Looking for a good receptionist phone

We are transitioning from a Samsung version 1 series to Asterisk, but our only holdback is our receptionist. He is used to the Samsung telephone that he has with our current system, but of course this will not be going with us.

We have tried to get him to try the flash operator panel, but he is very particular and is fighting it all the way. So, before we just buckle down and tell him that he has to use it, we are trying to make him happy.

Does anyone have any suggestions about a phone that can handle around 30 extensions, including knowing whether or not the people on the other end of those extensions are on the phone or not? Searching the previous posts, I came across a Polycom phone that has the attendant consoles, but that has a limitation of 7 people when it comes to knowing who is busy on a call.
polycom.com/products_service … 72,00.html

Also, we have been working to get supervised transfers going, but there seems to be some problems with this too. So, if there are any phones that can somehow handle this on their own, that would help also.

Any help would be appreciated.

A Snom 360 with the additional keypad (42 programmable keys) could be ok.


Marco Bruni

I’ve heard reports of the Cisco 7960 with one or two 1914 expansion modules attached working; however, my understanding is that they only worked using Chan SCCP, not SIP.

I have not had time to try this (although it is on my list). If you take a stab at it, I’d love to know what happens.

Whatever you do, try the ‘newest’ chan-sccp, it’s now being developed and maintained by someone else, here it is : chan-sccp.berlios.de/

We have used the SNOM 360 and it’s sidecar to monitor 34 extensions. It has some minor quirks, but once you get it running good, it works great.

i’ve been asked to look at providing Asterisk for a 30-user site that rely heavily on a receptionist to do everything PBX-wise, and i was looking at the 360 with sidecar. so i’m glad to hear some real-world feedback. do you fancy passing on any tips ?? :smiley:

Well, the Snom 360 and sidecar work very nice at using hint to show extension status and we don’t have many issues with the Snom phones. I still haven’t found a way to make the Xfer button do Attended transfers versus blind transfers, so it’s using the # key for now. :smile: I really wish there was a way for true LINE appearance support like a key system. We’d have a ton of key systems to replace.

Unfortunately, until Asterisk support Bridged Line Appearance (BLA) there is no real way to provide legacy type receptionist functions.

I have lost 3 deals in the last month because of this requirement. I am seriously thinking of putting a significant bounty up to get support for this in Asterisk.


Optimacy Communications, LLC

A good remark.

until Asterisk support Bridged Line Appearance (BLA) there is no real way to provide legacy type receptionist functions.

Can you please be a little bit more specific. I think we can all learn from it and make sure that this opportunity is filled in asap.

Thanks in advance

Asterisk supports basic presence via ‘hints’ in the dial plan. From that you can get available, unavailable, and inuse. If you have a phone that supports presence (e.g. Polycom buddy list) you can see if someone is ‘on the phone’ or not. HOWEVER, Polycom only supports ‘watching’ 7 buddies at once, so even if you have a 601 w/ sidecar you can’t get presence for more than 7 extensions…so your sidecar is just a $200 speed dial bank.

However, if you want traditional receptionist features like being able to pickup any ringing extension by pressing the flashing button, putting that call on hold and telling someone to pickup that line on another phone, then Asterisk needs to support BLA.

Polycom and other phones support BLA (http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-anil-sipping-bla-02.txt) which is dependent on RFC 3265 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3265.txt) which Asterisk does not support (at least not enough for BLA).

I don’t know what kind of architecture change may be involved for Asterisk to support this. I am trying to find out the level of effort such that I can put together an appropriate bounty.


Optimacy Communications, LLC

thanks :smiley:


Let me know, I think we would be interested in contributing to such an effort. We too have lost deals because of this. It’s a shame too, considering how much more powerful Asterisk is versus an old key system.

I’d like to resurrect this thread, as I am now faced with the same issue (replacing an existing Nortel PBX) and I have a receptionist that needs to see Line Appearences for about 20 extensions.

Is the Snom 360 + sidecar still the leader of this pack, or are there any other recommended phones?

Yeah the 360+sidecar is a solid phone. And I believe Asterisk will be supporting true SLA (shared lines) as of 1.4…