Desktop phone & Gigabit Switch

  • 1
  • 2
  • Question
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • Answered
  • (Edited)
We are installing new cubicles with Cat6 ethernet cable, as you know some Desktop Phones comes with a Gigabit Switch integrated, like those Polycoms VVX310 (and others)... Someone can share experiences about the "pros and cons" or real advantage of using that gigabit switch for the PC versus pulling an additional ethernet cable for the desktop computer?
I know "in the book" is always recommend to have a separate cable for each device... But in the real world... Is that advantage really noticeable? Cable is not expensive but Cat6 and up are thicker and when you have 7 stations to feed, is not the same to pull 7 cables than 14...
Please advice...
Photo of Claudio (Customer)

Claudio (Customer)

  • 13,808 Points 10k badge 2x thumb

Posted 1 year ago

  • 1
  • 2
Photo of Cecile Glassy

Cecile Glassy, Champion

  • 17,636 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
We have 2200+ Polycom VVX500 phones and routinely use the gigabit port for adding an ethernet device downstream from the phone daisy chain fashion with rock solid performance. Use case: in office areas where ethernet jacks and/or additional ports at the switch-side are not available. The phone must always be the first device in the chain, with any additional device secondary. NOTE: We run dedicated VLANS segregating voice and data traffic. Streamlines network mgmt, substantial cost savings including added labor to install extra ethernet cabling, additional switches, and infrastructure.. Our recommendation is use the phone gigabit option wherever additional available wallports/cabling are not present in your facilities. If you are local to the SF Bay Area, please consider joining our SF Bay Area Administrators User Group.
(Edited)
Photo of Claudio (Customer)

Claudio (Customer)

  • 13,808 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
Cecile, what a great comment, thanks a lot!
And if you have the opportunity to add an extra wall port because the office is being remodeled, do you think it matters?  or with the phone/switch is equally good?
Photo of Cecile Glassy

Cecile Glassy, Champion

  • 17,636 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
The phone port is just a passthrough - but it works easily as well as our switch ports for the purposes we use them. Often the additional gigaport on the phone is used to add a low-end desktop network printer (local use) in areas where WiFi is restricted for security reasons.  If building from scratch, yes - always using more drops than needed is a key component of any infrastructure buildout. In our case, the buildings are old and creating more drops would open many other cans-o-worms. So using the phones extensibility was the solution for us. The phones do work equally as well as a port extender - no latency issues, and controlled access to the switch network is an added bonus.  Formerly we had users putting rogue switches in when they wanted more network ports in their cubicles which frequently caused more troubles for our net management team.   As a side benefit, this method helped us tighten up our security protocols and now this is not an issue.  Our way of doing it may not be the best for all users, but it is working well for us in a large scale installation.
 
Photo of Eric

Eric

  • 502 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Totally agree with Cecile!  We have done the same.  To specifically answer the question, is it worth it or is it good?  The answer is yes, although, it depends on what you have for switches.  If your switches are not 1G then it will not make much difference.  We push 10G internally in our data center and 1G out to the desktops.  So, when we have a Polycom unit, the passthrough is 1G to the desktop/laptop connected.  Wifi is a different bird and your bandwidth depends are so many factors.  We pulled all of our Cat5 out and replaced with Cat6/7 to future proof anything we do over the next 10 years.
Photo of Timothy Garner

Timothy Garner, Champion

  • 526 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
If your running cables its always a great rule to run one more than you think you need if you are able. The phone port is a bonus. Don't count it in your total.

We always have three drops ran to each location, two at the very least, even if we only need 1 at the time.
Photo of Claudio (Customer)

Claudio (Customer)

  • 13,808 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
Thank Timothy!
Photo of Lee D

Lee D

  • 392 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Remember also - that you can run a port to a punchdown, but not plug it into a switch until you need it. This can save you switching costs.
Photo of Claudio (Customer)

Claudio (Customer)

  • 13,808 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
Good point!
Photo of Timothy Garner

Timothy Garner, Champion

  • 526 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
This is exactly why we do this all at once. If your running cables, the price of the cable is nothing compared to if you have to come back later and run another cable (time is the most valuable asset). Also, if you do this correctly, the runs should come back to a patch panel in the network closet. Then you just jump from the patch panel to the switch when you need them.

