November 4, 2008 12:37 PM GMT
APNs deployed via GPRS, Edge, 3G, HSDPA & HSUPA are becoming widely deployed in various businesses throughout South Africa. APNs have found their use in telemetry applications, Point-of Sale networking, corporate inter-site connectivity, backup of traditional leased & ADSL lines, enabling mobile users and various others. From cost benefits to ease of deployment, APNs provide a fast alternative in the arena of Wide-area networking. They can prevent the need for expensive dual homing or limited redundancy via ADSL or ISDN (normally on the same copper run to the nearest exchange). As 3G is provided on the mobile operators network, redundancy is provided via a totally separate connectivity provider. Syrinx is a Tier 1 ISP providing APN services using the Vodacom network in SA.
The APN service can either function with standard contract SIMs or via a cheaper data bundle deployed across multiple SIMs. As an example for a typical multi-site corporate, a contract SIM can be sourced for as little as R13 (ex VAT) a month and a 5Gig bundle for the SIM/SIMs at R1100 (ex VAT) per month. The SIM or multiple SIMs all use and share the bundle data as part of the APN. The benefits though are more than just cost related ? it includes:
? Security: As no two SIMs are the same, only allowed SIMs can connect to the APN.
? Networking: Each SIM receives an IP address that is part of the corporate network ? it immediately has access to allowed corporate network services and applications (e.g. Email & Fileservers).
? Roaming: A travelling user remains part of the corporate network even when out of South Africa (with the provision that operator roaming agreements & similar data services exist at the foreign destination).
? Management: Usage of SIMs can be individually monitored and controlled at an additional charge.
? Prevention of Abuse: A data only SIM cannot be used to make phone-calls or send an SMS.
? Policy Enforcement: The user is authenticated on the corporate?s network domains and access to the Internet and other services are enforced as-if the user is connected within the office.
? Lesser Degrees of Contention: An APN user connects to a corporate site without the need for tunneling across shared Internet pathways. However, contention on the base station with others remains the same.
? Lower bandwidth Usage: As secure tunnels are not required, data packet overheads are considerably reduced and the user typically enjoys faster response times.
? Flexible Addressing: Either static or Dynamic IP addressing can be selected.
? Additional Security: An AAA-server can be deployed to provide additional authentication requirements.
? Choice of Devices: An APN can be used by various types of mobile phones, PDAs, laptop computers, 3G routers, GPRS modems and other mobile devices.
? Networking Choices: 3G routers can be used on either end of the inter-branch links or Traditional leased lines can be used at an application requiring a central head office and multiple remote sites.
? Backup: When traditional leased lines or ADSL lines fail or copper cabling is stolen, a 3G router automatically provides alternate means of connectivity (without the connect delays or slow speeds of traditional dial-up or expensive ISDN dial-up call charges).
? Billing: There is a reduced amount of paperwork and the corporate is billed for the data bundle chosen on the APN.
? Usage Charges: Charges are not determined by the amount of time ?on-line? but rather on the chosen data bundle.