Windows PBX & UC: Looking back to 2010, Looking forward to 2011

What happened in the Windows phone system community in 2010? Some that occurred to me.:

Jan - Polycom Releases Affordable OCS/Lync Stand Alone Desk Phone
Jan - Free Blink SIP Softphone for Mac, Windows & Linux Introduced
Feb - First Windows-based Phonesystem Book Co-Authored by Matt Landis & Rob LLoyd
Mar - 3CX Phone System v9 Released
Mar - Interest in Hosted OCS/Lync Implementations Increases for SMB
May - Microsoft Response Point Killed: Not Hosted & Lync Will Serve SMB
June - snom Releases First DECT phone, paging device & SIP phone compatible with Lync

June- 3CX Releases Free iPhone and Android softphones
Sept - Lync Server 2010 Released
Sept - snom Releases Lync 2010 Compatible snom 300
Oct - snom ONE IP Phone System Released- 1st Free, Enterprise Grade Windows PBX
Nov - Windows Phone 7 Introduced (my experience with wp7)

What Are Some of My Predictions for 2011?

Microsoft Lync Will Gain Attention from SMB's in 2011
-SMB has zero entry resistance with Hosted Lync via Office365
-Hosted Lync 2010 via Office 365 has the right features with Public IM connectivity, Media outside firewall, Desktop Sharing and multi-person video and audio conferencing.
-Lync 2010 1 Server Installation has dramatically reduced cost & complexity
-Lync hardware devices have dropped to very affordable levels: snom 300 $129, Polycom CX500 $299.

snom ONE IP Phone System Will Continue to Capture Market Share from Other Windows PBX Players
-snom already is talking to this audience & has great connections to SMB via D&H/Asterisk awareness
-small companies are looking for bundled solution with "one neck to ring" at affordable price
-snom giving snom ONE with phones (10 extensions) will be a formidable foe for Windows PBX vendors that depend on revenue from the soft-pbx itself
-Can work effeciently in on premise or hosted mode today
-Great & easy replacement for problem prone systems from other vendors
-Very feature rich (good fit to replace small & medium sized legacy phone systems)
-Easiest phone provisioning in the industry: just plug the phone into the network!
-Extremely stable (enterprise grade)
-Multi-tenant and hosting ready today
-Extremely affordable

Windows Phone 7 Will Break Into the Conciousness of Non-IT People in 2011
-WP7 has a vast developer pool that is adding app's at astonishing rate with no slow-down in sight
-The Samsung Focus device 4rth top device in Wired Magazine best new devices of 2010
-Microsoft has an unlimited bucket of money and are in this to win. (think Xbox)
-WP7 pulling together Skydrive, Xbox, Office, Zune and more makes an extremely compelling device.
-While WP7 has some small technical catch up to do--the core design

Lync 2010 Awareness Will Push Traditional PhoneSystem Vendors to Integrate PBX & Handsets More Deeply into the Desktop Experience
-Currently no one knows how to use their deskphone's advanced features
-With Lync 2010 users can actually figure out how to use advanced endpoint features--other PBX user's will demand this as well
-Lync 2010 ubiquity in Sharepoint, CRM, ERP apps, Outlook will force other vendors to become part of the desktop experience more deeply than "click to dial"

Well there are my random thoughts about what will happen in 2011. Maybe you have some to add?

snom m9 Softphone for Windows - Quick Video Review #3cx #lync #snom

snom just can't get done "giving" in 2010! They've just released a free, Windows SIP softphone that makes a perfect companion for the snom ONE phonesystem (windows/mac/linux/sheevaplug). Using the snom ONE free (10 extensions)  with the new snom softhone makes it possible to deploy a nearly free PBX solution. While free pbx solution is not new, a free one that is enterprise grade sure is!

Whats There?
Well getting to the snom m9 softphone. It provides all the basic SIP phone capabilities one would expect: make and take calls, place calls on hold, DND and transfer calls. It uses the snom m9 management interface--which is a little interesting because of all the DECT features that show up that really do not apply to a softphone.

Whats Missing?
First, while this phone looks like an snom m9, it is not based on the snom m9 firmware and don't expect anything but simple SIP calls: no RSS feeds, XML apps, Lync compatibility, etc. And while the snom softphone has basic capabilities it does not have a lot of features that we all have come to expect will be on a softphone:

-Message Waiting Indicator
-Multi-Call handling
-Client based simple Conference 2 calls
-Click to dial, TEL: url dialing
-No busy lamp field or presence of other calls
-No definable function keys
-No video
-No SMS/IM'ing

It really is an initial release and shows somewhat. But it is a start to addressing the need for snom ONE to have a companion softphone. And to give snom a fair shake, this was brought to market very quickly!

snom ONE Phonesystem Tip #2: See New Features That Get Added to snom ONE Phone System

snom ONE is quite mature multiplatform phone system and includes most features right out of the box. It's stable, feature rich and secure. But when a new improvement makes it's way into the system you can find it by clicking the link below so you can make use of it!

