How to Install a VoIP Office Phone

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: March 02, 2011

Installing a VoIP office phone is a fairly simple process. Installing a traditional phone involves punching down the wires for the connection, programming the phone into the phone system, and then plugging the phone in and making sure that it works. Thankfully, things are a little bit easier with a VoIP phone. This article assumes that you already have a VoIP system installed and working in your office, as well as network ports active for the VoIP phones. The focus here will simply be on adding a new phone into the VoIP environment.

Get a PhoneVoIP Phone Installation

The first thing that you’ll need is the new VoIP office phone itself. Unlike traditional phone systems where you can grab any handset and go, each VoIP phone is unique in that it has a MAC address assigned to its network port. This is similar to any other system having a network connection. The MAC address will identify the phone on the network no matter where you plug it in.


Open the Call Manager Software

Your VoIP system will have Call Manager software that controls it. Connect to it, either through a web interface or a program interface that you installed. Once the software is open, do a search within it using the MAC address to make sure that the phone you’re configuring hasn’t already been configured. If it hasn’t, you’re ready to go through the steps of adding it to the system. If it has already been installed, you’ll need to make modifications to move on. For the purposes of this article, if you find that the phone has already been installed and it is not in use, delete it from the system. If you’ve found its production phone, set it aside and find another phone to configure.

Add the Phone to the System

No matter what call manager software you’re using, you’ll have the option to Add a Phone to the system. Select that option, and proceed with the configuration of the phone. Some of the information that you’ll be entering as you configure the phone includes:

  • MAC address
  • Extension – to allow the phone to be called
  • User – the name of the person who will be using the phone
  • Device Pool – defines a set of common characteristics between a group of phones
  • Calling Search Space and AAR Calling Search Space – these provide information in terms of how a dialed number should be routed
  • Phone Button Template – defines the configuration of buttons on the phone and identifies the feature used for each button

The information you enter will vary depending on the type of phone system you have, but the options listed above are fairly common and will be seen across phone systems. Note that these are only a sample of the items to be configured, and that there will be other information entered depending on how your environment is configured.

Once the information has been entered, commit the phone to the system. At this point, there’s one more step you’ll need to complete before you hand the phone off for use.

Set Up the User with Voice-Mail

If you’re running Active Directory, you can connect to the voice-mail portion of your phone system and add the user who will be getting the new phone into the voice-mail system. As you’ve already defined the name of the user with the phone, any unanswered calls will be directed to that person’s voice-mail.

Place the Phone

The last step is to place the phone. Go to the user’s desk and make sure there is an Ethernet cable plugged into the port the phone will use. Plug the cable into the appropriate jack on the phone. The phone will take a minute or so to activate. When it is complete, it should show the user’s name, the phone number, the date and time, and whatever other features have been programmed. Lifting the handset should produce a dial tone. If anything is not working correctly at this point, you’ll need to troubleshoot your installation.

The Beauty of it All

The beauty of this installation is that since the phone is identified by MAC address, it can be plugged into any port on the network that communicates with the phone system and work for the user for whom it was defined. This means that if the user changes desk, no reconfiguration needs to be done with the phone. Simply take it to the new desk, plug it in, and the user is ready to go. Not only have you managed to save money by reducing the cost of your services through the use of VoIP, but you’ve also reduced the maintenance your IT or phone department will need to go through in working with the phones.

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