WAE follows an architecture that is more complicated than the WWW model because it needs to address the specific limitations of wireless devices. The cellular phone community is made up of a series of private networks. Because cellular phone providers maintain a partnership with a discrete network, each phone complies with the standards of only one network and there is limited synergy among the networks. WAE defines WAP as a public, standard protocol. Wireless devices communicate via WAP in addition to the pre-existing protocols supplied by private networks.

Why not use HTTP as the WWW model does? Because WAP is designed to handle slower processors and the specific constraints of the wireless network, such as limited bandwidth and high error rates, the markup languages available to wireless devices, such as WML and WML script, are scaled-down and conform to a format that requires less memory and processing power than HTML.

In short, WAE consists of two parts: protocols (WAP, which includes WSP, WTP, WDP) and content (WML). Because a Web server only speaks HTTP, WAE uses a gateway to translate between WAP and HTTP. Each wireless device communicates with a designated gateway that makes calls to any number of Web servers.

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