IBM also mentions on its site another tool currently under development that will do the same for Cobol code, further extending the possibilities and potential of a wireless AS/400 content provider.
In addition to enabling your AS/400 applications and data for wireless access, you will find that brushing up on wireless technology fundamentals, starting with the different network types, will also prove beneficial.
For example, circuit-switched networks are cellular telephone-based and require a dedicated line for sending and receiving transmissions. Packet-switched networks, on the other hand, break down data into small packets, which allows multiple users to share the same channel. It does not require a dedicated line, making it more efficient and cost-effective for Internet traffic. Some wireless networking options include CDPD (cellular digital packet data), CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), GSM (Global System for Mobile communication), and TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access).
You might consider using e-mail services to let your users synchronize with AS/400 data. You can use solutions such as IBM's Mobile Connect or AvantGo's platform to facilitate this. But using e-mail platforms to link to the AS/400 via wireless devices may not be a good solution if you have a wide array of data that requires wireless accessibility.
More likely, you'll choose to leverage a standard protocol, probably WAP, to interconnect your AS/400 with one or more wireless networks.The WAP protocol includes an XML derivative that lets you link AS/400 e-business applications and data with any of these wireless networks. WAP's content-encoding language, WML, adapts XML to the constraints of handheld computers' small displays. You could use a WAP gateway to link wireless devices to AS/400 applications and data using standard HTTP requests.
Your AS/400 programmers will need to be knowledgeable about WML, scripting, and the WTA (Wireless Telephony Application) framework. Also, you'll need to define which devices you'll support and how you will test your AS/400 applications prior to deploying them to wireless devices in a production setting. Several wireless device emulators are available to simulate these devices in testing.
If wireless e-mail access or WAP-enabled applications don't suit your organization and end-users, consider outsourcing wireless access to your AS/400 to a service provider. This method can be more cost-efficient, especially if you don't have experienced IT staff available to transform your applications into wireless-ready tools. But beware of possible hitches; depending on your service, you may encounter service-related issues such as limited customization of your applications.
Pricing for service providers that can wireless-enable your AS/400 data and applications varies greatly.