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Although there are already a few existing articles which cover the firmware update process for the Microsoft Roundtable or Polycom CX Unified Conference Stations most do not clearly explain the differences in the products or the update processes. Additionally with the recent announcement of the new Polycom CX HD model it seems fitting to revisit this topic with a brief history and an explanation of exactly what this device is and its intended use cases. The Microsoft RoundTable Wikipedia page has some notes and links to initial product reviews if one is feeling nostalgic.
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Basically this system was design in-house by Microsoft and then in April Polycom officially purchased the rights to the device and has been manufacturing the same unit rebranded as the CX since then. Other than various minor hotfix updates the systems have been basically unchanged since the initial hardware release. The sole change to the device is that the original cameras have been replaced with newer hardware capable of recording high-definition video in p resolution at up to 15 frames per second.
The operation and features of the various models are basically all the same, each device can be used with either the Live Meeting application or a Lync client for embedded panoramic video, while the active-speaker video window can be used with some unsupported applications as it can operate as a single camera USB device.
The screenshot below shows that regardless of which version is used when the participant is attending a Lync Web Conference where the Lync AVMCU is handling the video then the shared video is still limited to VGA as Lync Server does not support p HD video in multi-party conferences. For more details see this recent blog article to fully understand how HD video is supported and available in Lync Server So while VGA is comprised ofpixels the panoramic video only haspixels, thus clearly even the standard RoundTable or CX cameras at VGA are capable of capturing sharper video then the panoramic resolution can even transmit today.
This is why introduction of HD cameras has no impact on the degree video ribbon quality. The following tables detail all poltcom the known firmware versions for all three device models. Some versions were only released to manufacturing RTMmeaning that the specific version was only ever available as a pre-installed version out-of-the-box, where other versions were released to fx5000 RTW and were at one point publically available for download so administrators or end-users could manually update them.
There is little known information on some of the earlier RTM updates and Microsoft also started using two poljcom version numbers in later updates which can be confusing. As this firmware package will not be released to the general public then it will not be installed on older CX models.
Updating the CX5000 and RoundTable Firmware
There are two different supported methods to providing updates to the devices: There is very little documentation out there regarding the centralized method as it was only available for the RoundTable back in the OCS release which leveraged the complicated Windows Software Updates Services approach.
So currently the only realistic way to update the firmware for either RoundTable or CX devices is the following manual approach. The most important concept to understand in terms up updating the firmware is that both the RoundTable and CX have their own software update tool and firmware releases which are not compatible with the other units. So the RoundTable firmware package downloaded directly from Microsoft Downloads cannot be installed on a Polycom-branded CX, and vice-versa.
Before the firmware can be copied to the device the management tool designed for the specific device must first be installed on a Windows workstation. The firmware package will extract 4 separate files into the destination directory where the CPUEBOOT files contains the boot loader data for the new update and the NK files contain the operating system data.
Now that the software is installed on the workstation the next step is to connect the device and copy over the data via the USB connection. The Ethernet connection on the external power box is not utilized and is not active. Avoid the use of USB 3. So if the package upload times-out or fails before completing make sure that the device is connected to a USB 2. This second process will generally take about ten minutes depending on the speed of the USB bus used as the bulk of the firmware data is in this 32Mb package.
After completion of the second upload the Info menu should reflect the latest firmware package e. Note that the Software Revision is still reported as the previous version. Upon rebooting the device will start to install the new firmware automatically.
Let this process complete with touching the device. Based on various comments posted to this article it seems like the command line utility is very finicky and does not appear to behave consistently. While some comments mention that case sensitivity seems to make a difference in their results replicating those reports has not been possible; a working command continues to function the same regardless of the case used in switch names e.
But the command sometimes simply not work as expected when using the exact procedure documented and previously used in this article; for example sometimes the EBOOT command will not except the exact same file path format which does work correctly for the NK command. In these cases what helps is to remove the need to provide a full file path by simply copying the source files into the same directory as the management tool.
So if the package upload times-out or fails before completing make sure that the device is connected directly to the PC during the upgrade process. The entire command process of a successful update is shown below for reference. Attempting to reboot the CX device…. About Jeff Schertz Site Administrator. Thanks Jeff, it was about time somebody wrote an article about this abandoned it feels to me device.
