Polycom Entices Small Business to Voice over Wi-Fi

At the VON.x conference in San Jose, Calif., Polycom let me play with their latest voice over Wi-Fi phone -- the Polycom SpectraLink 8002 Wireless Telephone. Intended for small-business customers, the phone is intended to be easier to set up and manage -- and cost significantly less -- than its higher-end SpectraLink cousins. Designed to work with SIP-based voice systems, the 8002 has been certified interoperable with Digium's Asterisk Business Edition IP PBX and is expected to work just as well on any of the other Asterisk distributions available nowadays. The 8002, which costs $349 (or $399 with a dual charger and an extra battery), weighs in at 4.2 ounces and is rated for 3 hours of talk time or 50 hours of standby time. The Wi-Fi radio in the 8002 is only 802.11b, so the customer needs to make sure legacy protocol support is enabled on the Wi-Fi network. Built to work easily on the consumer-grade access points often found in the smallest businesses, the phone also only supports WEP and the PSK versions of WPA or WPA2 for wireless privacy. And for wireless quality of service, the 8002 supports WMM but not the SVP protocol that SpectraLink pioneered for higher-end wireless networks. Device configuration looks like it can be done a couple of ways, but honestly it seemed like none of the Polycom people I talked to at the show quite knew the full story. Here's what I can decipher: The phone supports TFTP, so the SIP configuration can be downloaded directly to the phone when it joins the network. Wireless network configuration can be done either directly on the handset via the keypad or, alternatively, via a PC when the phone is connected to an administrator dock that is USB-tethered to the computer. It does seem that this admin dock is a different device than the charging cradle that comes with the phone. Polycom also claimed that the 8002 offers text messaging via support for Open Application Interface v2.0, but they did not have this feature set up on the demo unit I played with, so I cannot verify this at this time. Polycom's people also briefed me on the same video integration with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 and IP application suite that Paula Musich reported on. I won't rehash, but will add a couple of additional details Polycom provided in response to my questions: The suite of applications will only work on Polycom's SoundPoint IP 550 and 650 phones for the time being. The call recording capabilities do not yet include any kind of audio notification to the participants on the call, but the feature has been requested and development is in the works.

At the VON.x conference in San Jose, Calif., Polycom let me play with their latest voice over Wi-Fi phone -- the Polycom SpectraLink 8002 Wireless Telephone. Intended for small-business customers, the phone is intended to be easier to set up and manage -- and cost significantly less -- than its higher-end SpectraLink cousins.

Designed to work with SIP-based voice systems, the 8002 has been certified interoperable with Digium's Asterisk Business Edition IP PBX and is expected to work just as well on any of the other Asterisk distributions available nowadays.

The 8002, which costs $349 (or $399 with a dual charger and an extra battery), weighs in at 4.2 ounces and is rated for 3 hours of talk time or 50 hours of standby time.

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The Wi-Fi radio in the 8002 is only 802.11b, so the customer needs to make sure legacy protocol support is enabled on the Wi-Fi network. Built to work easily on the consumer-grade access points often found in the smallest businesses, the phone also only supports WEP and the PSK versions of WPA or WPA2 for wireless privacy. And for wireless quality of service, the 8002 supports WMM but not the SVP protocol that SpectraLink pioneered for higher-end wireless networks.

Device configuration looks like it can be done a couple of ways, but honestly it seemed like none of the Polycom people I talked to at the show quite knew the full story. Here's what I can decipher:

  • The phone supports TFTP, so the SIP configuration can be downloaded directly to the phone when it joins the network.
  • Wireless network configuration can be done either directly on the handset via the keypad or, alternatively, via a PC when the phone is connected to an administrator dock that is USB-tethered to the computer. It does seem that this admin dock is a different device than the charging cradle that comes with the phone.

Polycom also claimed that the 8002 offers text messaging via support for Open Application Interface v2.0, but they did not have this feature set up on the demo unit I played with, so I cannot verify this at this time.

Polycom's people also briefed me on the same video integration with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 and IP application suite that Paula Musich reported on. I won't rehash, but will add a couple of additional details Polycom provided in response to my questions:

  • The suite of applications will only work on Polycom's SoundPoint IP 550 and 650 phones for the time being.
  • The call recording capabilities do not yet include any kind of audio notification to the participants on the call, but the feature has been requested and development is in the works.