Click below to see new features, bug fixes and

Cisco SPA301 SIP Phone Video Review - The Cheapest SIP Phone In the World? PART 1

I'm on a quest to find the world's lowest priced enterprise grade SIP hardware phone! This search is leading to places...I mean...SIP phones, I don't normally glance at twice. But since we all have a project sometime or another were price is king, the "Cheapest SIP Phone in the World" blog/vlog series was born.

The first phone I decided to take a look at was the Cisco SPA301. In a world were mobile phone screens and deksphone screens seem to grow increasingly large with each iteration, it's amazing that a SIP deskphone/wallphone can survive at all with out ANY screen! ;-) That's right. That SPA301 has no screen. Scandalous I know. But how about a MSRP of $79? The cheapskate in all of us takes notice.

Only in this class of SIP phones is "Narrowest SIP phone I know off" a Con! ;-) Enjoy!


-Cisco name
-Low cost
-Nice web interface
-Good handset feel
-Ringer on/off button
-Wall or desk mount
-Narrowest SIP phone I know off

-no screen
-no POE
-no switch
-no transfer button
-Volume cycles instead of low / high rocker
-no speaker phone
-One led: Solid=MWI; Blinking=Ringing
-any settings related to sip registration requires a reboot;

-would be nice if there would be a key combination that announces IP address for initial setup

-Why is the LAN port is marked WAN?

-Press # after dialing a number will force SPA301 dial immediately.

set volume of ringer using volume button.
Transfer and conference depend on your PBX features or star codes.
On snom ONE PBX the spa301 flash button puts calls on hold.

BREAKING NEWS: snom Releases Free Windows SIP Softphone

snom has just released a free, Windows, SIP softphone in an effort to provide a complete phone system solution. They now provide a completely free phone system along with SIP softphones. As always, I have commentary & opinions about this new solution but I'll hold that for another post. But you can go download and check out this new softphone right now.

How to use it:

Where to download it:

snom 821 SIP Deskphone First Impression Video Review: Color, Gigabit, Lync & Wifi Capable

The snom 821 is snom's answer to the Cisco SPA 525G class deskphone. The snom 820 is a very solid deskphone with the dial buttons feeling even better than the Cisco unit. Some of the outstanding features are compatibility with Microsoft Lync Server 2010, 12 Line Keys, 5 way local conference handling, and a built in gigabit switch.

-Lync firmware (No extra cost)
-HD voice
-solid unit
-Gigabit switch
-WIFI capable (you need to buy Wifi dongle)
-USB ports
-Free 10 Extension Windows/Mac/Linux Phone System Included! Click Here.

-Up/Down/Left/Right rocker feels a little mushy
-long boot time
-Ineffecient access to assignable buttons/BLF buttons?
-As of 12/20/2010 - No sidecard that shows BLF

Corrections to Video:
-"unlike the 870" (not 821)

Cisco SPA 525G Versus snom 821
Here is my quick comparison of the snom 821 Compared to Cisco 525G. The Cisco unit is approximately $100 more and gets you some interesting features: Bluetooth capability, 2.5 stereo headset jack and ability to view photos and play Mp3's. So if you want a multi-media device it looks like Cisco is catering to you.

Mobile Phone As a SIP Softphone--Does Anyone Even Use It?

Counterpath has released an "enterprise grade" SIP softphone for both iPhone and Android. 3CX has released a free SIP softphone for Android and now also for iPhone. The latest version of Android 2.3 apparently now has a SIP softphone (and videophone?) built into Android. (possibly making all the other products moot?) And Windows Phone 7 has a pretty nice Google Voice client and now there are even rumors that a coming update will add Voip calling to Windows Phone 7!

With all this buzz the big question is: Do people actually use their phones as a VOIP client? I decided to find out and did a survey of the geekiest of geeks and this is my finding: 23% of PBX admins actually use a SIP client day to day! Roughly (note that's survey doesn't calculate accurately ;-) 75% either never use it or did it in a testing environment!

Soo maybe we don't even need a voip client for mobile devices...

Windows Phone 7 Passes 4000 Apps #wp7 #windowsphone

Windows Phone 7 marketplace apps pass 4000 applications. For a lot of stats about Windows Phone apps I suggest you take a look at the below website. It's a great place to checkout apps.

I largely have the apps I need. What are some I would like yet?
-Lync 2010 client
-SIP/Voip client
-App to make phone data available via WIFI to others
-Flashlight app that turns on the phone flash?

To see my complete thoughts about real life use of wp7:

Android 2.3 Gets Built-in SIP Client

According to Kevin Purdy over at, Android 2.3 is getting a SIP client built in. He says:
If you've got a SIP account set up, or your friends and contacts have SIP numbers, you can now make calls to and from those digital numbers through the Android phone without special software. As you might guess, though, carriers will likely have some control over this option.
If you don't have Android 2.3 you can always download 3CX's Android client. Although it's really hard to beat built in.

See Screenshots and more of Android 2.3 Here:

Okay, I'm not complaining here, but Windows Phone 7 listening? ;-)

Patton Smartnode 4300 FXS Channel Bank Quick Review: Quality, No Frills Workhorse.

