Provisioning is a process in which a SIP phone is configured to work with an IP-PBX system and provide the user with all associated telephony services. The process allows the PBX server to recognize a specific phone and send all relevant communication to it.
There are two kinds of provisioning methods - Manual and Automatic.
With manual provisioning the IT administrator has to configure phones one by one either from the phone built-in menu, the phone's web interface, or a combination of the two. It requires him to note each phone's MAC address and register it with the server. The process can be very time consuming when dealing with a large amount of phones.
Automatic provisioning is a software application (usually incorporated into the phone's web interface) that lets the administrator input just a few required settings and does the rest automatically, including collecting and registering the required MAC addresses of the phones from the local network.
Not only automatic provisioning is more convenient but, on most models, it also allows bulk provisioning of multiple phones, making for a tremendous saving in deployment time and effort.
Manual provisioning still has its usefulness at times like when the local network has some restrictions or when a phone has to be setup for an office in an external location.
From an administrator's perspective the importance of provisioning process entails setting up the server's address of the provider (Telebroad in our case). From the user's perspective the importance of the process is that his phone get set up with his extension, configured to the phone's memory. That means that the user can physically move the phone to another outlet without any need for rewiring work, although he may need to sigh into his account again.