All About Polycom Phones
Polycom started 25 years ago with the goal of revolutionizing business communications. More than 950 patents later, they’re transformed the VoIP phone industry. From the conference phone to the desktop phone, they’ve played an important role in making VoIP telephony what it is today.
Polycom has achieved more than most other manufacturers. Among their many accomplishments, they pioneered SIP and invented many existing protocols like the popular wideband codec.
When the world met Polycom’s first conference phone, communications was never the same again. The phone was so groundbreaking that it launched Polycom from a small company into one of the world’s leading SIP phone providers.
Conference phones from Polycom are a staple in any meeting room. The desk phones from Polycom are just as, if not more so, technologically advanced. In fact, their VoIP phones feature speakerphones with this incredible conference phone technology built in!
Polycom released its first desk phone in 2001, the SoundPoint IP 500. They’ve been on a role ever since, with new award-winning phones like the CX series and the VVX series joining the lineup not long after.
Choosing Polycom | Compatibility | Common Uses | Polycom HD | Speakerphones | Line Appearances
Switch Ports | Ports & Connections | Accessories
Five quick reasons to choose Polycom phones
- Polycom HD Voice technology for true-to-life audio quality
- Wide interoperability with hosted and on-premise SIP phone systems
- Simple setup and maintenance for reducing IT expenses
- Expandable models ready to support many future applications
- Based on existing standards and easy to customize
The rest of this article will showcase the different phone models, compatibility with existing phone systems, perfect uses for the phones, and various connectivity options and accessories for the phones.
Looking at the Polycom phones by series
Polycom produces three different series of desktop phones, and every model in each of those series has its own unique set of features. It’s time consuming to click on each model, look at its features and compare it to the next phone. Even then, do you know what those features do? Or what the phone is for?
If you need a primer, you’re not alone. Shopping for any phone can be an ordeal, especially if you’re new to VoIP. Polycom is an excellent starting point as they build some of the most popular phones on the market. Let’s get you started!
Polycom phones are divided into three different series: the CX series, SoundPoint IP series and VVX series. All of the phones are compatible with Skype for Business (formally “Microsoft Lync”). The CX series features USB connectors to plug right into your PC, while the SoundPoint IP and VVX series are SIP compatible as well.
Polycom CX Series
Polycom CX phones plug into the USB port on your Windows PC. The phones are purpose-built for Skype for Business softphone clients. No more having to use your computer’s keyboard, mouse and uncomfortable audio equipment with your VoIP softphone. The CX phones provide a familiar interface with a handset and keypad. Plus, you receive all of the benefits that only a phone from Polycom can provide.
Polycom SoundPoint IP Series
Phones in the Polycom SoundPoint IP series provide effective voice communications, letting you get right to business. The phones are compatible with many hosted and on-premise SIP phone systems. Models range from the SoundPoint IP 321 phone with two line appearances and a single Ethernet port, to the SoundPoint IP 670 with a color display and expandable design.
Polycom VVX Series
The Polycom VVX series brings a state-of-the-art experience to your workspace. The phones are available with a wide range of features. All of the phones have icon-based menus for easy navigation and they can support expansion modules. The higher end models support video conferencing and other media, and offer color touchscreens. Access communications like email and messaging, and even build your own applications for the phones.
SIP phone system compatibility
Considering Polycom’s significant impact on the VoIP industry, many of the major SIP phone system manufacturers work hand-in-hand with Polycom to ensure interoperability. Not sure if your phone system is compatible with your SoundPoint IP or VVX phone? Check out this frequently updated guide from Polycom:
Polycom: Desktop Phones Compatibility
For quick reference, here are a few of the more popular phone systems and environments currently listed:
- Digium Switchvox & Asterisk
- Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business
Polycom phones work seamlessly with many hosted and on-premise PBX, including open source phone systems.
Common uses and user types for the phones
Where do you want to set up your new phone? The most common place is on a desk, but phones inhabit hallways, waiting rooms, warehouses and anywhere that communications is a vital piece of the puzzle.
The Polycom SoundPoint 321 phone is a great choice for public spaces. The only interface on the phone is a single Ethernet port dedicated to network connectivity. This is advantageous so no one can plug their laptop or another device into the phone and use it to access your network.
Phones like the Polycom VVX 300, VVX 310, SoundPoint IP 331, SoundPoint IP 335 and SoundPoint IP 450 are designed for cubicles and regular telephony use. They offer a wide range of features, but nothing overly extravagant.
For receptionists and power users, the Polycom VVX 400, VVX 410, SoundPoint IP 550 and SoundPoint IP 560 are ideal choices. The phones offer more line appearances, more features, busy lamp fields and better audio quality. Call center agents, home office workers and teleworkers will also be able to take advantage of these phones’ great features.
The only expandable models in the Polycom SoundPoint IP series are in the 650 and 670, supporting optional expansion modules to give the user more busy lamp fields and programmable keys. All of the VVX series phones are expandable.
An optional USB camera is designed exclusively for the Polycom VVX 500 phone and Polycom VVX 600 phone. Use the camera to turn the device into a desktop video conferencing system, compatible with H.323 (a widely used video conferencing standard). The phones are also incredibly user friendly with touchscreen displays to quickly access menus and applications. Designed for present and future unified communications and productivity applications, the phones are ideal for small- to medium-sized business owners and executives.
The Polycom VVX 1500 and 1500D phones take the video conferencing integration to the next level with huge 7-inch displays. Perfect for executives or knowledge workers, or for accommodating guests that like to conference on the go.
What is Polycom HD Voice?
Many people choose Polycom phones specifically because of Polycom HD Voice technology. HD Voice refers to the phones’ astonishing audio quality, which makes callers sound as though they’re talking right into your ear. There is no interference or barriers caused by technology; the phones can reproduce every subtle nuance and frequency of the human voice.
