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VTech VSP861 SIP VoIP Phone on Callcentric (Read 51 times)
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VTech VSP861 SIP VoIP Phone on Callcentric
Apr 22nd, 2022, 9:55pm
 
Background:
 
I've been a subscriber to Callcentric VoIP Phone Service for well over a decade.  Callcentric.com has always been a reliable and capable Internet Phone company.  Callcentric has worked well with Soft Phones, Handheld WiFi Phones, and Ethernet Desk Phones. This article from 14 years ago reviews an inexpensive IP Phone I was using on Callcentric back then.
 
To be honest, I don't even remember why I stopped using that phone, but at some point I went through the unnecessarily complex task of setting up the TFTP server arrangement necessary for installing a SIP firmware and configuration files on a Cisco 7940.  That phone had seen previous service in an commercial environment, and was in rough shape when I got it.  An additional decade of service later, including occasional incidences such as the handset falling onto a tile floor, or the whole unit falling off the desk while attempting to reconfigure Ethernet cables eventually took it's toll.  The Cisco 7940 still worked, but it was physically disintegrating.
 
After a failed attempt to go through the same nonsensical process of configuring a Cisco 8945, I gave up, and purchased a "Standard" Internet SIP phone.  I may write an article on my efforts to get the Cisco 8945 working with Callcentric at a later time.
 
To get to the point, I ended up with a VTech VSP861.  This post will detail getting the VTech VSP861 working with Callcentric.com SIP service.
 

VTech VSP861  Photo credit: Manufactures website.
 
Why I choose the VTech VSP861 and General Observations:
 
VTech has made cool products for decades.  Yes, it is true that they are best known for educational toys, but IMHO, this isn't a bad thing.  I've always admired the innovation VTech put into children's toys.  I think VTech would be a cool place to work, and they have probably inspired thousands of young people to become Engineers, Coders, or Designers.
 
If you read my other reviews, however, you will probably also come to the realization that I am not naive. A product made by a toy company will probably be a toy, and the VSP861 does suffer a little from somewhat toy-like quality.  The display is adequate, but not excellent.  It's bright, and has adequate viewing angle for any desk or wall installation. Similarly, the keys are adequate, but retain just a bit of a "toy" feeling. The touchscreen is true capacitive, and just the fact that it has a touchscreen puts it ahead of many similar products.  The unit has a clean and modern design that looks attractive and professional on any desk, but there is still that very slight whisper of "I'm made by a toy company, and not Cisco" that can be perceived in every aspect, including the screen, the overall construction, and the software.
 
My biggest specific complaint in this regard is that the touchscreen is extremely prone to fingerprints. While this is not particularly noticeable when the screen is awake (backlight on), it's very noticeable in a bright office when the backlight is dimmed. Remember what I said above about looking "attractive and professional on any desk"? If you have any hopes of maintaining that, keep a capacitive pen or screen wipe close by or just use the directional buttons to navigate the screen.
 
VTech VSP861 is a very standard SIP VoIP phone.  It has both local (on screen) settings, and a web interface.  I was pretty sure that there would not be any problem getting the VTech VSP861 working with Callcentric.  This turned out to be true, and it was registered to Callcentric within minutes.  Within another few minutes, I was able to import a CSV file with hundreds of contacts.  Those contacts can be clicked on in the browser and the phone will call them without any other configuration.  I was also able to set up a simple dial plan so that the preceding 1 is not needed when dialing a domestic (US) number.
 
Many of the phones features are configurable from the web or local interfaces, and there are user and admin accounts, but if your job title is "Certified Sadist Administrator" don't expect the level of control over the user that you would get with something like the Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
 
The VTech VSP861 advertises "HD Audio", and it does support high quality CODECs.  Sound quality in the handset is very good, and the speaker phone has deep tone and plenty of power.  Another place the "I'm made by a toy company" quality sneaks out is in the 10 included ring tones.  One ring tone can be uploaded (replaces ring tone #10) for each line.  I definitely need to find a good quality "Classic Phone" ring tone and get it in the right format.
 
Configuration:
 
Setting up the VTech VSP861 for Callcentric is so easy that I don't feel any need to detail it here.  Just follow the Callcentric settings for other VTech phones, such as the VSP736 detailed here.  The one thing I will clarify is that your Callentric VoIP account number (1777xxxxxxx) goes in both the "User identifier" and "Authentication name".  Your Callcentric user name (the one you use to log into the Callcentric webstite) is not programmed into the phone.
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« Last Edit: Apr 22nd, 2022, 11:26pm by Administrator »  

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