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SIP Phones

Old News Asterisk The Open Source PBX
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Recommended Links Softphones SPA 941
SPA 942 CISCO 7920 wireless      

Note: The Linksys SPA941-NA can now be upgraded from 2 lines to 4 lines for no additional charge by downloading and installing firmware version 5.1.8 from Linksys. Click here for the download page.

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News

Nerd Vittles " The World's Best Asterisk Phone

For long-time readers of our column, you know that we've spent lots of time looking at and testing just about every Asterisk-compatible SIP telephone on the planet. At long last, we have found the hands-down winner. Before spilling the beans, let us just say that we really wanted to love the Cisco 7970 phone with its color display. It is certainly the most expensive phone out there and it feels solid and the voice quality on both the headset and speakerphone is excellent. The problem is that Cisco proudly hates SIP and open source. Cisco support is worse than awful. And Cisco's SIP firmware is so bad that it's embarrassing to associate it with SIP at all. After watching its evolution through five or six versions, we're convinced that the bugs, quirks, and lack of features are for the most part intentional. We actually have had XML applications for weather, news, and AsteriDex working for the better part of a year on our 7970. But we've refused to release the applications because we didn't want to do anything to encourage anyone to buy one of these phones. Nothing that Cisco has done in the last year has changed our mind. So... Adiós Cisco. Take our advice: don't waste your time. Life's too short. </rant>

So much for the bad news. We have belatedly found a phone that meets every single business requirement any company could have. And it fulfills those functions transparently with minimal installation and setup. Every phone can be configured and upgraded quickly using either a phone or web interface or simple scripts on your Asterisk server. Voice quality and the speakerphone are incredible. For those with PBX in a Flash systems, it's even easier. Download and run our install script on your server, and we'll preconfigure your phones in under a minute with every bell and whistle in the universe. If you're a reseller, this phone with its feature set will sell systems without your having to lift a finger. No other commercial offering can touch it. Period!

We've just returned from the FreePBX Telephony Training Seminar that was held in Charleston, South Carolina last week. Suffice it say, this phone stole the show. So what is it?

THE WINNER IS... Aastra's 57i or, if you'd like up to four wireless phones to go with it, the Aastra 57i CT is also a winner. One cordless handset is included with the 57iCT. Before we roll up our sleeves and put the phone to work, let's digress for a minute and provide a little background.

For those unfamilar with Aastra, they're a Canadian company that's been around for over 25 years. When the telecom industry imploded at the turn of the century, they purchased several divisions of Nortel including their Meridian Centrex products and their telephone hardware. Several years ago, they also acquired the telephony division of Ascom. Suffice it to say, like their phones, the company is rock-solid and reliable.

That brings us back to the Aastra 57i. Believe it or not, one of the most difficult transitions for many small businesses is finding a PBX that can mimic the functionality of a key telephone. Here's a typical scenario: a secretary answers a call for the boss, places the call on hold, announces the call to the boss, and the boss picks up the call on hold. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, the Nerd Vittles setup for the Aastra 57i using PBX in a Flash and FreePBX 2.3 or 2.4 brings it back with ease. And let's dispense with the secrecy and tell you what else lies in store using this phone. Many thanks to both Aastra and Schmooze Communications for developing and sharing this technology with the Asterisk community!

So what do you get with the 57i? For openers, you get 4 lines per phone with a voicemail message waiting indicator that actually works. The lines also can be used for Call Presence indicators. There's an intercom button, and a Day/Night button for controlling the Day and Night functionality of your system as you've implemented it in FreePBX. Then there are Park and Parking Lot buttons that simulate key telephones. When a call comes in, answer it. To place the call on "hold," press Park. The system will tell you on which extension the call is parked using the built-in speakerphone. Then announce the call in the traditional way, and the callee can retrieve the call by simply dialing that extension. If they forget the extension, no problem! The call recipient simply presses the Parking Lot button for a list of calls waiting to be answered. Scroll to the call desired after viewing the CallerID information for each of the pending calls, and press the Answer button. Presto! Finally, a drop-in key system replacement with no retraining or learning curve.

