SIP hardware phones

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I’m trying to understand why vendors keep making 100Mbps integrated 1-port switches in their hardware SIP phones. Even the recently-announced D40 and D50 Digium phones are limited to 100Mbps. Only the more expensive models (like the D70) can run at 1000Mbps.
However, you can’t expect a firm with hundreds of extensions to buy the most expensive model…
And gigabit speed is important when “sharing” the network with a PC (because PC apps may “require” gigabit speed).

The day will come when medium or low-budget hardphones will have integrated gigabit switches. But is it THAT expensive to put in 2 gigabit ports in a hardphone nowadays? Or is it just marketing?

How much would it take for Digium to sell their D40 phones with gigabit ports?


13 thoughts on - SIP hardware phones

  • 2012/2/8, Vieri :

    I fully agree with your remarks and questions.

    It seems to me that low-end phones are still designed today to compete
    on price with analog phones as if a large share of decision makers
    wouldn’t pay a premium to benefit from VoIP features.

    If people markets these low-end phones this way, I’m sure they must
    have a reason for that but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still
    a bit surprised this remains the norm these days.

  • If the customer is so cheap that they won’t properly build out the network,
    why would they have gigabit switches to the desktop which have a limited
    set of applications that actually benefit from it?

    Then there’s PoE, which is expensive to start and very expensive with
    gigabit. So this mythical customer is too cheap to cable, but will buy a
    gigabit switch of dubious value, will they buy a PoE gigabit switch? If
    not, why not buy a value-priced PoE 100m switch which has a clear benefit
    instead of a low-end GB switch of dubious value?

    I just don’t see the fit, and I’m guessing the vendors don’t either. What
    is the exact network topology (brands/models) and applications that justify
    GB to the desktop, don’t justify additional cabling, and how do you account
    for PoE in this environment?

  • No the opposite. I have never heard of troubleshooting problems when
    using the switch on the phone. Maybe cheap crappy phones give you
    problems but I have never seen it with Polycom, Aastra, Snom or Cisco.
    Also you would need to have a second LAN port at each desk. I have come
    across only 2 places where that was the case and that’s only because
    they had downsized freeing up LAN ports formerly belonging to the other
    desks in the room.


  • I’m in a similar situation. However, most of my buildings were re-wired
    around 1994 to provide Cat5 or 5E to the desktop for data, and 2-pair
    Cat3 for voice, all in a star topology. I can move my voice
    infrastructure to an IP-based one running 10Mbps, utilize existing
    wiring infrastructure, with the only cost outlay being low cost PoE
    managed switches (48 ports for about a grand), and it ends up a lot
    cheaper than upgrading the data network to support the phones. …and I
    can still stay within standard.

    Is this an option for you or are you still living with the remnants of
    an old key system or something like that?

    “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire.”

  • 2012/2/10, Jason W. Parks :

    Yes this is an option but the original question “why no low-end
    Gigabit phones on the market ?”.
    Try to find a PC motherboard with 10/100 interface. Now, it’s Gigabit
    for all, no matter if people need its speed or not. And both, IP
    phones and PC motherboard are 100$ products.

    What strikes me is that it’s still not the case in 2012, for IP phones.
    I can live with that but I’m still a bit surprised by this remaining
    year after year.

    or are you still living with the remnants of

  • Are you realy shure you want to do that?
    I mean _existing_ infra (with probably a number of other (non-voip)
    machines connected to it?

    Even on a 100Mbps network, if one of the machines on the same network is
    doing a rsync-job (no saturation), I notice a drop in voip-quality.

    Adding voip to existing infra might work, if your network is good
    enough, like Gb with enough unused bandwith and low latency. Or if you
    can tell complaining users, that it is a temporary solution.


  • I think that implementing QoS is a better way to handle voip on a 100
    Mbps network, than to upgrade everything to 1 Gbps

  • Thanks for the info. As we move forward, we’ll be testing and making a
    phone selections. No doubt we’ll run into this. Are you saying if the
    phone is stated to be a 10/100 phone, it still may not work at 10?

  • The existing infrastructure I’m speaking of is the existing voice
    infrastructure. It currently supports a digital PBX. No IP whatsoever,
    but the wiring is rated for 10BaseT. As we look to replace the digital
    PBX with VoIP, my options are to abandon that wiring and start using our
    data network, or upgrade our existing voice infrastructure to support
    VoIP. The numbers are showing It would be cost prohibitive to upgrade
    our existing data network to support VoIP. …and I think you’ve just
    supported one of my reasons for continuing to keep voice and data
    networks separate. Since the voice network will be completely and
    physically separate from any non-voice data, and all devices on that
    network are phones, it just became a lot less complicated. …and I’m
    only talking 10Mb between the phone and the switch. All switches would
    be interconnected either with 100 or 1000. Thanks for the response. Jason

    “Cheer up, the worst is yet to come.”

  • Jason

    A standard SIP VOIP phone will use less than 100k per voice call. For
    example I have several bussiness customers that have a dedicated DSL line
    and they do up to 6 lines very well on that 1.5×384 (we do g729 which is
    37k per call). If your networks drops can test solid at 10mb you should be
    in good shape if they do not run solid at 100mb you should force the switch
    port to negoitate to 10mb not 100mb. Make sure the POE switches you are
    looking at allow you to force the port speed this may save you in the long
    run. Also make sure that the POE switch can handle the load and run lengths
    you are looking to put on it.


  • Gotcha! That was my plan. I ran into that exact issue when I was
    randomly speed testing a couple of the lines. The computer under test
    immediately negotiated to 100Mb and ran just fine, but I know I’m
    asking for trouble to keep it that way. I will be forcing all ports
    down to 10.

    …and thanks for the example. That’s good information.

  • That’s because you don’t know how to properly configure a network.
    You could run 10m to saturation and still get good voice quality–if
    you did it right.