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1 Internet Services and User Mobility

With the growth and spread of the Internet, vast information resources and services are making available to anyone, at any time, from anywhere in the world. People and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on rapid and easy access to information drawn from both local and global sources. As more and more people and places become "connected", technological needs and market forces continue to change at an increasing pace.

The Internet community currently focuses part of its forces on the convergence of fixed and mobile networks to provide access to the Internet from wireless terminals (e.g., cellular phones, pagers, in-car computers, palm-top computers). Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is chartered to develop or adopt architectures and protocols to support mobility within the Internet [ref 1]; World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working towards making information on the World Wide Web accessible to mobile devices [ref 2]; WAP Forum (Wireless Application Protocols) [ref 3] is defining de-facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals; Co-operation between W3C and WAP Forum has started around a common test bed [ref 4].

This convergence of system and network infrastructures leads to offer on-line access to mobile users regardless their physical location and the serving network, and through various types of terminal devices having different capabilities and interfaces. Therefore, mobile users will need intelligent information handling to easily access information and services and customize terminals and applications according to their own preferences (user profiles).

This paper proposes a new approach for the role of smartcards into these distributed and mobile service environments. This approach is based on the naming and directory service architecture. We present a naming and directory service architecture which is based on a new component we named Personal Naming and Directory Service (PNDS), which is embedded on a smartcard. In section two, after a short introduction, we present PNDS concept and list advantages to have it stored on a smartcard. Section three gives an overview and limits of current smartcards applications for mobile users. Section four presents PNDS features more precisely, and shows how it has been integrated into a federated architecture of naming servers (PNDS has been prototyped using a GemXpresso JavaCard platform). To demonstrate the PNDS concept, an example of a PNDS-based application is presented in section five. Finally, we conclude with future directions.

[Section 2] [Table of contents]