Automatically Configuring Your VoIP Phones
VoIP Configuration Problems
Unlike the regular PSTN system, VoIP doesn't come inbuilt into all the infrastructure we use today. There are no automatic sockets into which we can conveniently plug our VoIP phones and no way for a VoIP device to magically know where it has to connect to and what settings must have. Indeed, this "plug-and-play" methodology has served the POTS very well and has enabled it to become the dominant technology in use today, even though there are far better alternatives available.
For VoIP to work well, it needs to be set up properly. It needs to have the correct configurations for parameters like the codec, STUN servers, the proxy servers and other little tweaks which can have a significant impact on the VoIP experience. This has always been a bit of a barrier for those who are still getting used to the novelty of VoIP. It's frustrating to have to navigate unfamiliar interfaces and do the research and experiments to find out what works best.
Fortunately, many ITSPs are beginning to realize this and are tying up with VoIP phone manufacturers in order to provide a seamless experience for their customers. This new practice is called "automatic provisioning". It's a system where you order VoIP phones at the same time as when you order the VoIP service itself from a hardware vendor who has a tie up with your service provider.
How Automatic Provisioning Works
When you buy your VoIP phones from a manufacturer who is collaborating with your VoIP service provider, those phones can come preconfigured to work with your VoIP service. Imagine being able to receive your VoIP phones and simply plug them in to your router via an ethernet cable. If automatic provisioning is set to work, the device will magically connect to the correct IP address and configure itself using the best parameters for that provider.
Apart from not having to guess the correct settings for your VoIP phones, there are many other advantages to this behavior. For example, the phone can automatically obtain the latest updates and download the most recent security patches to keep your telecommunication infrastructure safe. This saves IT administrators the hassle of having to call up each and every remote location and requesting them to update their phones. As any experienced manager will know, this is no easy task and they will greatly appreciate the ability of automatically provisioned VoIP phones to magically update themselves instead.
Contact your ITSP to find out whether or not they offer automatic provisioning and whether the phones will configure themselves with the hosted IP PBX servers. Something of a similar nature is also beneficial with mobile devices where you use the VoIP software provided by the ITSP for your VoIP mobile phone systems.