Perhaps the most creative new feature is Visual Voicemail. If you've used an iPhone, then you already know what it is. And it works the same way on the Aastra 57i. When you press the Voicemail button, a list of pending voicemails is displayed with CallerID information for each message. Highlight the message you want to retrieve and press Play. Voila! The message is played on the speakerphone of your 57i. You can delete the message by pressing the Delete button. It's simple to use and makes you wonder why no other SIP phone has it. You'll never have to wade through the VoiceMail IVR to get your messages again.

Two directories also are provided on buttons: Nerd Vittles' AsteriDex and the Asterisk Phonebook, both of which now can be incorporated into FreePBX under the Tools tab. If you'd prefer to use SugarCRM instead of one of these, the code for that one also has been provided by Aastra and is available for your use with a simple configuration change. There's also a Contacts Directory which we'll get to in a minute.

To round out the button collection on the front of the phone, there is a customizable Speed Dial list for each phone, a Redial button tied to a list of recent calls, a Call Forwarding key to redirect your calls to another location, and a Do Not Disturb button. We should mention that the Night button, Call Forwarding button and DND button all illuminate dedicated lights plus a console message when the features have been activated. And, believe it or not, the lights actually turn off and the messages disappear when the features are disabled. We're, of course, (again) poking fun at Cisco which never has been able to get all the lights working reliability on their phones using their SIP firmware.

When an incoming call arrives or whevever you place a call, the bottom third of the screen magically changes to reveal Drop, Transfer, and Conference buttons which work as advertised.

Now for the fun stuff. When the phone is sitting idle, another menu of choices is available. And the magic for most of the technology on Page 2 is thanks to the phone's beautiful display and support for XML-based web pages, all of which are generated on your Asterisk server assuming you have Apache and PHP installed. The second page of functions for your Aastra 57i is activated by pressing the More button.

Page 2 replaces the display on the bottom third of the screen and provides new buttons for Callers, Contacts, Services, Reminders, and Other Apps. The Callers button displays a list of CallerIDs for recent calls with convenient buttons to Dial a number or Save an entry into the Contacts Directory. The Contacts or Dir button displays a list of contacts which have been saved from previous incoming calls. The Services button provides an alternate way to get to Callers, Contacts, Visual Voicemail, and XML Applications. The Reminders button lets you schedule reminders and recurring reminders using your phone and the Nerd Vittles' Telephone Reminders application. And, last but not least, the Other Apps button provides access to an almost unbelievable collection of XML applications, most of which were developed by Aastra specifically for the Asterisk community.

The XML Applications button basically turns your phone into an Internet access and retrieval device using almost three dozen popular RSS Feeds. The list of applications includes all of the following:

Today's Project. Our objective today wasn't just to tell you about the phone. We're actually going to put all of this technology in your hands, too. Sorry to report that you still have to buy the phone. They retail for just under $300. With a little Googling, you can find them for about $200 in the U.S. The 57i CT including one wireless handset runs about $100 more. Up to four handsets and nine simultaneous calls are supported on the 57i CT.

[Jan 11, 2009] Linksys CIT200 USB Cordless Phone Skype VOIP Telephone - eBay (item 350132299147 end time Jan-26-09 133140 PST)

[Jan 11, 2009] Linksys iPhone WIP320 Wireless VoIP phone - eBay (item 120359104658 end time Jan-11-09 175800 PST)

[Jan 11, 2009] USB Internet VOIP Skype Adapter to Cordless Home Phone - eBay (item 360122808136 end time Jan-19-09 144931 PST)

Configuring Cisco 7975 IP Phones for SIP

Jul 09, 2009 | VoipStore

Anyone who has had the "pleasure" of trying to configure a Cisco 7975 phone with a SIP IP PBX system such as Asterisk, trixbox, or 3CX can attest to the fact that the phones are very picky with their config files and much of the information that is really handy to know is simply not documented anywhere. On top of that, to get the phones to even work right you have to use very specific versions of the SIP firmware as the phones are not designed to work with third-party phone systems that talk generic SIP messages. While I can tell you that Cisco recommends using SIP firmware 8.3.2 SR1S, I cannot provide the firmware files because of their licensing agreements. Assuming you can get the correct firmware copied to your tftp server, and your DHCP server is serving out Option 66 to tell the phones where to look for its config files (yes, these are mandatory requirements), then we can get into how to actually configure the phones themselves.

