Polycom Phones with Skype for Business Online

February 29, 2016 by · 49 Comments 

As of the end of January 2016 many currently available Polycom IP handsets and conference phones are now supported with Skype for Business Online with Office 365.  This functionality was first added to the VVX IP handset models back in September 2015 as covered in this previous article.  Direct registration support was just added to the new RealPresence Trio 8800 last month as introduced in the firmware release table here.

This brief article reviews the basic requirements for each family of phones along with the few steps needed to successfully register a device.  Some of this content has already been made available in previous articles but is revisited here for the sake of providing a single referenceable article.  This can help clear up any confusion that long-time users of these phone may have, as well as provide a starting point for the various administration which may be completely new to these products as they move to the new voice capabilities provided in Office 365.

Background

To recap Microsoft has begun providing voice service directly in Skype for Business Online to new and existing tenants of their Office 365 cloud offering.  This new functionality has been called Cloud PBX and is comprised if a few different topologies and options.  Primarily the simplest option is for tenants to purchase additional licenses for their online users to provide PSTN Conferencing and PSTN Calling capabilities.  PSTN Conferencing provides one or more telephone numbers to be added to the user’s Skype Meetings to allow for any PSTN telephone user to dial-in to a meeting from their phone.  PSTN Calling simply means that the users will be assigned a real telephone number and can place and receive calls with any PSTN phone in the country or worldwide, depending on the purchased call plan.  This can now all be done with absolutely no Microsoft servers or services deployed on-premises.

The secondary option is to allow for a tenant to bridge their own on-premises IP-PBX or SIP trunks directly to their online tenancy.  This hybrid technology can be provided by either leveraging a small deployment of Lync or Skype for Business servers on-premises or by using the upcoming Cloud Connector.

At present the following list of devices are supported for use directly with Skype for Business Online as well as Exchange Online using the same set of credentials.  This provides both SIP registration to SfB Online and mailbox connectivity via Exchange Web Services for features like the calendar, calls logs, voice mail, etc.

  • CX600, CX3000
  • VVX 201, VVX 300/301, VVX 310/311, VVX 400/401, VVX 410/411, VVX 500/501, VVX 600/601
  • RealPresence Trio 8800

CX Phones

These two devices in the CX family of IP handsets include a Type A USB port and run Microsoft’s Lync Phone Edition software.

image

At present only the CX600 and CX3000 models are supported; the CX500 is not.  This is due to the fact that the CX500 Common Area Phone does not include a Type A USB port and thus cannot be used with the Better Together method of registering the phone.  Only the PIN Authentication method can be used with the CX500 model and this capability is not compatible with Skype for Business Online.

Prerequisites

The only requirements of the phone itself is that the installed firmware be upgraded to at least the minimum supported version for Skype for Business Online.  The following version, or newer, must be installed onto the phone prior to attempting to register it to Skype for Business Online. 

Microsoft Lync Phone Edition for Polycom CX500, Polycom CX600 and Polycom CX3000

Version: 4.0.7577.4463
Released: 5/6/2015
Download: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=23866

As of the publishing of this article Microsoft has released a newer version of this firmware (4.0.7577.4487).  This is the version that is currently available from the download link above and is also supported with Skype for Business Online.

Using a firmware version older than the .4463 release may result in a failure to register the phone and there is no way to upgrade a Lync Phone Edition device without it  first registering successfully.  For those familiar with this device there is a way to support an unregistered device update but that approach is only applicable for on-premises Lync for Skype for Business deployments.  It cannot be used with Skype for Business Online registration.  In the event that a device is still using older firmware then it must be upgraded to at least the .4463 version using some other environment first.

Registration

  • Using a USB cable connect either the CX600 or CX3000 to a Windows desktop PC running either Lync or Skype for Business clients.

  • Enter the appropriate user credentials when prompted. 

image

For most Office 365 users account the the User name will be identical to the Sign-In address.  In hybrid environments with Directory Synchronization in place then it’s possible that the User name will be in different string, but the format must be entered as a User Principal Name (UPN) and the legacy DOMAIN\username format cannot be used with online account.

Management

Only in-band provisioning information is leveraged by Lync Phone Edition devices, no differently than when registered to an on-premises server deployment.  Devices registered to online accounts do not leverage all of the same parameters which are available with traditional on-premises server deployments, but this list is growing over time.  Skype for Business MVP Adam Jacobs has an article which calls the supported commands today.

