Did you know that the internet/data that we use in our daily lives comes in the form of packets? And to identify the specific data packets which a user wants to communicate with, we need something called the Access Point Names (APN). Not just this, the APN is exceptionally essential for privacy and security purposes also.
But before we jump into the ‘how’ part of it, let’s answer a few questions.
What exactly is APN again?
The APN is the name of the settings which your mobile or desktop reads to help form a connection to the gateway between your carrier’s network and the public internet.
If this is too much, then let’s relate.
Imagine you are at point A. And it would be best if you connected with point B. But you don’t know how to send or receive a message. Then comes along Dr. Strange, who gives you a magic spell with which you can create a portal that acts as a gateway between you and points B.
So, in this example, point A is your android mobile phone. Dr. Strange is your carrier/network provider who provides this configuration called the APN, which can be used to cast a spell to set up a connection to a portal/gateway that connects to the internet at point B.
So, when you cast a spell, your carrier reads through the APN settings to generate an IP address, connects you to the correct gateway, and makes sure that your device gets connected to a proper network/internet service.
While this may seem too much of a work, that’s where the proper news steps in. Your carrier takes care of most of the work, including the technical aspects of it. Your job is to make sure that you have the right settings in place. And often, the APN settings come preconfigured. Still, you might face situations where you would want/have to reconfigure your APN settings. Here’s a quick guide on consumer cellular apn settings if that’s the provider you’re using.
Why change the APN settings?
A few example scenarios would help you better understand the need to reconfigure the APN settings.
- You receive an error message stating that your device cannot activate a cellular network.
- You move to a different state, and you’d like to switch to the local system of the same carrier to avoid roaming charges.
- You have an unlocked phone but wish to use it under a different carrier.
Assuming that you have an overview, we can now dive into the ‘how’ part of the settings.
How to reconfigure the APN settings?
Step 1. The Chosen One
Find the right APN settings of the network you want to use. Where can you find them? Support pages on the carrier’s website.
You will find settings that include categories like Name, APN, APN Type, Proxy, Port, etc.
Step 2. Locate
Once the required settings have been found and accumulated, the next step needs you to identify where you need to enter them.
In your settings, click on ‘Wireless and Networks’ and nested within ‘Cellular Networks,’ you will be able to find an environment for ‘Access Point Names.’ This is the navigation for most, if not all, of the android smartphones.
Tapping on these settings would not trigger any unwanted changes. Just make sure not to make any edits on the way.
Step 3. Reconfigure
Once you click on the ‘Access Point Names,’ you would find an already-existing setting.
Do not edit or delete the existing setting. Instead, make a new one by clicking on the ‘+’ sign or tapping on the ‘add’ word. This is where you will enter the settings you have obtained from the carrier’s website.
Two key things to keep in mind here: Not all the details need to be filled. Only fill in those which your carrier has provided you with.
Everything needs to be typed in exactly as provided by the carrier. For example, if the APN type is “default,supl”, then “default,supl” is different from “default, supl”.
Keeping these in mind, once you enter all the details, it is time to save this setting. You will either find the “Save” option in the menu or on the same page itself. Click on it.
Step 4. After Save
Now, go back to “Access Point Names” and click on this new setting to enable it. Your phone might lose its data connection for a while, but that’s nothing to worry about. After a few minutes, it should start functioning properly. Even after a few minutes, if the connection is still lost, reboot your phone, and it should be good to go!
Sometimes you may have to provide two different APN settings because there might be a case where your carrier provides two separate gateways for MMS and the Internet. If that’s the case, then all the required details about both the APN settings would be available on the carrier’s website.
And that’s it! Your android mobile phone is now right to make calls, send SMS/MMS, use data for internet services.