Polycom UCS 5.7 for VVX Phones

April 29, 2018 by · 4 Comments 

The latest release of the Polycom VVX 5.7 UCS firmware is available for Lync and Skype for Business (SfB) environments. This release includes some minor enhancements alongside a few major changes in look and behavior.

For additional assistance with updating phones the following articles are provided as references.

  • Perform a Factory Reset – This is an optional, but recommended step when working with individual test devices for validating new firmware in an established deployment.

  • Deploy Software – Once testing is complete then this firmware can be added to the Lync or Skype for Business Device Update service for on-premises deployments.

  • Online Updates – For Skype for Business Online customers this update automatically be published once it has passed qualification.  Use this article to control this behavior if automatic updates are not desired.

Upgrading a Phone

This section will cover the basic steps to upgrade a single phone using the Polycom-hosted public server to directly download and apply the firmware to the phone.  In order to perform this process the phone’s internal web server must be enabled.  Depending on the selected Base Profile the web server may need to be manually enabled.

Set Base Profile

As explained in many earlier VVX articles the phone must be set to the proper Base Profile when registering to various SIP platforms.  Depending on the original purchasing SKU and/or current status of the phone it will be set to one of two options by default: Generic or Lync.  (Note that “Lync” base profile was renamed to “Skype” in version 5.5.1, but they function the same.)  When a VVX phone is set to Generic then the Web Configuration Utility will be enabled by default, but as this phone is or will be used with Lync/SfB environments it is best to set or confirm this parameter before doing anything else.

  • From any screen simply depress and hold the the following Multiple Key Combo (MKC) of: 1, 4, 9.

  • When prompted after 3 seconds enter the Admin password. (The default is “456”).

  • If the current value is set to Generic then select Skype and the phone will immediately reboot.  If Skype was already selected then simply hit the Home button to exit the menu.

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Enable Web Configuration Utility

Back when UCS 5.3 was released a new default behavior was defined for the Lync (now Skype) base profile which automatically disabled the embedded web server.  This can be re-enabled on the VVX phone for testing or administration purposes if so desired.  To perform many of the steps in this article it must be enabled.

  • Press the Home key and navigate to the following menu: Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Web Server Configuration.

  • If not already configured then the Web Server parameter to Enabled and Web Config Mode to HTTP/HTTPS.  (If only encrypted connections are desired then set this to HTTPS Only).

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  • Select the back arrow and choose Save Config to apply the changes and reboot the phone.

  • After the phone has rebooted press and hold (for 3 seconds) the following keys: 1, 4, 7.  This handy MKC brings up the Phone Details menu which can be used to quickly find useful information like the device’s assigned IP address or current firmware version.

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  • Using a web browser connect to the IP address of the phone. (e.g. http://192.168.1.188).

  • Enter the Admin password (default is “456”) and verify that the Home page successfully loads.

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Update Firmware

This phone must have access to the Internet in order to connect to the public hosted Polycom update server and perform the update described in this section.

  • Using the Web Configuration Utility browse to the Utilities > Software Upgrade menu and make sure that Polycom Hosted Server is selected as the Server Type.

  • Click Check for Updates which should be followed by a response of “Successfully fetched available software from the Polycom Hosted server.”

  • Select the desired firmware version number (e.g. 5.7.1.2205) and then click Install.  The currently installed version will be displayed in blue with older versions in red and newer versions in green.

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  • Confirm the action to reboot the phone and trigger the update.  Once the phone completes the update process it will return to whatever registration state it was in before the update. 

The following sections outline any Skype for Business related enhancements from previous firmware versions which may change the phone’s behavior or user experience.

Hot-Desking and Common Area Phone Support

The two most important features added in this release are complimentary capabilities which are often confused with each other.  This separate blog article covers these new features in detail.

Manual BToE Pairing

The available Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) feature set has previously been limited to pairing a phone with only the workstation that is wired directly into the phone’s uplink port.  With support for a new manual procedure the phone and PC can now be paired over any routable IPv4 network.

  • Install the latest version (3.7) of the Polycom Better Together over Ethernet Connector application on the desired Windows PC.

  • On the unregistered phone that is to be paired with the PC press the Home button and navigate to Settings > Features > BToE PC Pairing to check the current BToE pairing status.

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The Pairing Mode will be set to Auto by default which is used only for physical Ethernet uplinks.