Patton has introduced a high density FXS channel bank.

-Patton quality voip gateway. Config and forget.
-free Patton Smartnode configuration tool for popular PBX's:
-solid cast 19" mounting brackets
-Patton support 1st rate.

-one power LED is all there is. No booting status, channel status leds.
-Std 50pin telco plug required to actually plug in analogue phones
-web interface is not very intuitive
-Getting Started manual is (p6) is unclear (innacurate?) how the gateway is to be configured

Patton tends to go light on the frills, gui and graphics. Our experience has been they are serious workhorses that rarely give trouble.

Watch first impression video review of the Patton Smartnode 4300 24port FXS channel bank below.

Contact List Menu

Dial this contact's phone number.

Call Voicemail
Call the contact's voicemail box to directly let a message.

Call Mobile
Call the mobile phone associated with this contact's PBX extension.

Intercom this contact.

Tray Menu

Dialing Pad
Enter the phone number you want to dial in the field at the top of the menu. Press ENTER to dial.

My Status
Allows you to change your DND status. (Currently Available does not work)

Retrieve Voicemail
Play voicemail on your phone.

This will show or hide the PBX client window so you can run in Tray Mode. This will save the setting so next time you run the PBX client it will remember this setting.

Close the PBX client.

Contact Screen

The extension or phone number that you want to associate with this contact. Typically this is an extension, service flag, speed dial phone number etc.

Description to identify this contact. Will display in the contact list.

Email address you want to associate with this contact.

Setup Screen

Setup Screen

Enter the IP address or domain name. Do not prefix it with http:// or suffix it with anything. Example:

This is the PBX extension number.

This is the PBX SIP password.

This is not required but will display a name on the main screen beside the avatar.

Presence Size
This is the width of the column that holds the presence icon.

Form Hidden
This determines if the PBX client run in Tray Mode only or with the client and Tray Mode.

Main Screen

Dial Pad
Type or copy a phone number into this field and press ENTER to dial a number.

Contact List
Right click on any contact to take an action on it.

Patton Provides Free PSTN Gateway Configuration Tool for snom ONE & pbxnsip Phone System

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am a fan of Patton gateways. But I've come to realize that it's not only me but the whole Windows PBX community seems to prefer Patton PSTN gateways over the alternatives by a pretty big margin according to my Feb 2010 survey.

Why? Rock solid quality and mind blowing level of support! I can't stress enough how good Patton support is. Just today, once again, I was struck by Patton's unusally proactive and astonishing support. I was talking to Daniel Lizaola at Patton support about the trouble new snom ONE administrators are having configuring gateways for snom ONE/pbxnsip because there is no built-in gateway "configurator". (otherwise an incredible pbx--one you should not miss!) Daniel said he can email over a free configurator developed by Patton for snom ONE!

This tool will also configure FXS ports on the Patton gateways for snom ONE. Unfortunately at this moment snom is limiting non-snom devices. (2 for free, 5 for yellow and 10 for blue) I would really like to see Patton's FXS unit as an "allowed & unlimited" device on snom ONE. If you would want to see this too I suggest you vote for this feature here.

So checkout this tool which will save you hours of "fiddling" and I'd be glad for feedback via comments.

Click Here to Download the free snom ONE, pbxnsip, 3CX and Generic Patton PSTN Gateway configurator.

Click Here to Read all my articles on Patton gateways for IP PBX's.

snom ONE IP Telephone System: VIDEO: What Comes In the Box

3CX Phone System Price is Lowered

On November 11 3CX announced new lowered pricing for the 3CX Phone System.

The are a lot of forces working for PBX buyers lately that are driving Windows pbx prices down. snom has released a very low cost Windows PBX solution that is extremely feature rich and stable at an astonishing $1495 USD MSRP. This is for unlimited extensions on one server (expecting that will top out at 150 extension) and presumes you will be glad to use snom handsets. FreeSwitch is working hard to produce a stable, opensource Windows PBX solution. Microsoft Lync Server 2010 has been released and because of the dramatically reduced infrastructure requirements is now well within the reach of SMB buyers.
Checkout the new pricing:

Thanksgiving Day & Windows PBX Stuff??

This is the week that we in the USA especially think about things we to be thankful for. (well, that's what the holiday says anyway) It's easy to think about what isn't soo hot so I think this is a great idea. Below is what Collins Dictionary says about Thanksgiving Day:

an annual day of holiday celebrated in thanksgiving to God on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and on the second Monday of October in Canada
What does God deserve thanks about this Thankgiving?
-Bad economy or no--most people are making a living
-I'm glad for the health and abilities that have allowed me to do a lot of interesting things this year
-In spite of rough economy our company goal of growing each year has once again been realized
-I'm glad to be able to work with an incredible group of people.
-And a lot more...

"Windows PBX" developements pale in comparison to "really important" stuff but there are some things I'm thankful for even in this area:
-Microsoft Lync Server 2010 is now a viable on premise option for small business--I've been waiting for this
-I'm glad that Windows Phone 7 is here...and it is as good as it is!
-HP Proliant Microserver will make a great little "communication" appliance (I think)
-We have more cool UC/PBX solutions than ever--what oppertunity! ;-)

I hope you have a great Thankgiving. Don't forget to make your own list of things to thank God for!