VVX Phones

These devices include all of the previously and currently available VVX Business Media Phones which run Polycom’s Unified Communications Software (UCS).

image

As of the end of 2015 Polycom has started a hardware refresh on these models which includes newer faster processing internals.  These newer modes are denoted by ending in a ‘1’ instead of the previous models ending with a ‘0’.  So while a brand new VVX 501 may have updated internals over the older VVX 500 the software capabilities today are the same.  Any and all of these models support the same firmware, thus the same software features and capabilities with Skype for Business.

Prerequisites

As with the CX phones the only requirement is that the minimum supported firmware version is installed on the device.  The following version, or newer, must be installed onto the phone prior to attempting to register it to Skype for Business Online. 

Polycom UC Software 5.4.0A

Version: 5.4.0.10182
Released: 9/25/2015
Download: Latest Polycom UC Software Release

As of the publishing of this article there are newer firmware releases for the VVX phone which still support Skype for Business Online but have also added new functionality..  Reference this updated article for the latest recommended firmware version to be used with Skype for Business platforms.

Registration

The various ways to sign into a VVX phones as covered by many other article on this blog are all still applicable, with the exception of PIN Authentication as explained earlier.  For any of the user credential methods the same formatting guidance as what is mentioned above holds true.  The UPN format is required for online registration, thus the Domain field must be left blank.

Enable Lync Base Profile, if it is not already enabled.

  • This can be controlled directly on the phone from the Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Network Configuration > Base Profile menu. Or by using the web management UI at Simple Setup > Base Profile.

  • Use either the handset interface (pictured below) or Web Management UI (pictured below), or the Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) application (which looks the same as the CX process above).

  • Enter the appropriate user credentials.

image

image

Management

The VVX platforms supports a variety of in-band provisioning information like the the Lync Phone Edition devices in additional to a large amount of out-of-band options.  These other options can be managed by a variety of options today like basic a provisioning server or third-party applications like Event Zero’s UC Commander.

Trio 8800

The brand new RealPresence Trio 8800 is the only model in this family thus far and runs on the same UCS platform as the VVX phones.  This solution is the subject of a separate in-depth article which will be posted online shortly.

image

Prerequisites

Again the only requirement is that the minimum supported firmware version is installed on the device.  The following version, or newer, must be installed onto the phone prior to attempting to register it to Skype for Business Online. 

Polycom UC Software 5.4.1AA

Version: 5.4.1.17597
Released: 1/29/2015
Download: Latest Polycom UC Software Release for Trio

Registration

As the Trio uses the VVX platform then the registration capabilities are nearly identical.  While the BToE method is not currently supported with the Trio 8800 the other two options are the same.  The web interface looks identical is what was shown above and the user interface directly on the Trio looks like the following.

Enable Lync Base Profile, if it is not already enabled.

  • This can be controlled directly on the phone from the Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Network Configuration > Base Profile menu. Or by using the web management UI at Simple Setup > Base Profile.

  • Use either the handset interface (pictured below) or the Web Management UI also (which looks the same as the VVX process above).

  • Enter the appropriate user credentials.

image

Management

The Trio supports all the same management models as the VVX in addition to one new functionality, USB Provisioning. This concept is covered in detail in the new Trio article but basically it’s the ability to copy a provisioning server-like directory to a USB disk and the phone will treat it identical as to how it would read from a centralized network server.  This method allows for quick one-off changes to be applied to a few devices manually.

CX5500

This device is a bit unique as while it is categorized in the CX family it does not run Lync Phone Edition software.  Instead the 5500 model includes an embedded version of UCS just like that found on the VVX phones.

image

Prerequisites

Note that support for direct registration to Skype for Business Online is not yet available in the CX5500 product.  When the supported firmware is release then this article will be updated to reflect that.  That being said the device can be used with SfB Online users via USB tethering, just not yet using the embedded line registration capabilities of the VVX software.

Registration

As the Trio uses the VVX platform then the registration capabilities are nearly identical.  When connected via USB the desktop client’s own registration is used and this device simply acts as a microphone, speaker, and video camera.  The individual line registration over its Ethernet connection is still available.

Management

The CX5500 supports all the same management models as the VVX because it runs the VVX software.

About Jeff Schertz
Site Administrator

Comments

49 Responses to “Polycom Phones with Skype for Business Online”
  1. Ben West says:

    So Polycom SoundStation IP 5000 Conference Phone isn’t supported with Skype for Business Online? If not, will it eventually be supported?

