Linksys SPA962 phone with SPA932 attendant console - initial thoughts

, posted: 15-Sep-2007 12:06

Hi all,

I think the Linksys SPA962 + SPA932 is cool!

A while back I ordered a Linksys SPA962 phone and it's attendant SPA932 console for demo stock, and just to generally see how they performed.
I got them (the phone and the console) setup to work with my Asterisk systems, and I'm really quite impressed with them both.
It was a bit of a struggle to get the BLF feature (LED lights up to indicate the monitored extension is in use) on the console keys working with Asterisk 1.4.11, but I got there in the end.

The Linksys SPA942 phones had been to date, my favourite phone to use. The look and feel, ease of use and sound quality were great.

But the SPA962, with it's big colour screen is even better!

You can even download your own 320x240 bmp images onto the phone, and you can convert wav files to custom ring tones. (Two cool gimmicks - but highly desirable)
And you can program it to monitor RSS feeds ( a cute gimmick in my view - but not really all that useful.)

It's a little pricey at $463 + GST RRP for the phone, but the SPA932 32 button attendant console is fairly low cost at $127 + GST RRP.

Linksys have only just bought out firmware on the SPA962 phone to allow the SPA932 attendant console to work with Asterisk systems. Strangely, I don't think that the SPA932 will work with Linksys' own SPA9000 yet!
You configure the SPA932 through the web interface of the SPA962 phone. You can have up to two SPA932s attached to a SPA962.

I think the SPA962 is great as an "ego" / "image" phone. Also, a very good choice for a receptionist phone on an Asterisk system.

Mind you, if you're paying the bills out of your own money, and image isn't really a concern, then I would probably go with the SPA942 phones for normal workers, and a Snom 320 for the receptionist (if you had up to 9 or 10 staff.)
The Snom 320 comes with 12 programmable buttons that can be configured to monitor extensions - with BLF

Snom phones are a better fit if you are using an Epygi Quadro IP PBX too; and Snom phones have a superior web interface - with click-to-dial built in.

The Snom 320 phone is about $320 + GST RRP, and the Snom expansion board is $260 + GST.
So not much difference in price when you have to get both, when compared to the SPA962+SPA932.

There are some (well quite a few really) things about Linksys that worry me:
  • The availability of current accurate administrative / configuration documentation for their products is very poor.
  • The daylight savings rule for NZ just doesn't work, and they've known about this for ages now.
  • I've had 3 SPA phone failures - all replaced under warranty. A higher failure rate than I think is reasonable.
  • They released the SPA932 months before firmware was available to actually use it!
  • Linksys has one employee in NZ - Mark Williams - who is very knowledgeable and helpful, but he has no local tech support, and doesn't appear to have effective access to any tech support out of Aus either. Let's hope he gets some more support soon.
  • The NZ Linksys Partner website is out of date, and incomplete - it doesn't even list the SPA962, and it still shows the SPA921 & SPA941 that are not being sold here in NZ any more (other than for clearing old stock.)
Better say some positive things about Linksys to balance this out a bit! Things I like about Linksys phones:
  • great screens
  • really nice look and feel
  • very easy to use
  • pretty good value for money
  • able to use low cost headsets with them (I use the Plantronics Mobile range normally)

Well that'll do for now.
Try a Linksys SPA962 - I think most of you will like them.







More information

Other related posts:
Building a NZ-tuned dialplan string for Linksys ATAs / IP phones






Comment by tonyhughes, on 15-Sep-2007 15:11

A phone monitoring RSS feeds would let you feed vital company info to phone users (network status, shipping delays, call volumes, commodity prices etc etc)


Author's note by AndrewTD, on 15-Sep-2007 15:18

Tony's right of course.

A company authoring it's own RSS feeds of useful information would actually be, well - useful!. And displaying them on the SPA962 phones (as opposed to their PCs) would be fairly practical.

I deal mainly with small - medium companies these days, so haven't seen that (company's own RSS feeds) done in real life here in NZ yet.


Comment by Hugh Blemings, on 17-Oct-2007 23:09

I'm a bit confused - will the BLF feature work with the latest firmware even if you don't have a sidecar attached to the phone ?



TIA,

Hugh


Author's note by AndrewTD, on 18-Oct-2007 22:51

HI Hugh,

the BLF (busy lamp field) is only relevant to the buttons/lights on the SPA932 "side-car".

The six lines buttons/lights on the SPA962 itself are not programmable at all, other than to select which registered line/extension they represent.

As opposed to the programmable buttons on phones like the Snom 3X0 services - pretty much all of their buttons can be programmed to do whatever you like, including BLF.

The thing about the firmware on the SPA962, is that is what allows you to configure the SPA932.


Comment by Jeremy A, on 24-Oct-2007 21:25

Hello Andrew,



I have acquired some SPA-962s for use in a small project. I also got given an SPA-932 to evaluate.



