Q

Does Microsoft manufacture Lync IP phones?

Our resident Microsoft Lync expert explains where to find IP phones that are compatible with Microsoft Lync Server.

Does Microsoft provide IP phones that are compatible with Lync? Where can I find Lync IP phones that work with Microsoft Lync Server?

You would be hard-pressed to find Lync IP phones that come directly from Microsoft. Unlike many other mainstream IP-PBX vendors, Microsoft does not manufacture its own IP phone devices for Lync Server. Instead it depends on a partner ecosystem to provide them. Organizations that deploy Lync servers could choose just to use native Lync client software as a softphone on their existing PCs or mobile devices. Since this could be a bit hard for all the people in an organization to accept, they could also choose to deploy a variety of IP phones from one or many vendors.

Vendors do need to manufacture their IP phones to be compatible with Lync Server, however. A list of qualified IP phones can be found on the Devices page of Microsoft's Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program, or UCOIP, website. Microsoft also has a Lync catalog of IP phones that will allow you to easily compare Lync's qualified IP phones for the features you require. It is important to note that some IP phones run a version of Lync called the Lync Phone Edition while other compatible devices run the vendor's firmware and OS. The key issue for administrators to consider is how firmware updates will be managed. Lync Phone Edition devices can be updated using Lync Server. IP phones that aren't Lync Phone Edition devices require the IP phone vendor to provide update and management tools.

See the response to the first part of this question: Does Microsoft offer IP phones?

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This was first published in July 2014

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