What components are needed for Zero Touch Provisioning to work?

First of all, for Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) to work, there are 3 components you really need.

  • A device that is ZTP capable.
  • A Redirect Server that the device vendor provides.
  • A provisioning server which hosts all the configuration.

In this article, we will explain how all of these components work together to provide a ZTP deployment process and the benefits you get from implementing ZTP in your network.

What are Redirect Services?

Redirection Services (RDS)  is a service offered by most of the IP Phone vendors to enable their devices to automate initial provisioning and configuration of their devices. RDS’s are typically a cloud-based server that is hosted by the manufacturer.  

What does an RDS do? 

An RDS redirects phones/devices based upon their MAC addresses to their assigned provisioning server so that the device can download its configuration.  When a phone is in the factory-default state it communicates with the RDS to find out who it’s assigned provisioning server is.  This process occurs every time a phone is in the factory-default state. 

Each manufacturer auto-populates the MAC addresses of devices they manufacture into the database of the RDS. In order to take advantage of the manufacturer’s RDS, service providers, resellers, and distributors must open an account on the manufacturer’s RDS and then claim the MAC address of the devices which they own.  They then must configure an address of their provisioning server they are using. This process must be performed on every manufacturer’s RDS for every brand of device or phone that the service providers, resellers, and distributors are working with. This manual process is time-consuming and human error-prone.

The resulting effect of claiming MACs and configuring provisioning servers those MACs on the RDS is that when a phone boots up from a factory-default state it first communicates with the RDS and asks who it’s provisioning server is, and then connects to the provisioning server for configuration.

How Phonism makes this even easier

While the above process is pretty simple there is a manual effort for the owner of the device (service provider, reseller, distributor, etc) to log into the RDS and claim the MAC addresses and assign a new provisioning server.  This can be expensive and time-consuming when you’re deploying tens or hundreds of devices a day, especially when this process is performed in a network with devices/phones from different manufacturers.

Phonism integrates with each of the manufacturer’s RDS. Phonism users enter a MAC address and automatically claims the MAC address on behalf of the user and auto-configures the provisioning server for the device.

What is Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP)?

ZTP the process of auto-configuring or auto-provisioning a device the first time it’s plugged into the network. With ZTP technology, service providers can have their devices/phones dropped shipped directly to the end-user with unboxing and configuring each device. With ZTP, the end-user receives the device, unboxes it, plugs it into their network and the device automatically receives its initial provisioning from the configured provisioning server.

When using Phonism as the provisioning server, it is even easier since the Phonism administrator can create a single template that can be applied to many or all devices.

An example of this flow with Phonism

  • Create a template for the Polycom VVX 400 making it auto-assignable (Global template)
  • Bulk upload mac addresses via a CSV file
  • Have the phone(s) drop-shipped to the customer 

That’s it! ZERO TOUCH shipment and the device upon boot-up has a dial tone.

Benefits of Phonism and Zero Touch Provisioning 

Less time, fewer mistakes and lower costs associated with the onboarding process! 

For the IT (service) provider: 

  • Reduced onboarding costs & faster deployments 
  • Fewer truck rolls 
  • Single pane of glass management for all manufacturers
  • Ease of large-scale deployments
  • Reduced configuration errors

For the end-user: 

  • Simplifies process “plug – and – play” 
  • Shorter onboarding and less IT intervention 
  • Ability to log into Phonism and manage their own devices.

To learn more about how Phonism uses ZTP you can request a demo at https://phonism.com/contact-us/