What is APN?
APN stands for Access Point Name and it is a gateway or protocol that allows people to gain access to the web by using the services of mobile phone networks. These networks may be 2G, 3G, or GPRS among others. But before someone can get access to the internet, the proper settings must be configured.
Access Point Name (APN) acts like an identification number for a cellular phone to have a data session with a particular network. But one must know what type of APN is needed as there are various different types. Each of the different types of APN has unique properties, so care must be taken on which one to choose to have a successful internet connection. In using mobile phones, one may be prompted of different APN options. Different APNs for “internet” and “WAP” options may be available. Both of these have different setups and functions, so the user must choose which service to avail. If the wrong option is taken, one might be prompted that no network service is available.
APN’s structure has two parts. The first part is called the network identifier. This part simply identifies which network is connected to the GGSN or Gateway GPRS Support Node. This network identifier is a required part of APNs. The next part is called the operator identifier and is not required in the APN structure. This part is able to locate the GGSN on the operator’s domain network.
Through APN, a particular user can communicate with a specific IP PDN or packet data network. APNs also allow the identification of a particular service wanted by the user. Services that can be identified may be in the form of multimedia messaging (MMS) or wireless application protocol (WAP) services.
Access Point Names (APN) is written through a series of labels with periods or dots acting as separators, just like the DNS convention.