An Access Point Name (APN) basically defines your connectivity settings. This is possible as it allows device’s network to connect to the internet. And any time you feel like switching carriers, you need a new APN since the name is specific to each MNO.
Even though most APNs tend to look somewhat random, they do follow a standard APN structure. This structure makes it easy for users to tell some basic information regarding the getaway. That leaves many wondering what the APN structure looks like. Well, Access Point Names have two main components i.e., a network identifier and an operator identifier.
The network identifier simply specifies the external network the gateway connects to. As for the operator identifier, it lets you know about which MNO the gateway is associated with. It entails two parts i.e., the Mobile Network Code (MNC) and the Mobile Country Code (MCC).
In a nutshell, the MNC is unique to the carrier whereas the MCC is entirely based on the region a carrier operates. In most cases, both the MNC and MCC are three digits each. The good news is that APNs have custom names making them easy to enter and remember. This is mostly the case when it comes to cellular IoT applications involving the manual setting of APNs by manufacturers.
This is not to say that custom APNs do not rely on network identifiers and operator identifiers. Actually, they still use them to provide the needed connection. However, they’re first translated from the unique domain into the standard APN format. There is nothing to worry about since it takes place on the backend.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the structure of Access Point Names goes a long way in making sure you have a clear picture on how they work. Be sure to find out more about the different types of APNs available before choosing a carrier. Through this action, you will not end up choosing the wrong carrier for your needs. Luckily, you can take advantage of the internet whenever you want to know more about what goes into APNs.