FreePBX for Dummies?

(Dan) #61

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.

(Dave Burgess) #62

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.

(Robert Tramontana) #63

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…

(Robert Tramontana) #64

Cyn, I’d love to see you elsewhere, you might hold all the answers I need, as I’ve stated to a number of other people, I can do the legwork so long as I have the right guidance, if I need to type something lemme know, and I can put in that work!

(Robert Tramontana) #65

For the record; If ANYBODY here is somehow offended or insulted by the fact I’m on a budget, there’s no legal binding that says you HAVE to stay here, you can go, other experts would gladly swing by and see if they can lend a hand, and considering my budget, paid support is off the table for me, so to reiterate; I’m thankful for your input and willingness to help, I just have a rather unique situation, and frankly; I wish I didn’t… I wish my situation was a lot more common than it has been… but seeing as that’s not the case, I’m asking you all to bear with me, I’m in NO way an expert in this, so thanks for your patience…


As @cynjut explained, all the info that is needed is present in the link for chan-sccp-b
I followed it and was able to start using SCCP phones in less than an hour. Again, all the info is there, you just need to click the link and follow the instructions step-by-step.

(Robert Tramontana) #67

Understood… I dunno, I guess I just like having my progress monitored actively while listening for instruction? I’ll jump into it later, I know I’ll need to re-flash my phones before I go loading SCCP firmware into it, so… I’d still like to take input, but… anyone got anything inspirational to say before I jump into it? Maybe an example SEPMAC.XML with the SCCP config I can use before I jump into it? Or am I able to use my existing config and change “SIP” to “SCCP”?


The SCCP manager, which also has instructions in thst link, has several templates for the different 79xx models.
My advice, you should jump into it and try to move forward by yourself. Not trying to be an a**hole, but with all the time spent in this back and forth interchange of ideas, you could already had it working if you just clicked the links and moved forward.


I have yet to see anyone implementing chan_unistim but I’d be super interested in it if OP wants to add more diversity to his pbx. :slight_smile:

(Robert Tramontana) #70

Looks like I might be the first to do this?

(Robert Tramontana) #71

Life, man… not much I can do, life takes priority from hobbies… among other things taking priority, but I won’t divulge into it, the first thing I need is to prepare myself for the entire process, then I need to figure out why that source forge link is forbidden… which is one of the reasons why I needed to get into contact with Cyn…

(Robert Tramontana) #72

Well said!

(Dave Burgess) #73

The reason I wrote the Wiki in the first place was to make it so that anyone that wanted to implement the Chan-SCCP-B channel driver and FreePBX SCCP Manager could without having to rely on me making time to hold their hand through it. I really did spend a lot of time tuning and trying to explain as I went what to do and how to do it.

If you need a hand, post it here. If there’s a problem with the document, I’ll fix it as you work your way through it. It’s not that I am not willing to help, it’s that I work a 60-hour a week job in support of another industry and have my household and my elderly in-laws household to manage and maintain. The little bit of free time I have is precious, so spending it reading a document to someone just doesn’t seem like it has a lot of value to me. I hope that’s not too harsh.

If you are really interested in doing this Cisco thing, the simplest way to do it to follow the Wiki I spent all that time writing. It should go fast and you should be on your way in no time.

I have seen people start it over time, but I’ve never seen anyone actually get it going. There’s no money it (from what I can tell), so it would have to be a “Masters Degree” project to make it worthwhile at all.

(Robert Tramontana) #74

Makes perfect sense, I’ll be happy to have that link, if that’s okay? And there was a strange source forge link somewhere that was quoted here, what’s that about? Anyway… I’ll look into it…

(Dave Burgess) #75

When I originally started working with Chan-SCCP-B, the source was on SourceForge (I don’t think GitHub was even a thing). About 8-ish years ago, something happened and Dietrich moved the Chan-SCCP-B project to GitHub. The SF link is that old.

(Robert Tramontana) #76

Thanks for clarifying, is a new link up?

(Dave Burgess) #77

The “new” link is about eight years old, so yeah, the new link is up. should get your pretty close.

Some people have had cognitive problems with get command to download the files, but I think I’ve addressed those issues in the latest version of the guide.

(Robert Tramontana) #78

Sweet, I’ll look into it

(Robert Tramontana) #79

My first concern right at the top… is yum upgrade going to force my FreePBX to upgrade versions? If so, please tell me NOW before I touch anything, I’m worried about my VM breaking…


Definitely beyond what one would ask for free. Sorry. Please stop asking for this.

Does your vm not have a snapshot feature? If you are in the learning and playing around stages you need this. You can’t wait for community confirmation before every step. Take a snapshot, try something, see how it works, and either proceed or roll back.