It’s amazing how the obvious benefits of modern telephony sometimes take so long to materialize in real life.Today, buying an IP phone from any manufacturer, the user gets a ready-made standalone device with its own operating system, IP address, support for modern communication protocols and even its own browser (sometimes), where you can browse web pages. These are powerful devices, running their own web server, ready to accept REST requests. But what do you do when you set up such a phone? Let me guess: go to admin/admin and manually enter the SIP account data?
Why different management services got such wide support only in the last couple of years? Why did every PBX administrator have to spend a lot of time and do the "dancing with bells and whistles" to auto-engineer the phones? Good thing things are much simpler now!
Today we want to introduce you to the new Fanvil software product – Fanvil Device Management Cloud System (FDMCS) Its main advantages are :
- it’s free;
- it’s safe;
- it’s simple and convenient.
Before we get directly to the topic of the post, let’s recall what ways to configure Fanvil SIP phones are available to the administrator :
You can see a professional from afar
- Get the phone out of the box, plug it into the network. Check the address on the screen of the phone (or enter manually if there is no DHCP-server in the network), go to the web-interface and manually enter the SIP-account data.
- Get it out of the box, plug it into the network. A pre-programmed DHCP server will pass option 66 and send the phone for its XML configuration file via FTP/HTTP/TFTP protocol.
- REST API (GET/POST requests). The phone is loaded by default with a static address, and you can use an external service to send the necessary parameters to it via the API.
- PnP-provisioning. As we know, at boot time the phone sends a SIP SUBSCRIBE packet, and if there is a station in the same network segment with it, it will respond with a SIP NOTIFY message with the address of the provisioning server. This kind of configuration is popular with manufacturers of PBXs (MikoPBX, 3CX, Yeastar, Xorcom, Zycoo, Openvox).
- TR-069 Provisioning. For example, it may be the previously known combination of FDPS + FDMS. These acronyms are acronyms for Fanvil Distributed Provisioning Service and Fanvil Device Management Server, and essentially acted as a testbed before developing a cloud version of the FDMCS management server. The FDPS service is a free server that runs on Fanvil’s facilities and is ready to redirect thousands of units of Fanvil equipment to various servers with configuration files. And we don’t mention these two servers together for nothing, as they were the pair that provided the complete solution for configuring and managing Fanvil telephones and intercoms. How does it work?
- Register (for free) at the portal https://fdps.fanvil.com/
- Add the MAC addresses of the phones (you can do this in bulk by uploading an XLS file).
- You tell the phone where to get its configuration file – HTTP/FTP/TFTP/etc server address. In doing so, you can specify the FDMS server, which must be pre-installed on your own Windows server.
- At first boot, the phone sends a request to the FDPS server, and if the device is in the database, the phone receives a configuration file, which can be written manually or created in the FDMS management system.
The last configuration option provides a free way to fully deploy Fanvil IP telephones and intercoms in the network in bulk. Does this solution have disadvantages? Unfortunately, yes.
- The FDMS server runs on Windows, and even if we do not have a debate about using Linux or Windows, we know about some inconveniences during installation: some frameworks are missing, then there are errors during installation on the server in the domain (policies). Some people find the service update system inconvenient…
- High system requirements. Intel Atom with two gigabytes of RAM will not do.
- Another server to monitor/maintain.
What if you combine cloud service and FDPS to offer users of Fanvil products a cloud service for configuration as well? Done! Meet the new product – FDMCS.
FDMCS (Fanvil Cloud Device Management System) is a free cloud-based service used to manage devices deployed on a network. FDMCS is an ACS server that communicates with the equipment (CPE) to manage commands over the TR069 protocol. FDMCS supports device configuration and diagnostics, firmware updates, or configuration file updates.
For clarity, let’s look at the scheme of Fanvil devices provisioning and, jumping ahead (if you have read to this point), decide who can benefit from this service?
- Are you an integrator or a freelancer who maintains many phone systems at various companies. If you make some settings beforehand, it becomes easier to add/delete/edit SIP phones. You only need to ask the customer for MAC addresses.
- You develop and maintain your own cloud PBX (Mango Office, SIP Uni, OdooPBX, etc.). Users buy phones and don’t want to know what a MAC address is. The best they can do is to send a picture with the phone’s sticker via WhatsApp. Now you can configure the customer’s phones yourself (if you provide technical support) or add the ability to integrate your SIP-station with Fanvil software. Turnkey telephony solution? Fine, give me two!
- You are a system administrator who dreams of avoiding setting up 200 new phones manually, while learning XML file syntax and lazily bringing up an FTP/TFTP server.
What should you do if a new Fanvil service interests you and you want to test it?
- Contact your Fanvil product vendor to request an account. Need to provide name, contact phone number, company name.
- In response, you will receive a link to activate your account. It is more correct to activate your account right away, as the link is only valid for 48 hours.
- Log in with username/password to the site https://fdmcs.fanvil.com.cn/ and get familiar with the system’s interface.
Let’s decipher the menu items.
Single or bulk additions of Fanvil phones. Below is an example XLS file for easy download.
Add SIP servers and specific data on SIP subscribers (login/password).
Specify different companies or branches of the same organization (you can specify different departments). This section comes in handy if you plan to delegate authority to other users in the system in the future.
The menu allows you to load general parameters for all phones into the system or to specify specific parameters for phones with certain MAC addresses.
Here you can upload your unique files to the system (desktop background, ringtones, firmware). Also FDMCS already has a database of official firmware, so you can do a mass upgrade of devices in just a couple of clicks.
Remote device diagnostics. It is possible to view the status of SIP registration, error log and even take a screenshot from the phone screen.
Setting tasks to update device configurations. The task can be done instantly, or by timer at a specific time – for example, a monthly software update on the 30th day of the month at 3am.
Possibility to receive email notifications and push notifications in the browser about status and errors of the devices and information about unaccomplished tasks.
I think that those who like to configure the equipment in a few clicks will appreciate the convenience of the interface. However, the manufacturer has provided the option to switch to the text editor mode, where you can write your own configuration XML-file in the guru-sysadmin mode. And why not?
Currently, the cloud service supports all Fanvil telephones released in the last 3 years (including H-series hotel telephones, as well as i-series access control devices (intercoms and intercoms). The only limitation – intercoms so far only have the basic functionality of configuring SIP-lines and DSS-keys, but, for example, no access accounting and logging RFID cards. We look forward to resolving this issue soon.
If you do not allow your devices to go outside (to the global Internet), Fanvil has provided the possibility of installing FDMCS service in the local network. Keep up with today’s trends and get the most out of your equipment manufacturer!
The author of the material is Grigory Lyamin.