In a previous series of articles the configuration and registration of Polycom SIP phones was covered in detail with directions specific to using the previous Polycom Unified Communications Software (UCS) 4.0.x firmware release. The Lync interoperability story changes quite a bit for these device families in terms of available features and provisioning steps with this new software. As of the date of this article 16 different Polycom IP desk phones and wireless handsets (Wi-Fi and DECT) have attained Lync Qualification status in Microsoft’s UC Open Interoperability Program with additional devices coming on the horizon.
The new 4.1.0B software package (version 126.96.36.199139) contains firmware files for the following devices:
- SoundPoint IP 321, 331, 335, 450, 550, 560, 650
- SoundStation IP 5000, Duo
- VVX 500
Additionally SpectraLink 8400 series Wi-Fi handsets have been Qualified for Lync interoperability since August and the separate 4.1.0 software package (version 188.8.131.52405) for these devices has been available for a few months already.
- SpectraLink 8440, 8450, 8452
It is also worth pointing out that a number of Polycom KIRK DECT Wireless handsets are also Lync Qualified but these do not run the UCS firmware common to the rest of the Polycom SIP phones. These DECT products utilize a different application paired with a wireless server for Lync connectivity and will not be addressed in this article.
All of these supported and qualified devices will share the same base firmware provided by the UCS 4.1.0 software release which utilizes a completely new, and streamlined provisioning process. The Polycom server-based provisioning process is still available for large deployments, but for dealing with small numbers of devices or end-user provisioning there is a new Out of the Box (OOTB) user experience that is much simplified over the previous process. In most environments there is no longer any requirement to use any XML configuration files as documented in this previous article.
The different 4.1.0 and 4.1.0B software releases are functionally identical and are provided as separate packages for the Wi-Fi and wired devices. The Lync Qualified capabilities and features are identical across all devices, with a few minor exceptions based on capabilities of the physical device itself.
The following lists of features are categorized as either Lync-specific features or traditional SIP phone features.
This new version is capable of downloading a private CA root certificate used by the Lync Server in the same fashion that the existing Lync Phone Edition devices operate. This requires that DHCP Option 43 is properly configured for the target Lync environment and the phones have access to the Lync Server Certificate Provisioning web service over both HTTP (TCP 80) and HTTPS (TCP 443).
If the phone is located externally and is connecting to a Lync Edge Server then there will be no need to download the certificate as the Edge Server would be deployed using a publically trusted third-party certificate authority (like Entrust, GoDaddy, etc). Only internally registered phones will need to download a certificate chain when the Lync Front End servers (and Directors, if applicable) are using certificates issued by an internal private CA.
Out of the Box Experience
This article will walk through the simplified setup process using the Polycom VVX 500 paired with 4.1.0B software as an example. The same process can be used for any of the other supported devices although the location and ordering of some of the menus, as well as some multi-key combos (MKC) may differ between device models and families so consult the specific model’s administration guide on the Polycom Support website for additional assistance. The process shown in this section is only available starting with the 4.1.0.x release of the UCS firmware.
Verify Firmware Version
To confirm the currently installed software either check on the phone itself or access the phone’s web browser interface.
- To check the software version from the device interface press the physical Home button and then tap the following menu items: Settings > Status > Platform > Application > Main and note the reported Version number.
Select Lync Base Profile
In the previous 4.0 release it was required to provide a number of configuration settings specific to Microsoft Lync registration via an XML configuration file, either manually or via a centralized provisioning server. As stated before it is still possible to use the centralized server to provide additional custom parameters if desired, but for simply locating and registering to a Lync Server no configuration file is needed in the 4.1 release. These required parameters are built-in to the new firmware and simply need to be enabled by selecting a special base profile for the device.
The various Polycom SIP phone models use different Multi-Key Combo (MKC) shortcuts to access the Base Profile menu.
SoundPoint IP 3xx, 4xx Series 1, 2, 4, 5 SoundPoint IP 5xx, 6xx Series 5, 7, 8, * VVX & SpectraLink 84xx Series 1, 4, 9
Alternatively, instead of using the Multi-Key Combo (MKC) the Base Profile menu can be accessed manually by navigating to Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Network Configuration > Base Profile.
- From any screen on the VVX 500 simply press and hold the 1, 4, and 9 keys on the phone. The dialing screen will appears but after a few seconds the phone should then display the Base Profile menu, prompting for a password. Enter the defined Admin password (the default value is ‘456’).
- On the Base Profile menu select the Lync profile and the phone will immediately reboot.
