What SIP phones should I buy?

I am very familiar with the Sipura/Linksys line of ATAs and some of the phones. My problem is that I am offering to replace traditional PBXs with an Asterisk-based PBX. Many of those customers are used to brand names like Avaya and would like to have a top brand, nice looking, with the best audio, etc. phone sets.

Frankly speaking, the SPA941 looks kind of cheap, and its sound is not that great.

So, I am told that the best VoIP phone available is the Polycom, and I started researching them.

Disappointment Number One: I find out that Polycom has a policy of only allowing special people, priests of some sort, to access their sacred firmware. Well, I guess that if their quality is as good as they say, they are entitled to be arrogant and unfriendly to customers. Call them Soup Nazis.

Disappointment Number Two: (and as opposed to #1, this is a biggie) It seems that most Polycom phones do not have a web server built in. I simply couldn’t believe this. One of my concern is the dialplan. With Linksys, it offers a lot of flexibility with the phone making decision as to which gateway to connect, etc., etc. OTOH, even the top of the line Polycoms: all they have is the crummy low res display as a configuring interface.

Both brands can be auto-provisioned.

Is it fair to say that Linksys has much more expertise in HTTP, routing, Internet, while Polycom is the standard as far as voice quality??

Comments, opinions?


Check Snom’s phones, linux based phones, snom.com, I use them and I think there are good phones.


Marco Bruni

I know there are lot of people that screams at GS products been cheap. But I am managing installations that are small as 20-30 phones per PBX and I have used GXP2000 and 2020, both of them has worked well for us and the provisioing support is really good when it comes to manage them remotely for my customers. Call quality has been great and GS is doing now a better job by improving their firmware.

I also have used Polycom 301, it does have a webserver in it, but most of the settings you can do using TFTP config files as that’s more neater from my point of view.

Hope this helps.

It is kinda of lame that Polycom doesn’t provide the latest firmware on their site. On the other hand, I purchased several Polycom IP-330 phones and haven’t had any problem getting the firmware from the vendor. In fact, the vendor maintains an FTP site with the latest firmware. So, I don’t have to ask for the latest firmware all the time. I just log on to the FTP site and download what I want.

I can’t speak for other Polycom phones, but the IP-330 has a web interface. However, you can’t configure every option from the web interface. You’re better off using central provisioning. With central provisioning, you can configure a phone before you ever take it out of the box. (The MAC address is on a label outside of the box.) If you have DHCP configured, you can take a Polycom out of the box, plug it in and it will automattically update the firmware if necessary and configure itself from the TFTP/FTP server.

The quality of the Polycom phones are excellent. They look and feel professional and sound great.

When you buy the phones you have to think about certain thinks

  • switch functionality with vpn support. With this you can run your voip on a dedicated vpn and still connect your pc with the phone.

  • poe support. Phones are a little bit more expensive but my humble opinion is that in a professional production envirement you should advice your customer to enable poe on his network. Otherwise you need a powersupply and a power outlet for every phone. It costs but it worths th money.

  • provisioning of the phones. When you do a serious implementation it is convenient to be able to provision the phones automatically.

The Snom320 is a phone that fits all the above requirements and works very well with Asterisk. Linksys also has phones that do the trick

I have been using Mitel 5212 IP Phones, they are excellent and do the job in my opinion they are better than the Cisco ones.

Price and lay-out, GS beats them all. But function is real bad especially the speaker phone. New firmware are trying to address most of the issues but that is yet to be proven. Some users are reluctant to upgrade since release notes are no where to find.

I reviewed the keyphone from Aastra and I have a feeling that this will become a phone of choice in the future. Prices are position at the middle. Hope some users will post there real experiences.

When I visited Shenzhen I pick up 4 different IP Phone of no brands. Lets call them generic phones. Three of those brands, I dare say nothing, its useless. But the one from USB On-line was exceptional. Voice quality even surpassed my branded phones. One can buy 500 units with your logo on it. Yes it is also cheap.