The access point name (APN) is the name of the gateway between an OpCo’s network and the Internet. The APN connects the CPE device to the Packet Data Network (PDN) such as Internet through the Packet Data Network Gateway (P-GW). A CPE device can access multiple APNs, which consists of domain names and its associated parameters. All CPE devices are shipped with default APN settings.
In the Long Term Evolution (LTE) architecture for the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the APN determines the P-GW that the CPE device must use. The APN also defines the tunnel connecting the CPE device to a PDN such as the Internet. Each PDN that the user has subscribed to has an APN and an associated P-GW, often called a “PDN subscription context.” An example for a context is the default APN, connecting to a PDN such as the Internet unless the user activates another APN.
The CPE device is shipped to the tenant site with the default APN settings. The APN is applicable for sites with an LTE WAN link. CSO supports LTE WAN link on SRX320, SRX340, SRX345, NFX250 and NFX150 CPE devices only.
On NFX250 device, the LTE WAN link is supported through a USB dongle. The USB dongle is plugged into the USB port of the CPE device. The LTE-VM that is pre-installed on the NFX250 device has thousands of APN settings to enable the LTE modem to work with several OpCos all over the world. The NFX150 device is also pre-configured with default APN settings.
In both the devices, the initial LTE connection is established with default APN settings. As long as an LTE connection is established with the default APN settings, the LTE WAN link is used to reach CSO and complete the device activation process. Once the CPE device is activated at the tenant site, the tenant can choose to change the SIM card on the device to use a different LTE service provider. This requires new APN settings to be applied to the CPE device. Also in some cases the APN settings may need to be changed even when there is no SIM change required; this is to choose a private APN with the current LTE service provider. The tenant administrator can change the APN settings for specific tenant by logging into the Administration Portal.
The LTE WAN links on NFX250 devices works only with the Vodafone K5160 dongle.
Benefits of APN Configuration
When CPE devices are shipped to different regions around the world, APN configuration feature allows the administrators to change the default APN settings to support local network as opposed to remote network and consequently avoid the roaming charges.