer LG phones with color screens, when you hit the menu button from the homescreen you’ll notice there are nine menu choices, from 1-9. Ever wondered why they didn’t start at zero? Try hitting the zero button. You’ll be asked to enter in a six-digit service code, which is usually all zeros, as well. Now you’re in the service menu of the phone, and I wouldn’t touch anything you don’t feel confident in messing around with, because it’s pretty easy to render a phone unusable by entering in incorrect settings. You’ll want to select “WAP Setting” from the service menu, and then “IP Setting”. Select “Link3-IP1”. Write down what you see on a piece of paper in case something goes wrong (so that you can ?reset? the phone to its default settings if you need to), and then replace the listed IP with the IP of your WAP gateway (don’t enter the port.) Hit OK, and then hit CLR. Select “Port Setting” from the menu, then select Link3-Port1, then again write down what you see, then enter in the port of your WAP gateway. Hit OK, and then END. I have tested this method with LG VX4400 and VX6000 cellphones, but it will work for other LG phones, although accessing the service menu might be a little different–you might have to press menu and zero at the same time, or press and hold menu and then press zero, or vice versa.

On the other hand, if you have a Kyocera phone, go to the homescreen and enter in the number 111-111 like you were going to call that number. You’ll see a menu option pop up on the bottom of the phone. Scroll until you see a menu item called “Options”, select it, and find another menu item called “Browser Setup.” This is basically the same as the LG setup from here, except instead of ‘Links’, there are ‘Uplinks’, and there are only two of them–change the information in Uplink B to that of your WAP gateway.

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The service menu is the trickiest part of this operation, and if you’re having trouble entering settings or if you find my instructions inadequate or have a phone manufactured by a company other than LG or Kyocera, there is plenty of information about all of this on the internet (Howard Forums is a good place to start)–just search for “WAP”.

The hardest part is now out of the way. Try re-opening your WAP web browser and change the active WAP Proxy (as described in the beginning of this article) to Proxy 3 if you have an LG Phone or Proxy B if you have a Kyocera phone. If you see a page asking you to enable security features, it means that you haven’t properly configured the browser to connect to your WAP gateway–you’re still connecting to your cellular provider’s gateway. If everything went to plan, however, the phone should connect to your gateway and prompt for a default homepage to display. Note that most of the WAP-enabled phones only can browse through and display WML [Wireless Markup Language] pages as opposed to HTML pages, at least that I know of, so you’ll need to go hunting for WML pages. Google’s wireless WML page is located at http://wap.google.com, which is nifty for finding other WML sites. Wireless Mapquest is located at http://wireless.mapquest.com/aolmq_wml, and wireless Superpages is located at http://wap.superpages.com/cgi/cs_client.cgi, to name a few sites. All of these links would be entered into your cellphone at the prompt.

Browsing isn’t the only thing you can do with WAP, however–if you use Cerulean Studio’s multinetwork chat program, Trillian Pro, you can download a plug-in for Trillian called I.M. Everywhere. This program is a miniature HTTP server (NOT a WAP gateway) that will let you IM anyone that is on your Trillian buddy list from your phone. Trillian supports ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger, which means that you will be able to IM all of your buddies on your phone, without paying for text messages. I.M. Everywhere broadcasts in both WML and HTML, so you would enter your own IP into the default homepage prompt on your phone to get this working, or you could enter your IP into any internet browser on a computer and use I.M. Everywhere to control Trillian remotely.

This article has just about come to a close, but one very important thing to note is that WAP requires cellular airtime. You will be charged, in minutes of time spent on the wireless web, for data transfer on your phone bill. There is no extra charge for wireless internet (like there normally would be), only regular airtime ‘talking’ minutes (at least with Verizon), which means that you will most likely have free WAP nights and weekends–instead of seeing a dialed number on your phone bill, you would just see “DATA TRANSFER”. Your cellular provider will almost definitely not support doing what is outlined here–this isn’t illegal, it’s just using your own free WAP gateway instead of your cellular provider’s paid gateway. If you’re going to try any of this on your own, try it with caution. I take absolutely no responsibility for extra cellular charges you may incur or for any trouble you may get into with your cellular provider if, and when, you try all of this. That said, have fun and I hope you learned something!

By Joshua D.

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