"Give thanks to God because He is good..." -- Psalm 118

snom Handset Featured With Lync Devices on Lync 2010 Launch Broadcast

snom 300 with Lync 2010 firmware shown with all the rest of the Lync 2010 devices today on the Lync 2010 launch.

Plantronics to Releases New Headset That Will Work With Your PC, Deskphone AND Mobile Phone!

Today Plantronics is introducing 3 new Lync enabled devices. The one that has me quite interested is the new Savi 730 unit above that allows one headset to work with your PC, deskphone AND mobile phone! This is a request I've heard from people for some time so they will welcome this unit. Actually, at the last D&H show I asked the Plantronics people if they have such a unit and they said they didn't. ;-) Below is the exact quote from the Plantronics press release:
The Savi family includes the new Savi 730, a wireless headset system that connects to multiple devices but allows you to manage all calls from a single headset. This system unifies communication between your PC, desk phone and now mobile phone calls.  Users can also listen to any PC-based audio including music players, streaming audio and video, webinars and podcasts with Savi 730.  The headset system features a noise-canceling microphone, wideband audio support, and DECT wireless technology, providing lifelike voice fidelity and the ability to roam up to 350 feet from the base.

The new Calisto 825 is a speakerphone that connects to mobile and PC with a wireless lapel microphone.
Plantonics has also released the Voyager Pro UC that answers calls simply by picking up the headset and placing it in your ear. All these units are compatible with Microsoft Lync 2010.

To read more about Plantronics UC stuff:

Kerry Garrison Writes the "Official" 3CX Book & It Will Be Here Shortly

If you are interested in the "unofficial" 3CX phone system book that I co-wrote with Robert Lloyd --it's available immediately and can be purchased at the link below. Some reviewers of the book have noted that especially good chapter is where we look at what needs 3CX fills great and where it doesn't shine as much. Other excellent content is work arounds and real world senarios like integrating to analogue pbx's.

Kerry Garrison is authoring an additional book on the 3CX phone system which is sponsored by 3CX, 888VoipStore and some other and will be available soon according to the I am sure this book will be excellent and I need to say I really like the cover! ;-)
Pricing Drop

The Future Desk Phone Will Be a Tablet

The software phone system is taking over the  "black box" landscape (pbxnsip, snomONE, NetVanta, 3CX and now Microsoft Lync Server in the Windows world). The question about commodity hardware running a pbx is all but over.

But what about the trusty desk phone? I predict some PC commodity hardware will ultimately be the hardware that runs your future deskphone. Don't get me wrong--I'm a big proponent of pressing buttons to do stuff. (hey, I still have a blackberry form factor phone so I have a keyboard! Actually since writing this I got a Windows Phone 7--no buttons ;-) But the writing is on the wall--

-people are getting used to touch screen dialing
-built in web cam and nice big screen for video conferencing
-choice of which softphone you use
-built in support for blue tooth headsets
-wireless and a battery is built in so you basically have a deskphone AND portable phone in one
-wired headset port is built in
-easily integrate & network tablet and desktop pc for call control senarios
-low power and high processor (for things like rtaudio?) has been worked out by the tablet guys already

Another reason is that if you notice even in more traditional form factor deskphones the screens keep getting bigger and bigger and the buttons are starting to disappear!

Currently even the latest models of exotic desk phone integration to the desktop is clunky at best. What if you could seamlessly launch music on your tablet-desktphone while not in use? (win7 ability) What if you could trigger a video call on your tablet-deskphone from your PC or mobile phone? Or use the tablet-deskphone as a home automation terminal? Truly, the best deskphones now are looking more and more like a tablet PC--just at a much higher price?

Tablet formfactor machines are getting soo cheap. Cherrypal suggested a tablet pc for $188.

So software SIP phone makers--start thinking about a soft phone application that runs nicely in full & touch screen. Pure hardware desk phone makers step up to the plate now while there is time to get mindshare: Your excellent firmware and SIP stack can be brought the tablet before it is too late.

ps-Noticed this post since I wrote this article!

iPod Touch as a Cheap, Portable, WIFI Phone? Or an Expensive Headache?

Today I want your feed back!
Would you recommend a company use WIFI iPod Touch's as a portable phones?

Some requirements:
-Approximately 50 units in the same network
-Over a 1500 x 1500 foot property, with multiple buildings, parking lots, etc.

If you would recommend it--
what iPod SIP client would you recommend?
Any ruggedizing equipment?
Roaming issues?
Have you done this before? ;-)

If you would not recommend it, what would you recommend?
Thanks for the feedback via comments! Please comment below.

Kerio Launching Phone System to Compliment It's Email Server: Kerio Operator

I just got a head's up about an interesting new phone system developement: Kerio Operator. This phone system from the company that makes the cross-platform "Microsoft Exchange Alternative" is an interesting new entrant into the SMB telephone space. At the moment it appears this is a Linux based solution and is delivered as a virtual machine but even so the requirements are quite low.

