Junction Network’s is more than a little unusual amongst hosted IP-PBX providers. They cater specifically to an SMB clientele with accounts typically ranging from 3 to 50 seats. One of the things that sets them apart from other providers is that they don’t force you into specific hardware. When you sign up with them you bring your own phones. (BYOP?)
It’s much more common that providers insist you buy their phones. If they can limit you to only using a certain family of phones it reduces their support requirements. The trouble is, it also limits the end-user flexibility. You might not be able to deploy the ideal sort of devices for your business.
OnSIP is 100% SIP based and should be compatible with any reasonable SIP end-point. That said, the OnSIP team have historically advised customers about which phones work best, installations that mix different types of phones, firmware issues to avoid, etc. OnSIP are now formalizing this process and publishing OnSIP Team Reviews of SIP phones.
In defining the program they have established a multi-step interoperability testing process that ensures that each phone has the core capabilities to deliver reliable PBX functionality. The result of the testing is written up for inclusion in their knowledgebase.
The program has started with three of the more common phones that their customers are using; the Linksys SPA-942, Polycom SoundPoint 331 & snom 320. These three models are fine examples of low-end to mid-market IP phones, and should be satisfactory for a wide range of businesses. The fact that OnSIP support staff are intimate with these devices will serve their customers well as they go about deploying them in their businesses.
In discussing this program with Rob Wolpov, CEO of Junction Networks, he indicated they are just getting started. The scope of their testing could be wide-ranging as they go forward. While they intend to broaden the range of desk phones reviewed they are also evaluating SIP clients for mobile phones and soft phones for computers.
They are also hopeful that the program will be interactive. They hope to receive input from users and manufacturers about new devices for review. They also hope the users will add their own comments to the reviews published the OnSIP knowledgebase. As new reviews are published they will be announced using their Twitter account @OnSIP.
My own experience with OnSIP has been outstanding. We’ve just started our third year using them to provide hosted IP-PBX services to various locations across the US, UK, France & The Middle East. We have deployed a mix of Polycom, snom and Gigaset phones. The fact that OnSIP supports all these devices equally well has been a tremendous advantage.
In fact, for the past while I’ve had a very fancy Polycom VVX-1500 Business Media Phone logged into my OnSIP account. I was pleased to find that I could conduct video calls with another VVX user, also an OnSIP user, located in Vancouver. It just magically worked. Perhaps one day such uber-high-end phones might make it into the OnSIP reviews.