Collaboration and productivity increases as communications quality goes up. When you aren’t distracted by audio problems, you can focus on exactly what’s important.
The phones utilize wideband audio, which produces sound quality twice as clear and sharpened as calls over regular lines. Cutting-edge software and hardware further strengthens call audio quality.
Polycom Acoustic Clarity technology works hand-in-hand with Polycom HD Voice. Acoustic Clarity delivers echo cancellation to remove interference from hardware problems, noise reduction to block background distractions from entering the microphone, and full duplex audio to provide natural two-way conversations.
Speakerphones with conference phone technology
Polycom phones with built-in speakerphones can turn your desk into an impromptu conferencing center. Turn on the speakerphone and talk to callers without having to use the handset. Bring other people around your desk too!
The speakerphones feature the same breakthrough technology as the Polycom conference phones. Meaning, you get the functionality of two different devices within one powerful phone. Polycom phones are truly designed for executives and professionals that require the best audio, no matter how you use the phone.
Why are line appearances important?
First, let’s define what a line appearance is before we explain why it’s important. Polycom VoIP phones have different numbers of line appearances. This number determines how many SIP lines that the phone can access or view at one time.
For example, the Polycom SoundPoint IP 335 phone supports two line appearances, and the Polycom VVX 400 phone supports 12 line appearances. The VVX 400 is best suited for busy users that need to see many extensions at a time or handle multiple calls at once. The SoundPoint IP 335 is better for infrequent phone users.
Although phones like the Polycom VVX 400 can handle a dozen or more line appearances, this feature is limited by the phone system. If there are only six or seven lines coming from the phone system, then the phone can only view six or seven lines.
The ins and outs of switch ports
VoIP phones connect to the network through Ethernet ports. An Ethernet cable runs from the phone to the network, usually to a network switch or other point.
Polycom phones feature either one or two switch ports, with speeds of either 10/100 Ethernet or 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet.
Phones like the SoundPoint IP 321 have a single switch port. Having a single port means that the phone is ideal for public spaces. When the phone is connected to the network, there is no second port available for someone to plug in a laptop or another device to hijack the phone and access the network.
All of the Polycom VVX series and SoundPoint IP series phones (besides the 321) have two switch ports. Only one of the ports connects to the network, while the other port connects to your computer. The computer’s Internet or network connection runs through the phone, so both the computer and the phone share the same Ethernet cable.
Running the computer’s Ethernet cable through the phone and sharing the same connection is called “daisy chaining.” This method is just as good as using two separate cables for both the phone and the computer. A single Ethernet cable can handle a massive amount of data, so daisy chaining will not reduce call quality or Internet connectivity.
What you’ll also see is that the switch ports have different speeds. Some are 10/100 Ethernet, while others are 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet. The gigabit switch ports are twice as fast as regular Ethernet. The network switch, router and other equipment need to supply gigabit connectivity in order for this set up to work.
Gigabit Ethernet is ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications like video and other media. For regular web browsing or infrequent calling, standard Ethernet connectivity is more than sufficient. A lot of users prefer gigabit Ethernet when they want peace of mind.
Ports and connections
As far as Polycom phones are concerned, the higher-numbered models tend to offer more features or more advanced features. The phones in the upper echelon are also more likely to offer additional ports and interface types for specific accessories and peripherals.
The Polycom CX series phones connect to a PC via USB. The phones include additional ports for connecting to accessories like headsets.
Additional ports and connections:
- Polycom CX100: 3.5mm to headset
- Polycom CX300: RJ22 to headset
- Polycom CX500: Ethernet port for PoE
- Polycom CX600: RJ9 to headset, dual Ethernet ports for PC pass-through and PoE
The Polycom SoundPoint IP series connects to your network through the switch ports behind the phones.
Additional ports and connections:
- Polycom SoundPoint IP 321, 331: 2.5mm to headset
- Polycom SoundPoint IP 335, 450, 550, 560, 650, 670: RJ9 to headset
The Polycom VVX series phones all feature dual Ethernet switch ports for connecting to your phone system.
Additional ports and connections:
- Polycom VVX 300, 310, 400, 410: RJ9 to headset
- Polycom VVX 500: RJ9 to headset, dual USB ports
- Polycom VVX 600: RJ9 to headset, dual USB ports, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
- Polycom VVX 1500, 1500D: USB port
The next section will explain more about the accessories and peripherals that can be connected to these various ports and connections.
Accessories for the phones
Polycom phones can support an incredible selection of accessories manufactured directly by Polycom and third-party companies.
If you’re shopping for a headset to use with your Polycom phone, or you already have a headset and want to check for compatibility, take a look at our Headset Compatibility Guide for Polycom Phones.
All of the Polycom VVX series phones are compatible with expansion modules. The Polycom SoundPoint IP 650 and 670 phones can be expanded with modules as well. Up to three expansion modules can be connected to the phones.
The modules provide the phones with more busy lamp fields, speed dial keys, extension status indicators and other programmable functions. LED lights next to the keys can flash or change color to show different statuses. Expansion modules are available with either paper inserts for labeling or LCD displays for paper-free labeling.
Polycom VVX series phones with USB ports support call recording. The SoundPoint IP 650 and 670 phones also have USB ports to support call recording.
The Polycom VVX 500 phone and Polycom VVX 600 phone have special docks built in for an optional camera accessory. With the camera, the phone can provide video conferencing.
IP Phone Warehouse is fully authorized to resell and provide support for Polycom phones. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to connect us by phone or by email. We are a leading Polycom partner and have years of knowledge with Polycom products.