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      No, it is not supported for use with SfB Online.

      • David says:

        Are the New 1 series (VVX 411/501/601) compatible with skyoe for business hosted or on premise? Do they run firmware with skype for business client or can only be registered as sip?

        • Jeff Schertz says:

          Yes, the nex xx1 handset models are identical to the xx0 models except for updated internals providing more processing and memory. They are supported with either Lync/SfB on-premises, SfB Online, or various other standard SIP IP-PBX platforms.

      • Maureen says:

        Jeff,

        Will the VVX 501 & 601 support S4B video. It appears they do not now. Only when it is a VVX to VVX call. Will the 501 and 601 support video? If , so when?

        • Jeff Schertz says:

          No VVX phones support video yet in SfB, regardless of the model. You’ll need to contact your Polycom or partner rep for details on potential future features.

  2. Robert J Birkett says:

    In preparation for a Pilot of the Lync Online I updated all my Polycom CX600 phones to the latest software release OCPhone/4.0.7577.4487 to make sure everything would work. This is not really associated with this discussion but I’m rather concerned since after the update, every single CX600 display has shunted over to the left and 1/2″ of the screen is no longer visible. I’m assuming I will have to revert these changes as I can’t get any straight answers out of Polycom, but I was wondering what version would be needed to support Lync OnlineAND fix the display issues. Either no one else has updated their CX600 or I’m the only one with this issue. I could understand it if it was just a few phones, but 670? Not exactly a coincidence is it.

  3. Aleksa says:

    I cannot figure out if those phones would also work with a regular Skype account? E.g. I use an old phone from another manufacturer with embedded Skype built in, so I can receive Skype calls even when my PC is off.

  4. Well i am impressed very good one this and Its Interesting and useful post to all people, Thanks for this best one article. Sure people will love this best offers and deals in suitable and reasonable prices, get them from this online blog its very fantastic one

  5. Steve says:

    We have several VVX 410’s set up with Skype for Business – its phenominal. However, call logs (missed calls) aren’t working? Also, do you know of a way to set up your outgoing voicemail message from the phone instead of the Skype software client?

    Thank you! Great Blog!!

  6. Petri says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Do you have any idea of the release notes from the latest phone update? The KB what download is referring points to the October 2014 fix which is incorrect.

  7. George says:

    Hi Jeff. Is it possible to us VVX 1500 with S4B online?

  8. Matt says:

    Jeff,

    We migrated from on-premise Skype to this new Skype for Business Online a few months ago. Last week we moved DHCP from our Juniper firewall to a Windows Server 2012 R2 machine. The phones (CX600) continued working until a user signed out of their phone and attempted to log back in. The phone is USB tethered, and is showing “Cannot sign in. There may be a problem with the server or with your network connection. Please check your network connection. Retrying” I logged out of my phone and am now experiencing the same issue.

    Do you know if there are any DHCP options that should be added for Skype for Business Online? There is no DHCPUtil for Skype Online that I’ve seen. Does the server need to be specified somewhere? There were no specific settings in the Juniper that I’m aware of.

  9. Jake S says:

    Jeff,

    I have updated a vvx 600 to firmware 5.5.0.20556 and every time the phone boots it says an update is available of 5.4.1.17653 (this is the version on server).

    I don’t have a server that I am aware of and it seems the phone downgrades each night.

    p.s. I am a newbie 🙂

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      What Lync or Skype for Business environment are you registering the phones to? The phone is being told to change firmware versions by that environment.

      • Jake S says:

        I am using Skype for Business online pbx and pstn. I was unaware those servers could manage my firmware.

        • Ben Nichols says:

          I am seeing the same. Happy for it to be managed by Skype For Business Online, if that’s expected behaviour.

          I had setup my own configuration server though to push 5.5 – now the devices constantly flap between the two versions. Surely it should have the option to ‘ignore downgrades’.

          • Jeff Schertz says:

            Ben, you have to disable the device updates in your O365 portal to prevent this ping-ponging between versions. I will be posting a new article covering that configuration shortly.

