Good Bye HP VCX Phones … Hello Polycom

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With the announcement that Hp are withdrawing their VCX phone form the end of the year we have had to start looking at alternatives.  The announcement says the phones will be at end of life on the last day of this year, but the fact is we haven’t found stock for the last few weeks.

After some research we found out that 3Com (before the HP days) was going to support Polycom Soundpoint phones, but for some reason this never happened. We assume a lot of work was put in to this for interoperability and we have seen in some of the phones release notes mentions of the VCX. This guide is the steps I took (in logical order, not actual) to get the phone working and what features are working and not. For this Guide I will be using the Soundpoint 331 phone with 2 lines.

Provisioning the phone

The first step is to get the phone on the network and connected. You can just plug it in and configure it via the phone menu or even via the phone web config page. I’m going for the Auto provision approach, (or as auto as possible). If you are looking at setting up a single phone, Auto provisions is probably quite a bit of work. skip down a bit and i will post screen shot of the phone’s interface later which shows the results of the following steps.

Most (should be all) people who implement VoIP should be using Vlans, So we need to tell the phone which Vlan to use with out inputing it in each phone. This already happens on the VCX phones using the DHCP server. After some googling this is also possible for these phones.

On the DHCP server for both your data and voice scopes add option 128 as an ASCII string with the following format:

VLAN-A=10;

Polycom says:

  • Must start with ‘VLAN-A=’ (case-sensitive)
  • Must contain at least one valid ID
  • VLAN IDs range from 0 to 4095
  • Each VLAN ID must be separated by a ‘+’ character
  • The string must be terminated by a ‘;’
  • All characters after the ‘;’ will be ignored
  • There must be no white space before the ‘;’
  • VLAN IDs may be decimal, hex, or octal

VCX Phones connects to the VCX server to obtain their configuration, This is not an option for Polycom phones as VCX can not speak the Polycom language. Polycom uses text files and ftp/tftp servers. The next step is to tell the phone where the dip server is and how to log on. this can also be done via DHCP. to do this you will need to add option 66 with the following text to both your data and voice scopes:

ftp://Username:[email protected]_Address

In this guide we will be using an ftp server as it can be secured and is very easy to setup. You can use tftp or http servers, option 66 and the phones support the following:

If option 66 is already in use then you can use option 160, this is not covered in the guide.

Configuration user data on the phone

Now the phone can be plugged in to the network and it will find itself the correct VLAN and also know where to download it’s configuration. Now time to do the configuration files. Set up an FTP server, the phone will expect too use the root of the ftp server, so might be worth having a detected one, or have the server place the phone user directly in to the required folder. Download the firmware files from the Polycom website. It suggests you use the split files. extract the package and place it in the ftp folder. The firmware can be found from here:

http://support.polycom.com/PolycomService/support/apac/support/voice/soundpoint_ip/soundpoint_ip321_331.html

I did download the lasted version and the phone complained it was not compatible so i download the 3.3.5 version which seems to be working ok. If you try a later version and it works, let me know.

There are 3 Files which need to be configured:

  • 000000000000.cfg
  • reg-basic.cfg
  • sip-basic.cfg

000000000000.cfg – This file is found on the root of the ftp server and has to be renamed to each phone’s mac address. This is the first file which will be picked up from the phone when it connects.

reg-basic.cfg – This file contains Display name, extension, password etc. Each phone will require their own copy of this file

sip-basic.cfg- This file contains details about the sip environment, you only need one of these files.

All file are XML files, so an XML editor is the easiest way to got, the following examples will be done in plan text (like using notepad)

modifying sip-basic.cfg for your environment. copy the file form the config folder to the ftp route. open the file and find the line starting: <msg.mwi make sure it looks like this:

<msg.mwi msg.mwi.1.callBackMode=”registration” msg.mwi.2.callBackMode=”registration”></msg.mwi>

put the ip address of your primary server between the quotation in:

voIpProt.server.1.address=””

and the secondary servers ip address (if required) in the question in:

voIpProt.server.2.address=””

the rest of the parameters can stay the same. the server line should look something like this:

<voIpProt.server voIpProt.server.1.address=”172.16.2.2″ voIpProt.server.1.port=”0″ voIpProt.server.2.address=”172.17.2.2″ voIpProt.server.2.port=”0″></voIpProt.server>

making a reg-basic.cfg file. make a copy for the config folder and place it on the ftp root renaming it reg-<ext>.cfg <ext> being the extension number. open the  newly named fie and add the parameters (within the quotation) for the following.

  • reg.1.address                       = Extension Number
  • reg.1.auth.password          = Phone password
  • reg.1.auth.userId                = Extension Number
  • reg.1.label                            = Users Display Name
  • reg.2.address                       = Extension Number
  • reg.2.auth.password          = Phone password
  • reg.2.auth.userId                = Extension Number
  • reg.2.label                            = Users Display Name

once completed the reg line should look something like this:

<reg reg.1.address=”3765″ reg.1.auth.password=”1234″ reg.1.auth.userId=”3765″ reg.1.label=”Peter Doyle” reg.1.outboundProxy.address=”” reg.2.address=”3765″ reg.2.auth.password=”1234″ reg.2.auth.userId=”3765″ reg.2.label=”Peter Doyle” reg.2.outboundProxy.address=””>

making a 000000000000.cfg file. Copy this file and rename it to the mac address of the phone .cfg for example: 0004f2a8929c.cfg. open the file and line:

<APPLICATION APP_FILE_PATH=”sip.ld” CONFIG_FILES=”” MISC_FILES=”” LOG_FILE_DIRECTORY=”” OVERRIDES_DIRECTORY=”” CONTACTS_DIRECTORY=”” LICENSE_DIRECTORY=”” USER_PROFILES_DIRECTORY=”” CALL_LISTS_DIRECTORY=””>

and modify it to:

<APPLICATION APP_FILE_PATH=”sip.ld” CONFIG_FILES=”reg-3765.cfg, sip-basic.cfg” MISC_FILES=”” LOG_FILE_DIRECTORY=”” OVERRIDES_DIRECTORY=”” CONTACTS_DIRECTORY=”” LICENSE_DIRECTORY=”” USER_PROFILES_DIRECTORY=”” CALL_LISTS_DIRECTORY=””>

in the parameter CONFIG_FILES add the name of the reg file followed by the sip-basic.cfg file. there should be no spaces and comma separated.

Now plug in the phone and it should download the firmware and config files and register with the VCX. If you have any issues, places to check are:

  • Phone screen – Tells you of any ftp problems it might have, for example file corrupt or missing
  • FTP logs, make sure it is authenticating and downloading.
  • VCX Call processor logs, see if it is trying to authenticate and if it is why it is not working.

Still to come – Screen shot for manual set up and results of our testing

 

 

About the author

Peter Doyle I will pretty much do anything UC! My Google+ Page My Linkedin Page

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