FreePBX for Dummies?

I’m RELATIVELY familiar

Post removed…

Again especially as a neewbie (hopefully you understand the that you are in for a long haul getting Cisco7xxx usefully working)

You chose the cheapest in money but the most expensive it time hardware, that is just a fact

but please vaya con dios

I didn’t know being on a budget was offensive/illegal, please quit posting in this discussion, your harassment is not needed here.

This has me intrigued! I should look for an SCCP guide on this, all this stuff on the file shown is things I also need info on, or am I able to cross-reference this with the SIP file?

Found a guide, I think… though I might need help… I might, maybe someone can help me go through it one step at a time?

This is not intended as harassment it is from @xrobau (quite well respected here) consider it while you contrive a solution


Yes, I know you bought those 7962’s cheaply. And yes, I’m sure the person who sold it to you swore blind that they were great SIP phones. Bad news. That person lied to you. They’re terrible SIP phones.

Cisco 7 series phones are SCCP phones, that have ancient (12+ years old) hack-y firmware that allows them to act like a buggy and unreliable SIP phone, and unless you WANT a buggy and unreliable sip phone, you’re just going to end up hating yourself in the future, while everyone who has already gone through this is trying to convince you NOW, before you waste a month of your time discovering this for yourself.

I’ve added some automod rules to automatically remove posts, because this is just a massive waste of everyone’s time.

If you’ve bought Cisco phones for $5 each, then that is a pretty good indication of their value. Go and try to buy some SPA504’s for the same price, and you’ll find out that you can’t, because THEY are SIP phones, and the 79’s aren’t.

Edit: I looked on ebay. 7960s are AUD$5 each. SPA504s are AUD$30 each. Spend the $25 extra per phone. Seriously, it’s just not worth your time.

edit: I stand by this post

Well, they’re terrible for what I need them for, but they’re actually pretty good for SIP, if you look at it from the standpoint of someone whose needs are barebones, but I won’t lie, SIP just isn’t what I need, so I get that, and you quite literally copied what someone else said, which… I’ve already read… Anyway, I already understand the whole concept, but there’s really no need to remind me. Right now I just don’t have the time or the patience to deal with SCCP, but I’ll keep an eye out for anyone who’d be willing to help walk me through all this.

Then if you don’t have the ‘time or patience’ for it but wan’t someone else to do it for you contact @cynjut our expert here :wink:

What are you trying to accomplish? With most hobbies, the knowledge and skills gained have economic value, even if not used for financial gain. For example, you might advise your friends with small businesses about their communications, or do a phone system for your church or favorite charity. If that’s part of your vision, I recommend focusing on core PBX functions (trunking, routing, IVRs, queues, recording, voicemail, etc.), rather than the minute details of beating 79xx phones into submission using the SIP protocol.

An exception might be if you have a buddy who wants to replace 100 phones in his business on a low budget. In that case, learning about SCCP is a possible path to a solution, which you should compare with other options.

That’s generally not a good idea and causes many problems. For example, returning a call from history won’t work, because the caller ID won’t include the 9. If you set up the PBX to prepend 9 on incoming caller IDs, the phone won’t parse it well and it will be harder for the user to understand. There are many more subtle issues as well. Set up your system so you dial the same as from a mobile phone or landline.

Don’t prioritize form over substance.

I thought that they played US “precise tone plan” tones by default. What are you hearing and what would you like?

I agree that’s very useful, but AFAIK you either need to install patches in Asterisk or switch to SCCP. Other basic functions such as 3-way calling require the same treatment.

1 Like

I already have the core functions running, so that’s a good start?

Standard business phone behavior?

Would love to have the US tones circa 1950

I’m told SCCP would be easier to do rather than patches…

Not locking this thread (yet) but there have been numerous flagged posts and some already hidden as a result. To those participating, if you feel like you may have contributed something off-topic, repetitive, inflammatory or otherwise not furthering the goal of the thread, now would be an excellent time to edit your post(s).


So edited, mea culpa.

In the old days, the electromechanical systems required it. Almost everything made in the past 20 years is capable dialing without a 9 or 0 prefix, but could be configured to require it for compatibility with the legacy systems they replaced, to reduce the cost of retraining users. For a new system, the downsides of requiring a prefix far outweigh any advantages.

However, if these items interest you from a historical / museum / nostalgia point of view, check out They have a very active mailing list and considerable expertise on anything old telephony related. You can interconnect with their tandem and call fellow boomers from your candlestick or crank phone, without going over the PSTN.

