Thursday, September 15, 2011

Avaya IP Office Paging Both Overhead & Phones Simultaneously - Updated

The Backstory
At some point in the past we moved to the Avaya IP Office platform for our VOIP system and I have been truly impressed with it. It really has not had any problems. Other than some FAX over IP issues it has been superb. The level of configuration has been great. We did run into another issue which I will mention below in the problem section.

We recently tied a remote location back to our main offices where we had our Avaya IP Office system. We also swapped out the old Avaya Partner system with 1608 and 1616 series phones. After this was done it was brought to my attention that they had an overhead paging system for a large shop and outside the building.

They needed to make this work. This was across a point-to-point T1. They also only wanted to page once and have it go over both systems simultaneuosly. I had already setup paging over the phones which covered the inside of the building.

The Problem
Now the problem was that even at another location where they had a bogen paging system, they had to page the phones and the overhead system seperately. This is because the partner we had worked with and avaya said it couldn't be done. Now if this is true, I don't know, but those I spoke to said that was the case. That was fine for the location where the avaya system was located nearby to do the page interface.

At the remote location their was no avaya system so even though the paging system existed at the remote location I didn't see an easy way to tie it into the Avaya Phone system. After working with a third party vendor they recommended. a MultiTech MVP130-FXS. We said it would tie in the paging system into the system so it acted just like a phone.

Well after much time and paying money for a Third Party IP Endpoint license. I found that it didn't work just like a phone. I also couldn't get it to interface with the Multitech without it issuing a dial tone. This was after some hours of just getting the unit setup. After speaking to Multitech it sounded like I was going to actually need two multitech devices. :(

At this point I was rather frustrated and knew the remote location was starting to get frustrated. I had now spent over $300 dollars and it looked like to get a partial solution(paging overhead and IP Phone seperately) I was going to have to spend more money and more time of which I had already used tons. So out of desperation came the following solution.

The Solution
Overhead Paging System Page In Port
So I had been plugging the analog port of the MVP130FXS into the Page In port of the overhead paging system. I could get ringing and a dial tone over the speakers but paging was a no go. I had a 1608 phone sitting next for me to test dialing the MVP130.

Out of frustration I realized that I could probably plug in anything that made noise into this guy. I took the cord out of the headset portion of the phone and plugged it into the overhead page in port not expecting much. After pulling the headset off the phone a dial tone came blaring out of the paging system speakers.

YAY, progress. So I called that extension and picked the headset off the unit to answer the call, it worked and I could hear my voice across the system now. I realized though that even if I setup the page button to just call this extension than I would still need something to lift the receiver or I would have the same issue as I had with the MVP130.

The paging to phones is sounded through the phones internal speaker. At this point I had my "aha" moment. I took apart the 1608 and found the speaker. It had 2 wires running to it. I took the previously Paging cord which had a RJ11 on one side and the two middle wires stripped on the other side. I then plugged the RJ11 side into the page in port of the overhead, and rapped the two wires around the two connectors of the phone. Giving me what you see below.

The Phone had already been a part of the page group so I had them do a demo test and it worked perfectly. So the end solution is to take a 2-wire from the speaker of the Avaya IP Phone to the page in on your system. This also allows the overhead and phones to page at the same time. This is said not to be possible with the Avaya IP office system.

I actually had to return this phone back to another location and brought a spare 5621 to use in it's place and it worked great. So I believe any phone that worked with the Paging system of the Avaya IP Office would work, but test. What I plan on doing though for long term use will be to purchase a 1603-I from Dell running at $100 with a Power adapter for $8. I will then open the unit up and solder a 2 wire two the speaker connectors and cut out a small hole at the bottom so I can seal the unit back together. I would then attach run that wire directly to the paging interface as needed.

NOTE If this phone is part of a Hunt Group than make sure you turn the ringer volume all the way down so your staff doesn't go crazy hearing the ringing going over the overhead. Also I had a sticky note keeping the receiver trigger from noticing the headset was off the hook.

NOTE 2 The Phone volume can be turned up and down if it is either too loud or quiet across your paging system or adjust it on the system if you can.

The Wrap Up
So instead of spending upwards of $500 to get the equipment and licensing to make a half-working solution I can spend about $120 and have a fully working solution that is quite powerful. You can even setup another paging short code if you want to just page one or the other instead of both at the same time.

Now this is not blessed by Avaya and as typical I am including a warning that this could damage your paging system and you are performing this hack at your own risk. Obviously the phone you are operating on you won't be able to use for a phone but it is way cheaper than the alternative and a great solution for bringing paging to a remote location.

I have not tested this with a Bogen but have another location that I will be testing this on in the next week to see if the Bogen amp will be hospitable to this "Hack."