I'd be interested in hearing more about this solution. Is it Asterisk based? (considering it's using Digium boards is it safe to assume Asterisk base?) Will there be cross-platform editions? (like Kerio connect)
Below is the administration console:

It appears like the supported handsets are Cisco, Linksys and snom which is a solid lineup. Currently the product is in Beta and you can download a trial at .

Handset makers are jumping into the PBX business and now email server guys...who next? ;-)

If you know any more about Kerio Operator I'd be glad for your feedback.

Check it out yourself:

Windows Phone 7 Is Cooler Than I Expected!

My ongoing experience with Windows Phone 7. To sum up: Better than I expected.

What I Like:
-Day 1 - text-to-speech search is just plain cool
-Day 1 - The UI is soo simple I think something is missing--but I can do a ton more than my old phone!
-Day 1 - Pinning important people on my home screen makes so much sense.
-Day 1 - Merging of Live, Exchange, Google, Facebook contacts & calendars just works too smooth!
-Day 1 - Single handed adding of appointments has me very impressed.
-Day 2 - Playing podcasts over the speaker phone keeps me legal in Pennsylvania ...
-Day 2 -My iPod nano uneeded.
-Day 3 - Speech Recognition surprises me again: Just say "call" and some phone #!
-Day 4 - Hey! Samsung Focus does tether! click here or click here
-Day 4 - Speech to text is better than I thot: You can say "Call xxx-xxxx" and it will dial any number.
-Day 4 - Ah...I like that number of new emails is number since last checked. Nice
-Day 9 - Nice smooth video with Samsung Focus "no shake" feature turned on
-Day 10 - Virtual keyboard audio feedback is "just right" even in quiet room doesn't annoy others
-Day 10 - Twitter client is better than I thot: Very simple to post a picture. Still a little choppy UI though.
-Day 11 - Wifi works totally without my thinking about it--I like.
-Day 11 - You can use WindowsPhone as a USB drive click here
-Day 12 - Click on a Calendar | Meeting and press "Late": All attendees emailed automatically!
-Day 12 - OneNote integration & Syncronization to skydrive is incredible
-Day 13 - Ah! Kindle app coming! click here
-Day 18 - Your on a call on your mobile and another one comes...Wp7 handles this great!
-Day 19 - NO problem seeing if your wp7 is on Mute, Hold or speakerphone.
-Day 19 - Battery goes all day with 3G and lot of use (Samsung Focus)
-Day 22 - Pinning a OneNote page on Home Screen is cool

Samsung Focs DOES Tether.

-Day 32 - Sync Zune over Wifi is great! No fuss!
-Day 59 - Kindle for Windowsphone is Here. click here

-Day 1 - No RDP Client click here There is now. Search Remote Desktop on the Marketplace.
-Day 1 - No VPN click here
-Day 1 - Outlook Tasks Don't Sync click here There is now an app to sync Exchange tasks.
-Day 2 - Only OneNote Office App Syncs with skydrive. That is a big surprise to me. click here
-Day 2 - No simple way to sync desktop files with WP7...hmmm
-Day 3 - No Direct Outlook to Wp7 USB Sync (doesn't bother me--but others)
-Day 3 - Sometimes Samsung Focus screen doesn't respond to touch when lying on soft surface
-Day 9 - Would be nice if camera settings could be saved and screen tap would take picture.
-Day 9 - Would be nice if linkedin, twitter contacts could show in contact list. click here
-Day 23 - Would be nice if you could lock phone screen in portrait mode sometimes.

Features I would like:
-Day 3 - I wish phone could act as a Wifi Hotspot (helpful ATT lady said they will allow it ;-)
-Day 3 - Printing from phone via wifi or 3G. (option) (There is an app coming to do it click here)
-Day 18 - Bluetooth keyboard connectivity. No support for it.
-Day 93 - Folder concept to organize apps and people.
-Day 93 - Internet Explorer - folder concept to organize web shortcuts!
-Day 93 - Synchronize Zune podcasts directly over the air without going through PC

Quotes of the Day:
-Day 3 - I showed my Samsung Focus to an iPhone toting IT guy I had a meeting with today. His comments "Wow, I like the calendar view...much nicer than my iPhone. A radio is built IN? Zune?! wow! xBOX!! WOW!"

-Day 3 -  "Much lighter than my iPhone..."

-Day 24 - "Faster, easier, better UI, less screen touching to move around, better screen, better keyboard. Build quality might not be as good though..." --iPhone to Samsung Focus User

-Day 28 - "iPhone screen is much better than WindowsPhone. Much higher resolution and much brighter..." after holding iphone side by side with Samsung Focus: "[Silence...]"

Reviews I Thought Were Fair:

Also, a great place to get your beginner questions answered:
Windows Phone 7 Forum FAQ
Windows Phone 7 Forum
40 Best Apps (by Addictive Tips)

Even with all the limitations noted I need to admit it does that main things I wanted well. Perhaps not a power user phone--but then I didn't want to mess with my phone.