  10. Martin says:

    We use S4B online (as a part O365) and we would like to have HW audioconference device in our meetingroom to be able to be a part of S4B conference. We don’t need to have PSTN conference feature, participants of the conference are only internal users within S4B domain. I hope, I don´t need cloud PBX licence to be able to connect this HW audioconference device with S4B online. Is it true? If I use CX3000 do I need to have PC with S4B client connected (through USB) to CX3000? Is there some device that is possible to register with S4B without need to have PC connected to device through USB (better together, PC and device shared one user account). I need, in meetingroom there would be only this audioconference device that would have his own user account and would be permanently registered to S4B (as another user). Can you help me what device I would use?

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      Currently any device that registers directly to SfB Online will need to consume a regular user account. There is not yet any sort of ‘Common Area Account’ in the cloud like on-premises deployments provide. That being said you do not need that account to have either a PSTN Conferencing or PSTN Calling license applied to it, in any case. Even if you add PSTN Conferencing for your meetings the phone’s account is still just joining the meetings directly on the SfB MCU and does not need direct PSTN calling itself. Any of the Polycom phones can be standalone using this configuration, so the older CX3000 or the newer Trio 8800 (recommended) would work perfectly for you.

  11. 16516: On Prem S4b with a number of Trios. When all Trios in call 1080P is seen. If an non HD participant joins the AVMCU all parties resolution reduc
    ces for all participants. It recovers when the non-HD party leaves the AVMCU VMR. End user doesn’t think this is an AVMCU function. What do you think as SVC doesn’t seem to be doing what we expect SVC to do? Pete

  12. Gig Mcclain says:

    Jeff,

    We have purchased 4 of the Polycom Real Presence Trio 8800 conference phones. Updated to latest firmware 5.4.3.2007
    Logged in Office365 resource mailboxes on these (no Office365 licenses) that are also running and licensed on Skype for Business 2015.
    Everyday around 3:30 p.m. they lose connection to the Exchange server for the calendar access.
    I go in via the web interface and restart them and they log back in and connect to the Exchange calendar in a few minutes.
    Have submitted a ticket with Polycomm 1-3083714891 but haven’t heard anything yet.
    Just wondering if I am missing something simple here like licensing, etc.

    Any direction on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      Check with support again as there is a maintenance hotfix available that now addresses the loss of Exchange connectivity that can occur in some environments after a length of time.

  13. Gig Mcclain says:

    Thank you very much Jeff. I will look for that hotfix.

    I have tested several of the 8800’s and the screen sharing from any computer on our LAN or wireless is pretty degraded. I turned up the Call Rate settings in the Video Processing section but it didn’t help much. I am assuming it has to do with where this traffic sits in our QOS settings in our network. In configuring QOS is it best to refer to Skype for Business 2015 recommendations, network manufacturer, or does Polycom have specific advise on this?

  14. Darren Burke says:

    We have the reoccurring issue with new Polycom VVX400 and VVX500 phones where they just will not work unless we first use a static IP address on them. Once provisioned we can change back to DHCP but for first setup they need to be static. Cannot be isolated to a single site or setup as we have multiple clients on different networks with same issue. Wondering if there is some DHCP option needed as currently DHCP at all locations just gives out IP, DNS servers and default domain name. The phones get an IP from DHCP ok but you cannot login to SfB and adding a Static IP fixes every time at all locations. We always make sure the phones are running at least 5.4.0A.10182. Odd issue which a workaround works but wondering if anyone has seen this?

  15. Dan Molloy says:

    Nice aricle Jeff. I am having difficulty getting our VVX600 to sign into SfB. The sign-in using my email address (just like normal), yet the phone hangs on “Signing in as”. Are there possibly o365 settings I am missing somewhere?

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      The times where I’ve seen this happen is on corporate networks where the local DNS configuration may be missing in incorrect and misdirect the phone. I always suggest testing one offsite, as in your home, to validate that the credentials you are using are correct. If the same configuration then does not work internally then make sure to look at things like the legacy SRV/A fallback records which the Trio uses (does not currently support Lyncdiscover).

  16. Stephen Walls says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I understand that the CX500’s are not supported to authenticate to SfB Online as they don’t use the USB tethering method.

    Is this only the case when the accounts are purely on SfB Online – or would CloudPBX with bridging of on-premise SIP Trunks help at all? i.e. – can i have Hybrid users that are homed on SfB Online that have on-premise CX500’s?

    Regards,

    Steve

    • Stephen Walls says:

      After further research, i think the answer is that SfB Online doesn’t support PIN Authentication (which is the only method supported by the CX500).

