Finepoint's VoIP auto-provisioning secret sauce

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Tom Keating
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Finepoint's VoIP auto-provisioning secret sauce

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Linksys One, their new SMB IP-PBX that aims to leverage the VAR channel and the service provider channel - often competitors - at the same time. I interviewed Marthin De Beer, Linksys VP/GM of the Linksys Small Business Systems Business Unit who provided some interesting insights into this major Linksys product launch.

I asked Marthin, "Is there a TFTP server in the box? Is that how you are configuring the devices?" and Marthin said, "Ah , this is where my team has spent most of their time over the last 18 months. Because, as you can imagine having these devices come up, advertise their services, auto-discover and then auto-configure based on the configuration that was entered at the service provider network is a lot of the 'secret sauce' we've developed..."

Both Aswath, and myself wondered what this 'secret sauce' might be and Aswath even posted a comment. Upon further research, I discovered Linksys One was indeed using TR-069 & WT-104, standards released by the DSL Forum and offered by Fine Point Technologies. I contacted Fine Point Technologies’ CEO John O'Keefe recently and he provided some further insights into this 'secret sauce' that I thought you might find interesting.

John O'Keefe stated, "We have compatibility with any CPE modem vendors that supports TR-069/104, however only the vendors listed on our website as part of our "CPE Partnership Program" do we actively co-market. We had actually acquired the technology from a company called "Dimark" back in the beginning of the year. Dimark had licensed the TR-069/104 client code to some of the guys you mentioned, however today we have nothing formal setup with those vendors."

He added, "On a side note, not pertaining to the Linksys device, the *real* problem with TR-069/104 is the amount of mis-information that many of the CPE manufacturers put out in the market. Many of these vendors have been telling service providers that TR-069 will do everything including wash your car just to boost their sales."

Then he explained that TR-069 will not:
- Eliminate the need for a CD-ROM for true broadband "self-installation"
- Configure the PC desktop
- Provide desktop network connectivity
- Install software on the desktop

John commented, "For some time, TR-069 was being hailed as providing all these features to reduce support calls. What this did was brought the deployment of TR-069 in the market to a screeching halt. As service providers began to change their way of thinking of how they sign up customers, they began to realize that many of the requirements of broadband self-install would not be satisfied by TR-069."

He explained that TR-069/104 will:
- Auto configure the device
- Provide remote management of the device
- Provide insight into the quality of service and line characteristics of the copper line. This is pretty huge because previously this could only be done by rolling a truck and hooking up a DSL line tester.

"You mix in the fact that many other TR-069 CPE suppliers have their own "flavor" of TR-069 that makes them incompatible with other systems, the adoption rate has been quite slow." said John. "Our CPE partners are required to properly educate the market on what it can and can not do. With our server, they are also able to demonstrate a fully operational system (client/server) which many of the modem manufacturers were not able to do. The service providers later found out that many of these devices weren't actually TR-069 at all! Our focus is to properly educate the market and deliver working solutions that deliver on what is promised."

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