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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
GPRS and 3G Wireless Applications
Author:
Christoffer Andersson
ISBN:
0 471 41405 0
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
316pp+CD
Price:
£35-95
Reviewer:
Silvia de Beer
Subject:
internals and hardware; networks
Appeared in:
13-5
Now that I have read this book I can understand the articles on the mobile phone business. I have gained a background understanding of mobile phones and other wireless connected devices, e.g. Personal Digital Assistants. Such a handset is commonly called a Mobile Station.

The book starts explaining basic concepts of the mobile phone system, i.e. the complete network of phones, cables and masts with their receivers and transmitters. The differences between the various protocols are explained. At the moment we use the second-generation protocols, like GSM. Currently the 2.5-generation protocols, e.g. GPRS, are being introduced and in the future the third generation protocols like UMTS will arrive. The big difference between the second generation and the later generations of protocols is that it is not circuit switched but packet switched. This opens the way for new applications with different pricing structures and the availability of 'always being online'.

Bluetooth can be used by the mobile stations 'to cut the cord' and WAP allows access to the Internet from the mobile systems. The last part of the book discusses operating systems, security, testing approaches and location-based services, i.e. how you can discover the location of a mobile station. I found parts of those chapters slightly superficial because of the impossibility for an application developer to write a little application and try it out.

Developing an application for Mobile Stations is not yet that easy. Although the introduction and back cover claim that after you have read the book you can start developing your applications for the mobile Internet, that is definitely not true. This book is only one attempt from the traditionally closed Telecom world to open up a bit to outsiders. The standards, technology and infrastructure still need to be developed further to make writing a mobile Internet application as easy as setting up you own web page.