Date Calculator

Yealink & Yeastar: Another Windows Phone System and Handset Maker to Join?

The above left graphic was sighted prominently displayed on the Yeastar website. Are Yealink & Yeastar preparing some partnership to create a integrated PBX solution?

It seems to be somewhat of a developing trend among SIP handset vendors? Grandstream added a hardware PBX to its lineup of SIP phones and gateways to have a complete system offering. Now snom has added snom ONE to their line up. Will Yealink join up with Yeastar?

A quick look at the contact page of Yeastar and Yealink shows that they are located on the same street address 

Yeastar not only has a Windows based BizPBX product, it also has a small appliance version of it's BizPBX. It also has a line of FXO Gateways, FXS Gateways, GSM Gateway, Fax gateway and Skype Gateway. (did I miss anything? ;-) Yealink and Yeastar combined sure would make a formidable product line up from a feature list standpoint.  

I have not tested the Yeastar BizPBX but they have an interesting list of features. It doesn't appear there is an official support forum and I don't see much buzz about it. Is there anyone out there who has tested it or is using it?

I have no inside information about Yealink/Yeastar, but Yealink handsets showing up on the homepage of Yeastar makes one wonder... If you have any more information you are welcome to post a comment below.

ps- Wow! Check out the features of the Yeastar client: Instant Message, SMS (to mobile phones), faxing, call recording, email client and desktop sharing. Hmm.

VIDEO: AG Projects CEO Talks About Blink "the best SIP client in the world"

WRONG VIDEO, Here is actual link:
Some Highlights:
-AG Project shooting to make "the best sip client in the world".
-It's cross platform: mac, win, linux
-HD video on the definitely on the roadmap and being worked on already
-How about mobile? not this year. too many depencies to make it small.
-HD voice- is there demand? Yes!

Now for my commentary: My opinion is that the Blink SIP client will make waves and is already a product you should be looking at for any SIP implementation that needs a SIP soft client.
Blink would be an Excellent companion for snom ONE (it is also a free & cross platform. IP PBX: Windows, Mac & Linux) except that snom ONE Free is currently being limited to 2 non snom UA's. Too bad...

Read more of my experience with Blink SIP client Here:

snom Phones Get Social Network Enabled: Twitter, RSS, Flickr & More

snom has done an "XML App World Cup" and the snom community has responded with a couple interesting applications to add value to snom phones. Now you can access twitter, RSS feeds, flickr photos, wikipedia & weather from your snom phone! There is also an interesting alarm clock app.

Below is a screenshot of the twitter app running on a snom 360. (360 resolution is kind of low, use 370 or higher in reality)

Below is a screenshot of the weather app (running on the snom 870 touch). Just run the app and type in your zip or city name!

Click Here to read more about &  install the apps on your snom phone.

If you want the source code you can link:

Tip: Use the Polycom CX300/ Plantronics P540 USB Handset With Your Favorite IP PBX

An alert reader brought my attention to the fact that the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 can be used used with Counterpath's Bria softphone as a USB/PC/Softphone combination. You get both the benefits of a softphone (tight pc integration like click to dial) with the ability to just pick-up a phone call. Very interesting.

Below are comments:
I am not using the unit in combination with OCS but with Bria from Counterpath. In Bria all buttons are functional and the device is a good alternative to a hardphone. I use it in combination with an open-source SIP server.

Also, consider replacing the Polycom CX300 by Plantronics P540 because the Plantronics does Echo Cancellation, the Polycom relies on software to do it. I understood from Counterpath that the equal Plantronics P540, running firmware has no echo problems.
One of the problems with a hardware based-phone is that it is still a bit hard to interact with the desk phone from your PC. Too hard/complex in my opinion. For example click to dial and smoothly discovering phone features (phone system and phone handset features). I think something like the Plantronics P540 combined with Counterpath's Bria may help to improve this. But the problem of a rebooting PC making the phone inoperable still exists.

I think perhaps the best solution would be a computer based "desk phone helper" application that brings a layer that makes the desk phone & phone system easier to use. Also, with this method the deskphone keeps working if there is no PC running--it just looses a layer of ease of use.

We are currently working on a desk phone helper application for snom phones that makes finding and using a lot of the cool features in your IP phone system easier for all users. For example: with snom ONE IP PBX to transfer a call to another extension's voicemail you need to dial on the phone, then prefix the extension the call is headed to with <8>, then dial the extension # and finally hit . With our helper application this becomes: select extension call is going to and click . This is much easier, requires no manual to figure out the star code and ANY user from day one can remember how to do it. This is just one example: most IP PBX's have a lot of star codes combinations you need to remember that no normal phone user can remember. This project is currently a research project but if you have interest your welcome to email us. (click on contact above)

Below is my quick video review of the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 I did a while back:

Do you think phone handset makers need to do better at making phone system features discoverable? I'd like to hear you input!

Software Based Phone System for Mac: snom ONE

On a whim I decided to see how easy it is to install snom ONE phone system on a Macbook. The answer is: VERY! Just about 5 minutes later the snom ONE pbx was humming away on my little white MacBook with an extension registered and ready to roll! Wow!