The 962s are working fine asides from an odd problem n NAT mode where they ring O.K. and can originate calls O.K. but reject incoming calls - only when the handset is picked up. However this is a problem I have solved with inventive address translation.



With regards the 932 I have what I think is the latest firmware on the 962 (5.17) but I get no web pages showing the 932 configuration. So at present it is simply showing orange lights on the console when pressed.



The documentation I can access is basically non-existent - and we are a registered Linksys reseller.



What magic do I need to do to



(a) configure the 932 in the 962



(b) get the 962/32 to work with a remote presence server



Thanks in advance



Jeremy


Author's note by AndrewTD, on 24-Oct-2007 22:41

Hi Jeremy,

the latest firmware for the SPA962 is 5.1.15SC - when that is loaded, you will be able to see a page to configure the SPA932.

You can access all Linksys downloads from this page: http://www.linksys.com/download
Just enter the product code i.e. SAP962 in the box at the top of the page, and it will take you to all the goodies available fore the device.

Also, you can find the Linksys IP phone adnmin guide on the SPA962 product page, found by browsing through the products/business/ip communications/LVS/SPA962
here is a link to the page: http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1162877562959&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=6295954250B01


The admin guide explains how to confiugure the SPA962 / SPA932.

Also, I have learnt a lot of useful information relating to the Linksys VoiP kit from the Voxilla forum - http://forum.voxilla.com/linksys-sipura-voip-support-forum/

They even have a thread specific to the SPA932.

Re remote presence. I'm not sure what you mean by that.
All I have done is get the SPA932 buttons to work as BLF and speed dials to registered extensions on an Asterisk server - I guess that is a form of remote presence.

Good luck.


Comment by Jeremy A, on 25-Oct-2007 00:09

Thanks for this information. It is exactly what I was looking for.

It hadn't occurred to me to use the international site. I have been using the Australian site and it is with hindsight clearly very deficient.

One further question. Do you have any information on dynamic management of the background image on the 962 (or of the soft keys for that matter) I have a potential application where changing the image under control of a remote application would be very useful. As would taking control of the soft keys.



Thanks



Jeremy


Author's note by AndrewTD, on 25-Oct-2007 12:03

Hi,

it is not possbile to configure the buttons on the SPA962 phone.
You can download a background image to the SPA962 - but I think it only updates at reboot - so probably not what you want.

You could use the RSS feeds on the phone or you could do something entirely separate from the phone - i.e. publish a web page viewed on the users PC.


Comment by Jeremy A, on 30-Oct-2007 16:55

SPA-962 screen angle

Hello Andrew,

One thing that really annoys me about the 962 is the viewability of the screen. The polarization is set so that it is only properly visible when your eyes are looking down from above the plane of the phone by about 20 degrees.

When the phone is resting on a desk using the back-stand your eyes are typically looking from 20 degrees below the plane so the screen is washed out/inverted.

I have rigged a stand to hold the phone near vertical on the desk so it is now visible when sitting.

I almost suspect they have got the polarization upside-down - electronically (?) or physically misplaced a polaroid filter (?)

Playing with the contrast control is no help at all.

Is this your experience? Or have I got a batch of duds?



Jeremy


Comment by fons, on 29-Nov-2007 21:01

I also use the SPA 932, but i have some strange issues: One touch transfer isn't reliable/user friendly when multiple incoming lines.



Another issue is when using blf for parking extensions the BLF state is always "in use" when restarting the phone OR asterisk (1.4.17). Only after manual parking / unparking a call the state is reliable.


Author's note by AndrewTD, on 29-Nov-2007 21:17

Hi all,

some catch-up comments.

1. I haven't found the screen angle to be a problem, but I don't use the phone everyday.

2. There is fairly recent new firmware out for the SPA962 - version 5.1.18sc. This firmware appears to fix the problem of the phone spontaneously rebooting itself several times a day when it had a SPA932 attached. It also fixes the problem where the daylight savings rule (for NZDT) was not properly interpreted.

3. I think the phone works best when the buttons configured on the SPA932 all relate to the Ext 1 identity of the SPA962. You can however use the syntax to relate different SPA962 buttons to different extension / lines on the phone.


4. I look forward to newer firmware still being released for the SPA962 - to match the functionality of the 5.2.2.a firmware just released for the SPA9[24]2 phones. I particularly like the screen saver function released in that new firmware. No news yet on when new f/w for the SAP962 is due.


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Andrew Thompson-Davies
Porirua
New Zealand


Hi, I am Andrew TD.

I've worked in ICT all my working life (20 + years now).

I've done a fair bit with VoIP over the years, and am especially interested in the deployment of HD or wideband voice. We will all be using it eventually - I'd just like to hasten the adoption - because it is so good.