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Medium: Mobile carriers and Starlink don't assign public IP addresses

September 13, 2022

Original article published on Medium

Mobile Carriers and Starlink Don’t Assign Public IP Addresses

Why this matters and how you can avoid getting blocked

If you are like most people, your use of mobile phones and hotspots for data has increased significantly over the years. 5G home internet services are increasingly promoted as a viable option by some of the largest cellular carriers. Using a hotspot as a primary internet gateway has also become an option, especially for users in underserved high-speed broadband areas.

But there is a common challenge when using Cellular or Starlink for remote data connections. Neither will provide a public IP address. Most broadband users get a dynamic IP address as part of their provided service. But your mobile phone, hotspot, and Starlink don’t assign a public IP address.

Why does this matter, or why should you care? It depends on several things, and that’s where it can get complicated.

For most, using a cell phone to consume data is the most common use case — you are out and about or at a remote location, and you need to check email, use your apps, or generate a route for directions on a map. You may be on public transportation streaming movies, reading emails, and sending pics of your family. You are probably happy with how it works and keeps you connected regardless of location.

But the tricky part can be when businesses increasingly rely on wireless data services to get access to remote endpoints. Agriculture, mining operations, retail, and IoT sensors that monitor waterways or connect to surveillance cameras are a few of the many use cases where cellular data and Starlink services can keep data connections active.

But the lack of public IP addresses on all these endpoints creates challenges for businesses that need remote access. That’s because a technology called CGNAT doesn’t assign Public IPs and manages the routing to the endpoints within the carrier’s infrastructure. To fully understand CGNAT, this A10 article (https://www.a10networks.com/glossary/what-is-carrier-grade-nat-cgn-cgnat/) explains how it all works.

But, if you require remote access to something on your home LAN when using Starlink, or you want to use your mobile phone hotspot to access an endpoint on a remote LAN, how do you connect without a public IP address?

It’s not that hard. Using Remote.It, you can get remote access over Starlink or use your phone as a hotspot. Once you have Remote.It installed on your phone, or a PC/Mac on your home network, you can quickly access your remote LAN and jump to endpoints on that LAN. It’s a great and easy way to overcome the challenges of not getting a public IP address assigned to your network.

This becomes especially useful when you want to do any remote connections including:

  • using RDP (remote desktop protocol) to access your Windows PC
  • connecting to a NAS (Networked Attached Storage)
  • retrieving data from a remote field deployed IoT device using a hotspot

In all these situations, the remote endpoints can use Remote.It and you can then connect to them from just about anywhere.

Get started and download Remote.It for your mobile device or IoT endpoints. Personal accounts are free.

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