Suggestions for use

Ok. So I’ve been over to and looked over their list of phones and quickly got overwhelmed. I admit I don’t know much about VoIP or Asterisk, or even PBXs in general. However, I had this dumped in my lap, so I need to get someone (my CEO) a quote fast.

I need anywhere from 10-40 phones. These will be used in a business setting. I imagine SIP phones will work great, but I’m open to suggestions. Price is obviously a factor, but so is quality. Our telephony needs are simple: voice mail, call transfers, etc. Simple set up in asterisk is also a plus, but not a requirement.

I’m hoping the community can come up with a few selections I can take and run with. I’d really appreciate it.



(my) preferences :

  1. Snom 360
  2. Aastra 480i
  3. Aastra 9133i
  4. BT 6300 / PAP2 (DECT phone linked to ATA)

Sweet! Super fast reply, thanks a bunch!

My personal favorite is the Polycom IP600 and 601.

Smon is also good and the Cisco 7960 and 7940 work well with SIP.

I like the polycom 501s and 601s. The 301s are ok if you do not need speakerphone. I have not tried the new 430s.

Grandstreams just “feel” to cheap to me. Sipura are a little better. Cisco are ok but can be pricey. Lots of people like the SNOs but I do not have any experience with them.

First, if you know nothing about *, download the book Asterisk: the future of telephony for free (creative common license) from It will edumacate you :smiley:

IMHO, grandstream are not good for a business environment unless you are really pinching your pennies (GXP2000 is about $80/unit as i recall). The phones (esp. budgetone but still somewhat the GXP) feel lightly built. Also, their remote provisioning system is sort of odd and poorly documented (by GS, it’s decently documented by the Wiki, but still requires their converter tool to turn text files into config files the phone understands).

I second the recommendations for Aastra 480i/9133i and Snom 360. I have used all of these phones and they are all a joy to work with. They feel good and solid in your hand, real business quality product. Both aastra and snom 360 have good usable speakerphone. All three support 802.3af power over ethernet.

Also for easy administration, both use a useful config file format- Aastra is just a plain text file with params ie
sip line1 auth name: AJohnson
so it is exceedingly easy to generate them in batches from a script and a database. Snom has a similar format which is more versatile and as I recall somewhat scriptable, haven’t played with it though.
For secure provisioning, i know the aastra lets you symmetrically encrypt the config file with a tool they provide for win32/linux/solaris or you can have the phone pull the cfg file over https. I think snom has the same thing.

Snoms have the interesting ability that they can pull ringers as needed. Place an http link to a correctly formatted wav file in the sip header and the phone will download the ringer and use it for that one call (Asterisk can do this). Makes setting distinctive rings from a server VERY easy. AAstra phones are currently incapable of downloading custom ring tones, you are stuck with 5 or 6 ‘warbles’. Both allow you to choose a warble by sip header.
Snoms are generally very versatile… the snom 360 ‘advanced options’ page has like 50 things that can be turned on and off (dial when you pick up? disable speakerphone? no incoming intercom? that type of customizable tweaks) which can be quite useful.

Both AAstra 480 (NOT 9133) and the Snom 360 have XML microbrowsers built in so you can use the large display to access various services. This may be nothing at all, and they are not required, but they are easy to write.

I don’t recommend polycom as much, although they are very well built, have awesome speakerphones and support xml. The reason is, polycom is a bunch of annoying pricks when it comes to firmware. They refuse to make the latest firmware or documentation available on their website to anybody that isnt a ‘polycom certified reseller’ or whatever, and finding one to help you isn’t always easy. There are a few 3rd party sites that redistribute the firmware but I hate relying on such things for a business setup. Polycom’s MO is that they want you to buy a vertically integrated system from a reseller, who will then be the only one you deal with.

In contrast, AAstra and Snom are both happy to deal with users and generally try to make themselves useful for people that want answers or files w/out jumping through hoops.
Snom provides firmware off their website (you can even upgrade by punching the download link straight into the phone) and has an extensive Wiki of their own. Also, i believe one of their guys posts on the voip-info wiki (user: snomy is from Snom IIRC). Firmware releases from Snom often address issues brought up on the Wiki pages.
I have heard AAstra is very responsive via email as well. They don’t release as often but it is usually worth the wait. Many ‘major’ features that have been requested on the Wiki have been added (BLF, XML, distinctive ring by sip header, etc). They provide very extensive and useful documentation in PDF format, free to download. Firmware is also freely available.