Also, now all your runs for one office are 1,2 and 3 in the patch panel instead of 1, 2 and 59. Or not in the patch panel at all and a random cable hanging from the ceiling.
Photo of Chris Verdin

Chris Verdin, Champion

  • 2,758 Points 2k badge 2x thumb
We have the Polycom vvx 500 and to be honest we've had the switch go out on a few phones now.  So we've had to install a switch in the cubicle or office until we could run a new line out.  Also, don't use the Ethernet cable that comes with the phone.  We've had them tested and most of them failed testing.  It may cost more to run 2-3 lines to each office/cubicle but you'll save in the long run. 
Photo of Cecile Glassy

Cecile Glassy, Champion

  • 17,636 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
08-22-2017 Chris Verdin:  Your reported failures were based on what number of users?  You did not mention if the phones were in warranty or not.   We have been running on the provided ethernet cables that came with the Polycom VVX500 phones purchased June 23 2016 without any cable malfunctions or port failures on the phones themselves on over 2200 Polycom VVX500 phones.   It would be important to get the details on this report before making a large decision based on  "x" number of phones, "x" number of failures.  I would suggest that both Polycom and RingCentral do not run their businesses providing defective equipment for their customers.
Photo of Chris Verdin

Chris Verdin, Champion

  • 2,758 Points 2k badge 2x thumb

We purchased about 65 phones.  Of the 60 phones we sent back a few while they were under warranty.  But a few others were not.  We purchased them I believe in 2014.  I'd say we've returned about 5 under warranty for the Switch issue or the Ghost dialing issues (Where it will randomly start calling people).  Sometimes the Ghost dialing issue was fixable by cleaning the screen sometimes it was not and had to be sent in. 

For the Switch themselves of the 65 we purchased we had about 5-6 stop working.  So we put in a switch in the office or cubicle. 

For the Ethernet cable when our vendor was out hire wiring our building we had them use their equipment to test the RingCentral Ethernet cables that came with our phones and after testing a 10-15 of them 7-8 of them failed the test.  We have been given a credit by RingCentral for this I don't recall but we ultimately bought our own cables and replaced all of them. 

This is just my experience with them.  Hopefully yours is better.  We try to get new users to use the Windows Desktop client and avoid buying the phone. 

Photo of Brandon

Brandon, Champion

  • 20,708 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Good comments already.  I agree it is always good to pull more cable now then later because you never know what you might need in the future. On the other hand, I almost always put phone and computer on the same cable and use VLANs mainly because it saves 50% on switch ports and reduces required power and rack space.  Exceptions are for things like servers, special developer machines, etc. that might not want a potential point of failure (a telephone) between them and the switch.
Photo of Lee D

Lee D

  • 392 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Some caveats to the above comments:
1) From a bandwidth point of view, a switched PC plugged into the phone line is sharing bandwidth (since they both go to ONE port on the master POE switch).  As such a user who is on the phone and downloading large files, streaming video, or some other high bandwidth usage could see issues unless you've carefully planned out your VLANS and set up separate prioritization rules for the phones and PCs on the network.  If you set this up right it should prioritize the phone traffic over other traffic, but using the phone may slow down a download, or a large file upload. Just be aware of this - if the user is a poweruser that needs that bandwidth - run them two lines.  And don't do this unless you understand how to segment the traffic and prioritize it.
2) From a monitoring point of view some switches may be able to more easily monitor individual users if they're on separate switch ports.  
3) Any bandwidth restrictions, or traffic limitations you apply to a port will apply to all devices connected to that port.
4) Only do this if you're using managed switches that can designate a phone and PC VLAN
5) Remember that POE doesn't passthrough - so you cannot (for instance) hook a POE camera on the other side of the phone's switchport - there will be no power.
6) It's not recommended to daisychain another switch off the phone switch. If a user already has a multi-port switch for printers, multiple devices, cameras, etc. under their desk, run a separate line for that.
7) If you have a content managed switch it may have the ability to block traffic to specific websites or endpoints.  Be sure your ringcentral contact points are all whitelisted and won't be blocked by either AMP or Content based traffic management at the network level.
8) Be sure your DHCP settings are correctly set up for the VLAN that hosts the phones and the VLAN that hosts the PCs for the proper default settings.

Hope these help. As a partner I set up networks and phone systems for ringcentral clients, we've seen it all.
Photo of Lee D

Lee D

  • 392 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Also big ups the the person who said you can never have too many ports run into a space. :)

And why isn't your partner helping you set up your network properly?
Photo of Lee D

Lee D

  • 392 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
We resell Cisco Meraki switching and network equipment. With that equipment we can:

1) Test and validate any cable on any port.  But not beyond the destination. So If your computer is plugged in behind the phone we can test to the phone, but not from the phone to the PC.
2) Validate traffic and see exactly what traffic is passing.
3) Sniff the traffic to evaluate errors and problems.
4) Monitor user traffic
5) Do all the above active malware management and content filtering.
6) Easily prioritize voice traffic for excellent service.