[asterisk-users] RE: Which SIP phones to buy?

Ken Morley Ken at jmtg.com
Thu Apr 12 14:36:42 MST 2007

I've had experience with quite a few different phones, so I think I'm
qualified to drop my two cents:

Alex is quite right that the Cisco phones are only designed to be used
with Cisco Call Manager.  They are capable of being decent SIP
telephones, but Cisco won't provide the documentation so that you can
use them effectively with anything other than Cisco Call Manager, so
that's the deal killer.  Like everything else Cisco, they're also
ridiculously expensive.

Despite what Alex says, the Cisco SIP phones have plenty of fundamental
flaws.  I have a number of expensive 7970G phones with a beautiful color
display.  Each of the various SIP firmware versions available for that
product has a serious flaw.  The most acceptable version is about a year
old. It's biggest flaw is that the Message Waiting Indicator doesn't
work.  Most of the other SIP firmware versions won't register with
Asterisk.  If you are planning to usee Asterisk, save your money and
your sanity and buy something else.

In my last project, I used the Aastra 480i phones.  Yes, the
documentation is lacking, but that's largely because the platform was
evolving quickly.  Aastra has excellent and responsive technical support
via e-mail.  Finally, the customer was very satisfied with the quality
and the price of the 480i phones.

In my latest project, I used the newer Aastra 57i and 57i CT phones.  It
is obvious that these phones derived from the 480i software, but they
are much faster and more full-featured with great displays, etc.  The
initial documentation with these is fairly good and complete.  I have
them doing all kinds of things, including using the XML capabilities to
push server applications to the display, update the softkeys in
real-time, etc.

As contrasted against Cisco, Aastra even provides PHP include files to
greatly simplify web development on whatever platform (Asterisk,
Sylantro, etc.) you are using.  The 57i phones are a little expensive,
but they are a top-notch product that works very well with Asterisk
right out of the box.  Plus, they look and sound great and have 12
softkeys that shift to 20.

One of the others that responded to your question mentioned something
about setting up a TFTP server and I want to elaborate on that a little.
If you are deploying more than a small handful of phones, you will want
to setup a TFTP server anyway. It would be muy loco to try deploying and
supporting a few dozen phones otherwise.  Many of the phone's features
aren't even accessible through the web interface anyway - you have to
have a TFTP server and make use of the configuration files for full
functionality.  And that applies to Aastra, Cisco, Polycom or whatever.

Finally, it can take a fair amount of labor to configure Asterisk and
your particular phone to work together as a system.  Don't kill yourself
by attempting to mix and match various phones on the same system as that
seriously increases the complexity.  Keep it simple.

For what it's worth....


More information about the asterisk-users mailing list