      What i’m not sure about is, how Cloud PBX fits into any scenario. For example, if i have a phone that does support the username/password method – can i not just authenticate to SfB Online and have this work (i.e. do the local DIDs get copied to SfB Online when i rehome a user from on-premise to SfB Online? If not, then i can understand why CloudPBX would be needed (i.e. to assign DIDs within the cloud?)

      Can you help clarify for me please?

      • Jeff Schertz says:

        That is correct, PIN Authentication requires the DHCP options I mentioned in my other reply. Cloud PBX does have anything to do with the phone directly. The phone is simply an SfB endpoint that needs to register to a FE server.

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      No, they only work with users homed on an on-premises Front End server/pool where as the local DHCP configuration for Options 43/120 can configured to point to the local Front Ends.

  17. Kevin says:

    Hi,
    We’re having issues with our Polycom phones when calling remote users (e.g. company user working from home). If a user has Sim Ring turned on or the user is logged into another Lync client. When calling that user from a Polycom phone, there is silence for 15 seconds (always 15 seconds exactly) one-way before the audio connects.

    One-way being that the Polycom user can hear the remote user but the remote user cannot hear the Polycom user.

    If the remote user turns Sim Ring off, then the audio connects immediately both ways. This issue only happens when calling from a Polycom phone, calling from a Lync Desktop client or an Audiocodes handset works.

    I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      Kevin, this behavior is typically related to some configuration in your media gateway causing the one-way audio setup delay. The resolution differs between gateway manufacturers so I suggest reaching out to your support channels if you have not already. I don’t know what the specific fixes are but have just heard of it on multiple occasions.

  18. Philip says:

    Jeff, I don’t have the BToE configured (using a Mac). I can make calls to other Skype for business users but can’t make any PSTN calls. Am I able to use the phone to make PSTN calls without using BToE?

    I have no trouble making PSTN calls from my Skype for business client.

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      PSTN calling doesn’t have any dependencies on BToE so there is something else causing the PSTN calling issues from the phone. Could be normalization related, or possibly media setup-failures

  19. EJ says:

    Thanks for posting this Jeff it was extremely helpful. Our company uses Exchange Online and I was able to get my Polycom CX600 firmware upgraded to version 4.0.7577.4487. However, when I try to access the calendar from the phone it just says “Connecting to Microsoft Exchange. Please Wait.” Do you have any suggestions on what could be the cause of it not connecting to the Exchange Online server?

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      I’ve seen autodiscovery issues in some Exchange environments. Try disabling Exchange autodiscover on the phone and hardcode the Exchange Online EWS URL: “https://outlook.office365.com/ews/exchange.asmx”

  20. Alex says:

    Jeff, have you had much experience with MFA with SfBO?

    With 5.4.x the only way I can get the Polycom (VVX310) to login correctly is to use an app password.

    I’ve also tried whitelisting my pubic IP address in Azure AD (Premium) to therefore not require MFA from my location but this doesn’t seem to work.

    When testing 5.5.x, whitelisting works, but none of the dial functions work. I’m continuously presented with “Cannot complete due to restrictions on this acoount”.

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      Alex, 5.5. is not supported with Lync/SfB so you’ll need to stay on 5.4.4 until the next SfB-supported firmware is released which should address what you are attempting to accomplish.

  21. Matt Owolabi says:

    Hi Jeff

    I run a solo legal practice with consultants working mostly away from the office. We use office O365 in the cloud and SfB online. I want to be able to transfer calls to the mobiles of consultants and currently achieve this using a Windows phone.

    Things are getting busier and I am thinking of employing part-time secretary who may find the windows phone fiddly and not be as patient as I am.

    What Polycom phone can I buy to replace the windows phone? At this stage, all I need is the single handset which should hopefully be a “plug and play” ready phone requiring just signing in the user with the main office number dealing with calls and voicemail retrieval.

    NB: I am my own self taught IT manager and will appreciate your response.

    Regards.

    • Jeff Schertz says:

      Matt, any of the VVX models will work great. They all run the same software and have the same software features, so the difference in models comes down to prices and physical features. Higher-end models get high resolution color touchscreens, less-expensive models offer black & white LCD displays with hard buttons. I would recommend the VVX 401 as a good middle-of-the-road model which is the most popular handset for the typical IT worker. If you plan to uplink a PC through the phone’s Ethernet port then the VVX 411 includes a 1 Gbps Ethernet switch (the 401 is 10/100 Mbps).

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!