Review of Polycom SoundPoint IP 550#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Whether you are CEO of one or many, a cubic dweller or a board room commander speakerphones are a must for busy people and multi-taskers. Even if it frees your hands for a few moments so you can type, copy, paste, take notes, code, steer a presentation, or find that ever important answer to the question that was just asked. A clear speaker is even more important.

Polycom 550

I received the Polycom SoundPoint IP 550 from the folks at Alteva to review their Unified Communication offerings and couldn’t be more pleased at how great it works! The sound quality is a step up of from other IP phones I have used at work as well the one my wife uses at home for her job a Polycom SoundPoint IP 326, a smaller model without the HD feature. the difference in sound quality is knock you off your feet good! It is like having HD on your television, you really notice the difference as it brings life-like richness and clarity to every call as if you talking to someone in the same room. I never thought I would be that impressed with a “land-line”, but I am. Against your ear it reduces fatigue of those long conference calls somewhat, but the sound quality really shines when you utilize a headset via the RJ11 jack on the back of the phone or the built-in Speaker phone.

Polycom 550 back

The way it does this is that the Polycom HD Voice technology uses several Polycom voice technologies: wideband audio for over twice the voice clarity; Polycom’s patented Acoustic Clarity Technology for crystal-clear, noise- and echo-free sound, plus best-in-class system design for high-fidelity, reliable voice reproduction.

In the Box

SoundPoint IP 550 Comes With:

  • SoundPoint IP 550 console
  • Handset with handset cord
  • Base stand
  • Network (LAN) cable
  • Universal power adapter (including country-specific cord kit)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product registration card

Setting up the phone was a simple as unboxing it and plugging it into my network, (if have any questions on how to do this the included quick start guide will bring things to light) and it automatically began the process of establishing itself on the network with the pre-configurations set up by Alteva. It was literally plug and play!

For the more technical, the Polycom IP550 desktop phone is engineered to make installation, configuration, and upgrades as simple and efficient as possible by supporting built-in IEEE 802.3af PoE circuitry and a dual-port Ethernet switch which enables flexible deployment options as well as significant savings on cabling expenses. The Polycom IP 550 PoE phone also supports remote, zero-touch provisioning and upgrades from a variety of industry servers, including FTP, TFTP, HTTP3, or HTTPS3. To ensure reliable, uninterrupted performance, the phone supports boot4 and call server redundancy. The Polycom SoundPoint IP550 is amongst the most popular Polycom IP Phones for use with Asterisk, BroadSoft, Sylantro, Trixbox, Switchvox, Microsoft Communication Server/Lync and other open SIP based IP PBX platforms and services.

Using the Polycom SoundPoint IP 550

On previous IP based phones I had a great frustration with my phone in that it lacked a backlit display, the Polycom IP550 provides a backlit 320 x 160-pixel graphical gray scale LCD whose display brightness is user adjustable and has a high enough resolution to display a default image like your company logo or favorite vacation spot. If you use Alteva’s hosted unified communication solutions or in the corporate environment you also benefit from the ability to have 4 lines on the same phone, shared call/bridged line appearance,corporate directory Access,presence, buddy list support, BLF(Busy Lamp Field), 4 context-sensitive  Soft keys, 6 Display/Menu Navigation keys, and my favorite a Do Not Disturb button.

The phone has a XHTML micro-browser for Web applications. After a quick search on, I quickly found an example XHTML application that displays your local weather forecast based on a ZIP code entered via the phone keypad. Polycom also provides a downloadable examples including an automatic display of stock prices. The micro-browser can have a multitude of applications, but they tend to be lean toward more custom implementations driven by the specific needs of a company. Say you need to book flights for your employees for various sales meetings you could use the phone's micro-browser to perform a quick query for flight status details from available airlines or perform a quick inventory search of availability from your warehouse on a certain part number given by a customer over the phone. In the latest release of the v3.0 firmware, Polycom has also started offering optional software the Productivity Suite for SoundPoint IP Phones, which costs around $12 per phone and provides five applications to enhance the phones' basic capabilities:

  • Visual Conference Management
  • Local Call Recording
  • Corporate Directory Access (LDAP)
  • Third Party Call Control
  • Voice Quality Monitoring

One nice feature of the phone was the ability check your email and calendar over your office phone and your cell phone as well as respond and create new emails and appointments with your voice. You can have your calls forwarded to your cell phone, office phone, home phone all with a touch of a button and update your status to you entire team. All your voicemails are also available in Outlook as well as the presence of your coworkers. You can also share your desktop via LiveMeeting and utilize the features in the PolyCom phone.