To start off with I have created a set of files that will help you get started, you can download the set here (download).

SPA941

The Linksys SPA941 ships with an AC power adapter.

Amazon.com Voip 2-4 Line Business Phone Electronics $96.95 (free shipping)

VoIP Phones > Linksys VoIP Phones Our Price: $82.97 ($10 shiopping) Usually Ships Same Day Linksys SPA941 VoIP SIP Phone v2 - Linksys SPA941-NA

By default the Linksys SPA-941 is a 2-line phone but can be upgraded to 4-lines for no extra charge by downloading the new Linksys firmware at linksys.com.

Linksys SPA941-NA Package Contents

Note: All Linksys Products featured at VoIP Discount Warehouse are unlocked.

Stylish and functional in design, the SPA941 VoIP Phone is ideal for a residence or business using a hosted IP telephony service, an IP PBX, or a large scale IP Centrex deployment. The SPA941 leverages industry leading VoIP technology from Linksys to deliver an upgradeable high quality IP Phone that is unparalleled in features, value, and support.

Standard features on the SPA941 include two active lines, a high resolution graphical display, speakerphone, and a 2.5 mm head-set port. With a simple software update, the SPA941 is upgradeable to a four line phone. Each line can be independently configured to use a unique phone number (or extension), or can be configured to use a shared number that is assigned to multiple phones.

Linksys SPA941 Product Snapshot

The Linksys SPA941 VoIP phone is designed for a residence or business using an IP PBX, a hosted IP telephony service, or a large scale IP Centrex deployment.

The Linksys SPA-941 leverages Linksys' industry leading VoIP technology to deliver an upgradeable, high quality IP telephone that is unparalleled in features, value, and support.

The SPA941's standard features include a graphical display, speakerphone, 2.5 mm headset port, and two active lines. With a simple software update, the SPA941 can be upgraded to a four-line phone. Each line can be independently configured to use a unique phone number (or extension), or it can be configured to use a shared number that is assigned to multiple phones.

Based on the SIP standard, the Linksys SPA941-NA has been tested to ensure comprehensive interoperability with equipment from the communication industry's infrastructure leaders. This enables businesses to quickly rollout competitive, feature rich services to their users.

With hundreds of features and programmable parameters, the Linksys SPA941 addresses the requirements of traditional business users while leveraging the advantages of IP telephony. Features such as easy station moves, presence, and shared line appearances (across local and geographically separate locations) are just some of the many advantages of the SPA941.

Linksys SPA VoIP Phone Comparison Chart

Linksys SPA Phone Model Voice Lines Ethernet Ports Graphical Display PoE Support AC Power Included
Linksys SPA901 1 1 No No Yes
Linksys SPA921 1 1 Yes No Yes
Linksys SPA922 1 2 Yes Yes No
Linksys SPA941 2 - 4 1 Yes No Yes
Linksys SPA942 2 - 4 2 Yes Yes No
Linksys SPA962 6 2 Yes Yes No

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Linksys SPA941 - eBay (item 130280065571 end time Jan-12-09 110121 PST)

This unit was removed from a working environment and has been in storage for over 2 years. It includes the phone & the power supply - these are not the POE units. I have 2 of these phones available.

I have hook them up and seem to work fine but they are being sold as is.

For more information, visit: http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1139414816993&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=1699354250B09

Linksys DualMode Cordless Phone for Yahoo $ 89