You might have heard about a mobile APN before, but what really is it and how does it benefit businesses?
We’ll give you the rundown on exactly what to expect from a mobile APN solution and how it can streamline your business’ communications.
Let’s find out a little bit more about APN below
In this blog we are going to cover some key APN related topics and themes
- What does APN stand for?
- What is an APN and how does it work?
- 8 Benefits of Mobile APN for Businesses
- How to set up an APN
What does APN stand for?
APN stands for Access Point Name (APN).
It is the name given to the gateway between a 3G/LTE/5G mobile network and another computer network, accessing the public internet or virtual private network (VPN).
It is a unique identifier that allows a connection to the network and identifies the data access services associated with your account. The APN is the exit point from the mobile network operator’s (MNO) 3G/LTE/5G network into either the public internet or a private network.
What is an APN and how does it work?
A mobile APN can deliver a secure connection that creates a private network on a mobile device, protecting information and linking multiple devices together.
This means a business or organisation can manage multiple SIMs, each delivering data connectivity through a private APN to remote workers. The company can set usage caps for employees, and view bandwidth on an application level, for example whether the user is accessing social networks or work-related sites.
Ultimately, a mobile APN can significantly reduce data spend in the organisation as management has an integrated reporting environment with a universal view of how employees use their mobile data. A mobile APN solution can also use prepaid or postpaid data to provide complete budgetary control.
Types of APNs
There are a few types of APNs businesses might implement depending on their communication needs.
With the right type of APN, it’s possible to streamline communications and provide an enterprise with an array of benefits.
Public APN Network
- Shared Firewall
- Firewall lite
A Public APN provides mobile internet access, allowing your mobile workforce to connect to the internet, on common ports and protocols.
With Saicom’s Public APN solution, IP addresses are allocated either statically or dynamically, and traffic is routed out to the internet via a centralised Firewall.
Here is how Saicom’s public APN works:
Private APN (also known as a Corporate APN)
A private APN provides clients with a higher level of control and customisation than a public APN solution.
It can be likened to implementing a VPN on a mobile network connection.
With a private APN, businesses can control activities at an application level, and a mobile workforce’s communication is routed using custom configurations to connect users to a business’ Head office or data centre (either via an MPLS or SD-WAN network).
Traffic might also be routed through a dedicated or shared firewall, or into a data centre or hosting environment.
Learn how a private APN solution, through Saicom, works below:
8 Benefits of Mobile APN for Businesses
1. Central management of data usage & budget
A mobile APN solution acts as a way to manage SIMs, carriers, users and departments.
Each device connected to the business’ APN can be analysed to determine usage, from minutes and megabytes used, to understanding which applications are behind the most data usage.
Analytics are provided via an easy to use management portal that can also help the business institute budget control methods.
These controls may include setting specific rules for blocking applications and sites, or implementing usage caps for devices.
Stakeholders can also choose to receive notifications about data usage percentages throughout the month.
2. Soft lock and unlock SIMs in real-time
Administrators are able to soft-lock SIMs and unlock them in real-time.
A soft lock restricts a device from making outgoing calls but the device can still receive incoming calls.
This can be useful if a particular device has reached its usage cap, been lost or if a third party is using a specific device.
3. Centralised billing for all users and devices
Monitoring the billing associated with devices across a large mobile workforce doesn’t have to be stressful.
From a billing perspective it might appear that one may need to monitor the usage of each individual sim card and therefore handle separate bills for each and every device owned by the business.
However, this isn’t the case.
A Mobile APN mitigates the need for complicated billing for a company’s mobile communications and data use. Although devices might have varying sim cards and carriers, each device is connected to a shared, public or private APN.
A shared APN allows businesses to monitor and settle the charges associated with the communication and data use across an entire company – streamlining billing management headaches.
4. Provide devices with specific static IP addresses
Mobile APN solution providers are able to assign specific APN settings.
Giving company devices static IP addresses is typically one of these options, allowing the business to keep track of the usage associated with specific company devices and their owners. This is crucial for data management and billing purposes, helping the business analyse their data usage in alignment with their budget and informing smarter decisions in the future.
5. Multiple carrier options for reliable connectivity.
A mobile APN solution provides high speed national mobile data coverage (LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 4G and Edge) across a wide range of carriers (including MTN, Vodacom and Telkom).
With a mobile APN solution businesses can connect devices in remote locations where fIbre and/or ADSL are not available.
Carrier flexibility can enable mobile workforces to gain the best coverage wherever they are situated.
6. Protect communications and devices with a selection of security options.
When implementing a mobile APN solution, the business has access to a variety of security options to protect their communications with ease.
APN solutions are typically public or private – meaning that data is either routed through the Internet using common ports and protocols or using a custom routing configuration that can be used to connect a workforce to its headquarters. It is also possible to select whether the business wants its traffic to be routed through either a shared firewall or a dedicated firewall.
This customisability allows a business to select just how confidential and secure they would like their communications to be.
In addition, once a mobile APN solution has been implemented, the business is able to access other security features such as pairing the ICCID of a device to the IMEI number associated with the SIM card – rendering a sim card useless unless used with the correct device.
7. Scalable communications management for large workforces
APN solutions are ideal for businesses of all sizes.
A mobile APN solution allows you to manage multiple APNs, companies, departments, individuals and their SIMs.
It’s a no-brainer for large corporate companies with multiple branches, divisions as well as enterprises with hundreds or even thousands of employees and devices
8. Get access to company infrastructure off-site
Implementing a private APN setup can provide employees with access to company infrastructure that is connected to the business’ network.
This could mean providing an employee with access to a private email server, or the ability to view video feeds for the business’ security cameras.
The business will still be able to control and analyse which devices access parts of the company’s network.
Get started with a mobile APN solution that suits your business’ needs.
So we’ve covered how an APN can offer a wide range of benefits for a business especially with the rise of remote working which has made data security and mobile connectivity an even more essential part of a business’ considerations.
Setting up an APN solution requires minimal infrastructure and is such a great option for mobile workforces working as part of small, medium or large businesses.
If you are interested in mobile APN solutions for your business, contact us. We can assess your specific needs and risks and provide specific mobile APN solutions for your business