Inexpensive freepbx/asterisk compatible phones


Thanks for this awesome group and great software.

Looking to set up a new phone system. I have setup Asterisk/FreePBX with basic SIP phones but I was looking at some affordable Cisco phones. I have read a few setup walk throughs on this forum and elsewhere online. Is there a table of compatible phones somewhere? Seems like some CISCO phones are simple and others are a nightmare. Watched a youtube video showing someone connecting a spa525g phone and it looked like a piece of cake, however i have read some forum posts where people have had to give up on their cisco phone. Many of those posts were from 4-5 years ago, so I don’t know if new versions are more capable with those phones and are causing less headaches?

Thanks for any input or any place to look for compatibility.

Lastly, has anyone ever had luck with video calling? Just curious, the organization I am working for now I think would benefit from it.


…define “inexpensive”!
I just received a new Digium D65 phone on Friday. Compared to a Sangoma s705 it is a clear winner. In contrast to the Ciscos the Digium D phones are made for Asterisk…and in contrast to the Sangoma the display is built in correctly ;-)…and the audio is much better on the d65.
Does video on a VoIP phone really make sense? Shouldnt this be done on a PC or Mac with a large screen?
Of course, Cisco provides much higher quality phones…but they are expensive and not made for Asterisk.

So…I prefer the Digium D65…although I couldnt find out yet, how to use the Digium phone apps and the freePBX Endpointmanager at the same time…so, I still have to do some research…

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Hi Stindl,

Thanks for the quick response!

Those phones look beautiful.Thanks for letting me know about the D65, I will research a bit more about it. I was looking at a Cisco SPA525G which are about $30 to $50 each if I buy 10 of them off ebay,so they are pretty affordable. I guess I was looking at the used/refurb market. Which I should have clarified. Used/refurbs don’t bother me, especially if it’s at a price point we can have a few on hand for a backup.

You make a good point about buying phones built for Asterisk, not sure I want to spend my days trying to fiddle with the settings to keep things up and running. However the youtube video I watched discussing the spa525g (Louis Rossmann 2016) made it look pretty easy.

What you said about Video calling makes sense as well. In the organization, I am currently helping at, they have several spots where they have phones without a computer. So I thought it could be helpful to actually see each other. I know it’s kind of wanting a bmw on a bicycle budget. I was looking at a 9971 made by cisco and they were in the $50-$75 price range with a camera. The thread I found discussing the 9971 looks doable but it’s much more complex that what I saw with the SPA525G, as an example.

Thanks for your input!

Warning #1. Knock it off.

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If you don’t mind getting EOL phones, I have a lot of Grandstream 1200 phones and they never gave me any issues. Granted they don’t have BLF keys or a big display, but if you are just looking for inexpensive phones and you don’t mind they are not getting any new firmware updates anymore, take a look at them. Not sure for how much you can get them, but I guess they should be cheap. Cisco 7900 series phones are excellent quality and very cheap given their quality, but they are not easy to configure. If you are willing to get your hands dirty, you can get them and make them work with SCCP using CHAN-SSCP-B driver, that way you get almost all functionality, if not just all, and you can’t go wrong with them if you don’t mind having to work a little harder to make them work, they’re not nightmarish to set up but certainly not the most easy ones.

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That’s cute. So how many other phones have their display built incorrectly? Do you know? You do understand how OEM’s work, right?

Designing your phone is like getting a tattoo. You go into the shop (OEM) and they have their flash art stock. You know, all the pre-designed art that you can choose from. So when you pick something and then get it you can’t be soooo shocked when you run into a rando that has the exact same tattoo. Why would they? Oh the other tattoo shop that dude went to had the same flash art to choose from.

If you want something original then you have to go through the entire process of making it original and paying for it. So basically by saying these phones have their display built wrong that would also mean other major players have their screens built wrong. Like Yealink, who everyone compares these phones to and think they are re-branded from Yealink. They’re not, they just happen to have the same OEM options.

So now, multiple brands using the same OEM. Can you please also find others where all the screens are built incorrectly? Because this seems urgent and we should address it. You bring it up often.

