IT Security Outsourced IT

Access Point Name

What is Access Point Name?

Access Point Name (APN) refers to the gateway and point of entry onto the internet (IP network) from a mobile network. APN is used by mobile service providers to combine many SIM cards into a single limited network. Only SIM cards that are preprogrammed to work on a specific APN of the mobile provider can access the internet, which provides an additional layer of security for Internet-of-
Things (IoT) devices. The types of APNs are:

Public APN. Public APN is the is the default option that is associated with all SIM subscriptions of a given service provider. These default public APN settings allow all users access to the internet without any additional steps in IoT device reconfiguration.

Public APN with static IP. The gateway assigns a static IP address to the IoT device based on the available IP pool of the public network.

Private APN. Private APN is used to access a specific network. Private APN requires SIM subscriptions be provisioned on this specific APN gateway, and the APN settings will need to be updated in the IoT device.

Private APN with static IP. The gateway assigns a static IP address to the IoT device based on the available IP pool of the private network.

It is recommended to have a private APN for security critical applications, as private APNs give more control over data connections. Benefits of using private APNs include1:

  • Configurability. Private APNs offer the ability to configure various settings such as IP addressing (either static or dynamic) and authentication methods.
  • Security. Subscribers are only visible to other devices on the same APN, which provides superior data security when compared with public APNs or other types of internet access. Private APN allows data to remain only on the customer’s private network.
  • Organization Policies. When applied as part of a mobile security solution, it benefits from having mobile users conform to security and usage policies, which limits potential misuse of mobile services.
  • Global Coverage. With a network of global carrier partners, users have access to their Private APN across the globe, allowing for convenient and secure access to all of the organization’s applications.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Private APNs offer a cost-effective mobile security solution due to the ability to aggregate usage.

1 Dreyer, 2020, “IoT – APNs and VPNs, why do I need it?”