What ip phones brand / models let easy configuration and full Freepbx compatibility?


I’m using Freepbx since few monthes and so far i only used soft phones to work with my extensions.
My local config for 15 users : Freepbx distro installed on a Intel i3 / 8 Gb RAM / 512 Mb SSD desktop.

Today, i need to add physical ip phones and would like to get ip phones that will allow a pretty straight forward configuration to set SIP configuration for my extensions.

Actually i need ip phones that are known to have pretty good Freepbx compatibility as i don’t want to struggle with tricky configs.

Of course, Sangoma phones are designed to work with Freepbx but i read on that forums some models S500 / S700 may have trouble when they associated with other phones from that brand.

So i 'm also considering Grandstream brand such as GXP-2160 or Fanvil phones because they look good and they aren’t too expensive.

  • I need a DECT base and 2 wireless phones + 1 main office phone + 5 desk phones.

I’m considering to go with Sangoma for a DECT base and phone since other brands do not have lot DECT phones in their catalog.

Are brands could be mixed each other on an installation or it is recommanded to get all phones in the same brand ?

Can you please share your experience with these alternative brands ?
Many thanks for advices and experience.

The tightest phone integration is with Sangoma S series phones, hands down. I don’t know what you’ve read, but there are no issues with mixing different models.

You can mix and match whatever you want, my desk has phones from 8 different manufacturers and they work fine together. But each make has its own little quirks that you have to get used to, so if you goal is simplicity then you want to keep the brands to a minimum.

The only concern when mixing phones is, if you use DHCP option 66 to provision the phones, and some brands require a different provisioning string than other.

The thing about mixing phone brands and using different Option 66 provisioning strings can be solved, but it requires some pretty deep DHCP magic, and I don’t think the DHCP server on FreePBX is up to the task on that.

You can set up different “DHCP Environments” based on information passed to DHCP about the destination. It’s not simple and requires a lot of intimate knowledge about how DHCP client identify themselves to the host.

One “shortcut” is to allocate IP address blocks based on MAC addresses of the phones (dedicating addresses to the phones) and then setting the environment up in that phone using the MAC Address identification. DNSMasq doesn’t really do this in a simple way either, but it is possible. Note that this particular method is ONLY required if you want to mess with Option 66 on a “per phone” basis. It is a per-phone thing and requires a lot of manual intervention.

The takeaway is that you can set up different provisioning options for different phones, but it’s not going to automatic or pretty.

I’ve always had good luck with Aastra phones, these were the phones that started the whole “phone apps” environment from Schmoozecom/Sangoma. Sadly, these phones aren’t being made any more. The good news is that Sangoma will let you have the Endpoint Manager AND Phone apps for FREE if you use Sangoma phones (As mentioned above.) The good news is that with Sangoma having produced phones that have great integration with Endpoint Manager and the Phone Apps, they seem to be showing us that they will continue to support those two apps. With my limited exposure (S500/505) to Sangoma phones, I like what I see. I’ll be rolling out a 20 phone system this month using the S505 and it should be pretty easy from what I’ve experienced so far. Good Luck!

I use the Grandstream 2130’s and 2170’s. I like them quite a bit, however, you do have to tinker with the base file to make them work…not as “plug-n-play” as the Sangoma phones.

for what it’s worth

I use the Grandstream 2130’s and 2170’s.

Can you please tell me what should be modified into the base file of these phones and how you push that into the phone ?

Not trying be a shill here, (I’m an employee of ClearlyIP now to say that upfront) ClearlyIP phones have easy configuration with an easy to load module, and phone application integration with PBX functions, instructions are here https://kb.clearlyip.com/phones/Installing-the-FreePBX-Module.html ClearlyIP does not currently offer a DECT phone, but as stated by others you can mix and match platforms easily.

I have 3 different models of Aastra phones (they come up from time to time in the used market) All 3 models I have lack jitter buffers thus making them useless on a WAN. They are fine for LAN use.

Hi Icn,

If you want easy to setup then go with Sangoma’s phones. I have collected the following phones during my testing and experimentation with FreePBX

Cisco 7940
linksys SPseries
polycom (multiple models)

All cost under $10 per phone (I got them used at places like Goodwill, and local junk computer stores) All have quirks to setup but all play nicely with each other once they are setup.

I do not use Endpoint Manager, I use a DHCP on a dd-wrt loaded router, a TFTP and an FTP server on Ubunti Linux plus text configuration files. The reason is that I want the fullest control possible over the phone, not what Sangoma’s idea of control over the phone is supposed to be. (it’s also cheaper)

As a rule the newer (and originally more expensive) phones on the used market have more features. I would STRONGLY ADVISE you get at least ONE of the instrument you are interested in FIRST and try it out.

For a newbie, definitely get all the same make and model of phone. And my $0.02 on this is that unless you are getting really high end phones (like the ones with color LCD screens and lots of programmable buttons) you are wasting your money buying new devices. The secondhand market is full of used phones that have black and white LCD screens and look like they are 20 years old, that are very cheap. You can even get Sangoma phones on there that are supported by Extension Manager.

If I had a customer wanting to spend the money on new instruments I might not do Sangoma though, as it does not appear that they have video phones in their lineup. Polycom has the VVX1500 that has both video and audio that looks interesting. However the softphone video support out there for the free softphone programs stinks. Frankly most of the free softphones out there stink. My daily use softphone is the OLDER version of xlite (the NEW version is worse)

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