18th September 2021

What is APN? How to set up an APN?

It is a technology that enables the establishment of virtual private networks on the mobile communication infrastructure such as GPRS, Edge and 3G. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to establish private networks for institutions where only permitted users can enter. The mobile service provider creates a separate private network for each company using the APN(Access Point Name) service, and only users authorized by the relevant institution (authorized Simcard owner machines) can access this network. Disallowed devices cannot be included in this network. APN stands for Access Point Name. It is the address that provides the information to forward data packets transmitted by terminals to different IP addresses on the Gprs network.

How to set up an APN?

Establishing APN for services such as 3G, GPRS and Edge are set up under the agreement with your mobile service provider. For the APN system to work, a high-speed IP connection must be established between the mobile operator and the institution. For this purpose, technologies such as Metro Ethernet, G.SHDSL are established between the centre of the institution and the mobile operator, and a high-speed line is established. Encryption (IPSEC crypto) technology is used in the connection between the mobile operator and the institution to ensure the highest level of communication security. In this way, the mobile operator securely transmits the information received from devices such as 3G modems using its own network to the centre of the institution. If an APN is set up, it is possible to access the centre from both the centre to the end devices and from the end devices to the centre.

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 APN Architecture
APN Architecture

 

APN Applications for 3G Router and Modem

With the spread of 3G, mobile broadband access, the use of a 3G modem and 3G Router are increasing. 3G Routers and 3G modems are now used for automation, on-line systems and M2M applications, as well as accessing the internet only personally. Having dozens of lines of the same institution also means access to the internet from dozens of points and security problems. APN service provides the infrastructure required for corporate companies to use mobile broadband securely for their applications.

What should be the Connection Speed Between the Mobile Operator and Organization for APN?

The services to be used in determining the speed of the connection to be established between the mobile operator and the institution and the number of devices that will use these services should be taken into account. For example, if the only meter reading is to be made, a 2 Mbps connection between the mobile operator and the corporate centre will be sufficient for a few thousand machines, while it may be necessary to establish a 10 Mbps link between the mobile operator and the corporate centre for 20 users in applications that require very intense data exchange such as WiFi and video.

Determining IP Addresses of Remote End Devices Using APN

In 3G and GPRS applications, the IP address usually changes with every connection. This does not affect users in APN applications. Modems and routers included in the APN use IP addresses in the address group reserved for private use. These IP addresses are defined separately for each 3G modem or router by the operator and the user is notified to the institution. Since these IP addresses are selected from IP address groups reserved for private use (for example 192.168.x.x), they are only known and accessed by the using institution. It is not possible for users who are not included in the APN to access these addresses.

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Things To Do When Using APN Service

Users using the APN service can access the internet through the infrastructure available within the organization. In this way, taking security measures only at the centre ensures the security of the entire network. APN users can access the internet by using all security systems such as the firewall and antivirus system in the centre. Since there is central access, the corporate administrator can give internet access permission to any user group or completely block internet access.

By using services such as RADIUS while using APN, institutions that want to can manage the authentication, authorization, and measurement of the data they use. In this way, a separate policy can be defined for each user. APN is a special network for you. Other devices and users in the 3G network can’t view your packets.

IP address changes for each connection in standard 3G lines. In APN usage, each device has its own IP address (from the group reserved for private use). Even if the IP address received by the device on the connection changes, the IP address used to access the devices behind it does not change. This makes the management of the system easier.

In standard use, a single IP address is given for 3G modem or router. In case APN is defined, the operator can give multiple IP addresses for each device. If there is more than one device (PLC, RTU, camera, computer, etc.) behind the 3G Router, it is possible to give a separate IP address for each of these devices. All these devices can be seen separately on your network map. Each device accessing the internet means taking separate security measures for each device. If APN is used, it will be possible to take security measures only in the centre or to completely turn off the internet access of the devices in your network if it is not required. Some operators have a service level guarantee for customers using APN.

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