An ongoing battle... Which phone is better?

An ongoing battle... Which phone is better?

October 16th 2006

As everyone may know, we currently run our Asterisk system with a mishmash of Cisco phones. Mostly 7940’s, some 7912’s, and a few others here and there. However, we’re in the process of evaluating various types of phones to expand our network into a more standards compliant, capable network of phones. This is what brings me here today, which phone do we like the best?


I think it’ll be easier to just list out the pros and cons of our system that make it better for us.

  • Cisco (7940, 7960, etc)
    • Pros
      • Easy configuration for some phones
        • Particularly the 7940/7960 pairs are extremely simple to configure. Provisioning an entire campus of these phones is as easy as dropping a 5 line configuration file in the tftp boot directory.
      • Great sound quality out of the box
    • Cons
      • Configuration isn't unified
        • If you try to configure anything but the 79[46]0's, get ready for some hell with binary commands to do text->binary conversions for the phone to download it's configs.
      • Stripped SIP firmware
        • The SIP firmware doesn't support everything it could, such as Shared Lines.
      • COST
  • Polycom (430, 501, 601)
    • Pros
      • Unified configuration
      • Good sound quality
      • More SIP compliant
    • Cons
      • Slow boot time
      • Smaller screens and less XML browsing support
  • Aastra
    • Pros
      • Same physical design as Meridian phones
      • More customizable
    • Cons
      • Both of the phones we received were dead within one week of receiving them, so we weren't able to do much testing.
      • Shoddy VLAN support

We still haven’t fully decided on a product to use, but I’m personally going to recommend the Polycom’s, as they tend to be the better of the three major companies we looked into. There are a number of other companies (Grandstream, SNOM, etc) whose products would be great for smaller companies, but they don’t feel very “professional”.

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