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Cellular base stations can be accessed directly via the internet for maintenance purposes, they have control ports such as ports 5700, 5701, 5702.

What I'm wondering is if I connect my device to the 4g network a cellular base station provides can the 4g network be accessed directly?

To put it simply when you are connected to a WiFi access point it is possible to access the gateway router, commonly using the address 192.168.0.1, or 192.169.1.1 depending on your router configuration.

So is it possible to directly connect to the cellular base station as a gateway?

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The IP part of the cellular connection is added down the line somewhere in the core network (the BTS is pretty much just a dumb radio frontend), so the phone can't directly reach the base station over IP by looping back inside the BTS, as it does not talk IP to the phones.

However in case of misconfiguration nothing prevents the phone from accessing the BTS by going through the core network and back into the BTS over IP. In the scammy mobile telecoms industry security is a very low priority and I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a "secret" APN that gives you direct IP access to the core network.

  • I'm furiously testing the network right now... – user1973385 May 5 '17 at 7:00
  • Try to brute force the APNs (I believe there are Android apps for that, or you could script that easily with a USB cellular modem), and then scan the private IP ranges on any APN on which you get a PDP context up. – André Borie May 5 '17 at 7:01
  • Making progress... – user1973385 May 5 '17 at 7:12

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