UPDATE: The below guidance is still valid, however check out my follow up blog for a simpler approach: Provisioning Polycom Trio 8800s – A Better Way
Late last year saw the release of Polycom’s latest Lync/Skype for Business certified conference phone: the Polycom Trio 8800. Polycom also surprised most of us with not only audio, but video capabilities, when the unit is paired with the Visual+ module. In my opinion, this is the perfect device for the small to medium size meeting spaces that were too small for larger VC infrastructure solutions, but where audio and video capabilities made sense. You can read more about the Trio 8800 here.
This article will cover off on the following topics:
- How Polycom phones obtain configuration files from a central Polycom Provisioning Server
- What issues may arise if Trio devices are allowed to download and apply VVX configuration files, and how to mitigate against this
- An example Trio 8800 configuration file for you to use
Under the hood, the Trio devices run Polycom UC Software (UCS). This is from the same family as the VVX line of phones. When deploying VVX phones, it’s common (and recommended) to deploy a Polycom Provisioning Server, which is tasked with providing a uniform base configuration file that all VVX phones can access, download and apply. This occurs when the phones boot, and gives administrators centralised and granular control over what features are available across all phones in a deployment. Very handy. Microsoft Solutions Architect, MVP and all round Polycom guru Jeff Schertz had written a great article on how to centrally provision Polycom SIP Phones using a Provisioning Server. I strongly suggest reading that before proceeding, as this post will build on topics covered there.
As Trio devices are based on the same software as the VVX phones, they also are capable of obtaining their configuration the same way: pulling base configuration from the Polycom Provisioning Server automatically on boot up. However, the fact that the Trios use the same logic as the VVX handsets to download base configuration can be somewhat of an issue.
Prior to the Trio devices being released, there was not usually a need to deploy different configuration files to different devices. The same configuration file would be pushed out to all phones, nice and simple. However, if both Trio and VVX devices are deployed into the same environment, it’s a good idea to ensure each device type gets its own specific configuration file. From my experience, there are some settings you may want to implement on one type of device, but not the other. For example, in some of my deployments I remove the “End Call” button from VVX phones using the configuration file. I do this to free up space on the main screen for another button, and End Call is not that important as I can end the call by simply hanging up, pressing the speaker button (if on a speaker phone call) or pressing the headset button (if I have a headset plugged into the phone). If this same configuration file is applied to the Trio phone, the hang up button on the touch screen disappears, and you can’t hang up a call. Not ideal.
To help better understand how we can get around this issue, the following diagram outlines the high level logic an out of the box UCS device goes through when placed on the network. In this example the device in question has a MAC address 0004f2fcc770:
For the sake of this blog, the important piece of the above logic is the first (pink) decision point. For deployments where there is only a single type of device, there is usually no need for a specific configuration file to exist that matches the MAC address of a single phone (unless of course you would like to push out different configuration for some of those phones). As such, the answer is No and the phone will then look for a default configuration file named 000000000000.cfg. This one does exist, and will direct the phone to an additional configuration file to apply. Here’s an example of a default configuration file:
Note that, within this configuration file, a second configuration file is called. Apart from some other basic configuration elements (refer to Jeffs blog for further details on these), The bulk of the configuration elements are contained within February2016v1.cfg. If I want to change settings for all phones at once, I simply edit this file, and all phones will be able to download the updated configuration.
Using the above logic we now have a way to target Trio phones, allowing them to download their own specific configuration:
- Take a copy of the default configuration file (000000000000.cfg)
- Use the MAC address of the Trio to name it (e.g. 0004f2fcc770.cfg)
- Update the configuration files that’s called (e.g. Trio8800_March_2016_v1.cfg)
- Repeat the above steps for all Trio devices
As long as there is a default configuration file that is created for every Trio device, they can all point at the same configuration file where the bulk of the configuration elements are stored. You can now update a single file to manage all Trios.
What can I configure?
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of configuration elements that can be configured using a configuration file. If you would like to see what can be configured, download the RealPresence Trio Administrators Guide (360 odd pages) from the Polycom Trio Support page.
Download this Polycom Trio configuration file I’ve created (link below). In it, I outline configuration elements I find the most useful, and give an explanation as to what each one does.
Tip: download XML Notepad – will make your life a lot easier
|Filename||Created for UCS Version|
|Trio8800_UCS_22.214.171.1249_REV_AA_v1.zip||126.96.36.1999 REV AA|
|Trio8800_UCS_188.8.131.5209_REV_AB_v1.zip||184.108.40.20609 REV AB|
Note: the config file contained in the zip has been renamed a .txt file. Make sure you strip that off prior to using.
If you would like to learn more about the Trio devices, and how they could work for you, please feel free to get in touch.