How-to Guide for Smyth County Public Schools VOIP

By Terry Hawthorne

This guide explains how to use Smyth County Public Schools' Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, phone system. Our VOIP phone system leverages our existing data network. It eliminates the need to purchase and maintain proprietary PBX phone systems and allows us to place a phone anywhere we have an Ethernet drop. Our first VOIP system used Cisco hardware and phones. Our new system, which will go live on June 3, 2013, is a hosted VOIP system provided by Jive Communications of Orem, Utah. The hosted VOIP system eliminates the need for us to maintain on-site servers. It is also 100% E-Rate Priority 1 eligible, which means we receive a substantial rebate on our monthly bills (79% for the 2013-2014 school year). The following information applies to the new Jive VOIP system.

Placing Calls | User Portal | Understanding VOIP Terminology | Connecting Your New Phone

The following frame contains Jive's Reference Documentation. Please consult this documentation if you have questions about your phone's features or need more details than are provided by the preceding links. All of the phones in the new Jive system are Polycom SoundPoint IP331s, except for the receptionist phones, which are either the Polycom SoundPoint IP650 or the touch-screen PolyCom VVX500.

Polycom Phone User Guides

Jive Hosted VOIP Phones Web Page

Polycom SoundPoint 331Quick User GuideComprehensive User Guide
Polycom SoundPoint 650Quick User GuideComprehensive User Guide
Polycom VVX500Quick User GuideComprehensive User Guide

Back to the top

Placing Calls

The VOIP phones can place internal and external calls. An internal call is a call placed within a school or from a school to another school or the central office. To place a call, just dial the four-digit extension of the person or office with whom you wish to speak. There is a searchable directory of all extensions in your Jive portal.

To place an external call within the 276 area code, just dial the seven-digit number. You don't have to dial 9 or 1 to get an outside line, just the seven-digit number. This includes any number in the 276 area code, even numbers outside of Smyth County.

To dial a number outside of the 276 area code, dial the area code plus the number; e.g., 423-555-1212. You don't have to dial 1 to make a long-distance call.

To dial toll-free numbers (800, 866, 877, 888), dial the toll-free prefix and then the seven-digit number. You cannot dial 900 numbers or international calls. If you must place an international call, please contact Terry Hawthorne.

Diagram showing calling options from voice over IP phones.

Back to the top

The Jive User Portal

Screenshot of Find Me/Follow Me Settings

If you are frequently away from your desk, you can configure your phone's Find Me/Follow Me Settings so that your IP phone and your cell phone ring simultaneously, by typing your cell phone's number in the field just below your IP phone's extension. Be sure to click Save to save this configuration. To go back to your original configuration, click the red minus sign to the left of your cell phone number, then click Save.

The Jive User Portal is a web-based interface to the phone system. If you are a registered user (someone who is assigned a phone), you can log into the Jive User Portal and search our directory of extensions, access and manage your voice mail, and configure your phone's Find Me/Follow Me settings. Find Me/Follow Me settings let you control your phone's dial plan. There are various settings you can make in your dial plan, such as changing how long the phone rings before going to voice mail, or forwarding calls to another phone or cell phone.

To access the Jive User Portal, click Jive Login under the Admin menu on The first time you visit this page, click the Register link, and fill out the form that appears. Be sure to use your email address. When you submit the form, Jive will send a confirmation email containing a registration key to your mailbox. Once you enter that key, you will be able to log into the Jive User Portal.

Back to the top

Understanding Extensions, Devices, Phone Numbers, Ring Groups, Dial Plans, and Other VOIP Terminology

Don't know the difference between an extension and a phone number? Confused by shared mailboxes and mailboxes? This section will explain it all.

A device is a IP phone or VOIP adapter that is connected to the VOIP system. (A VOIP adapter is a device that enables you to connect a regular analog phone to a VOIP system.)
Extensions, Phone Numbers, Dial Plans, Auto Attendants, Ring Groups, and Shared Mailboxes
An extension is a four-digit number that is assigned to a line on one of our phones. Each school has its own block of 100 extensions for current use and future expansion. A phone number is a ten-digit number that people from outside our system can dial to reach an extension, ring group, shared mailbox, or dial plan on our system. For example, my extension is 2228. When someone dials my public phone number, our system routes the call to my 2228 extension. Phone numbers can also be routed to dial plans. A dial plan represents the path that a phone call takes in our system. For example, when someone calls one of schools' published phone numbers, our system routes that call to a dial plan. The dial plans can make call routing decisions based on time of day. They can incorporate auto attendants, ring groups, and shared voice mailboxes. A ring group is a group of extensions that can be dialed all at once just by dialing the extension assigned to the ring group. A shared mailbox is a standalone voice mailbox with an extension that is not associated with a phone. Anyone who knows the shared mailbox's extension and PIN can access messages in that mailbox. Each school will typically have one shared voice mailbox that will store messages left by after-hours callers. The principal and his or her designees can access that mailbox.

Back to the top

How to Connect Your New Phone

Polycom phone after unpacking Unpack your Polycom phone and make sure it has all of the parts illustrated at the left. At this time, we aren't using the messages button, so please store it somewhere safe. If you already have a Cisco phone, you won't need the Ethernet cable either, so give it to your school's ITRT or computer technician.
Connecting handset cord Insert one end of the coiled handset cord into the handset. The handset cord can only be inserted one way. If it doesn't snap in easily, you are trying to insert it the wrong way.
Connecting handset cord Turn the phone upside down and insert the other end of the handset cord into the jack that is labeled handset.
Connecting handset cord Turn your existing Cisco IP phone upside down and note the cables connected to it. The photo at the left shows a Cisco phone with a built-in switchport for a computer. The blue cable connected to the switchport labeled 10/100 SW connects your phone to the Local Area Network or LAN. The white cable plugged into the port labeled 10/100 PC goes to your computer. The cables are held in place by a small plastic clip. To remove a cable, squeeze the clip toward the cable, and pull it out of the switchport. If your Cisco phone has an AC adapter plugged into the round power port that is below and to the left of the 10/100 SW switchport, DO NOT plug that adapter into the Polycom phone. The Cisco adapter outputs 48 volts, which will damage the Polycom phone. Contact Terry Hawthorne to obtain a 24-volt Polycom AC adapter.
Connecting handset cord Remove the cable that goes into your Cisco phone's 10/100 PC switchport and connect it to the PC switchport on your new Polycom phone. Remove the cable that goes into the Cisco phone's 10/100 SW switchport and connect it to the LAN port on your Polycom phone. Push each cable in until the plastic clip clicks into place. The illustration at the left shows a Polycom phone with the handset cord and both LAN and PC Ethernet cables attached. If an AC adapter is required, plug it into the jack labeled 24V DC. Do not use a Cisco adapter to power the Polycom phone. It will damage the phone. If your Polycom phone does not power up after you plug in the Ethernet cables, you must obtain a Polycom 24-volt AC adapter from Terry Hawthorne.
Connecting handset cord Gather the Ethernet cables and handset cord together and pull them toward the top of the Polycom phone so they are out of the way of the stand. Insert the tab at the bottom of the stand into the corresponding indentation on the bottom of the Polycom phone, then snap the stand into place as illustrated. Place your old Cisco phone in one of the phone recycling boxes we have in each school.

Back to the top