A custom Access Point Name (APN) gives an enterprise many connectivity options for mobile telemetry devices that are not available when using consumer wireless accounts. These options include static public or private IP addressing, mobile terminated data connections and custom firewall settings. An APN can be used in conjunction with connections to PMI’s Boomerang voltage monitor from an IP-based SCADA system. These connections can be configured to use an encrypted link to satisfy cyber-security requirements.
Many telemetry devices use GSM modems, including vending machines, medical monitoring, water management and electrical supervision devices. All GSM devices must have a SIM card, which marries a device to a phone number, and an APN assignment. Most consumer devices are pre-programmed to the appropriate APN at time of purchase.
Security is not a foregone conclusion with any APN, though it can be a feature of a custom APN. On a consumer APN, security is provided by the application by using SSL for web pages or email access. With a custom APN, a telemetry device can be prevented by the cell carrier from access to any network location other than the enterprise. Communications between the cell carrier and enterprise network can use encrypted links. Taken together, limited access and encryption provide the enterprise a secure solution to monitor and control mobile devices located anywhere in the country.
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