Customers new to our 4G rural wireless internet might already have a 4G-capable router they want to use with our service. In such cases, we require registering the device’s IMEI number with our service. Should customers choose to purchase a modem/router from us, that device will have its own unique IMEI number. Guess what? Your cell phone has one, too.

The IMEI number is unique to wireless equipment designed to be used on mobile networks. Every cell phone, tablet, and wireless router or hotspot based on the CDMA standard has one. The numbers are used for identification purposes.

Like an ID Number

Some people have likened the IMEI number to a serial number. However, such comparisons are not quite accurate. Why? Because every wireless mobile device has its own serial number assigned by the manufacturer. That serial number is used by the manufacturer for internal purposes. A device’s serial number is never exposed over a mobile network.

By contrast, the IMEI number is exposed on mobile networks by design. Carriers need to be able to see it. So do manufacturers. So a better comparison would be an ID number. Some people have even compared the IMEI to a social security number.

Why the Numbers Exist

Implementing the IMEI system achieved several important things. First, the system made it easier to figure out whether devices were compatible with existing networks.

Let us say you have a 4G LTE modem/router that you use with Blazing Hog rural internet. You take the device with you on your vacation to a destination where 5G mobile networks have already been implemented. Will the device work on a 5G network?

As soon as you power up the device, it begins searching for available networks. It might attempt to communicate with the local 5G network. However, the 5G network will identify the device’s IMEI number and immediately know that your modem/router is not compatible. It will then refuse the connection. Likewise, a 4G network will recognize the device’s compatibility and make that connection.

The IMEI system achieves two additional things:

  • Past History – The IMEI system allows both consumers and operators to check the past history of a mobile device simply by running its IMEI number. If you were to buy a used cell phone, for example, you could run the number to find out if it has ever been blocked by certain carriers.
  • Lost Devices – Because each IMEI number is unique, it is possible to track down lost or stolen devices by scouring mobile networks and searching for the number in question. Mobile apps designed for this purpose take advantage of both IMEI numbers and built-in GPS.

Separate From the SIM Card

Whether you are talking about rural 4G internet access or cell phone service in suburbia, that IMEI number is separate from a device’s serial number. It is also separate from the SIM card serial number (SSN). You could buy a used device and get a brand-new SIM card for it. You would now have a new SSN as well, but the device’s IMEI number would not change.

The long and short of it is that an IMEI number is forever associated with the device it is first assigned to. The principle applies equally to 4G rural internet modems, cell phones, tablets, and every other device designed to connect to mobile networks. IMEI numbers are permanent and unique. Do not confuse them with device serial numbers or SIM card SSNs.

Speaking of 4G rural internet access, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our service. Blazing Hog provides nationwide rural internet service.

Published On: July 27th, 2022 / Categories: Internet Connection / Tags: , /