1 Critical Thing To Do When Installing An EHS Cable On Polycom iP Phones

Electronic Hookswitch Cable with pins exposed

Electronic Hookswitch Cable with pins exposed

If you’re getting ready to pull the trigger on buying some new headsets with remote call answering for your Polycom iP phones, here’s something you need to know.

In this blog I’ll share a tip about the Electronic Hookswitch Cable (EHS cable) that can save you some time and a significant amount of frustration.

Polycom iP phones are popular and for a lot of good reasons. They’re awesome phones. Many times when an organization updates their phones and moves to Polycom, they’re also in need of some new headsets. Given the popularity of wireless headsets over wired, chances are, wireless will be the preferred type of headset to be considered. So far, so good. That is, until it comes time to get everything set up.

Generally speaking, hooking up a headset to your phone isn’t an overly complex process, but you can get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan. One thing that can drive you a bit crazy is connecting the EHS cable. With other brands of phones such as Cisco, it’s pretty much a plug and play thing because it connects using modular plugs. The EHS cables for the Polycom iP phones use a 5 pin/prong type connector which can prove to be problematic if not plugged in correctly.

birds flying in formation

The Electronic Hookswitch Cable has connector pins as shown below.

Discover EHS cable for Polycom showing the pins

These pins need to align with the EHS port on the bottom of the Polycom iP phone (image below)

EHS port on bottom of Polycom telephone

As a word of caution, you can get the EHS cable plugged in, but not correctly. If this happens:

  • You’ll still get a dial tone 
  • You’ll still be able to make a phone call
  • BUT….your phone call will drop in approximately 20 seconds (consistently)
  • You won’t be able to have a phone call without it dropping

Typically, this issue leaves you frustrated, confused and not knowing how to get it resolved.  This particular issue is subtle to the point that it isn’t commonly resolved by the vendor, the manufacturer or an in-house IT support staff.

I had this experience in the past and called Polycom and the headset manufacturer. Both were unable to determine the cause of the problem.  Only through some lengthy trial and error did I discover the root of the problem and how to correct it.

Key take away

So remember, when plugging in an EHS cable (Discover, Jabra, Sennheiser or Plantronics brands), make sure to have the pins on the EHS cable properly aligned with the EHS port on the bottom of the Polycom iP phone. If you find that your calls are dropping after about twenty seconds, unplug the EHS cable and CLOSELY examine the alignment and then reconnect the cable. This might require that you do it a few times in order to get it right.

Lastly, when completing the EHS setup, you’ll need to go into settings on the Polycom phone to make adjustments so the EHS cable is recognized by the phone.  Click here for information and instructions on doing this.

Contact us if we can help you further. We’ll be glad to and it won’t cost you a thing.

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