Cisco 7960 & Asterisk – This is what IP telephony should be!

Folks who know me will understand I have this passion for most technology items that are either telephony or network related.  This goes back to my youth where I was enamored by the magic of 2400 baud modems and BBS’s.   It is also one of the reasons I went to work for Nortel for so many years.

 

For the past 2 years I have been running my own IP PBX using Asterisk and a combination of interesting telephony devices to make and receive PSTN calls.  I have been using a Bluetooth headset for work-related calls, but, after having my 3rd headset die in under two years, its clear they are not meant to be daily drivers.  So, I went out and picked up one of the IP phone products that my customers use quite frequently.  The Cisco 7960 IP Phone.

 

Yes, I am a HP guy, and I tried to get one of the HP 41xx series phones, but, no dice.  The HP products are great, they just require the use of MS Lync 2010.  While I do support Lync here, in an effort to have a wrking phone for work I went with the Cisco eBay route.  For $100 including the power brick, I have a almost new phone on my desk.

 

The difference between this IP phone and my other ATA’s and softphones is clear.  Not only did the phone require less than an hour to get running in SIP mode, I have had people comment on the quality of the sound in both speakerphone and handset modes.  The sound is clean, clear and crisp.  I usually had some complaints of echo, not so with the Cisco phone.

 

Using Endpoint Manager in Asterisk and FreePBX made getting the phone up and running in a cinch.  I already had all of the SIP firmwares for the 79xx series, so it was just grab and go.  Only had to change the extension to “nat=no” and viola the phone registered no problem.

 

My only complaint so far.. no backlight!  I do wish the screen had that, and more expensive phones do have the feature, but for $100 I’m not going to complain.

 

All in all, this is what IP telephony should be.  Simple, and easy to use!