Stay away from Polycom’s like they have the plague. Worst. Phones. Ever. I have to deal with ~25 of them on a couple of Trixboxes. My hatred for Polycom and Trixbox grows and festers on a daily basis because of it. I would have to honestly say about a 6/10 as far as reliability is concerned, and a -1,000,000/10 for ease of configuration. You could spend 30-40 minutes configuring a single Polycom through the web interface simply because it can need to be rebooted several times per configuration change and each reboot takes several minutes… if it takes. People may advise you that configuration with tFTP is easier, but the truth is that the configuration files, although XML, are just as much a pain to hand configure.
STAY AWAY. KEEP YOUR SANITY. RESIST THE CALL OF CTHULU’S PHONES.
Aastra on the other hand is the exact opposite end of the spectrum. I feel light, giddy, and playful when I get to manage them. I feel the Universe opening up its secrets and I taste the Rainbow…
Seriously though, you will like them. I work with ~60 Aastra 9143i’s at the moment. There are a couple of minor bugs in it with the conference button and some Action URIS that trigger when you put the handset down, but other than that… a blissful dream.
What is also really really nice is that with the Aastra phones you can completely do away with tFTP for configuration. You don’t have to do it though. In the beginning I used the tFTP and configuration files and it was much easier. Very plain and straightforward, yet still possessing a very impressive array of configuration options. It can retrieve these configuration files via FTP, HTTP and HTTPS as well.
They are capable of performing HTTP GET requests on a variety of actions and you can assign them to buttons. This allows you to retrieve XML documents from a server, and in fact, they can even be pushed. As a bonus, they can be SSL protected and you can control a whitelist of acceptable servers to accept pushed XML documents.
All of my Aastra phones check in with me every 2 minutes to see if there is an XML document they need to download. EVERY single thing I could configure with a configuration file can be set in that XML document and there is a common set of configuration ‘tags’ and values throughout the web interface, configuration file, and XML document files.
You can reset the phones, reboot them (faster than reset, and reboot is always less than a minute), cause them to play files, originate phone calls, have buttons pressed, etc.
Some of the higher end Aastra phones have much bigger LCD displays and a lot more options are opened up for programming.
So if you wanted a call transfer button in the LCD, that can dynamically bring up a menu of transfer destinations, and just press a button to have your current call transferred there… all possible with Aastra. You don’t even need to do something slick like using AMI with Asterisk to initiate a call transfer. You can send simulated keypresses to the Aastra phone as if the employee was pushing the buttons to transfer the calls. That makes it PBX platform independent. How’s that for slick?
Ohhh, and Aastra is constantly developing their firmware and adding more and more capabilities of what you can do with the XML documents going back and forth.
P.S - Yes… we are getting married. The date is set sometime in August.