Yeah, I know this is a Windows blog...but I don't want Mac people to miss out on this good system! ;-)

The Mac based SIP Client/ Softphone you better not miss!

More Mac Phone System Stuff on this Blog:

Checkout the Mac snom install video above:

Various Thoughts, Opinions and Findings About Newly Released snom ONE IP Phone System

snom has released a very strong software based phone system offering call snom ONE. snom ONE is based on pbxnsip which has been in developement for about 10 years. snom ONE is an extremely mature and stable software based phone system (Windows, Linux, Mac). Our experience is that it will run months on end (on Windows!) with absolutely no "fiddling". Okay, It's stable.

It is also incredibly feature rich and snom is making that a key message to customers: snom ONE is a feature rich phone system...and you get ALL the features for one simple price. The breadth of features is no joke--snom ONE is loaded: mobile phone integration, call recording, user initiated call recording, BLF, vm to email, IVR, wakup call, OCS/Lync integration, Exchange integration, remote phones, call center features like whisper, call barge and listen, agent queues and on and on. snom's slogan "one system all features" is not an idle comment. This product is loaded with features.

I think the free edition (10 extension/no feature limits) and the licensing simplicity on the paid edition will be well received and appreciated by SMB market. snom also points out that if you have multiple locations you can use the 10 extension free edition at those locations while HQ may have a paid edition.

The Benefits
Some of the benefits I see from the move from pbxnsip to snom.
-Brand recognition
-Marketing and Mindshare
-Support Responsiveness can be improved
-Developement Dollars
-complete snom phone system packaging
-Name will be Easier on the tongue. (it probably won't become a verb like lync but...)
-Pricing matches SMB needs perfectly

What Will snom Need to Work at on the snom ONE phone system?

Features: Operator panel, PC User Client and Instant Message useability.
Ease of use: When you install snom One you can largely have a 10 extension system up and running in 15 minutes server wise. Gateway configuration will need to made more automated. Currently PSTN or T1 gateway configuration is entirely manual. Considering this is one of the trickiest things to get setup on a software based phone system I believe this will need some work.
Support: snom has stumbled a bit on support coming out of the gate but is quickly remedying the lack of a findable, dedicated forum and documentation for the snom ONE product. I also think adding accessible  and timely telephone support option (even a paid option) will be necessary to have a confident following.

Other questions you might have I've included below:

Q: will g729 be included?
A: Yes, in paid editions. Yellow=5, Blue=10. (source)

Q: Which phone handsets will be supported?
A: Only snom handset are supported (source)

Q: Will other UA's/SIP devices be locked out?
A: According to snom spokesperson: "Only a certain number of "third party" devices are tolerated on the different versions." (source) snom ONE product manager, Jonathan Greenwood, has verified that that free edition will limit non snom UA's to 5, yellow=10 and blue=40. snom is quick to note that if you need multi-vendor support there is still a pbxnsip solution that supports multi-vendor phone handsets and UA's.

Q: What will the pricing of snom ONE phone system be?
A: The pricing is extremely affordable. 10 extensions=Free! Yellow/20 extension=$895 and Blue/Unlimited extension=$1495 MSRP. I am noticing that distributors that carry snom are SKUing up numbers with ETA of November 12, 2010.

Q: Will snom ONE require yearly maintenance to stay on the latest version?
A: No definitive answer yet. One comment indicated updates will be gratis. This would match snom's current model related to snom handset firmware updates. The lack of snom ONE maintenance or renewal SKU's at distributors would seem to support this. On the flip side this is quite unusual to have no upgrade cost for a pure software PBX. (examples: Microsoft Lync, 3CX, pbxnsip)

Q: Will pbxnsip license holders be able to migrate to snom ONE?
A: They can but will loose the ability to pnp provision or connect phone handsets other than snom so it doesn't make a lot of sense to make that vertical move.

Q: What size company is snom ONE designed for?
A: According to snom the sweet spot is 4 to 150 users. It was interesting to note that over 150 users snom expects companies to be looking at something like Microsoft Lync. That is quite interesting and fits in with snom's OCS/Lync compatibility which I think is a great move.


My opinion is that pbxnsip joining snom is a great move. I am hoping that the snom will be able to find a good balance between "openess" & "closedness" in snom ONE and be able to provide responsive support in some fashion. snom ONE is an extremely sound, secure and feature rich product. I am excited about more people getting to know about this very good product.

Get your copy of snom ONE at:

Don't overlook our video training and other resources for snom ONE:

Free 3CX SIP SoftPhone for Windows Gets New Features & Fixes in RC1

3CX has update their free SIP soft phone for Windows. The 3CX phone is a dial pad centric SIP soft phone that works with any standard SIP PBX as well as 3CX's own IP PBX. Since it is free there is no G729 but otherwise it has a nice set of features.

One of the interesting feature adds is BLF. They have also added the ability to copy and paste phone number into the soft phone. It also appears that Jabra headsets will now work with the 3CX phone. There are also some bug fixes and usability enhancements. Take a look at this soft phone.