Update 9/26/2011
I tested another location with Avaya branded paging module tied to a 5621 phone. Worked fine. To the right is an attached picture. I just tied the two lines from the speaker on the phone to the phone system pins on the Paging Module. You may have to adjust the volume on the phone.
Updated 10/18/2011
I ordered a 1603-I with a power adapter. I took it apart and soldered my two wires from a Cat 5e cable two the speaker leads. I then drilled a hole in the back of the case just the size of the cable and routed it out the back and over the the paging interface crimping down the two wires to it. Also mounted the phone to the wall. Sadly the picture freaked out so you can't see the cables running across. As you can see to the right though it looks alot nicer and the phone is actually functional if they need it in there, just don't use the speakerphone.


  1. This is fantastic! I've been going back and forth with a vendor trying to accomplish this very same thing...spent two days on it so far. I had this up and running in the matter of about an hour (including travel time). We're using an ancient PagePac 20 so the only issue I'm having is it's a little loud on the overhead speakers...I didn't try the phone volume yet.


  2. Awesome glad to hear it. Your post made me smile because that is what my posts are for.

    Yeah you can adjust the speaker volume down. On the 1603-I I just included in the update on this post it doesn't retain the volume settings after it looses power. Since we live in a spotty location and I didn't want them going deaf after each power loss I adjusted the volume on the amp and left the phone at the default so it would always be right.

    I am not sure the phone type you used. If yours loses power try just adjusting the volume on the paging interface or amp. Or just make sure the device has battery backup on its POE Injector of the POE Switch.

    Have a great week.

  3. Any idea how to remove one phone from the paging group?

  4. I don't have access to the equipment anymore. New Job and all. If I remember right Paging groups are just Hunt Groups, with short codes pointing to them. If that is the case. If you need to remove one phone just look at which hunt group your short code is pointing to and remove the phone from it. If you have to use that Hunt Group for something else and that phone must remain then create a hunt group just for Paging. Copy and Paste Quicker. Then rename it to something else and remove that one phone. Change your shortcode to use it.
    Hope that helps.

  5. Hi Todd, enjoyed reading this post. I know the project is already completed and the post is a little old but you could have tried using an Analog Phone 2 card in one of your IP office module spaces and interface that with the paging system. You could have also use something on the lines of a SNOM PA1, however, you would require a SIP endpoint license for the IP office! The hack was great, awesome work!

  6. Please continue to make new posts regarding IP Office, our family uses the system and sometimes it is not exactly as user friendly as we hope it to be. But once you get past the learning curve, it is okay. It is always interesting to hear what others' experience with the system is like. =D

  7. Hey Ivan,
    Sadly I no longer work at the location where I installed the Avaya IP Office system. I do remember some things so feel free to ask me about it. Yes we could use some analog cards, but I really liked the IP only based solution with gave me the most flexibility. Glad you liked the posts. My new job is more IT Security related but I plan on writing again soon.

  8. Hi Todd,

    Thanks so much for replying, I really enjoy reading your blog. Recently avaya released a new firmware for the IP phones, are you familiar with upgrading the IP Phones using IP Office manager?



  9. Hey Ivan,

    I appreciate your kind words. I just like it when I can find answers to problems that I am facing via a quick search. This site was supposed to give back on that concept.

    As for updating the firmware on the IP phones, when you setup your DHCP server with the option for the phones one of the parameters was for a file server. This file server is where the phones check for any files or firmware they should be using. They check this location when it reboots. If my memory serves me write I just used the IP office system as the file server. I then went into the admin console and was able to add the firmware to the location the phones check.

    I would recommend keeping this site:, bookmarked since you can pull up manuals for all systems and phones related to IPOffice.

    Some of the phones act slightly different so read the documentation. Also has many threads that cover the IP office System.
    With you Luck!

    1. Hi Todd,

      Thanks for the advice, I will check those resources out!



  10. I currently have a Valcom paging system to all hallways, and Avaya IP Office. I wanted scheduled tones over both, and my vendor was obtuse and refused to help, although they promised it was possible. I ended up getting BellCommander (SIP) to dial into the Avaya and page the classrooms to release the kids, and then hallways alone to send them back to class. It is a more quiet environment this way. I still would rather the Valcom act as an amplifier and do it your way. I have a phone in a shop that is too quiet. I will solder wires leading from the internal speaker to a phono jack that I will add to the side of a 1603 phone. Then I will plug in PC speakers to boost the volume so the shop hears class change tones and inbound calls.

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  12. I like this post. Your information in very good.What are the main advantage ofavaya phone systemand PBX systems.or both are same.

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  15. Great Post, We installed an Avaya IP Office system and had a remote site with 8 office phones and a warehouse. We needed a paging system for the warehouse at the remote location and wasn’t sure how to do it. We had a spare 1608 phone. I added the wires to the speaker and on the other end added a ¼ “ jack. Got 3 each Pyle PHSP4 6-Inch Indoor / Outdoor 50 Watts PA Horn Speaker and a PLE PMSA20 50-Watt PA Mini Amplifier. Installed the Phone and Amp in the network room, Programmed a button on all the office phones to group page the extension and wala. Now have a paging system in the warehouse at the remote location

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