VOSS Solutions

VOSS-4-UC Adaptations: Phone Based Registration Utility


Keith Bareham, Director Solutions Engineering, VOSS Solutions

This week I'm going to share my experience in how to simplify the process of managing phone-based registrations in VOSS-4-UC, using our Adaptation technology.

Cisco UC customers use a variety of Cisco devices and software-based endpoints such as Jabber. Setting up phones in offices has always presented a challenge as each physical device must be correctly placed in the office. This can be particularly difficult in a new office deployment with hundreds of phones of the same type.

Cisco phones are identified by their MAC address and must be configured with this MAC address during the pre-provisioning process. This ensures that each phone registers with the correct identity with CUCM. When installing phones as part of a new deployment, MAC address tracking can be challenging. It may be that the MAC addresses for phones sent to that office are not known, as can happen when phones for a large number of offices are centrally ordered. Alternatively, if the MAC addresses are known at an office, there is still the challenge of ensuring that the correct phone is provided to the correct user if the phones have been pre-provisioned. If the phones are provisioned post installation, then a record of each phone location must be kept and each phone must be provisioned accordingly. Since onsite installations are expensive for service providers, time onsite should be limited as much as possible by service providers offering a full installation service.

A second aspect of this challenge is the case where a provider offers a service but does not provide the physical devices. In this case, the MAC addresses are not known to the provider. Administrative solutions to these challenges tend to be time-consuming and inefficient. Furthermore, work to correct phone allocation to users when errors are reported can be disruptive, expensive and can result in poor user experience.

Cisco has offered some solutions to these challenges in the form of self-provisioning and TAPS. An alternative solution is with VOSS-4-UC, which allows exact per-device configuration as required, without the need for templates. VOSS-4-UC enables many users to share the same phone type, and at the same time, enables some users to have a simple configuration and others to have a very rich configuration. With a VOSS-4-UC Adaptation, specific utilities and functionality can be added without the need for core software development.

This capability has been used many times, to create workflows that allow users and installers to add phones ahead of time without knowledge of MAC addresses. The phone browser in VOSS-4-UC guides the user or installer through simpler steps to allocate the phone correctly. A setup option provides initial CUCM setup to make the CUCM ready for phone-based registration.

When adding users during service activation, users and devices are added as usual with the exception that the MAC address can be a “dummy” address, and only used as a temporary address which will be removed once the real phone has been deployed. A PIN is also optionally provided for security. Once all the devices are configured, the installers at the site, or the users in the case of self-install, can connect the phones. It is not necessary to track each individual device, but just ensure that the correct type of phone is provided to each user. Once the phones have started up, a service is made available allowing registration. The user provides their extension number and PIN and the phone then adopts the configuration for that user. The PIN is optional, and is intended to prevent incorrect allocation of phones which would result if an incorrect but valid extension number were requested.

By using VOSS-4-UC, service providers can now rapidly deploy phones, minimising onsite deployment times due to reduced logistical administration. End users may install their own devices if the devices have been sourced locally, removing the requirement for MAC address tracking activities between the users and the service provider.

In my experience, this VOSS-4-UC Adaptation saves service providers a great deal of time, and significantly improves the end user experience, ensuring that users are up and running with the minimum amount of disruption and intervention.

To find out more about VOSS Adaptations, please click here.