Just a plug for those who may not know that I've co-written a book on the 3CX phone system. You can take a look and order it here. Also at our company we do phone system consulting so if your looking for assistance give us a call by the contact information at the top of this blog.

Read More on 3CX's Blog:

Nortel 1535: Cheapest SIP Video Phone In the World: $42USD

I keep seeing this phone popping up at ridiculously low prices. Want to play with a videophone? Here is your chance. Nerdvittles has a good article:

Part 2 - Adding an Extension to Your snom ONE Phone System (video)

snom keeps improving the wiki and forum offering for their newly released snom ONE phone system. The snom ONE phone system is cross platform (linux, mac & windows) and there is a 10 extension free edition! This is no "freebee" quality phone system--its a truly enterprise grade system.

Below is a quick video on how to add an extension.

snom Tip: View Your Snom Phone Display Remotely Via Web Interface

Did you know you can view the screen of a snom deskphone remotely via the web? Just type in http://snomdeskphone_ip_address/screen.bmp. You will get a bmp of the phone screen! If there is an administrator password on the phone (which there better be! ;-) you will need to type that in one time.

Also I'm curious if I'm the only one that thinks it would be excellent if desk phone manufacturers would make "helper software" for the desktop computer to make tasks on the deskphone easier? Things like copy&paste dialing, easier access to pbx features (like intercom, call recording, transfer to voicemail, etc), perhaps add videostream to a non-video deskphone?

Blink: Free, High Quality, Multi-Platform SIP Client to be Released for Windows

If you are looking for a free, multi-platform, multi-modal, contact-centric SIP client with a solid SIP stack and refined user interface--look no further than Blink.

Blink also does conference calls, multiple simultaneous conferences, excellent multiple call handing, HD voice and Google contacts integration. Blink has a features call "bonjour" that allows people on the same network to communicate without a SIP server involved! (simple in house survivability?) Oh, I almost forgot that is has client call recording. To top everything off Blink has a very refined UI and even the sounds are very elegant and provide excellent feedback.

Here is my quick look at the beta of Blink for Windows:

There have also been hints by a Blink insider that there may be a mobile edition on the roadmap. No promises there.

The Blink SIP client combined with snom ONE small business phone system can make an entirely free and extremely high quality phone system. AG Projects (maker of Blink) will also host the back end SIP server for you.

Watch for the soon coming release of Blink for Windows:

Twitter Blink for Windows Announcement:

Someone Is Attempting to Hack Into Your Windows (or Linux) Phone System Right Now

NOTE: The attacks mentioned below are equally targeted at Linux, Mac and Windows. SIP attack vulnerabilities are the same for all of them.

Your Windows PBX is just waiting to be hacked! I'm not kidding. I happen to be on a security kick right now. The other day I was monitoring the incoming SIP traffic on a network. Guess how long it went until some unknown IP address was trying to login to the PBX? Less than 10 minutes! In another case a small business using a voip phonesystem got a call from their phone company asking if they really wanted to be making calls to Nigeria?!!

Windows based phone system vendors are also becoming aware that security is not just "feature" to tick off and list along with hundreds of others but a core pillar of a robust communication solution.

3CX issued a big security fix for v9 of the 3CX phone system at the beginning of September to address some urgent vulnerabilities. According to 3CX "it is very important that you install this update asap". This is veiled language to mean if someone fires up SipVicious and points it at your unpatched 3CX PBX it can bring it to a crawl and render it unusable. Get patched.

pbxnsip has been paying quite a bit of attention to security for some time. Or as they put it "Security was not an afterthought and focused on since day 1." You can read more on pbxnsip security features here. Automatically blocking malicious IP addresses attempting to hack SIP passwords has been in place since v4.0. Thorough security breach notification system is in place via email notices, snmp or syslog. Since pbxnsip is a great fit for the SMB as well as large hosted implementations it is not surprising the focus on security is high.

This email always gives me a warm sense of security. ;-)

 I did a quick search of the Windows-based Yeastar BizPBX Administrator manual and the word security came up 3 times and never in relation to SIP attacks. A quick search of the 3CX phone system admin manual turns up 2 references to security. (I was a little surprised by that) Another Windows PBX from PCBest had no references to security in their manual. Contrast this to pbxnsip/snomONE's admin manual with no less than 25 references to security.

What can you do?

-Absolutely use secure SIP passwords
-Turn on PBX features to fend off SIP hacker attacks with (such as auto block IP address)
-Delete unused test extension accounts that aren't secured
-Have secure web users portal logins
-Limit registrations per extension to one
-Use secure SIP trunk passwords as well.
-Become familiar with a tool like sipvicious (links below)
-STAY ON MAINTENANCE for your PBX & keep it updated so you don't get taken down.

With phone system and communication solutions becoming easier and easier to implement and administrate the possbility that some business owner will install a phone system and have it in a very vulnerable state is highly possible. After a $500 SIP trunk bill for calls to Timbuktu or a phone system that is brought to crawl on your busiest day of the year because of DOS --security gets front top attention!
Is there anymore security measures you would add to this list? If so please comment below!

(aka Freindly Scanner)