Digium Phones – A Smart Choice with Switchvox

July 10, 2012 by Christina Smith

Nobody likes being told that if they want to use “x” phone system they have to use “x” phones.  When a decision maker hears that they have no choice in what phones they use, they seem to want a different type of phone just out of spite. It’s like going to a restaurant and seeing the words “No Substitutions” on the menu…

Luckily, Switchvox by Digium is an open sourced platform with an Asterisk core which allows you to use just about any SIP phone that will work with Asterisk. However, for people who breathe a little easier when their entire solution is single-branded, now Digium offers their own brand of phone that works seemlessly with Switchvox (and any other Asterisk deployment, too, but here I am talking about installing the phone with Switchvox).

So if you are deploying Switchvox for the first time, or are looking to add new phones to your current Switchvox deployment, there are good reasons to consider Digium phones. Time is money, so the most important reason would be how fast you can be up and running.

Ease of Deployment

This is the most obvious reason you should consider Digium phones with your Switchvox system. Here at VoIP Supply, we have been running Switchvox for years.  When Digium released their phones, I brought 3 of them in house for testing. I have a Digium D70 here at my desk. If you have read my other posts you know that I am by no means technically gifted. However I was able to connect and configure my Digium D70 phone in less than 5 minutes.

When I removed the phone from the box, I attached the handset and the desk mount. I am pretty sure that attaching the desk stand was the hardest part of installation. I am not on a PoE switch, so I also ordered a Digium 5v power supply which I plugged into the D70. Then I unplugged the LAN connection from my Polycom IP550 and plugged it into my Digium D70.

At that point the backlit screen went to work. First it searched the network for a Switchvox server. Since we only have one, it defaulted to our server and said “Hey, is this the server you want?” – well, that’s not really what it said, but that’s what it meant. Of course I told it “yes”.

Digium D70 IP Phone for Asterisk

Then my entire company directory came up on the screen and the Digium phone asked me to choose my extension from the list. Easily enough, I scrolled down the list, found CHRISTINA SMITH, and hit SELECT. From that point the phone went through a firmware update that took about 3 minutes. The screen flashed and just like that I was up and running.  My phonebook from my Switchvox Switchboard was showing up on the rapid dial keys on the right hand side.

Then I had a little fun and reset my ringer from the ample choices that Digium gave me to assure maximum annoyance to my neighbors here in the office. From my Switchvox menu on my PC, I even uploaded a picture of my dog to use as the splash screen on the Digium D70 phone so when I am not on a call I can see something besides the Digium Logo. All in all, I was up and running without the support of an IT person in less than 5 minutes.

When doing a mass deployment, imagine the work hours that can be saved when each user can plug in and get up and running themselves without an IT person coming to each desktop.  In addition, the Switchboard gives your users maximum flexibility over what extensions occupy their rapid dial keys without having to type in the IP address of the phone, have an admin password, and know how to configure a phone. Even an entry level associate who knows how to use their Switchvox Switchboard can easily navigate preferences on their Digium phone.

Some Snags You May Encounter

Installation of the Digium D70 was super fast and easy, even without an IT person nearby…. once the Switchvox server was ready to accept new Digium phones.

Here are some snags you may come across and how to fix them.

  • Phone does not find a Switchvox Server – Make sure that your Switchvox server is up to date on the current firmware which is 5.5.3.2. If you are not running the most current version, your phone may not find your Switchvox server.
  • Phone is asking for an Assignment Code Your IT person can find this code in the Admin Suite on the main Switchvox console. To get there, your Switchvox administrator should log in to the Admin Console, click on SETUP, then on Digium Phones, and then on Phone Assignment Options. They can give the user the shown assignment code, or open the authentication for auto-discovery of attached phones (much easier when installing a bunch of phones at one time).
  • Switchvox Admin Suite is ‘grayed out’ – so your phone is asking for an assignment code, your IT person goes to the Admin Suite, but it is grayed out and no info is available. In this case, the Switchvox Admin need to reset their Admin rights. To do this on the Switchvox Admin Console, go to ADMINS and then MANAGE. Find the person who is opening the authentication to register the phones (See Assignment code question above) and make sure that person has read/right capabilities under PHONES.

Above are the few snags I ran into while installing and configuring my Digium phone with Switchvox. It was literally so easy that I was able to connect, configure and use the Digium D70 in less than 5 minutes.


2 Comments

  • That’s a really good point you make about how much time will be saved with mass deployment. The ease of deployment of this office phone system makes it a great option for large companies. Of course, someone will still have to oversee deployment and make sure that everyone gets connected correctly.

    • Yes, this is true. You can’t completely eliminate the need for IT oversight, but this way an administrator can leave simple instructions with each phone at each desk and assist those who have trouble. It is far more efficient than walking desk to desk with a cart of phones and provisioning it right there after hours or while the desk occupant stands there and waits.

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