Unrestricted APNs discussion

seanachim

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Dec 16, 2006
Messages
22
There are several separate discussions that have surfaced over the last few years regarding the use of 3G or HSPA+ as an alternative to ADSL. The major problem is that I cannot find a central point of discussion that helps me to configure an environment quickly an painlessly.

So, I would like a discussion between professionals that will give us all a reference point to return to whenever we need to refresh our thinking on getting low cost broadband connectivity to our clients.

With that as the starting point let me then say that I like the latest pricing for wireless from all of the providers. I have chosen 8ta for a provider in this discussion as a starting point, but I frequently swap out between the other providers.

SCENARIO
Your ADSL line is down & there is no way to get it back for the next 3 weeks. You use a Dynamic DNS provider to point your MX and other domain pointers to your internal server, which uses the standard internal IP address provided by Telkom (10.0.0.2)

You have 10+ rules configured for port forwarding and you now need to get the site running on 3G as a matter of urgency. Your router does not want to know about your 3G dongle, so you are forced to use an alternative means of getting hour site stabilized in the minimum amount of time without spending any money.

You have a 3G dongle with a 8ta 10G contract.

What do you do? What have you already done? What pain have you already endured?

I will post my thoughts a little later, but I thought that it would be great to first get the discussion going.

Looking forward to your inputs and thoughts.
 

PsyWulf

Honorary Master
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Nov 22, 2006
Messages
14,332
Have 3g dongle provisioned for unrestricted before crap hits the fan. Use a TP-link ADSL/3g router to use the exact same port forward rules and same dynamic DNS name,no adjustments necessary from anybody
 

seanachim

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Dec 16, 2006
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22
Great - only problem is you don't have a 3G router. You only have a 3G dongle and a 10G 8ta contract. Some members of your team have cell phones that can be used as 3G modems and you have a choice between MTN, Vodacom & Cell C. You also have a Cell-C 2GB per month bundle that you can make use of. You're not able to dash out and buy anything else, you have to make it work with what you have.
 

seanachim

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Dec 16, 2006
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Lesson #1 - I ABSOLUTELY Agree with:
Have 3g dongle provisioned for unrestricted before crap hits the fan.

In fact this is the BIGGEST problem and can be handled with a little bit of foresight and planning.

Which obviously raises the next topic:
What has your experience of getting unrestricted APNs from your service providers?
 

PsyWulf

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 22, 2006
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14,332
Great - only problem is you don't have a 3G router. You only have a 3G dongle and a 10G 8ta contract. Some members of your team have cell phones that can be used as 3G modems and you have a choice between MTN, Vodacom & Cell C. You also have a Cell-C 2GB per month bundle that you can make use of. You're not able to dash out and buy anything else, you have to make it work with what you have.

Sounds like a bad think tank experiment :p

Direct dial using any device at your disposal,unrestricted APN irrespective of whichever provider,server should already be allowing port25 delivery. I'm provider agnostic
 

seanachim

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Dec 16, 2006
Messages
22
The Solution I like:
I have had to do this for clients at different occasions:

1. Grab a standard Windows box that is on the network (XP or 7 - doesn't matter)
2. Jot down the firewall rules in the router then switch the router off
3. Set its IP address to the router's (10.0.0.2 in this case)
4. Configure one of the devices at your disposal (I've done this with my phone at one point in time while sourcing a 3G dongle
5. Configure the dial-up connection. remembering to allow any user to use it (do not use the supplied software - dial up using *99# with a username of user and pasword of 1234 or something else that you want - its not required by the service provider by Windows uses it when no-one else is logged in.
6. Share the dial-up connection - which often resets your IP address, so you have to..
7. Confirm that your IP address is still the same as the routers was
8. Under the sharing option of your Dial-Up properties - click settings and capture the firewall settings that you jotted down in step 2
9. Ensure that you have said that the machine must dial out whenever some tries to access the internet.

All the machines already know to look to this IP address as a gateway & so nothing else needs to be changed.

This works like a charm as long as you have been able to get an UNRESTRICTED APN from your service provider.

Now, Vodacom is brilliant in that they give you an APN called unimaginatively "unrestricted".

8ta had this wonderful reputation of being unrestricted in the beginning, but their official position for the last month has been that they have not yet implemented an unrestricted APN and their current APN is for "normal" use. No apologies to anyone who had relied on their unrestricted service previously, just - "Sorry - no can do" :(

Macs are also fairly straight forward in that the dial up connection can also be shared - the problem still comes down to the unrestricted APNs.

So, anything you can add that I have missed out?
 

seanachim

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
22
1. Grab a standard Windows box that is on the network (XP or 7 - doesn't matter)
2. Jot down the firewall rules in the router then switch the router off
Oops - swap these two around then 3 makes sense :(
 

seanachim

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
22
The obvious other alternative is to get yourself a router that takes a 3G USB Dongle and set it up for automatic fail-over. Again the first things to ensure are:

1. The SIM card that will provide the automatic fail-over has an Unrestricted APN &
2. The dongle is supported by the router (HUGE GOTCHA right there)
 
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