APN (Access Point Names) settings are the configurations needed for connection to a cellular data network. They ensure that your cell phone properly communicates with the servers of your mobile phone service provider. Essentially, APN settings are text fields that contain vital information that allow you to use MMS services and data from government regulated radio frequencies. Settings are unique from one provider or carrier to another, meaning that each carrier has their own configurations that are exclusive to customers in their network. This is because each provider has a unique APN and APN type.
APNs and types are the most important fields in an APN configuration. To establish a connection, APNs must match the value set by the carrier. Additionally, APN types determine which type of connection can be established. For example, "MMS” is the setting for sending MMS messages, “default” is the setting for Internet data (without MMS) and “*” is the setting for all connection types. Incorrect APNs or APN types will lead to certain issues, such as an inability to access mobile data.
APN Settings for All Network Carriers
All phone service providers or carriers have unique APN settings. Below is a list of the unique APN settings for each carrier in the United States.
To understand the APN settings of your carrier, you must know the meaning of each setting field. This will make the above information much more useful. Below are the APN setting fields used by all carriers:
APN: This setting must be a valid value, as it determines the access point mobile customers must use to transmit and receive data from their carrier.
APN Enable/ Disable: If they’re multiple APN configurations, this setting displays which configuration is currently enabled or disabled.
APN Protocol/ APN Roaming Protocol: For devices that support IPv6 networks, this setting allows users to choose between IPv4 and IPv6 networks or both.
APN Type: This is the most important field, which specifies the type of connection APN settings can be used for.
Authentication Type: The method used to create usernames and passwords for data connection and server access.
Bearer: Setting for carriers and devices that switch between LTE and CDMA (EVDO) networks.
MCC/ MNC: Uses the Mobile Network and Mobile County Codes to identify the carrier.
MMSC: This is the Multimedia Messaging Service Center used to receive and send MMS (text) messages.
MMS Protocol: The protocol required to send MMS messages.
MMS Proxy/ MMS Port: Defines the HTTP Proxy needed for communicating with the Multimedia Messaging Service Center.
Name: Simply the name you choose for your network.
Port Number: The number that links your device to the proxy server.
Proxy: An optional field that specifies the HTTP proxy.
Server: The WAP Gateway server (rarely used on new devices).
Username/ Password: A field that is either left blank or created by the carrier, but never accessible to the user.
Definition of APN Type Values
The APN type specifies the connection(s) used in the APN configuration. For each customer, the best way to understand the values used or recommended by your provider is to understand the values themselves. The values used by APN types are:
“Default”- This is used for APN configurations designed for general Internet data. With this value, all data communication happens through this channel unless overridden by the carrier. No additional values are needed when the configuration is set to “Default”.
“SUPL” – This value indicates the configuration that can be used for the Secure User Plane Location (SUPL) data. Secure User Plane Location data determines the geographical location of the user relative to the location of the network.
MMS: MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service is used for MMS (text) communication. To send and receive message properly, this value requires additional values, such as values in the MMS Proxy/MMS Port or MMSC fields.
Additional APN Type Values
“HIPRI”- A HIPRI data connection is used to identify an unknown connection on an Android device. An application that attempts to establish a connection through an unknown network will automatically be labeled as “HIPRI”. However, this disruption won’t affect the APN settings. With a HIPRI value a device can’t route data correctly, so this value is temporary until the network resets itself.
“DUN”- DUN or Dial-Up Networking is an uncommon value that basically uses your phone as a dial-up modem. However, speed constraints have made this value almost obsolete.
A mobile phone can’t operate on a network without APN settings. They’re essential for sending, accessing and receiving data, phone service and MMS messages. So, learning about these settings and how they work for your phone and network, could give you a greater understanding of your device and phone service provider. But, at the very least, you’ll be able to share what you know. Jump to top
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