Access Point Name

An Access Point Name (APN) is the name of a gateway[1] between a GSM, GPRS, 3G or 4G mobile network and another computer network, frequently the public Internet.

A mobile device making a data connection must be configured with an APN to present to the carrier. The carrier will then examine this identifier to determine what type of network connection should be created, for example: which IP addresses should be assigned to the wireless device, which security methods should be used, and how or if, it should be connected to some private customer network.[2]

More specifically, the APN identifies the packet data network (PDN) that a mobile data user wants to communicate with. In addition to identifying a PDN, an APN may also be used to define the type of service, (e.g. connection to Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) server, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)) that is provided by the PDN. APN is used in 3GPP data access networks, e.g. General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), evolved packet core (EPC).

Structure of an APNEdit

Access Point Node structure

A structured APN consists of two parts[3] as shown in the accompanying figure.

  • Network Identifier: Defines the external network to which the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) is connected. Optionally, it may also include the service requested by the user. This part of the APN is mandatory
  • Operator Identifier: Defines the specific operator's packet domain network in which the GGSN is located. This part of the APN is optional. The MCC is the mobile country code and the MNC is the mobile network code which together uniquely identify a mobile network operator.

Examples of APN are:

  • (Note: This example APN uses a domain name from the DNS which belongs to the operator)
  • internet.t-mobile
  • internet.mnc012.mcc345.gprs
  • rcomnet.mnc015.mcc405.gprs
  • internet (Note: This APN example does not contain an operator)
  • NXTGENPHONE (Note: Does not contain an operator, however in practice it is AT&T Mobility's LTE APN)
  • VZWINTERNET (Note: No operator, but the APN name clearly identifies Verizon Wireless)
  • mobitel (Note: APN name clearly identifies operator Mobitel)

LTE networks use APN-FQDN format, it change the APN used in 2G - 3G by inserting the labels "apn.epc." between the label "mnc<MNC>" and its preceding label, and by replacing the label ".gprs" at the end with the labels "" [4]

Example: * internet.mnc012.mcc345.gprs change to


  1. ^ "What is an APN, and how do I change it?". Android Central. 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  2. ^ "GSM cellular networks use an APN (Access Point Name) to determine how a mobile station, in this case a Digi Connect WAN or RG" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  3. ^ 3GPP TS 23.003 Numbering, addressing and identification.
  4. ^ [1] Domain Name System Procedures (Page 15 /

External linksEdit