The Aastra 6739i & Bluetooth Headsets

Aastra 6739i Desk PhoneIt certainly seems that the Aastra 6739i is the new king-of-the-hill with respect to feature-laden enterprise class SIP desk phones. Amongst it’s myriad features you will find included the ability to use a Bluetooth headset .

For the past nine months I’ve used the Savi Go Bluetooth headset around the office. In that case I’m using the headset with a soft phone since the Savi Go is provided with a class 1 Bluetooth USB dongle. The Savi Go is kinda unique because it supports wideband audio over Bluetooth.

The Class 1 Bluetooth radio permits me to wander up to 100 feet from the dongle while sustaining a call. It’s a great cordless mobility solution for a small office.

This raises an obvious question; does the Aastra 6739i support wideband audio over Bluetooth? I put the question out to a couple of people I know who have used the 6738i, but neither of them have yet used the phone with a Bluetooth headset so the mystery remained.

I then put the question to Aastra tech support. Earlier today they responded with a PDF document that gives guidance for using both wired and wireless headsets with the 6739i. Here’s that document:

KB080512 – Aastra IP Phone recommended headsets _20100526

Looking into that document I find the following wireless headset are recommended:

While I am not intimate with every Bluetooth headset on that list, I am generally aware of those few headsets are truly wideband capable. These tend to be headsets that target use with corporate Unified Communications applications like Microsoft OCS.

My guess is that none of those recommended handle wideband audio.

This doesn’t mean that the phone itself is not capable of wideband audio over the BT link. Perhaps Aastra will make some kind of statement about this when asked.

It’s also very possible that someone who owns a 6739i might try to pair it with something like a Plantronics Savi Go (right) or Plantronics Voyager Pro UC. Both of those headsets are known to be wideband capable.

  • jason

    interesting. i was already to give up on blutooth.. does the class 1 give you decent quality from 20 or 30 feet away? if so, and this phone is class one, i may need to upgrade from my 6757i!

    • Class 1 Bluetooth means long range. I’ve only seen that in headsets that come with USB BT dongles. Normal BT stuff only goes about 20 feet, class 1 stuff goes 100 feet. Beyond that you really should look at DECT equipment.

  • Leberyo

    I just got a 6739i this week because of bluetooth and some of its other features to replace a Polycom IP650. Although not a wideband headset, I’ve been using the Jawbone Icon with the phone and it works flawlessly.
    Unfortunately even though it beats the Polycom in features, I think the Polys still have better sound quality. The higher fidelity is pretty noticeable especially on speakerphone. Oh well.

  • Lifespeed

    Mr. Graves,

    I would like to get the class 1 wideband bluetooth headset to go with the softphone. I already have a Sena Parani UD-100 class 1 dongle w. antenna using Toshiba drivers with Cambridge chipset.

    I see two models listed for the Savi Go: the WG100/B (Convertible), and WG101/B(Convertible) supposedly optimized for MS Communicator software. Is there any difference between the two? I had anticipated continued use of X-Lite or upgrading to Counterpath Bria softphone. I do have a copy of MS communicator, but haven’t installed it.

    • The one I have is marked WG100/B. I use it with Eyebeam all the time. It comes with the USB Dongle.

  • We have some hearing-impaired users who have bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. I wonder if they would be interested in a test. 🙂

    • That sounds like a great idea!

  • Lifespeed

    I talked with a Plantronics support person. They claim the WG100/B comes with an amplifier for use with a desktop phone, and the WG101/B does not. They also say the WG101/B is the right one to buy to use with a PC.

    Based on your experiences, it sounds like either one would work for smartphone and softphone use. I suppose I’ll follow their advice and try the WG101/B.

    • Actually, now that I’ve had a chance to check the headset mine says WH100G, which could be a prior generation.

  • Lifespeed

    I’ve had the Savi Go headset for a week now. Even made some calls using X-Lite and Speex Wideband. The user on the other end said the sound was great. What I could hear from his webcam mic was pretty good, but I don’t think hi mic was hi-def. Plus there was the webcam/speaker echo to deal with, but not too bad.

    I played some music and video over the headset. Fidelity is really good. Bass is surprising for a headset. I had to actually turn down the headset volume in windows so the ‘low’ setting on the headset was truly low.

    The only bad thing about the headset is the class 1 wireless range is still handicapped by the old head-between-the-antennae syndrome. Turn your head to the right angle, and the signal get’s blocked and crackly.

    I would like to hack a proper dipole antenna onto the headband and solder an MMCX connector to the headset. I think this would make all the difference in the world, but is a pain to do.