  • To utilize the new functionality change the Pairing Mode to Manual and then take note of the supplied Pairing Code (e.g. nOiD11kg)

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  • Open the Polycom BToE Connector on the PC, deselect Auto Mode and then enter the Pairing Code.

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This pairing code is essentially the phone’s IP addressed hashed into an alphanumeric string, thus there is no discovery process being invoked.  The workstation is essentially being told exactly what host IP to connect to find the phone and initiate pairing.  If for some reason the phone’s IP address is changed then pairing will be lost and need to be manually reestablished.

As long as the workstation has routable TCP/IP connectivity to the phone and the following ports are open on any firewalls which may sit between them then the pairing functionality should work no differently than before as these are the same communications used previously in the directly-connected Automatic implementation.


Description Type PC Direction Phone
Pairing and secure communications TCP Dynamic –> 22
Discovery Packet Broadcasts UDP 2081 <– 2081
Streaming Audio UDP 24802 <–> 24802


BToE Widget

A new parameter, which is enabled by default, controls the addition of a new Home menu option called BToE.  This menu option provides a shortcut to the BToE menu which is normally found under Settings > Features > BToE PC Pairing.

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SILK Audio Codec Support

Support for leveraging the SILK audio codec with Skype for Business clients is now available in four specific sampling frequencies (8 kHz, 12 kHz, 16 kHz, and 24 kHz).  The new codec options are not enabled by default, which can be confirmed by reviewing the Settings > Codec Priorities using the Web Management UI.

Note that only the Polycom VVX 501 and VVX 601 models currently support the SILK codec.

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As originally pointed out in this article the Skype for Business client which support SILK only utilize the 16kHz and 8kHz versions, so when it is only really necessary to enable the SILK (16 kHz) and SILK (8 kHz) codecs in the phone.  While there is no single-best codec ordering for all applications one recommendation would be to mimic the ordering that the Skype for Business clients utilize, which can be accomplished placing the wideband SILK codec above G.722 and the narrowband SILK codec below the G.711 codecs as demonstrated below.

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The codec’s implementation is highly customizable and all of the new parameters made available to control various encoder options can be modified using the phone’s Web Management UI from the Settings > Codec Profiles > Audio page.

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Additionally all the configuration parameters which control the settings above can be found in the UCS Administrators Guide 5.7.0 documentation here.

Phone Number Display

The defined Tel URI for the registered Skype for Business account is now displayed on the Home and Lock screens of VVX 300 and up models. 

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This feature was enabled by default starting in 5.7.0 and the later 5.7.1 release added the following two configuration parameters to control the display behavior.


Parameter Value Description
up.DIDFormat NumberAndExtension (Default) Displays the DID and any defined extension. 
For example "tel:+15551237890;ext=7890"
appears as +15551237890 x7890
NumberOnly Displays only the DID and will omit any defined extension from also appearing.
up.showDID AllScreens (Default) The DID number appears on all available screens.
None Is hidden on all available screens.
LockedScreen Appears only on the Lock screen.
StatusScreen Appears only on the Status/Idle screen.
IncomingOSD Appears only on the Incoming On Screen Display (OSD).
LockedScreenIncomingOSD Appears only on the Lock and Incoming OSD screens.
LockedandStatusScreen Appears only on the Lock and Status screens.
StatusScreenIncomingOSD Appears only on the Status and Incoming OSD screens.


Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) Support

The VVX phones are now compatible with Proxy Auto Configuration (PAC) files which can be provided via a provisioning server, DHCP, or DNS-A.  Once the configuration information is discovered the phones can then authenticate using either Digest or NTLM authentication methods to a web proxy server.  This scenario is mostly applicable to connecting to Skype for Business Online and/or Exchange Online.

Related diagnostic information can be located via the phone’s Web Management UI on the Diagnostics > Skype for Business Status page under the Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) section.

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About Jeff Schertz
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Comments

4 Responses to “Polycom UCS 5.7 for VVX Phones”
  1. John says:

    Excellent article as always. We have a customer trying the new CAP feature and interested in the Hot desking but would like some more information on what it restricts. Your above link in Hot-Desking and Common Area Phone Support navigates to a dead page.. has the article been moved? Thanks.

  2. Any idea what the latest version of firmware is that is published on Skype for Business Online?

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