Polycom Color Expansion Module not populating

This seems to be a recurring subject, but I haven’t found a solution in the forums or issue tracker so I’ll post again…

We got a Polycom VVX501 phone and color expansion module for testing with a different phone system and seeing as it’s a very nicely designed device and Polycom devices tend to be extremely cross-platform friendly, we’d take a shot at getting it to work with FreePBX and the Commercial Endpoint Manager. The phone itself seems fine, but the expansion module isn’t populating. I think we’ve got the settings correct (added EXP-COLOR-1, set some speed dials and a BLM key in the EXP section of the device configuration, and … they show up on the phone itself rather than the expansion module. The configuration files generated appear to be correct, but I don’t have a huge amount of experience with that level of detail with provisioning Polycom devices.

Has anyone run into this and figured out a solution they’re willing to share?

One thing I did find is that Polycom’s UC software gets cranky if you have duplicate destinations set for speed dials - it logs an error and discards them. Not sure if this can be sanely sanity-checked by Endpoint Manager (it may be a big corner case that requires excessive effort into for one vendor), but it’s something to be aware of.

Upon further review of Polycom’s awkwardly-organized documentation (including the first time I’ve seen configuration entries broken up into multiple lines making it very difficult to search for them in the PDF - there’s a technical writer out there who hates sysadmins) it looks like expansion module entries must reference directory entries, and that rabbit hole is pretty intense in and of itself.

If I get a working config built I’ll engage with the developers to get this sorted.

Is the Color Expansion associated with the user in “Extension Mapping” section of EPM?


Results in:

Yes, the expansion is connected correctly and is recognized - I can change the background image on it or whatever via the phone’s web browser.

Sounds like (to me) it might be “EPM Ticket Time” in the Issues tab. If everything looks like it should be working and it isn’t, there might be a problem with EPM that we (as mere users) can’t readily or really solve.

I have had a similar issues in the past with, if you have another expansion module try it(before opening a ticket). Also try and use another 6P connector wire, I have bought a few were “broke” expandiom modules and the connectors be the culprit.

I don’t have another expansion module, but i’m reasonably sure this one and its cable are OK - as mentioned above, I can change the background on it and it also passes the button and LED diagnostics from the phone just fine.

From the pictures I see that you still have empty buttons on your phone.

I remember having this issue with Polycom, if you have, say 10 buttons on your phone, and you assign 5 buttons and then you add 5 to the EXP, it will fill up the phone instead of going to the EXP.

So try adding a couple more extensions to your EXP, and see if it adds at least 1 extension to the EXP.

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AFAIK, all Polycom phones are unusual that way, the buttons on the phone must be full before they will overflow to the sidecar.

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The Cisco 7914 sidecar is peculiar the same way. You can specify “empty” buttons, but the buttons have to be defined.

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Yup, that was the issue. Thanks everyone for the great responses. I love the industrial design and overall UX on these phones - in my opinion they’re some of the best current devices on the market. It’s a shame they only work marginally well with FreePBX (no REST-API or Phone Apps support - apparently these are driven by Polycom issues and having struggled through their documentation myself I can believe it).

Polycom works great… Try contacting their support. :grinning:

Totally agree with you. We have a couple of areas of our business with Polycom phones, they are robust, have uptime exceeding a year… find it disappointing that within FreePBX the support is limited.

Well, in Sangoma’s defense they can only support so many phone models and keep the overall prices as reasonable as they are. Heck, just outfitting a phone interoperability lab costs a fair chunk of change (we’ve spent thousands of dollars internally just to do a little bit of overview testing) - I would imagine that it would cost several tens of thousands of dollars per brand per year to do a good job. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the recent shift towards providing less support for non-Sangoma phones as their phones just aren’t competitive in my opinion (sorry). I would prefer that they have a more expensive (or even much more expensive - maybe $499 per year) “official support” option for specific phone brands like Yealink, Digium, Polycom, etc., as long as they were really serious about the support.

Agree with everything you say.

My concern is, from an outsiders point of view, support seem stretched… and its very hard to get much out of them.

I do enjoy the fact that when you get through to the ‘right’ people, you get the no bullshit answers, just facts… and that helps, and tbh we are never going to get that from the other hardware companies.

What this has done for us tho, is it means we are only logging calls for the ‘must have’ fixes… not the minor issues such as phone randomly rebooting middle of calls etc…

Excluding the hardware, I’m loving PBXAct, FreePBX… I just wish I had the stability of the backend in the users end points. I believe it will come - Polycom have made phones for year and year… Sangoma, coming up 2?

Also, worth nothing… for most people, the issues I have, are unnoticed, and probably dont exist. These issues are only apparent on our high volume handsets.

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