Cisco IP Phone Headsets

May 3, 2010 by Garrett Smith

So you have put the research into it, tried out a demo unit, and finally you have decided on Cisco IP Phones for your VoIP deployment.

Selecting a headset for a Cisco Phone

In most cases the headset to use with your new VoIP phone is a hasty afterthought. VoIP Supply has done the research for you on headsets so you can decide quickly and with confidence which headsets are your best bet to use with your new Cisco IP phone.

The first thing you need to consider is the headset connection that comes on the base of the phone.

The Quick Disconnect Cord

Our friends in the headset industry, namely Jabra, VXI, and Plantronics, have been nice enough to split our corded headsets into 2 pieces – the cable from the phone to the Quick Disconnect connection (QD) and the cable that runs from the headset to the QD connection. So when buying a corded headset, first choose the headset, then choose the Quick Disconnect cord to run from the phone to the QD connection.

If you are using the Cisco Small Business line of IP phones, formerly known as Linksys, you will need a QD cord with a 2.5mm plug connection.

These phones include the SPA-9xx and SPA-5xx series models. The proper QD cord for these models would be the Jabra 1005143 or the VXI QD1095G. Once you have this cord, you can choose any VXI G series or Jabra corded headset.

If you are using the Cisco CP phones, including the CP-7940 series, CP-7960 series, CP-7970 series, CP-8961, and CP99xx series you need a QD cord with an RJ9 connection.

RJ9 is similar to a land line phone jack, only slightly smaller. The Jabra GN-1200 or VXI QD1029G will allow you to connect these phones to any Jabra or VXI G series headset.

The CP-7905, CP-7906, CP-7910, CP-7911, and CP-7912 do not have a dedicated headset port. If you have one of these phones and want to use a headset, you can still use the Jabra GN-1200 or VXI QD1029G but you will have to choose headset instead of the handset and plug the headset into the handset port.

Keep your handset handy though! You will still need it to pickup and end calls.

The next thing you need to consider is the background noise where the phone will be used and what kind of speakers and microphone will be needed.

Headset Styles

If your phone user is in a busy call center will low-walled cubicles, you will need a headset with a noise cancelling microphone. If you will be using your headset in a quieter environment, you can use a sound tube microphone. You also need to consider if you prefer to have your headset speakers on just one ear (monaural) or on both ears (binaural).

For a monaural headset with noise cancellation, your best bet is a VXi Passport 10G (monaural) or Passport 21G (binaural) with one of the QD cords mentioned above.

Another good choice would be a Jabra GN2020IP. Jabra offers the same product in a binaural design in the GN2025 IP. The GN2020IP and GN2025IP also support wideband or HD Voice.

If you have spent extra money to enjoy the benefits of HD Voice on your Cisco phone, you should also make sure your headset supports it. Now if you were looking for something with a lower price point and you didn’t need noise cancellation, Jabra offers the GN2010IP (monaural) and GN2015IP (Binaural).

These models have a sound tube instead of a noise cancelling microphone and are on average $25 cheaper than their NC equivalents. These models are corded and the headset sits atop your head like a headband.

If you want a corded headset but need more flexibility in wearing style, you might want to try a GN2124 NC or GN2119 ST.

Can you guess what the NC and ST stands for in these Jabra model numbers? Yep, Noise Cancelling and Sound Tube.

You choose which technology best fits your environment. The GN2119 ST supports the headband wearing style and also comes with 2 different ear hooks if you wanted to attach it to your ear. The BN2124NC supports headband, ear hook, or slingback (around the back of your neck). The flexible wearing style models are always monaural designs. Again, don’t forget your QD cord!

But then what if you need more mobility?

Wireless headsets range quite a bit in price and functionality.

Wireless Headsets

These days you can get a very simple wireless headset for under $300 or you can get one that rivals your Smart Phone with functionality and style. With wireless headsets you don’t normally need the QD cord, but you will need a handset lifter or Electronic Hookswitch Adapter (EHS) if you plan on answering and ending calls while wearing your headset away from your desk.

The Cisco CP-7942, 7945, 7962, 7965, and CP-7975 all support EHS. These phones will require a GN 14201-17 EHS cord. The rest will require a handset lifter. You can use Jabra GN1000 or VXI L50.

Most manufacturers offer a bundle of the headset, charging/pairing base, and lifter, such as the Jabra GN9330e bundle which includes a monaural headset with headband or over-the-ear wearing style, 1.9 GHz DECT pairing, and the GN1000 handset lifter.

Another option is the VXI V100 which offers headband, over-the-ear, or slingback wearing styles and a 1.9 GHz DECT base station- don’t forget the lifter! The VXi model, unlike the Jabra, does not require a separate cord for EHS models if you have one of those Cisco phones that offer EHS support.

High End Headsets

Then there is the “big boy” of cool headsets for those of us who like to have the newest technologies on our desks.

The Jabra Pro 9470 is a stylish accessory for the well appointed desktop. It boasts a glossy black finish on the 1.9GHz DECT charging base station alongside a 2.4” touch screen with Smart Setup wizard. Through this touch screen you can control which phones are connected to your headset.

It supports your Cisco IP Phone, softphone, and also your mobile phone! One headset allows you to answer 3 different phones. This headset is a handsome addition to the higher end Cisco IP Phones.

When installing your new Cisco IP phones, don’t forget your user’s needs. Your users who take a high volume will be more productive and experience less work fatigue with the proper headset. The models I have mentioned here have been tested to work with your Cisco phone, just don’t forget your QD cord!

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