Enabling Group Paging on Polycom VVX Phones for Lync or Skype

Paging is not a native feature for Microsoft Lync, and as such, we rely on third party solutions for this feature.  Typically overhead paging is accomplished by either using a device like the SNOM PA-1, or by using an analog FXS port connected to a universal paging system.  For speakerphone paging we have to rely on the desk phone’s capabilities.

The Polycom VVX series of phones is capable of speakerphone or group paging, but it is not enabled by default.  There are a few things to keep in mind when enabling group paging.  The first is that the paging groups exist only within the VVX phones themselves, they do not transfer over to Lync and therefore will not be heard through the Lync clients.  If you were to need that feature, you should just send an instant message.  Second, Polycom uses a multicast address for group paging to function.  This means pages are broadcast and may not work outside of the subnet or VLAN the phone is on if you’re not forwarding these multicast packets to different VLANs.

Let’s now start with a basic VVX config file, all we’re doing is enabling the feature and adding an outbound caller ID of sorts.

<localcfg>
   <ptt 
     ptt.pageMode.enable="1" 
     ptt.pageMode.displayName = "Your Name Here"
   />
</localcfg>

The line ptt.pageMode.enable turns on the group paging feature, the ptt.pageMode.displayName turns on an outbound caller ID.  Without  the displayName setting, we’re likely to get the phone’s MAC address showing up on other phones.

To test your configuration outside of the provisioning server, you can upload it directly to the phone’s website as seen in the below picture:

upload

To upload your configuration, navigate to your phone’s web page, go to Utilities -> Import & Export Configuration.  Click choose file to find the file you just created and click Import.

On the phone, you’ll now see a Paging button.

Paging1

If you click the Paging button, you’ll see a menu of groups you can send pages to.  These are the default groups.  Later when we add more groups, you could potentially scroll down a list.  Each paging group can be set to one of three priorities.  The default group setting and default setting for other groups you may create is the “Normal” priority, this means that a page won’t play during a call, but you may have the option to hear it if you choose.  There’s a built in priority group with the “Priority” priority, which is weird to say but basically this will interrupt normal pages and active calls.  Finally, there’s the built in Emergency group with the “Emergency” priority.  This will interrupt normal and priority pages, active calls, play at near maximum volume and play even if Do Not Disturb is turned on.

paging2

If we hit a button, 1 through 4 or hit the Page button, our page will start.

paging3

Everyone not currently in a call on the phone, assuming we made a call to the default group, will hear your voice over their speakerphone with no additional action.

Let’s now take it a step further, let’s add more groups and assign specific users to them. We’ll modify our old config a bit and add two groups, Sales and Accounting.

<localcfg>
   <ptt 
     ptt.pageMode.enable="1" 
     ptt.pageMode.displayName = "Your Name Here"

     ptt.pageMode.group.2.available="1"
     ptt.pageMode.group.2.allowTransmit="1"
     ptt.pageMode.group.2.label="Sales"
     ptt.pageMode.group.2.subscribed="1"

     ptt.pageMode.group.3.available="1"
     ptt.pageMode.group.3.allowTransmit="0"
     ptt.pageMode.group.3.label="Accounting"
     ptt.pageMode.group.3.subscribed="1"
   />
</localcfg>

In the above example, group 2 is sales. We’ve made it available to the phone with ptt.pageMode.group.2.available, we’ve labeled it “Sales” with ptt.pageMode.group.2.label, we’ve subscribed the user to it so they can hear it with ptt.pageMode.group.2.subscribed, and we’ve allow them to send calls to it with ptt.pageMode.group.2.allowTransmit.  In our example, group 3 is very similar, but we set allowTransmit to 0, meaning that we can listen to pages, but we can’t transmit.

To grant these settings for all or individual phones, we could use our standard Polycom provisioning methods as found in Jeff Schertz’ Blog on Provisioning Polycom SIP Phones: http://blog.schertz.name/2013/05/provisioning-polycom-sip-phones/.  If we’re going to just use the web interface as you saw above, there’s a much easier way.

To manage all of this through the browser, navigate to your phone’s web page, go to Settings -> Paging/PTT Configuration and behold:

websitepaging1

To see the groups we’ve created above, click the Configure Groups button.

websitepaging2

 

Much easier right?  Well, maybe for a small number of phones.

One last gotcha, you’ll notice that paging is only available on the Idle screen, and if you pick up the handset first and then want to page, there’s no option for it.  Stay tuned for the next blog post where I’ll walk you through creating a button on the phone that can handle this as well as paging the default group automatically.

8 thoughts on “Enabling Group Paging on Polycom VVX Phones for Lync or Skype

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  5. Arbar

    Great info! We were hoping to enable paging on our new S4B deployment using VVX 410 phones. Well it works, but there is a big problem in that it changes the S4B user status (presence) of every user currently logged into one of the phones to ‘In a Call’ during the page, then ‘Available’ after the page is complete, regardless of what their previous status was – totally wiping out everyone’s ‘REAL’ status.

    Since the advanced status information that S4B provides was one of the major selling points for us, this is a no-go. Very disappointing.

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  7. Evan

    Thank you for the guide. I am interested in how to make the automatic button that you mentioned at the end of the blog post. I don’t see another blog for it.

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