1 Like

Historically a proceeding 9 was needed by Centrex systems to determine that the call was to the outside. The 0 was used to normalize any NXXNXXXXX, 1NXXNXXXXXX, NXXXXXX dials as defined by the front pages of the white pages available free from your local ‘Exchange’. Although you could synthesize that behavior in your outbound routes today it is just not needed and cumbersome

Ah, that makes sense, just wanted that 9 for second dial tone because that’s how all business phones behave, or just because XP

Just for a little bit of perspective, such as I can bring. I understand the attraction of the Cisco phones–they look good, they’re cheap, the buttons and knobs feel good, they’re cheap, Cisco has good name recognition, and they’re cheap.

The problem is that they really aren’t intended to be SIP phones, so getting them working with FreePBX is going to take a bit of hacking, either on the phones (which is what I did), or (apparently) on FreePBX itself. Not really the best thing for a n00b who’s probably overwhelmed with the system anyway. It’s in this perspective that people are saying to just use a different phone. You say:

…and of course the snark will get you nowhere. But as a point of comparison, right now on eBay, a 7941G runs about US$15:

A Yealink T46G (a much newer phone, color display, more bells and whistles) is US$30:

The Yealink, like any other halfway-modern SIP phone (at least that I’m aware of) will be child’s play to configure–browse to the phone’s web GUI; enter the extension number, password, and IP address of your server; and you’re off to the races. It supports BLF and all the other niceties out of the box. There are other Yealink models for less, and there are other vendors of SIP phones, too.

The point that I think most here are trying to make is that the cost delta is minimal, but the difference in ease of use is enormous. If you simply can’t afford the $30, you know your situation better than we do, but that really does limit your options. If you just want the challenge, well, that’s on you, but then your insistence on hand-holding via your own preferred method of communication is pretty strange.

1 Like

So you guys have been through a lot. Sorry I didn’t weigh in sooner.

This is going to be a long post, and I’m going to try to make it as educational as possible, so let me try:

  1. The 79xx phone is seriously underpowered for use as a SIP phone. The SIP load from Cisco does provide some basic functionality, but it sacrifices a lot of the phone’s capabilities to do it. It’s also a non-trivial configuration that isn’t sheparded by anyone one group or individual. There is also about 15 years worth of false starts and mistakes published that makes using these phones as SIP phones a real challenge.

  2. Working with SCCP is not hard, but it does require some typing. Back during Asterisk 1.6, I wrote a FreePBX SCCP Phone Manager that was horrible and introduced some real security risks. The good news is that a dude with the handle of PhantomVI picked up that work and brought it into the current FreePBX architecture. It provides you with (just about) everything you need to manage all SCCP phones from the GUI.

  3. The trick with getting the SCCP phones to work is getting all of the stuff that Cisco insists on doing with the phones into a structure that you can do in Asterisk. The Chan-SCCP-B project provides a “back end agnostic” (Asterisk and other free PBX systems) interface to the SCCP protocol which gives your phone the opportunity to connect to the Asterisk user agent. There are lot of things built into the Cisco universe that are hard to replicate without specific knowledge of the XML structures that Cisco insists on using.

With those three things said, I’d like to say that working with the 79xx (and most of the rest of the SCCP phones in the world) is simpler now than it ever has been. I wrote (and continue to update) a Wiki maintained on the Chan-SCCP-B GitHub Wiki on how to install the channel driver and get started with these phones. With the channel driver and the SCCP Manager installed on FreePBX, anyone can manage their SCCP phones.

If you follow that guidance, as several people that I’ve helped in the past will attest, you should be able to get Cisco phones up and running on your FreePBX installation in a couple of hours. There are some things you will need to do (like compile the channel driver for SCCP) and you will need to build the config file for your first phone based on the config that I used to install my first phones (it’s provided with the software).

There are some things that aren’t going to get better, no matter how hard you try. One is the amount of time it takes these phones to boot. You can set up your DHCP server to provide a lot of information for these phones, but it still takes a ridiculous amount of time for them to get booted up. That’s a “feature” of the phone and there’s no way around it.

I use these phone all the times in several different environments, and I find them to be an excellent fit for “value oriented” customers (like myself). If you install the channel driver and the SCCP Manager and have any trouble, just ask and I’ll walk you through the rest.

Now, on your Avaye phones - I’m pretty sure you’re out of luck. Most of the old Avaya phones you find are not SIP, but are another proprietary protocol that is completely opaque. I know of no one that’s reliably and reproducibly gotten them to work.


I’m not exactly overwhelmed by the system, just not sure what exactly I’m supposed to do to accomplish my end-goal…

This only further proves my issue, I’m on a budget, if you don’t like it, then the door is right behind you, nobody said you’re obligated to help me, I’ve spent the maximum amount of money my life can allow me to spend… I can barely take care of myself in the first place…

While a plausible offer, I’m sadly not interested, again, I’m on a budget and I’ve spent my max money, plus, if you look around, I think Yelalink is pretty much a Cisco knockoff, though gigabit IP phones are probably good, still not interested and I can’t spend any more money than I already have…