I’ve been traveling a lot lately so the phones around my home office have been idle. Even so, I was a little surprised to find that my snom m3 was not making or receiving calls this morning. Well, it was and it wasn’t. I could dial out and the call appeared to be placed, but I never heard any audio. Once clear of today’s VUC call with Dan Behringer, and lunch with my wife, I was able to investigate this further and get the matter resolved.
Since mid-October the snom m3 has been the only phone on our home account. That’s when the old Panasonic KSU finally breathed its last gasp. I’ve been using one of the snom handsets in my office since they arrived in January. In general I’m pleased with the device. It does what I need and it’s been reliable.
About a week ago my wife came to me with one of the little snom m3 cordless handsets in her hand. She wasn’t mad, but she said that the little phone is source of frustration, and she’d like me to replace it on the home line.
..or is the correct term “Twittersphere?” In any case, I noticed that snom is officially on Twitter as @ snom. This is nice as it gives a direct channel to/from them. I’ve been exchanging occasional emails with some of their staff as I was a very early user of the m3 SIP DECT system.
I also noticed today that they have recently launched an online forum. It’s in early days yet so there are not that many posts, but the staff seem to be actively engaged. This has to be a good thing. The more end user contact they can manage the better of everyone will be.
Finally, they are running a contest for users of snom 3×0 and 8×0 phones. They’re giving away one m3 SIP DECT system every day until Christmas. In order to participate you must first register, then configure your phone to access their Advent Calendar URL.
I’d love to try it out but I don’t have any of these phones. It’s a very novel marketing concept that leverages online interaction using the micro-browser built into the phones. It’s a great idea!
A recent beta firmware for the snom m3 cordless system introduced a most annoying bug. The handset could be turned off with a simple press of the end call button if the phone was not actually on a call. This made it way too easy to accidentally turn the handset off.
Happily, since I have my phone set to automatically load firmware updates it recently loaded v1.20 beta, and that problem has been resolved. The handset now required an extended press of the end call button to turn it off, just like any cell phone.
Snom tells me that a major firmware release for the m3 is forthcomming.
As of firmware v1.19 beta (and onward) you can upload the contact directory to the snom m3 cordless SIP/DECT phones using the web GUI. The process requires a comma delimited text file (.csv) where each field is enclosed in quotes. For example;
About a week ago I loaded the v1.19 beta firmware into my m3 system. No obvious problems but I’ve been traveling since then so I haven’t used it a lot. The snom wiki now has instructions on loading the beta from their provisioning server. It’s easy. I’ve set my phone to check for updates once a week. I see that it loaded v1.20 on its own while I was away. The wiki also has release notes on the v1.19 Beta.
I’m still waiting to get an example of the CSV file used for uploading the contact details. I tried a simple one but it was rejected by the phone. There’s obviously more than just the name and number in the file. Snom needs to provide an example so that I can format my contact details appropriately.
This morning I see that TMC Net’s Tom Keating has posted a review of the snom m3. Tom says;
The snom m3 SIP wireless (DECT) phone is one of my favorite VoIP phones. I’ve been testing and reviewing it for a few months but haven’t had time to write up the review until now. First, let me point out that the problem with IP-PBXs is they typically give you a desk phone or a softphone with no real mobility options to walk around, which is critical in some vertical markets, such as retail and manufacturing. Even sales professionals want the flexibility to take calls while roaming the office. In the past, I have used analog telephony adapters to connect my cordless phone to my SIP-based IP-PBX, but the cordless phone lacks multiple lines, call transfer, call conference, call waiting, or even a message waiting indication (MWI).
This exactly mirrors my experience, from the initial statement of the snom being a favorite, right to the expression of frustration with using ATAs and traditional cordless phones. I’ll have more to say about that shortly.
It took some effort to get the little phones from ABPTech, one of snom’s US distributors. I was fortunate enough to get two back in February from the initial shipment. These have now been through three firmware upgrades (described here, here and here) and are working well.
I expect to purchase the snom DECT repeater shortly, as well as a third handset.
Today I took a few minutes to load the beta of v1.19 into my snom m3 SIP/DECT system. Happily, the phone loaded the firmware without issue and seems to be running well. I found the menu setting where it provides for uploading the contact list from a csv file. However, not knowing exactly what that csv file should look like I’ve sent an email to Tim at snom for guidance. This certainly looks promising.
Another thing that I see in snom’s wiki is that the phone has comprehensive support for provisioning from a central file server over http or tftp. Further, the configuration files can be encrypted for enhanced security. This is a very nice move. It takes the m3 into the same realm as SIP phones from enterprise vendors.
More news as I explore this beta firmware.
This past Sunday I just happened to see that snom had released firmware v1.16 for the m3 SIP/DECT phone. I took some time to have the phone update itself from snom’s provisioning server. The process appeared to stall for quite some time and I was forced to attend to other matters. When I returned I found that both handsets had eventually been updated successfully, although it did take longer than I would have expected.
I contacted snom to inquire about the v1.17 release which is rumored to have the uploadable contact list feature that I seek. They tell me that it is presently in beta, and offered directions on where to point my phone to load the beta version. I think I’ll try this next later in the week when I’m back in my office.
If that feature proves out usable then I’ll be ordering one of their DECT range extenders to fill in some coverage gaps in the forward portion of the house, and perhaps finally decomissioning the ages old Panasonic KX-TG4000 KSU.
One reader indicates that they think the process of changing the active VOIP account on a snom m3 is troublesome. Here’s a short video I did some time ago documenting the keystroke sequence using my snom m3.
The phone supports up to 8 separate registations. This means that it can take incomming calls from eight separate sources. However, when making outgoing calls it only uses one of the accounts. You can set which one that is by default for each handset.
In my experience this is not a problem, as I make all outgoing calls through one account anyway. But by allowing multiple registrations I can take calls from auxillary services like Free World Dialup, IPKALL, IdeaSIP, etc.