Hope that helped! :smile:

iron, you put it so much more clearly than i could be bothered to !! (it’s unusually hot here … we brits aren’t used to it)

disappointed you haven’t used my last recommendation though … kidding !

good to see you about again … had enough of the games on the wiki yet ??

hehe good to be back, been very busy lately thus the lack of presence… Besides, being bored + not tired at 4am will create the perfect situation for a lengthy post comparing two phones :smiley:

you were the one that had recommended the polycom cert guy, right? (sorry i have a bad memory…) How have you been?

I still hang around on the Wiki, but not quite as much since I upgraded myself from a GXP to a Snom 360 (night and day difference, plus no need to constantly hang around the Wiki waiting with baited breath for new firmware! :smile: )

BTW sorry benutne to kind of hijack the thread… if you have more q’s we are ready to answer!

One more vote for Aastra! I’ve had really good luck with models 480i (CT) and 9133i. Both are simple and similar to configure. I haven’t yet found the price break on the 9112i to be compelling enough to justify the feature sacrifices or I’d try them out, too.

The wireless companion to the 480i is popular with salespeople and receptionists that need to be mobile. Linking up the cordless to its base phone is very easy.

No one has complained about the speakerphone sound quality on either model. The handsets and button pads DO NOT have a toy-like feel. These are true business phones.

Not all features are configurable via tftp, but most are available via a browser. I had to take a couple of runs at configuring each phone’s dial plan before I got it right, but they work fine now. You’ll need to set the time zone via the dial pad or your NTP updates will be hours off.

I’ve had some lock-ups, but I’ve always been monkeying with something on the server when it’s happened. A reboot always cures it.

For fax machines and legacy phones (FXS) I’ve had good luck with the SPA-2002.

I had sold the client on Cisco before I bought Aastra the first time, the Cisco stuff wasn’t on the shelf but Aastra stuff was. I’ve never looked back and have yet to deploy a Cisco phone in the field since. The extra hundred bucks and licensing issues just don’t seem like a good value proposition any more by comparison.

Good Luck!

I’ve got both Snom and Polycom phones and we sell the Polycoms. We don’t even give our clients a choice. The Polycoms are so much easier to deploy because of their centralized provisioning it isn’t funny. The last thing I want to do is hit 50 phones with a web browser. With the Polycoms I just set option 66 in my DHCP server, set up a user named PlcmSpIp with PlcmSpIp for a password on my Asterisk box, and dump all of the firmware files into the home directory for that user. Then it’s just a matter of creating the phone config files. I’ve got template files for the phones so getting things up and running takes minimal time. Also, whenever there’s a firmware upgrade I just dump it into the PlcmSpIp directory and reboot the phones. Instant upgrade! The last time I had to upgrade a Snom it took me 30 minutes each! The Polycoms have a great speakerphone too, way better than the Snoms. My biggest complaint about the Snoms was that they pick up all of the noise in the room when you are talking to someone. With the Polycoms you don’t hear the crap going on in the background.

As far as Polycom goes with their firmware restrictions, it took me an hour to get through the tests to become a certified reseller. The hour I have invested in Polycom allows me to sell a great phone and get the support I need if I run into problems.


If you need firmware you can always ask. :smile:

This is true but if you buy your phone from a decent reseller without becoming yourself a certified reseller you don’t have to worry about this. My reseller is very flexible and I got automaticcaly the new firmware in my mailbox when it’s released

I have worked with both Aastra and Polycom and I prefer Polycom phone. They are so flexible. Yo can do almost what you want with the config files. Not just some basic tricks like Aastra.

I have to admit that the Aastra support is excellent. You send a email and they call you back.
My preferences :

  • Polycom
  • Aastra
  • Grandstream :smile:

Man. I had no idea I would get this kind of response. Thanks everyone. I think I’ll start with the Grandstream to learn since this is all coming out of my pocket till I can make the whole thing feasible from a business standpoint.

Thanks again!

The Grandstream can later be used as a paging extension since it has an audio out connector and can be set to auto-answer.

I agree that the Snom 360 is a great phone. The slightly cheaper 320 is also a good phone.