Nearly discussed all topics I was interested in. We all know the codec in Lync is capable of delivering p 30 FPS. However, such a high-end “webcam” like the renewed CX HD should have come out from the factory with adequate onboard DSP resources to compress the RAW stream in realtime in order to bypass the USB2 Mbit limitation, and send 30 already compressed frames per second to the host machine. As you already pointed out, the panorama experience remained unchanged, so whats the point?
As the Polycom guide clearly says: I know that the device stores a write-protected rollback firmware in case the update procedure goes wrong and to avoid bricking the device. But I dont see how these different numbers correlate to the 2 instance of package residing on the device at the same time 1x read-only factory and 1x updateable. Richard, the device capabilities are still the same as Microsoft originally designed back inwe’ve looked at the possibilities of enhancing the platform in the past but always end up at the same conclusion that it will be best to improve the design in a newer version.
The primary reason that HD was added to the current model design was more of necessity than anything else; basically the company that made the original cameras stopped making them. So we were forced to source a new part and it was safer and more cost effective to deploy p-capable units then risk selecting another VGA-only unit that might also disappear in the near future. So with the new units coming out being equipped with HD cameras it was a relatively simple process to update firmware to support p video on these new models.
As far as the wide-band audio improvement I do not know what the actual changes are as we simply included the changes that Microsoft introduced in their RoundTable firmware update last summer; I’d have to talk to a product engineer to find out the code specifics, but it only impacts the analog audio used by the RJ-9 connection, not RTA during Lync calls.
Regarding the multiple version numbers I believe the additional numbers in parenthesis indicate the boot ROM code version in addition to the device software versions similar to the 1. And finally I’m not aware of the phantom-ringing issue so it is possible that it is been resolved since I’ve been using these devices, but also possible that I’ve just not seen it as I rarely have them connected to an analog line.
Yes, it was an Avaya PBX in my case. So it seems some built-in diagnostic feature of the Avaya PX. Richard, just added a couple of cx’s avaya pbx and am having the phantom ringing issue…. Hi Jeff, great article! Wondering if you have any ideas. We have a Polycom branded CX which reboots every 45 secs. So we cannot upgrade the second firmware file as the reboot happens before then.
We also cannot find older versions of the firmware — so completely stuck. Thanks in advance for any hints you may have. We are out of warranty — unfortunately.
This sounds like a hardware failure unfortunately as I have never seen this behavior. Have you tried using the device on other computers avoid using USB 3.
I had the same issue with 45 sec reboots. I had to follow the Troubleshooting options on updating firmware. That alone did not fix the reboot issue. I had to first factory reset with call pickupreset buttons then hold down the flash button for at least 6 sec.
Now working as needed. Was a lot of repeat work, but worth polcom in the end!! Hi Jeff, Thanks for the useful post. I have inherited the support cx0500 a Microsoft branded Roundtable and was curious if you had seen this issue…The device continues to work correctly save for the fact you cannot hear audio from the device i. Attempting to adjust the volume on the unit results in the Speaker icon on the top of the display appearing with the international for No over top. When I first had this issue I updated to cx500 most recent firmware from June and the issue was resolved the release notes indicated that their were some updates to address audio issues.
After a few months the problem returned and I cannot resolve it. Have you seen this before? Robert, I have not seen that issue before but have not worked with a lot of the original Roundtable devices.
It seem seem as though it is malfunctioning if even the new firmware has not resolved the issue. I assume you have tried it on various other workstations to rule out the host as the cause. We did not have this issue when testing a MS Roundtable device, so as far as I can tell the only difference is the HD. Are you aware of any firmware upgrade or driver issue with the new HD units?
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I have set the quality setting down to the lowest option, with the same results. Other cameras continue to operate in the same session when ours locks up. I have not seen this issue so I suggest contacting vx5000 to see if it is a hardware malfunction of some sort.
After factory restore it’s still rebooting. I don’t have any other cx000 to try except the one available on PLCM support site. I tried upgrade with different computers Win XP and Win 7.
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Without PC connection it’s still rebooting. If yes which video layout is sent to RMX? I am hoping this article is still active.
My issue is that the end user has quality issues with the full screen video. It jitters quite badly.
The Panoramic video is cz5000 perfect. There is, however a difference in the amount of data received than is transmitted. This difference is always less the frame loss percentage. Because the frames seem to be disappearing it causes the video to look jittery.
But only, as I said, on the full screen.