Private APN: What's in a name?

by Ross Sully, Enterprise Mobility Connectivity Specialist at Telefónica UK

In Shakespeare’s play, Juliet tells Romeo that names are meaningless and it’s the properties of what’s being described that are important. However true this may be, names can help us quickly identify things that would otherwise be hard to describe. For example, it’s much easier to say “router” than to say “the networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks.”

Using names to simplify is valuable when it comes to mobile data networking as well. This is most apparent when you need to identify specific mobile devices within the millions in operation across the world. Most of us don’t think about how our mobile devices connect to the internet. The fact that we share access with millions of others, and that we are largely indistinguishable from them, doesn’t bother us, but organisations need to consider this.

The pathways between your mobile device, the mobile data networks and the Internet are defined by Access Point Names (APNs). Your smartphone’s connection settings show the APN options, with what looks like a domain name setting contained within. This is the APN being used by your handset and by default it will usually connect to the Internet via a public gateway.

Public APNs are designed to provide basic Internet access for the most commonly used apps and websites. However, they’re not designed to provide organisations with the type of service needed to run critical business systems. To meet these requirements, private APN services need to be used.

Private APNs route mobile data traffic from mobile devices directly into organisations’ corporate data networks.  This means these devices don’t share the public data pathways so:

  • Getting information from mobile devices to back-end systems is more stable, improving the end user experience. Particularly when using real time applications.
  • Devices are more secure and may not need to use VPN client software, reducing the load on company firewalls, Internet connectivity and other border systems.
  • Specific IP addresses can be assigned to SIM cards, so devices can be uniquely identified. Very useful to account for certain assets, machines, applications, or people.

Plus if you’re an O2 private APN customer and things go wrong, we offer dedicated, specialist support to ensure faults are quickly corrected so business disruption and the effect on your customers is kept to a minimum.

Setting up private APN services requires a bit of effort and some extra investment but choosing an Enterprise grade service can make a big difference in the long run.

So, if you want to improve the performance of your business apps or you’re looking for “static IP addresses” for your mobile devices, then come and talk to us – a private APN might be just what you need. Plus, you can give it a name that’s the perfect fit for your organisation too.  Feel free to get in touch with me using LinkedIn or why not visit our website.