Cisco’s telephony offer great flexibility, a large feature set, and ease of use in corporate settings. However, they tend to land more on the expensive side.
Here is a comprehensive guide to Cisco’s products.
Although Cisco phones comes pre-installed with Cisco’s proprietary SCCP protocol, to gain SIP capabilities, the customer must have a service contract with Cisco and download/install Firmware for the phone.
Cisco no longer sells service contracts directly, so you have to order a service contract directly from a reseller. CDW and Insight are providers of maintenance contracts for IP Phones.
“If you’re just looking to obtain firmware for an IP phone, and you are not located inside the United States, then the minimum should be an $8 agreement for one year (P/N CON-SNT-CP7960), chances are you don’t need a three year on-site agreement for well over $100. For customers located inside the United States, it is almost 100% likely you will have to purchase the $75, catch-all service contract. By “catch-all” I mean that it includes “firmware” updates and technical support for one year on any Cisco VOIP phone. Lately, CDW has been cancelling orders for US based customers that try to order the $8 support plan after they figure out that they are not supposed to sell it.” – Voip-info.org
After submitting your support request, it will take Cisco a few days to finalize it. Once they do, you will receive a contract email via email. Once your contract number is registered on their service venter website, the system will inform you that a person will validate your contract and grant you access to the firmware files you need within 24 hours.
Generally, if you buy direct, you will be granted at least one complimentary support call. You may be able to convince them to provide you will one free download of the firmware without a service contract.
Cisco does offer a basic support level to anyone who buys their phones, regardless if they purchase a separate support contract, entitling you to technical support, a manufacturer’s warranty, and in some cases, software downloads. You will need to be registered on the Cisco.com website; call 1-800-553-2447 with that user ID and your phones serial number and ask to open a new case for assistance downloading software.
If you’re buying these phones from an existing user who already has a support contract through Cisco, you will need to add your billing address to their contract before Cisco will give you support.
“Some of the Cisco IP Phones come with a large screen and are capable of interfacing with data applications through a specific Cisco XML language. Application development frameworks such as the DashPhone ApplicationServer help programmers to easily integrate these phones as data terminal devices that interface with enterprise databases and applications.” – Voip-info.com