Skype for Business, USB and IP Phones
This article contains University-specific documentation about using USB or IP phone devices with Skype for Business. It also talks about how to install and use IP devices (VoIP phones) with the Skype for Business system.
When and why would you use a separate desk phone?
Once you have the Skype for Business client on your computer, your Windows or Mac computer can serve as your phone system. All
you need is your computer's built-in sound devices or an attached headset. However, you may prefer to have a separate,
physical, phone-shaped device on your desk.
Users of other operating systems, such as Unix/Linux, will require a separate device because Skype for Business doesn't yet offer a client for their computers' operating systems.
A Skype for Business desk phone will provide at least as much functionality as a traditional phone. In many cases, a Skype for Business desk phone will offer more functionality than a traditional phone, such as calendar and messaging integration. However, a computer running the Skype for Business client will usually offer even more functionality, including email and video conferencing capabilities.
Choosing a USB or IP Phone Device
A USB phone is a computer peripheral device that looks like a regular desk phone. It will have a dial pad, handset, caller
display, and sometimes a speakerphone. USB phones provide good audio quality, ease of use, and integrate with the Skype for
Business client well. A USB phone must be plugged in to a computer that is running the Skype for Business client in order to
operate. USB phones work better with the Skype for Business client on Windows than the Lync 2011 client on MacOS. A very commonly
used USB phone is the Polycom CX300.
An IP phone is a stand-alone device that does not require a computer or the Skype for Business client. Like a USB phone, an IP
phone will have a dial pad, handset, caller display, and sometimes a speakerphone. An IP phone can operate with only an ethernet
network connection. It is a good choice for places where there is no computer, where users don't sign in to the computer or
don't have their own Skype for Business accounts, and where the local computer is not running a compatible operating
NOTE: In order to make full use of Skype for Business at Illinois' various services, you must use a device certified for Skype for Business. For recommendations, see Skype for Business, Devices and Equipment . WARNING: If you choose a device that is NOT on the Equipment for UC at Illinois list, it may violate campus policy. All campus-owned computing equipment bought after January 1, 2012 that will be used to make phone calls must be able to support 9-1-1 services as provided by the campus VoIP solution.
NOTE: In order to make full use of Skype for Business at Illinois' various services, you must use a device certified for Skype for Business. For recommendations, see Skype for Business, Devices and Equipment .
WARNING: If you choose a device that is NOT on the Equipment for UC at Illinois list, it may violate campus policy. All campus-owned computing equipment bought after January 1, 2012 that will be used to make phone calls must be able to support 9-1-1 services as provided by the campus VoIP solution.
Getting Started with your USB phone
Install the Skype for Business client on your computer. Start the client and login. At this point, you should be able to just plug the USB phone-device into your computer.
Getting started with your IP phone
An IP phone needs to be installed and configured by your departmental IT pros. (See Installation instructions - IP phones (external link) for details.)
You'll need to log in to your phone so that the calls that people make to your name or number will ring through to that particular device on your desk.
Logging in to identify an IP phone as your desk phone
With a USB connector
- If your IP phone has a USB connector and you are using a Windows computer with Lync installed, plug in your IP phone and
select "Yes" from the welcome screen on the phone (if needed).
- Sign-in to the Lync - Desk Phone Connection window on your Windows system:
- Account: <Email Address>
- User name: UOFI\<NetID>
- Password: <AD Password>
- The phone will then download the root/issuing certificate from the Lync server and cache the user's authenticated certificate.
Without a USB connector
If you don't have a USB connection (or a Windows computer), log into the IP phone directly:
- The PIN authentication method requires the user to key-in their 11-digit campus phone number (5 and 7
digits also work; 10-digit does not) and their UC Lync PIN. Once successfully authenticated, the phone will download the
root/issuing certificate from the Lync server and cache the user's authenticated certificate.
NOTE: Your UC Lync PIN authentication is only required during initial phone setup AND in a stand-alone configuration (non-USB tethered). Once the phone is set up, it can be power-cycled without requiring the user to re-authenticate.
- You will need to set an additional device-specific PIN for Device Unlock. This PIN is only used to unlock the device once the inactivity timeout value is reached. It can be your UC Lync PIN or a new PIN, but your unlock PIN must be 6-digits.
IP phones will remember that they belong to you, so you'll only need to log into them once, even if you unplug them.
Beyond this point, the features available to you depend on the particular model of phone you're using. Some offer touch screen interfaces, some offer traditional buttons. See the manufacturer's instructions for your particular phone to determine what your phone can do.