Lync Common Area Phones Simplified


The Need

When reading about Lync documentation, i passed by couple of articles about common area phones, but i did not find my self  in need for such feature.

Today, i got a request like this ” we have a new small office with multiple people who does not have any Active Directory users. All what they do is some warehousing and logistics, but they need to be able to call the company internal extensions using some sort of low end VOIP phones”

Since these people does not have a corporate AD users accounts, then i cannot just enable their AD accounts for Lync. The solution is simply Common Area Phones.

With common area phones, Lync will create a contact object that has the following properties:

  • Identity  : which is the name of the common area phone, example would be “Lobby 1”
  • RegistrarPool : the Lync pool to register, example would be “”
  • Enabled
  • SipAddress : automatically generated by Lync, you do not have to specify it and it will not be used or shown anywhere.
  • ClientPolicy
  • PinPolicy
  • VoicePolicy : you can assign voice policy to limit that phone to do international calls for example.
  • VoiceRoutingPolicy
  • MobilityPolicy
  • PersistentChatPolicy
  • ConferencingPolicy
  • LineURI : the SIP address for that phone.
  • DisplayNumber
  • DisplayName
  • Description
  • ExUmEnabled

The end experience is that when you want to log on to one of those Lync Phone Edition devices, you will be prompted for two things only:

  • Extension
  • PIN


Supposing that you have configured your Lync Server for Phone Edition Devices already.  If you did not , check out this article.

I start by creating an OU in Active Directory called “Common Area Phones” to host the common area phone contact objects.

Then i shoot this command:

New-CsCommonAreaPhone -LineUri “tel:+5011234” -RegistrarPool “” -OU “OU=Common Area Phones,dc=contoso,dc=com” -DisplayName “Lobby Room 1”

Set-CsClientPin –Identity “Lobby Room 1” -Pin 123123


Then i move on and create a separate Lync PIN Policy:

New-CsPINPolicy -Identity CommonAreaPIN -Description “Common Area Phone Authentication PIN Policy” -MinPasswordLength 4 -AllowCommonPatterns $TRUE

Now i can assign it to the common area phone:

Grant-CsPINPolicy -PolicyName CommonAreaPIN -Identity “Lobby Room 1”


Some people creates separate CsClientPolicy to enable HotDesking and then assign it to the common area phone. In my case i did not need it but here is how to do it :

New-CsClientPolicy -Identity CommonAreaClient -EnableHotdesking $True -HotdeskingTimeout 00:10:00

and now we can assign it here:

Grant-CsClientPolicy -PolicyName CommonAreaClient -Identity “Lobby Room 1”


If you have already Voice Policies in place, you can assign them to the common area phones as per the following:

Grant-CsVoicePolicy -PolicyName “Voice Policy – Internal calls only” -Identity “Lobby Room 1”


If you have already a conferencing policy in place, you can assign it like this:

Grant-CsConferencingPolicy -PolicyName  “Conference Policy – 1”  -Identity “Lobby Room 1”


Finally, you can assign a dial plan to the common area phone like this:

Get-CsCommonAreaPhone  “Lobby Room 1″| Grant-CsDialPlan -PolicyName “My Dial Plan 1”


To get the properties of common area phones:




  • try to dial numbers using the + sign then the number to dial first to make sure your setup is fine. If you want to dial numbers with different dialing patterns and without the “+”, then you have to create a dial plan on the csadmin portal and use the (Grant-CsDialPlan) command as shown above.
  • I have read in a blog that If the link between the common area phone and the registrar pool is down, then the common area phone will do retries for 30 minutes only. If the links come back after an hour, you have to unplug and plug the common area phone to force it to connect to the registrar pool. The blog post i read claims that disabling Hotdesking will solve this issue.
  • Common area phones notes:
    • Cannot join response group
    • No calender
    • No forwarding menu options.
    • No device locking policies will apply to it.
    • By defailt it is set to ring for 20 seconds, after which it disconnect the call.
    • If you really wanted voice mail, you can use sefautil tool to do that and this allows you to change the default rung time (up to 60 seconds)




By Ammar Hasayen Posted in Lync Tagged

3 comments on “Lync Common Area Phones Simplified

  1. “……If the link between the common area phone and the registrar pool is down, then the common area phone will do retries for 30 minutes ……..”

    This issue has been fixed in CU5

  2. Hi,

    I am to set up 50 common area Phones, Cx3000 ploycom. I enabled them via New-cscommonarea phone cmdlet, How do identify which common area Phone is located at a particular location.
    Is there any way in lync to determine ? I have Lync 2013 set up.

    • Kunal, We ran into the same issue and what we did was add location information to the identity of the phone. In the display name we put something like “Facility_name-Room #-P1”. The P1 being the first phone in that room. P-2 would be the second phone. The information will show on the display of the phone as well. Running the Get-CsCommonArea Phone will show you via Display Name where your phones are.

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