First Look: Cisco SPA525G Desktop IP Phone with WiFi, BlueTooth and More!

December 25, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Cisco has released a new, 5-line IP phone, the SPA525G….and VoIPSupply has it first! This product breaks new ground in a number of areas which we will discuss in further detail here on the The VoIP Insider.

The Cisco SPA525G is quite similar in appearance to the popular Linksys SPA-9XX series, SIP desktop IP Phones. With the integration of the Linksys Small Business product line into Cisco’s own SMB product division, the SPA525G differs from Linksys IP phone products of the past in a number of areas.

First off, the SPA525G supports both SIP and Cisco’s proprietary SPCP protocol, used in the popular UC500. The phone makes use of CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) to determine if it is on a UC500 network or a SIP network. We have had an SPA525G in our lab for a few days, and have done some testing on the Linksys SPA9000, Trixbox and Digium’s Switchvox, all SIP based IP PBXs. The SPA525G seems equally at home on a SIP or Cisco proprietary platform. The SPA525G will support the Cisco UC500 feature set as well. Note: The SPA525G does not support the full Callmanager UC / Callmanager Express feature set, but is only intended for use with the Cisco UC500 or a SIP platform.

The next surprising feature of the Cisco SPA525G is how it connects to the network. The phone has dual onboard ethernet ports with support for 802.3af Power Over Ethernet. In addition, the SPA525G has a built-in 802.11G WiFi client supporting multiple AP profiles, WiFi Protected Setup, WEP and WPA authentication/encryption. Wired or Wireless ethernet connectivity make the SPA525G a lot more versatile, and this feature is sure to be popular with users. In our testing the SPA525G quickly scanned for available WiFi networks, and was a snap to configure.

The Cisco SPA525G is also the only IP phone we are aware of that offers native support for BlueTooth. We easily paired the phone with BlueTooth headset products from Plantronics and Jabra without a hitch. If BlueTooth is not your thing, the phone also offers a built-in 2.5mm headset jack.

You will also notice a built in USB 2.0 port on top of the Cisco SPA525G phone. Today you can plug in any USB storage media and play MP3’s right on the phone with the built-in MP3 player….easily accessible via the soft-menu on the phone. You can also utilize the super bright color LCD display on the phone to display photos, similar to the LCD digital picture frames that have become popular these days.

Cisco has also included several built-in XML web applications, that allow you to pull local weather and news feeds and view that content right on the phone display.

The Cisco SPA525G also offers both a Personal Address Book and support for LDAP / XML Corporate Directory.


  • Pedro Gonzalez

    A nice phone…But what audio codecs does it support?

  • Cory Andrews

    Pedro – The SPA-525g supports G.711 (a-Law and u-Law), G.729ab and G.726 (32KBPs)

  • No G.722 of any sort? Very surprising.

    Also: I’ve been remiss in keeping up with these for a while. Can XML URLs be pushed into the phone on an INVITE yet or is that still a “complex feature” only available on the proprietary protocols? In other words: do a screen pop on the phone when a call comes in with some arbitrary web-based data displayed?

  • voip enthusiast

    What a rip off for $400, when I can just go for a grandstream GXP 1200 for $74. Now you know where Cisco’s gross margins come from…

  • Zach Garcia

    This looks like a hot little phone… I’d love to see the other mfg’s follow suit with the native bluetooth.

    The only thing that bothers me though is the 2.5mm headset port… It’s bothered me for years with the Linksys SPA-9XX series phones. But price-wise it was always worth the compromise and concession. So hey Cisco, I know you’re listening: For a phone this price, with these features, it’s time to step it up a little and give us a real headset jack!

    Great write up Cory!

  • Brian West

    Rip off? Um the cisco is a more refined device. the grandstream still feels a little cheap. Granted they are getting better. But for this price I would go with a 7975G.


  • Gui Vieiro

    I think Nortel’s 1140e also has native bluetooth. Nortel recently released a SIP firmware load for their 11xx phones too.

  • mark

    More codec support like ilbc support would be nice. Also the spa9xx line audio support could be better. An improvement with 16khz or 32khz audio would have been a would have strengthened the point that this is first and for most a phone. Superb audio quality is first and formost the key. I have all the high end spaxxx phones. However I’m currently leaning to the snom 820 that has 16kHz audio and broader codec support including ilbc.

  • Grandstream 1200, have you seen that phone or reviewed its features.. or lack thereof? But hey, if you just need to talk then it’ll work fine.

    Nortel 1140e. nice but I’m worried about their financial status.

    400 is pricy but street price should be <$270.
    a five line, color screen, wireless enabled phone.. that’s not that bad.. or maybe I’m just spendthrift.
    Should work with Callmanager !
    Now, the 7985G I have is overpriced !!

  • $400, little bit expensive for a small business IP phone…

  • panton

    mark Snom 820 does not support iLBC.

  • What is the speakerphone like? The speakerphone was the big weakness of the SPA962 which this phone seems to replace.

  • Peter

    SPA 525G shines while you are using these features.
    1. Any locations where there is a WIFI access.
    2. Bluetooth.
    3. Citrix or any other softwares it can remotely connect to your desktop.
    4. MP3
    5. Color display where you can upload your pictures like a digital picture display frame.

  • May-Britt

    Can you please help me find a shop where I can go and buy this phone in Fuengirola (malag) ??

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