This article was posted to serve two purposes which are to introduce the latest 5.1.1 firmware and its new features as well as detail the out of the box experience for the fifteen lucky Lync User Group attendees who managed to win a free Polycom VVX410 and Color Expansion Module at their local event this month.
The primary news here is that this new 5.1.1 UCS software is now Qualified for Lync 2013 as part of the Third Party Interoperability Program (3PIP). This new version brings a couple of new features (covered later in this article) in addition to a host of hotfixes and stability improvements.
These new features in addition to what was previously added in the UCS 5.0 release are now all fully supported with Lync by both Polycom and Microsoft.
Out of Box Experience
A new product SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) has been added for each of the VVX desktop phone models which are preconfigured for Lync in addition to including the nominal Polycom license fee for Lync usage wrapped up in price. The product description will include ‘LYNC’ indicating this (pictured below). There is absolutely no physical difference between these phones and the standard VVX phones as the only change is that the default configuration is set to the Lync Base Profile on the device at the factory.
All new VVX phones are still being shipped with some variant of 4.1.x firmware and have not yet moved to shipping with any 5.x releases on them from the factory. As it is always recommended to upgrade the firmware to the latest available release then this should be performed first. (New units will move to 5.1.x firmware from the factory later on.)
- To check the current version of software press the Home key on the phone and then navigate to the following menu: Settings > Status > Platform > Application > Main
- Take note of the reported Version number. (The latest version is 188.8.131.5286 as of the date of this article so if this version was previously loaded by someone else then there is no need to update anything.)
As covered in past articles there are various ways to upgrade the firmware on VVX phones but the easiest is to simply use the web server interface on phone to download and install the latest version from a Polycom hosted server over the Internet.
To connect to the phone’s configuration web server the device’s IP address can be looked up directly on the phone.
- Press the Home key on the phone and then navigate to the following menu: Settings > Status > Network > TCP/IP Parameters
- Note the IP address and then connect to that address in a web browser.
- Leave the Login As value at the default setting of Admin and then enter the default administrator password of ‘456’. (If Internet Explorer 11 is used then it may be required to add the IP address to the Compatibility View list if getting stuck at this menu.)
- Browse to the Utilities > Software Upgrade menu and verify that the Server Type is set to Polycom Hosted Server.
- Select the Check for Updates button to check the hosted server for the available versions.
- Select the latest version (184.108.40.20686) and then confirm the process.
The phone will reboot a couple of times as the upgrade process completes and then will return to the default home screen.
After upgrading to the 5.1.1 firmware a few important changes will have been applied to the Lync Base Profile as part of the latest Lync qualified firmware. Most importantly the phone’s management web interface will be disabled as a security measure. Connections to the phone’s IP address from a browser over either HTTP or HTTPS will no longer function. Additionally the phone and web interface will display a warning whenever the administrator password is still set to the default value of ‘456’.
Enable Lync Base Profile
New phones provided in the Lync SKU will not need to have this step performed as it is already set at the factory. Previous articles have covered various ways to set this but the easiest is to use the Multi Key Combo of 1,4,9 to jump right to the Base Profile menu.
- Press the 1, 4, and 9 keys together and hold them all for 3 seconds and then enter the administrator password (again the default is ‘456’).
- At the Base Profile menu Select Lync and confirm the choice to immediately reboot the phone.
Register to Lync
After the phone completes the reboot and anytime it is powered on in Lync Base Profile without an existing Lync user registration it will default to the PIN Authentication menu.
- If utilizing PIN Authentication on an internal network enter the desired Lync user’s phone number or extension and the associated authentication PIN, then select Sign In.
- If not utilizing PIN Authentication then press the Exit key, followed by the More key, and then the Sign In key.
- Select User Credentials and then enter the Lync user’s appropriate account information. Either the NetBIOS Domain Name and sAMAccount Name format or Universal Principal Name (UPN) format are accepted.
The following new features have been introduced in 5.1.1.
- Contact Card support allowing calls directly not just to the Lync SIP URI but all destinations including Exchange Voice Mail and various PSTN numbers.
- Improved Boss/Admin call scenarios including the ability to transfer a call directly to voice mail..
- PIN Authentication support directly from the web interface to allow for remote provisioning.
- Full support for up to three daisy-chained of the latest Color Expansion Modules (a.k.a. sidecars) with Lync. Note that only a single expansion module is supported when the phone is powered by PoE so if adding a second and/or third module the phone must be connected to an OEM 48v power supply.
Color Expansion Module
If an expansion module is available then it can be connected to the phone either powered off or when it is already on. Simply connect the provided patch cable to the AUX port on the phone and the AUX 1 port on the sidecar. Also use the mounting bracket and thumbscrews to attach both units to each other.
After the initial Polycom logo splash screen appears the module will most likely show a blank screen unless the registered Lync.has manually pinned enough contacts as Favorites to bleed over from the phone’s main screen to the expansion module.
A single expansion module will provide for 3 pages of contacts to switch between using the 3 buttons on the bottom center of the module. If the registered Lync user does not have any pinned Favorites then no additional contacts will appear on the home screen.
- Sign into a desktop Lync client using the same account as what is registered to the phone and then select a number of contacts and use the ‘Add to Favorites’ menu item to permanently pin these contacts to the special Favorites group in Lync.
If the changes are not immediately reflected on the phone after pinning favorites then reboot the phone to trigger a refresh as this can happen in some environments; for example when the Exchange Unified Contact Store is enabled on the Lync users account.
Now that the phone is registered to Lync there are no additional steps required as the necessary configuration information is passed down to the phone from the Lync server in-band. That being said there are still a host of other settings available in the firmware to tweak and improve the experience. This section will cover some helpful parameters, some old and some new.
Obviously the suggested guidance is to change the default administrator password to a non-default value, but for the purposes of lab testing this may not be important so simply dismissing the warning may be desired.
- Note the red warning icon in the upper right-hand corner of the phones display.
- To clear the icon press the Home key and then browse to the following menu: Settings > Status > Diagnostics > Warnings and then select the Clear Icon button. The warning will remain listed in this menu but the icon will be removed from the main screen.
Enable Web Server
The built-in web service can be re-enabled directly on the phone using the process outlined in the following steps. It can also be turned back on via standard provisioning methods by utilizing the associated parameters covered on page 14 of the UCS 5.1.1 Release Notes.
- Press the Home key and then browse to the following menu: Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Web Server Configuration
- Select Web Server and choose the Enabled option.
- Select Web Config Mode and choose the desired option (HTTP Only, HTTPS Only, or HTTP/HTTPS).
- Select Back and then Save Config to save the changes and immediately restart the phone.
To further customize the phones where is a list of some new (and old) parameters which can be used to control some of the more beneficial settings on the VVX phones.
Because the following parameters are specific to controlling behavior in UCS then there is no way to utilize the Lync Server to provide these settings in-band. A separate provisioning server would still be needed to manage a quantity of devices in this manner.
This parameter controls whether the web service is enabled or not.
This parameter controls whether or not HTTPS is required on the web service.
This parameter can be used to enable one-touch calls to Voice Mail from the message button
This parameter is used to enable or disable power saving (screen sleep) outside of defined office hours. The default office hours configuration is covered in the full 5.1.0 administrators guide. Only touchscreen models (VVX 500/600) are enabled by default.
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(VVX 300/400 Disabled)