What is an APN?
When a device tries to establish a connection, it will send the APN (which is usually a word – e.g. ‘acme-apn-1’) over when authenticating. The APN, if valid, will provide the MNO (mobile network operator) with instructions for how and where data should be transported. This includes what network you’re trying to access, which IP addresses to use, and the security setup.
There are two main types of APN: public and private.
What is a public APN?
For some projects, a public APN is a good way to go. For others, and especially IoT, using a public APN would be like driving with wheels that are worn out and have no grip. You might make it to your destination, but you’ve risked a lot to get there.
That’s where private APNs come in.
What is a private APN?
Think of it as building your own private bypass that takes you straight to your front door—you’re going to get to your destination a lot quicker, and even better, no one else can drive up to your house.
When should I use a private APN?
Use a private APN for security (and speed):
Traffic can be routed directly into a corporate network, meaning you’re no longer sharing public pathways, and you can add your preferred security or usage policies.
Only SIM subscriptions you authorise can use the bypass to access sensitive data. And they’ll access it a lot quicker without having to sit in shared bandwidth traffic jams.
Speed-wise, if there is congestion on the consumer mobile network, your traffic won’t be affected because it takes a separate path. Ever been at a stadium, where you have full 4G signal but no data? This is because the consumer public APN is overloaded.
Use a private APN for custom IP addressing:
Unlike with dynamic IPs, SIM cards with static IPs are assigned an IP address that never changes.
A static IP is crucial in IoT deployments where you need to find, monitor, and control devices, and for any businesses who need to access their own networks and hosted applications reliably.
Opt for a public static IP and you can do all the above from anywhere in the world. But if you’re running your own local network and looking for even more security, you can upgrade to a private static IP. Nothing from the internet can get into your network, and nothing gets out.
Don’t settle for the wrong APN
If you want to give yourself the best chance to win over customers, stick with a connectivity partner who can build you a custom APN, and offer other value-added services.
Here at Pangea, we’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you and ensure your customers are left satisfied with their connectivity’s security, access, and reliability. No more worrying if you’ve built things right or if you’ve used the right tech.
Don’t know where to start? Send us a message and we’ll give you the best connectivity advice in the business.