    • I can’t say that range had been an issue for me. My office is 440 sq ft, adjoining out garage. I can wander throughout the office and garage without the signal fading. When I tale the Savi Go along in my travels I’m generally limited to the area of my hotel room, which is considerably smaller.

      For longer range there are similar DECT-based headsets. But using DECT implies that it would not be useful with your cell phone and a soft phone/hard phone.

      To be clear, have you tried the Savi Go with the Aastra 6739i? I’m still seeking confirmation that it supports wideband over the BT radio.

  • Lifespeed

    Well, by range I mean throughout my 110′ by 80′ suburban lot. It is a stucco house with wire in the walls. It works pretty good inside the house, but at the extremes still suffers slightly from head blockage. I guess I’m looking for cordless phone performance.

    I’m sure my 100 mW BT adapter with 5 dBi dipole is up to the task; I can go almost anywhere without breakup as long as the headset is facing the dongle antenna. I just need an un-blocked antenna at the headset.

    As to DECT, is there much power advantage? I suspect the better range may be due mostly to the handset antenna. Not much frequency difference between 1.9 and 2.4 GHz.

    • The DECT systems that I have used (Panasonic, Gigaset, snom) offer range well in excess of 300 feet. Of course the number and nature of obstructions, like walls, trees, etc makes a difference. Leaves are like little walls of water to microwave energy.

      I expect that DECT works better because the associates protocols are built specifically for the task of voice communication. It’s not a generic wireless comms mechanism.

  • Can you get Aastra to tell you what Bluetooth profiles the phone supports? If it just uses the standard Headset Profile or Hands-Free Profile, those is limited to 64kb/s CVSD or PCM u-law/a-law. I don’t believe CVSD can do wideband and we all know ulaw/alaw doesn’t, so if it’s using HSP or HFP it’s likely narrowband only.

    A2DP supports a variety of audio codecs including AAC and a variety of MPEG codecs as well as allowing arbitrary codecs , but it’s one-way for use with bluetooth headphones and speakers. It can be used at the same time as HSP or HFP though, so in theory one could listen in wideband while speaking in narrowband. I think it would be possible to have two simultaneous A2DP connections, one in each direction, but I highly doubt any phones or headsets would support this mode.

    • Sean,

      It’s been a crazy week here dealing with hosting related issues. As soon as I get my head above water I intend to take this question to Aastra.

  • Lifespeed

    I agree on the codec issue regarding Bluetooth vs DECT. Some audio codecs are very clever, employing forward error correction while still keeping latency low. DECT is 100 mW like Bluetooth, but bursted, so there may not be a huge difference in the radio range alone.

    Until the BT headset makers really step up to the plate and employ the more-advanced codecs allowed by the standard, it will crackle when you drop enough bits.

    FWIW, I get a different “dropped bits” sound when I use Wifi VoIP over iPhone or Android. It doesn’t drop bits, but they are delayed when they have to be re-sent Better audio codecs are available with Wifi smartphone VoIP (Speex Forward Error Correction), but nobody uses them yet!. Radio voice communications, even cellphone, are plagued by these issues. You can only do so much.

  • Christopher Jensen

    Hello – did you ever get any responses direct from Aastra regarding which bluetooth profiles that are supported by the 6739i? It would be helpful to to which specific bluetooth headsets actually support the wideband audio features and if there is any meaningful improvement in sound quality.

    –Chris

  • Jim

    Hi,

    I have a 6739i and a voyager pro headset.

    The two are definitely not compatible. When the headset is connected the volume starts off high and then it drops off straight away, to a point that you cannot hear anything at all.

    I have contacted both Plantronics and aastra (if you are in the UK I recommend that you never purchase a aastra product as the after sales service is the worst I have ever experienced.)

    I eventually rang aastra in the US who were very helpful. They both confirmed for that the two are not compatible and recommend the Voyager 510.

    This is odd because I read elsewhere on the net that someone else was using a Plantronics 975 with the aastra 6739i and had success (It confussed me because I was told the Voyager pro and the 975 use the same bluetooth profile)

  • Clare

    hi Migraves, can you get Aastra to tell you what Bluetooth profiles the phone supports? I’d like to know what headsets exactly the Aastra 6739i can work with flawlessly.

    • I’ll see what I can find out. However, other user have confirmed that it works with a handful of common BT headsets from Plantronics, Motorola, Jawbone, etc. I suspect that it uses just the headset profile. Some time ago we determined that it did not support wideband audio over BT.