Aastra speakerphones

Hi all,

I’ve been experimenting with FreePBX and a Polycom SoundPoint IP 321. I love the build quality of the Polycom; the speakerphone is amazing. Callers can’t even tell I’m using a speakerphone. However, I’ve discovered that Polycom devices are an absolute pain to configure, so I’m looking for an alternative.

After a little research, I’ve found that Aastra is well regarded, and with good reason. Their configuration files are actually human readable (any Linux admin will feel right at home), and they offer a great feature set for the money.

I was considering the Aastra 6730i, but one reviewer complained that the speakerphone is very quiet. I want to use the phones as a paging/intercom system, so a loud and clear speakerphone is a must. Are all Aastra speakerphones on the quiet side, or is there a model that is comparable to the Polycom? I’d be deploying these in a home, mounted to walls, so I’d like something as inconspicuous (i.e. small) and inexpensive as possible.

Thanks in advance,


The Aastra speakerphones can’t compare to the Polycom’s

The Polycom’s use XML configs. Any Linux admin would be able to work with them also. The Aastra’s simple use a text format, one line per variable.

All is a moot point as the FreePBX endpoint manager project supports the Polycom phones, make them Plug and Play.

Dont get the 6730i as its not PoE and mounting on the wall will look much nicer without a big wall wart.
The speakerphones are OK, but I’ve noticed that they are quite deep and bass sounding using the G.722 wide and codec.

I didn’t notice the lack of PoE. Thanks for the heads up.

I guess it’s a matter of personal taste :slight_smile: I find Polycom’s XML structure to be very messy, especially compared to plain Aastra format.

Unfortunately, the Endpoint Manager hasn’t worked well for me. The only thing it configured properly was a single line appearance; I even had to set something as basic as the NTP server by hand.

I have to agree with you about the Polycom configs. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could configure more through the web GUI as well. I recently had the misfortune to have to configure and IP6000. Truly awful compared to configuring Aastra phones. I have to say though that the Aastra speakerphone function is not as good a Polycom. If you want an Aastra phone though I’d go for the 6731i which is at least PoE. I do like the Aastra phones especially when using them with the Aastra XML scripts to setup. Really simple to roll out and use.

Lee the only problem with this is it’s really dated. So much has changed in the last year.

1 - Two full time developers are now working at Schmooze on endpoint technologies. The Open Source endpoint manager has really come into it’s own. Polycom is one of the better supported phones in the EPM.

2 - If you really insist on using the web provisioning on a phone (incarnate of evil if you ask me, it makes support damn near impossible) the Polycom UC series firmware has a new UI that exposes most every feature

3 - Deploying Aastra scripts on new installations is a real issue. Aastra has walked away from the scripts, they don’t support new models and new firmware. Schmooze is done touching the scripts because a third party lawsuit claiming patent infringement (you know the firms that buy old patents and try to make money claiming infringement on IP).

So I hope this clears some issues up.

Sorry I just really hate with venom the fact that you can’t even set the VLAN for the IP6000 in the web interface. There is no excuse for this in my book. I guess if I had rolled out Polycom phones overall it might have been a different story but in my case all I wanted to do was to install one conference phone. For this all I wanted was a decent web config interface. The IP6000 has the worst web config for a phone that I have ever come across.

Setting the VLAN in the web interface? Not sure how that would be helpful.

I assume you are going to let it DHCP in the native VLAN, set the VLAN, reboot the phone then program it via the web page?

If you don’t have LLDP/MED setup on your switch you set the VLAN via the display on the phone. To me this is the one exception to the no local config rule.

Is the 6000 too old to use the UC firmware (the one with the good web interface)?

I know I sound like a broken record but, what’s wrong with the endpoint manager?

You mention end point managers, which one in specific, as far as the open source, and if Schmooze has one, is it an available option, or sold as a module like some of the things they do?

Also this is the first I have seen on Aastra walking away from supporting their scripts. If true, as I know the phone do a damn nice job of self configuring once the aastra daemons are setup, as the phone still going to be supported as part of the FreePBX distro?

I am for sure curious about some of this, as I have been using Aastra phones (we have a lot of the 57i’s in use) and in general found them a lot nicer to work with than the Cisco’s we had been using. I haven’t actually worked with the Polycom’s, but wondering if I need to consider moving away from Aastra or not. I took a look around on the Schmooze site, and see they list Aastra’s as what they are selling and supporting, so hopefully I am wrong in thinking I need to consider an alternative, and I can continue to use Aastra phones along with FreePBX distro and find it will be supported…


Yeah, this is a complicated subject.

When I say EPM I mean the Open Source version that Andrew maintains (provisioner.net)

Aastra has not touched the scripts in 2 years, you will find no links to them on the Aastra site anymore

Schmooze picked up the ball and kept them updated with the distro

Schmooze was hit with a suit regarding patent infringement and had to stop supporting the Open Source version.

Schmooze commercial products have completely customized scripts, because of licensing they can’t be made open source (I can’t comment further, maybe Tony will)

I know that is not the best news. If it helps I have not set the new course for my business and we have 1000’s of Aastra’s on our service.

Absolutely nothing is wrong with end point manager. I really like it. It’s a brilliant module.

I wasn’t using end point manager at that particular installation as I used the Aastra XML scripts to setup the phones and didn’t have the need to use it. All of that works brilliantly. I’ve never come across an IP phone before where you can do basic config through the web interface.

What made it even more annoying is that the IP6000 came with not a scrap of information in the box. No quick start guide, no manual, not even on CD. I have no idea if it’s too old to use the UC firmware as I didn’t look as I have no idea what Polycom UC firmware can/will do.

For such an expensive device I would have though Polycom could at leave print a little leaflet saying something about setting it up or put a documentation CD (about 5p worth) to give you some idea without having to search the web for ideas.

If what you are saying about the Aastra XML scripts is true, and I’m sure it is looking at what’s happening with the, I will have to find an alternative to Aastra as the standard phone that I use. I’m not sure it will be Polycom though.

You can have the EMP and Aastra scripts, just don’t EPM the Aastra phones.

The Polycom phones are only sold to authorized resellers. It is assumed they are properly trained as you have to be to sell the stuff. The grey market kind of makes this an issue, Polycom doesn’t support end users.

I can’t imagine a quick start being relevant as it depends on the platform.

The good thing is that Polycom documentation on their web site is awesome and has a matrix of what software is needed for what. You can also go to the devices page and get the latest user and admin docs along with bootroms. The knowledbase is a treasure trove of information.

I remain to be convinced that providing no documentation at all with a device is a good thing.

Hopefully Tony will chirp in, or drop me a msg about this. I am somewhat concerned as I am looking at replacing a couple hundred handsets in an Avaya displacement at a location, and in the smaller server (about a hundred handsets) we did for the client we used all Aastra which they liked. I just hate to sell a ton of a dead end solution, or something that is going to see support ripped away from it soon after we purchase cases of the phones.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like the Aastra phones, the BT on the 6739’s is a bit wonky, but the 57i’s have been about bulletproof from what we can see, so a nice phone. It just scares me the talk that the scripts are not only pulled, but that people are being sued for trying to support/use them, and though all the XML treats they give are neat, the nicest thing was the auto-provisioning of the phones, it can be handed to an employee, they plug it in, enter the extension # and VM pass, and bingo they are live.

I haven’t even played with the Polycom phones, but know they are a well liked company, so am wondering if I need to look at an alternative before I buy a boatload more Aastra’s…