Polycom VVX-1500 Keeps On Truckin

The other day I had to stage a little test that required a few SIP end points. For a lark, I powered up a Polycom VVX 1500 that has lived on my credenza for quite some time. It’s been idle for a long while, basically since the VVX 600 took the prime spot on my desk and became my daily driver.

vvx-1500 frontal

It happens that we don’t have POE everywhere I’d like, so the elder VVX had been powered off for a bit. Applying power, it began to boot, which is a process that can take some time. On this particular occasion, a considerable time, as it seems the device found a firmware update and automatically began to install it. I had forgotten that the VVX 1500 had been configured to use boot.onsip.com as its boot server.

While it fetched and loaded new firmware I had some time to lookup the current state of software offered for the VVX 1500. I was amazed to find that the old VVX 1500 is still actively supported! The latest firmware is 5.9.1.0615 released in January 2019. The OnSIP provisioning server offered 5.8.3.2414 which appears to be from Q4-2018.

that’s impressive for a device over ten years old. This one came my way when Small Net Builder asked me to review a pair. That review was published in September 2009. The folks at OnSIP did their own review in 2011.

While its video capabilities now seem dated (CIF resolution) the VVX 1500 remains the single best sounding phone I’ve ever used. It’s impressive that Polycom is still able to offer firmware updates for the mighty beast. Such longevity is testament to a very forward looking hardware design.

Other products I’ve used, Gigasets for example, are so hardware constrained that software support tends to be limited. The device has just enough memory to function. Over time, as the firmware invariably grows in size, it will be left behind.

I see that other iconic Polycom, the SoundStation IP7000, is currently sporting 4.0.14 firmware released in December 2018. It is also a remarkably long-lived product. We were still buying them for ZipDX projects in June 2017. In truth, it has well and truly been superseded by the Trio 8000 Series, which are dramatically more flexible.

My sit/stand desk has a little more space since I switched from a dual-monitor arrangement to a single 4K display. Maybe it’s time to take the burly VVX 1500 for a spin as my daily desktop phone once again. It sounds so great, and those metal buttons are just so…polished.

TIP – Re: VoiceMeeter and Cordless Headset Batteries

It may be that in my old age I’m becoming forgetful. Or perhaps I’m just too enthused about what I’m doing, and little things get forgotten? I write this in the hope that it helps me to remember.

For years I’ve used a Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset in my home office. It connects to a Polycom VVX-600 and my desktop computer. This trio serves me very well, but occasionally I reach for the headset and find that its battery is dead.

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Living With the Tech: The Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT Headset Five Years On

It’s not often that I can say that I’ve been using a single device daily for over five years. The Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset, which I reviewed in 2011, tops that very short list.

Sennheiser DW Pro 2 & Clients

This past week I’ve paid a little special attention to the headset. It’s long been connected to the Polycom phone on my desk. It’s been witness to my transition from a Polycom SoundPoint IP650, to a VVX-500, and onward to a VVX-600. It’s also connected to my desktop computer.

In general, the DW Pro 2 is still performing well. I have noted some curious things about it over time, including a couple new things just in recent weeks.

Continue reading “Living With the Tech: The Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT Headset Five Years On”

Unexpected: OSX on a Polycom VVX-600

vvx-600-with-OSX-320pxA Polycom VVX-600 is my primary desk phone. It has been since its launch demoted the VVX-500 to a lesser role. Both are great phones, but I find the larger touch screen of the 600 model better for both my eyes and fingers. One of the things that keeps the Polycom phone on my desk is its ability to conveniently record calls to a USB memory stick. It’s a capability that I’d find difficult to give up.

On the other hand, in my daily routine I find that I don’t use USB memory stick very often anymore. I have a couple hanging around, but not the little stash that once graced my computer bag. So, occasionally, when I’m in a hurry, I pull the SanDisk Cruzer that lives plugged into the back of the VVX and use it to sneakernet a few files from here to there.

Continue reading “Unexpected: OSX on a Polycom VVX-600”

Polycom Revisits DECT with the VVX D60

vvx-d60-tb-com-650x500-enusToday saw the introduction of a new model in Polycom’s VVX Business Media phones. The Poycom VVX D60 is described as a “wireless accessory” to compliment the existing VVX series of desk phones.

Examining the brochure it seems that the D60 works along side the VVX-300/400/500/600. It requires that the desk phone be running UC Software v5.4.1A or newer. The D60 is actually setup via the VVX web interface.

The feature set of the D60 closely matches the VVX series. Some of the highlights that catch my eye include:

  • Two-port Ethernet switch (10/100 mb)
  • Support for P.O.E.
  • Support for HDVoice (G.722)
  • Support for up to 5 cordless handsets
  • Support for 5 lines per handset
  • Up to 4 simultaneous calls
  • Provisioning via the VVX desk phone
  • Close integration with the VVX desk phone

Since I have the VVX-500 and 600 models hereabouts I certainly see a lot to like in the D60. I think that the D60 could be very well received by SOHO users. It’s certainly an interesting alternative to a DECT headset.

I’m curious about pricing, which doesn’t seem to be available as yet. Rest assured that I’ll be trying to acquire a D60 for review.

The idea of a DECT handset that pairs with a desk phone is not new. I once used an Aastra 480i CT that had a DECT base built into the desk phone and a small cordless handset. Ultimately that cordless handset was less than satisfactory as too many common functions were buried in menus or simply not available.

The Gigaset DX800a also has a built-in DECT based, supporting the use of any of the Gigaset DECT handsets. However, Gigaset’s US presence has faltered, making their offering less than appealing to North American users.

OnSIP: When the SPIT Hits The Phone

In a recent blog post OnSIP noted that some hosted PBX customers using Polycom SIP phones were receiving phantom calls from an internet source. Such calls are known as Spam-over-Internet-Telephony, aka “SPIT.” They have been a topic of discussion in VoIP security circles for years.

As has been mentioned many times, we have a number of Polycom VVX Series phones hereabouts. Our phones are registered with OnSIP and ZipDX. Fortunately, we have not experienced such phantom calls ourselves.

I had not even noted the first OnSIP blog post until a former colleague reached out to tell me that his VVX-500 had received over 700 such calls in the past few days. He noted that the calls were an annoyance. If answered, there was no connection. He could tell that the calls were coming to the phone directly, since they were not rolling over to his cell phone in left unanswered. That implied that the logic of the hosted PBX was not in play.

The very next day OnSIP posted an update to this issue. They had implemented a solution that would cause Polycom phones to reject calls that were coming from a source other than their SIP proxy. This is based upon something that Polycom calls Incoming Signal Validation. Customers who have phones that use the OnSIP provisioning server need only reboot their phones to uptake this new setting.

We’ve recommended OnSIP for long time. In fact, since before Junction Networks launched the OnSIP brand. This weeks events are just another indication of why they’re such a great company.

Disclosure: OnSIP is a sponsor of the VoIP Users Conference.