Fifth Advantage of Polycom IP Phones: Usability
Fifth advantage of Polycom IP phones: usability
While the aforementioned attributes are related to user usability, it is important to also explore usability from an administrator's perspective. From an administrator's perspective, even Polycom phones aren't perfect. Reboot times, although improved on the latest generation of Polycom phones (SoundPoint IP 550, etc.), are still among the slowest in the industry. Even the SoundPoint IP 550 clocks require nearly a minute for its reboot cycle-which doesn't seem significant until you have to configure more than one.
Manual phone configuration requires at least two reboots, providing that you made no mistakes and entered the SIP password correctly the first time. The use of a boot server to hand out individualized configuration files makes this process significantly easier, but configuration can be a long process without one.
The Polycom phones' Web interface is basic, as the majority of advanced features are unavailable, and it has no troubleshooting utilities. Snom, on the other hand, provides SIP traces and pcap dumps, which is very useful. Upgrading the firmware requires that you run a Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server of your own; it would be more convenient if Polycom would run a public one, as Grandstream does.
Still, the aforementioned attributes are notable defects when you're an administrator. Once the phone is configured and on the desk, you'll rarely need to reboot or reconfigure, and these inconveniences are quickly forgotten.
So, what is the perfect IP phone? It is a phone with a modern look, an intuitive interface, quality hardware, and an easy configuration and update process. Manufacturing the perfect IP phone at a competitive price may be a tall order. But, so far, we think Polycom does a better job than most at this. We will be interested to see who meets them at the finish line.
Charlotte Oliver is a Systems Engineer at Junction Networks. She has been working in the telecommunications and technology industry since 1998. Prior to Junction Networks, she worked for RCN. Charlotte is a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.