VoIP Supply’s New Business Class IAX2 Hard Phone

Just a few days ago VoIP Supply announced a new desk phone that’s capable of both SIP and IAX2. Not much has been forthcoming in the way of IAX2 capable end-points, even though the protocol has wound its way through a lengthy standards process. Digium has dropped the little IAXy (aka S101i)  ATA device a while back. Last year Zeeek tried the Allnet 7960 which is IAX2 capable but lacking in some ways. So it seems that to date there just haven’t been any truly business class IAX2 phones to be had.

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Perhaps this new phone from Citel may change this situation. It certainly has the look of something that we’ve seen before in enterprise telephony. That is, it looks like the sibling of a prior generation of Nortel IP phone. It’s the middle device in the trio shown above (click for larger image) , between a Nortel IP 2001 (left)  and a Nortel IP 2002 (right.) Notice the family resemblance?

Citel has a long history in enterprise telephony, offering their Portico™ devices that perform protocol translation allowing legacy proprietary phones to be deployed in standards-based installations. This new phone appears to be designated their model C4110, which according to the product specification is purely SIP capable. Adding IAX2 capability could be accomplished in a firmware revision.

Update: Wondering why use IAX2 vs SIP? The VoIP Wiki has a nice comparson and VoIP Supply is running a related contest collecting comments on their blog.

  • What are the plus/minus of SIP v IAX2?

  • Cory Andrews

    Mike – The Citel 4110 supports IAX out of the box. I’ve been running one in the office as a registered SIP extension off Switchvox and a secondary IAX trunk with a service provider. The phone is very Nortel/Aastra-esque for sure.

  • @Dave,

    In some cases IAX2 has advantages for NAT traversal. IAX2 passes all signaling and media over one connection, requiring only one port through a NAT/router. This is decidedly unlike SIP which uses a specific port for signaling, then a separate ports for each call leg, inbound and outbound. The VoIP wiki has a good overview of why IAX2 was created.

    In trunking applications IAX2 can conserve some bandwidth through reduced overheads. It aggregates multiple calls into a single stream, again over a single port, signaling and media combined. In this role it was primarily used for trunks between Asterisk servers, but could also work where multi-line end points are involved.

  • @Corey,

    Thanks for confirming the availability of IAX2. With IAX2 implemented in some potentially attractive hardware it’ll be interesting to see if the phone generates some traction. And if so, in what sort of installation.

  • Chris

    Although this phone looks like a Nortel, I suspect it is the ATCOM AT-620 phone in a different case (based on a review of the instruction manual). Looking forward to doing some testing when I get one.

  • Chris

    Got my C4110 yesterday. Generally impressed with the phone so far. A few little firmware quirks they need to fix like Daylight Savings time not working properly, and ftp provisioning of the config file does not work.

    • Do you think it’s the ATCOM device as you suspected?

  • Chris

    Sure looks like an ATCOM product to me, I am basing this on the web interface for configuration. The look and feel is almost identical to other ATCOM products I have used in the past.

  • Joan