Cisco Phones on HP ProCurve

Trying to save money? Aren't we all. If you have Cisco phones, you may be able to save big $$ by switching to HP ProCurve switches.

When we needed to add more PoE ports to our Grayslake campus I looked at the price tag of a new Cisco 3560-48PS starting at $4,000, I knew I should shop around. I've been looking at HP for a while now so we picked up a 2610-48-PWR for less than half. Good deal, but then I had to get them working together. This is how I got it to work.

First thing you have to know is that even though HP tries to be like Cisco and use a lot of the same terms on the command line, they're not.

What Cisco calls EtherChannel, HP calls a Trunk. This caused me much trouble early on. HP doesn't really have an equivalent to what Cisco calls a trunk port. All ports are access ports on HP and if you want to use a port like a trunk, you have to assign all the vlan's that you want to use on that port.

In my situation, I had to assign 3 vlans for my trunk. The other confusing thing is that there is no native vlan as you would think of one on a Cisco trunk. To do that, you set a vlan to the port as "untagged" wich makes it the default vlan for that port. Since you can only have one untagged vlan for a port, you have to make the others "Tagged".

If you are using Cisco phones (maybe any phone) you have to have a default vlan and then a voice vlan. The voice vlan has to be set as a static tagged port and then also defined as a voice vlan from the command line as follows:

ProCurve Switch 2610# conf
ProCurve Switch 2610(config)# vlan 10
ProCurve Switch 2610(vlan-10)# voice

After this, you should be set. Well, sort of. Cisco 7912G, 7940G, and 7960G phones are not 802.3af PoE compliant they won't power up on this switch. The solution, add a patch cord. When you do, the positive signal of the PoE gets sent on the correct pin and the phone works. Kind of a bummer but $200 of crossover cables you can have all your phones up and running.

So, about $46 a port for HP as compared to at least $83 for the Cisco, time will tell if it is worth it.

Oh, With HP you also get Lifetime Warranty and updates!

** Update **
After doing some more testing it appears that the phones are not getting an IP address from the Voice VLAN and are not using it. This will not work in our environment because it is designed to have voice traffic on the voice VLANS. If we had newer phones like the 7941G which support LLPD-MED
which acts like Cisco CDP, we could make them work. Back to the drawing board :-(

If I had listened to what @procurvehelp on Twitter had told me, I would have had a solution.

@procurvehelp "Todo this: Press Setting, choose Network, choose Admin VLAN, press **# to go admin mode, change op & admin vlans, save & reboot."

On the Cisco phone, after you change the Admin. VLAN Id and press the "Validate" soft key, press the "Save" soft key. After that, the phone reboots with the correct settings and you are now on the Voice vlan! So, it is possible to get 7912G, 7940G, and 7960G phones able to work with an HP ProCurve 2610-PWR-48.

Last night we fully cut over to the ProCurve and everything is working great! I'll have to wait to see if we have any call quality issues but I don't think that we will. Think I might look at some more HP gear but just make sure that I have the newer phones!