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Sorry…because of the warning #1…I cannot answer in detail.
The problem is that the display of the Sangoma s705 cannot be read, when the stand of the phone is in the lowest position and the phone isnt placed directly in front of you…because of the PC-keyboard. Yet, when you look at the screen from the other side of the desk and hold it in a similar angle…everything is fine…which tells me that the display should be built in upside down. This is just a suggestion for an easy fix.
It is not just me, who complained about the screen of the s705…but I provided a suggestion for an easy fix…
The Digium D65 has an excellent display…

Hey thanks for the response Arielgrin!

Yes, I don’t mind EOL phones, as long as they are a decent phones then I don’t care about firmware updates. Especially nice considering the price and that I can have a few extras available.

Thanks for the recommendations as well, I will check out those too. I looked at the 7900 series a bit. The 7975G is about $35/ea which really seems like a bargain. Interesting you mention the CHAN-SSCP-B Driver, I read a lot about it. Seems like that might work better with these cisco phones using SCCP rather than SIP. I imagine it won’t be easy, but I am only looking at 20 phones or so, so once I get a procedure down it might not be too bad. First one I imagine would be the most difficult.

Thanks for your input, I will check out grandstream phones as well.

Once we get the system set up there are a few modules we will most likely be purchasing from freePBX. In addition to the impressive phones they sell, it would be neat if you could buy a support package for a particular EoL or 3rd party phone. Like for $99 get all the setting files and walkthrough to set up the Cisco 7975G and use all the features of the phone with FreePBX and Asterisk. I’d pay it no problem. :slight_smile:

I almost want to buy a couple phones and go through the config to see if they are the right phone for us, before I buy the lot of them.

Thanks again for your input!

And yet you went into detail anyways to prove your point.


You can get new phones, low end model, for that cost.

I cannot understand people’s drive to the bottom for phones that they will likely use for years.

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So basically what you are saying is “The flatter I make the phone the harder it is to read the screen”. So what happens when the phone isn’t at it’s lowest position? What happens then? Is it more readable?

No one really positions their phone to be “as flat as possible to the desk” because the idea is to be able to turn your head and see the display. Not turn head and look down at desk. My phones sit on either side of my two screen display and I can turn my head to the right or left of those displays and see the phones just fine. If I lower the stands to make the phones almost flat with the desk, then yes I do have issues with seeing my screens properly. So I don’t do that.

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Thanks Sorvani,

Yes, you are correct, people do want the bottom dollar. I will check out the GXP1610 thanks for the suggestion. I have nothing against new obviously, trying to get the most for their money. People spend $1100 on a smartphone they will upgrade in a year or 2. Yet, not want to spend $200 on a desk phone they will keep for 10 years. Their current phones are probably 10 years old.

I would like them to see a nicer bigger color display however. The Sangoma s505/s705 are beautiful looking phones and sure it would work perfect. But is out of our budget currently… Another thing is the way they abuse phones here, accidentally and purposefully. Quick anecdote, there was one sales rep who always seem to have problems with his phone. Every few weeks we had an issue, handset or base always something. Then after changing out his phone for the 5th time, a coworker says oh ya, Kevin, if he has a bad call he will slam that handset down or knock the phone off his desk. Don’t think that would happen again as he’s way gone… but I do have some reservations about putting a $200 phone on a shipping desk where it might get knocked off accidentally. Just a preference… And as you pointed out there are less expensive phones options.

Thanks for your input!

Cisco 7900 series are great phones and they do work the best with SCCP indeed. It is not easy to configure them but it is not imposible either, they just require a little more handwork. Once you get one working, it is just a matter of copying the configuration file with the corresponding file name and editing the username and password. There is also a lot of examples and some guys here that can help you if you stumble, but you have to at least try to get the initial configuration file done.

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Thanks again arielgrin for the input! I will check those out. Good to know about the SCCP, thanks!

If you are an old-hand with Asterisk and FreePBX, use any phone you like - any SIP (or skinny) device can be made to work pretty well with FreePBX - it’s just a matter of working out the kinks.

However, if you are new to the system, why doom yourself to failure and make FreePBX look bad because YOU can’t figure out how to make things work.

Far too often people try to read one post and then think they can get it running and then blame the platform when they can’t - do yourself a favor and take the path of least resistance.

Sangoma and Digium phones are quite nice and usable and inexpensive (really all phones are pretty inexpensive nowadays) and integrate with FreePBX with the minimum of futzing around - and help is available.

Getting old Cisco’s off of EBay and trying to make them work is a LOT more work - what is your time worth? What is your companies time worth? If this is just for you as a hobbie, then fine, go for it.