There are ton of features for collaboration and I will cover a bit more on this future article.

For a demonstration of just some of Alteva’s Unified Communications and the numerous features with mobile convergence solutions with the Polycom SoundPoint IP 550 check out Alteva’s CIO William Bumbernick walk through of it in action.


If you are looking for a great IP based desk phone this maybe one to consider, the price I have seen was from $229-$650 depending if you bundle it with UC services you may net a cheaper price. The phone works great and if you have room in your luggage, briefcase, or mobile office you can bring it with you where ever you have an internet connection.

OK for the Techies in the crowd…


IEEE 802.3
IETF SIP (RFC 3261 and companion RFCs)
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Encrypted configuration files
Digest authentication
Password login
Support for URL syntax with password for boot server address
HTTPS secure provisioning
Support for signed software executables
Dedicated RJ-9 headset port - Amplified headsets are recommended
320 x 160-pixel backlit gray scale graphical LCD
White LED backlight with custom intensity control
4 line keys with bi-color (red/green) LED
Frequency Band
100Hz - 7kHz for handset,
optional headset and hands-free speakerphone modes
Built-in, auto-sensing IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet
External Universal input AC adapter (included; 24V DC @ 500mA min.)
10.5" x 6" x 7.5" x 2.5" (26.5 cm x 15 cm x 19 cm x 6.5 cm) (W x H x D x T)
Phone weight: 2.75 lb (1.26 kg)
Operating Temperature: +10 to 40°C (+50 to 104°F)
Storage Temperature: -40 to +70°C (-40 to +160°F)
20% to 85%, non-condensing
Network and Provisioning
Two-port 10/100 Mbps Ethernet switch
Manual or dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) network setup
Time and date synchronization using SNTP
FTP / TFTP / HTTP3 / HTTPS3 server-based central provisioning for mass deployments
Provisioning4 and call server redundancy supported
Web portal for individual unit configuration
QoS Support – IEEE 802.1p/Q tagging (VLAN), Layer 3 TOS, and DSCP
Network Address Translation (NAT) – support for static configuration and “Keep-Alive” SIP signalling
RTCP support (RFC 1889)
Event logging
Local digit map
Hardware diagnostics


Feature Keys
4 context-sensitive “soft” keys
26 dedicated “hard” keys
- 8 feature keys
- 6 display/menu navigation keys
- 2 volume control keys
- Illuminated mute key
- Illuminated headset key
- Illuminated hands-free speakerphone key
- Dedicated hold key

Audio Features

Full-duplex hands-free speakerphone - Type 1 compliant with IEEE 1329 full duplex standards - optional headset and hands-free speakerphone modes
Codecs: G.722 (wideband), G.711 µ/A, and G.729A (Annex B)
Individual volume settings with visual feedback for each audio path
Voice activity detection
Comfort noise fill
DTMF tone generation / DTMF event RTP payload
Low-delay audio packet transmission
Adaptive jitter buffers
Packet loss concealment
Acoustic echo cancellation
Background noise suppression
Call Handling Features1
Shared call / bridged line appearance
Flexible line appearance (one or more line keys can be assigned for each line extension)
Busy Lamp Field (BLF)
Distinctive incoming call treatment / call waiting
Call timer
Call transfer, hold, divert (forward), pickup
Called, calling, connected party information
Local three-way conferencing
One-touch speed dial, redial
Call waiting
Remote missed call notification
Hearing Aid Compatibility-Compliant with ADA Section 508 Recommendations: Subpart B 1194.23 (all)
Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) handset for magnetic coupling to approved HAC hearing aids
Compatible with commercially-available TTY adapter equipment

Automatic off-hook call placement
Do not disturb function
Other Features
Interoperability with Microsoft LCS 2005 for telephony and presence4
Local feature-rich GUI
Time and date display
6/17/2011 7:53:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback


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