Sign In to Lync
After the device reboots it will automatically bring up the Sign In menu. If the device does not automatically present this menu then it can be accessed manually from by navigating to Settings > Features > Microsoft Lync > Sign In.
- Using the on-screen keyboard enter the Lync SIP Address and Active Directory credentials for the desired account and then tap the Sign In button. Using the on-screen keyboard (the icon in the upper right-hand corner) enter the account address and credentials for the desired Lync user.
- The Sign-in Address value should be populated with the Lync account’s SIP Address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The Domain name can be entered in either NetBIOS format (e.g. SCHERTZ) for DNS format (e.g. schertz.local).
- The User field should be populated with the Active Directory account username (e.g. jeff).
The User format used must match the format selected for the Domain field, meaning that if the NetBIOS domain name is used then the sAMAccountName value should be entered. Yet if the DNS domain name is instead used then make sure to also use the associated username portion from the User Principal Name. Most often the username values are identical, but that is not always the case so do not make any assumptions. This blog article explains Active Directory naming formats in greater detail.
The formats are essentially split into two fields so do not enter the entire format in either field (e.g. SCHERTZ\jeff or email@example.com) as this is incorrect; the domain and username values must be entered separately into their own fields.
- The Password field is self-explanatory.
After submitting the user credentials the phone may take a few seconds to register, depending on if a private root certificate needs to be downloaded or not.
Once the registration is complete then the main screen will be updated to reflect the successful sign-in attempt.
Some of Lync user’s contacts may then be displayed on the main screen. These contacts are any pinned Frequent Contacts for that Lync user. (These are not the frequent contacts added automatically by the Windows Lync client which will appear below the horizontal bar in the Frequent Contacts group.) So to customize the phone’s main screen the user can use their Windows Lync client to manually pin specific contacts.
At this point the phone is registered to Lync and all of the features provided by a Lync Qualified device are available for use. Refer to the official Polycom device documentation for more details on how to utilize some of the new features.
Some additional configuration steps may be desired or required depending on the environment in use or if the previous OOTB procedure has failed to connect to the Lync Server.
Sign In to Exchange Server
This additional configuration is only required for Calendar integration as the previous Lync registration is sufficient for Voice Mail access when using Exchange Unified Messaging.
- To identify the IP address currently assigned to the phone press the physical Home button and then tap the following menu items: Settings > Status > Network > TCP/IP Parameters > and note the reported IP address.
- Connect to this IP address in a web browser and provide the administrator password (‘456’ by default).
- Browse to the Settings > Applications menu and expand the Exchange Applications section.
- Select Enable for the Exchange Calendar setting.
- Populate the Exchange Server URL field with the complete URL for Exchange Web Services (EWS) on the desired Exchange Client Access Server. (e.g. https://exchange.schertz.local/EWS/exchange.asmx). Do not enter just the Exchange server FQDN, the entire EWS URL must be specified.
- Optionally select Disable for the Reminder setting to prevent the phone from beeping and displaying meeting invitation reminders prior to scheduled meeting if this behavior is not desired.
- Click Save to write the configuration changes to the phone, which will automatically reboot the device. The same user credentials which were entered in the phone for Lync registration are used to perform NTLM authentication against the Exchange Client Access Server for access to the calendar data in the user’s mailbox.
After the phone restarts the Home screen will include a new Calendar button which can be used to display the contents of the user’s Exchange Calendar.
Adjust Time Offset
By default the phone will display the time in GMT so although the time will be accurate to the minute when provided by a Network Time Server the hour display may need to be adjusted for the proper time zone.
- To change the time zone press the physical Home button and then tap the following menu items: Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > Network Configuration > GMT Offset and then select the desired offset value (e.g. -6 for Central Time).
Tap the Back key and then select Save Config when prompted to commit the change to the phone. The proper time will then be displayed on the main screen.
Verify Certificate Trust
When DCHP Option 43 is configured to provide internal devices with the Lync Server Certificate Provisioning URL then the device will automatically download and install the root certificate into the following location..
- To verify the root certificate was successfully downloaded press the physical Home button and then tap the following menu items: Settings > Advanced > Administration Settings > TLS Security > Custom CA Certificates and then scroll down to the bottom of the list to the Application CA 6 container.
- To instead use the web management interface to verify the root certificate was downloaded simply connect to the IP address of the device in a web browser, provide the Admin password (default value is ‘456’) and browse to the Settings > Network > TLS menu and check that the Application CA 6 container displays an installed root certificate.