But if you are doing this for a production environment, and you don’t already know how to make it work, buy phones that you know will work and get to the fun part - using the new shiny stuff and actually having everything work.

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Thanks for your input Greg,

I wouldn’t blame FreePBX if it didn’t work with some EoL phone I got off eBay, and from most posts I have read most users don’t.

True that it’s a bit confusing reading reviews on phones as many will say a phone works perfectly and some will say they couldn’t get it to work and gave up. Just like you read some good and some terrible reviews on Sangoma and Digium phones too. [Not badmouthing any phone/brand] This is true with all phones and reviews. Reading some bad reviews on a CISCO phones and they rated it 1 star because it didn’t have a power adapter. So it’s hard to decipher if the phone is good and if it’s compatible. I have some experience adding cisco phones to a Asterisk environment, and it all worked perfect, but I know models vary. And I agree does the company want to pay me my time to figure it out is a valid point for sure. It’d be neat if there was a table where people could share the phones they use with asterisk/freepbx and list what they did to get config working and maybe list what features they are having issues with.

Not trying to say I don’t value your input because your point makes a lot of sense. I am looking at some new phones as well, yet I don’t think you can blame people for trying to get the best phones with the money they have available, even if that is a EoL phone from eBay. Also, I’d rather spend more of the companies money and have things work out of the box without the headache. :exploding_head:

You probably read the forum a lot more than I have, do a lot of people purchase 30 phones of ebay and then blame FreePBX if it’s not working? I can’t really complain about free software but I am sure people do! I think it’s awesome software and am impressed with the community.

Thanks for your input.

You absolutely can blame people for doing stupid/bad things like that.

Just the time you are spending research super cheap phones has already paid for the cost of $100 phones. Without even getting into the “how to I make this old piece of crap actually work” that will occur with EoL devices. Oh and then the part of well how do I get a new pone when Bob slams his fist through it when his wife files for divorce and the model is no longer on ebay for a reasonable price.

This is basic math. Math that most SMB totally ignore and why most SMB fail in 3 years.

Reviews are hard - I personally don’t trust them at all - we have LOTS of one-off phones laying around the office because we have tried them and didn’t like them - if you are doing phones commercially (like we are) you HAVE to try them out yourself and test the snot out of them - otherwise you are going to sell something and then be stuck with the problems (or happiness) that it caused.

When Digium originally released their phones (D40, D50 and D70) we bought a bunch of them - tried to use them with FreePBX and it was painful - fast forward to many firmware releases later and some kind updates from the FreePBX folks and now they work fine - and I know that the newer models didn’t have the teething pains that the first generation phones did.

Sangoma phones had a much smoother launch but they too were dramatically improved with current firmware releases and updates to EPM - now they work great too.

So all I am saying is “Cheaper” is really relative - in 2004 when we were still selling Samsung Digital phones, we were thrilled when we could sell a phone for under $500 - we were kicking butt! Fast-Forward to today, and you can get spectacular phones for less than $200 - phones with more buttons and nice screens = happy users.

Cisco 79XX phones do not carry enough CPU or memory to really do SIP right. Things have to be sacrificed and they just end up being a pain.

You can add Chan-SCCP-B to the FreePBX mix, but this is not for the feint of heart or people that need to get a lot of work done in a short time. I do this, but I’ve been working with these phones for almost all of my telephony life and know them. I wouldn’t use this phone in SIP mode to beat a hobo to death.

There are lots of cheap phones out there. There are Chinese SIP phones that sell for as little as $20 each. The Sangoma and Digium phones are near that price point. I’d recommend staying away from old hardware since you are just getting started.

If you have a few days to waste learning about the foibles involved, there are lots of phones you can try. If you’re trying to knock down a need, stick with new and with names you trust.

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D65 is not an economical solution. There are many models of Yealinks that are much less expensive. I have tested about a dozen phones and testing more every day. I have narrowed my current list down to Grandstream, Yealink, and Polycom in that order. NOTE: If you plan on using call park feature both Grandstream and Yealink allow both pickup and park on one button! great job on the programming. Polycom is my 3rd choice only because I dont like a lot of their programming decisions… You can only program buttons in order (you cant skip a button and some of my customers like them laid out a specific way). I put my company logo on the phones we install, the Grandstream and Yealinks work great, the polycom is very finicky on what images work.