Desktop phone & Gigabit Switch

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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...
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Claudio (Customer)

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Posted 2 years ago

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Cecile Glassy, Champion

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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)
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Claudio (Customer)

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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?
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Cecile Glassy, Champion

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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.
 
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Eric

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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.
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Timothy Garner, Champion

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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.
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Claudio (Customer)

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Thank Timothy!
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Lee D

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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.
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Claudio (Customer)

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Good point!
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Timothy Garner, Champion

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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.
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Cecile Glassy, Champion

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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.
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Brandon, Champion

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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.