Sirin Tekinay and David Goodman
The technical and business communities view a "wireless Internet" as an inevitable sequel to the spectacular growth of cellular communications and the World Wide Web in the 1990s. The prevailing wisdom is that without the nuisance of wired connections to consumer equipment, Internet access will be more convenient and enjoyable. While this is true, it is only part of the picture because it fails to acknowledge the fact that information services shaped by the needs and characteristics of people on the move and the nature of the information they send and receive will be qualitatively different from services delivered to people in fixed locations. In the long run, a wireless Internet will offer far more than the negative benefit of an Internet with some of its wires removed. However, to realize the full potential of a wireless Internet, it will be necessary to transcend the technical assumptions that nurtured cellular communications and the Web.
This chapter examines current industry trends in uniting wireless communications and the Internet. It describes the advances these trends will produce and the bottlenecks they do not address. It then surveys current research initiatives that go beyond the centralized topology of wireless systems and the client/server model of Internet information delivery.