Introducing PBX in a Phone: Grandstream GXP2200 featuring Incredible PBX

One of the long-term goals of the PBX in a Flash™ Project has always been the desire to integrate a full-featured PBX directly into a desktop phone. For those that travel or support small branch offices, this would be the best of all possible worlds. We never quite achieved it with PBX in a Flash, but thanks to the Raspberry Pi™, Grandstream’s new GXP2200, a couple of screws, and a power drill, we’ve found the perfect couple. Imagine managing a virtual private network with your branch office PBX whirring away beneath your desktop phone and nothing more than a touchscreen browser built into your phone. And now you can appreciate what a milestone this is for the VoIP telephony community.

We introduced the GXP2200 in our Black Friday roundup last week, but here are the highlights for those of you that may have missed it. While there have been other VoIP phones built around Android, this is the first affordable unit (under $200)1 that also includes access to Google’s Play Store thanks to Grandstream’s firmware update released last week. This is significant because proprietary app stores mean the phone manufacturer keeps total control of what you can install on your phone while access to Google’s Play Store makes available virtually all of the Android software in the commercial (and free) marketplace.

Why Android Matters with a VoIP Phone

Using Android as the underlying operating system for a VoIP phone provides the best of all worlds with SIP access to your favorite Asterisk® server or Incredible PBX™ for the Raspberry Pi plus Skype, Google Voice, Microsoft Lync, YouTube, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, and Angry Birds without leaving your chair. The GXP2200 supports six SIP lines, five-way conference calls, HD audio, Bluetooth, integrated PoE, and VPNs of many flavors. You also can add four 20-button sidecar expansion modules. GrooVe IP can be installed from the Google Play Store for plug-and-play Google Voice calling. That gives you the “VoIP Big Three” on a single desktop phone: SIP, Skype, and Google Voice. Plug in an SD card with your favorite tunes and videos, and they’ll play back flawlessly on the GXP2200. The PBX in a Flash RSS Security Feed can also be installed on the desktop of this phone. With the $5 IP Cam Viewer app, you can use your phone to monitor dozens of IP cameras in your organization or anyone else anywhere in the world. AsteriDex also can be used from the phone’s browser to provide click-to-dial calling with any SIP trunk you’ve set up on the phone. And, as we noted, the touchscreen browser lets you access FreePBX® to configure and manage Incredible PBX and your Asterisk server directly from your phone. Did we mention the 1,000-client phone directory and Google Calendar plus dedicated voicemail, call transfer, and conferencing buttons right on the phone? All of them work flawlessly with Asterisk as well as PBX in a Flash and Incredible PBX. While the version of Android is a bit long in the tooth, we haven’t found that to be a distraction when paired with a desktop phone. One of the consultants on the PIAF Forum mentioned that he had taken this phone to a customer site last week. The employees were so impressed with the GXP2200 that they told the boss they would subsidize the cost of the phones if he would purchase them for the office. When is the last time you had that conversation with your boss?

Hooking Up the Raspberry Pi with a GXP2200

The Raspberry Pi integration is accomplished easily because of the new design of the 512MB Raspberry Pi boards with two mounting holes (covered by the two brass-colored nuts above) plus the unique phone stand that is provided with Grandstream’s GXP2200. A quick trip to the hardware store for two one-inch screws and a couple minutes with a power drill, and it was easy enough for any fifth grader to mount the Raspberry Pi on the inner side of the plastic phone stand. Once you slide the stand into place on the phone, the Raspberry Pi is completely hidden inside the phone stand with plenty of ventilation to operate unobtrusively for years. A 6-inch CAT5 cable will let you take advantage of the spare network jack on the back of the phone to add network connectivity for the Raspberry Pi. Insert your SD card with Incredible PBX, power up the Raspberry Pi with a 5-volt adapter, and your branch office PBX comes to life. Fire up your phone’s browser, log in to http://incrediblepbx.local, and your entire PBX is quite literally at your fingertips:

By the time your GXP2200 is delivered, Incredible PBX 3.6 for the Raspberry Pi will be on the street featuring Incredible Fax.2 Then you’ll have everything any remote office could ever ask for, and it’ll all be neatly tucked away beneath your telephone with management convenience like you’ve never experienced. Enjoy!

Originally published: Monday, November 26, 2012




Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


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  1. Some of our purchase links refer users to Amazon when we find their prices are competitive for the recommended products. Nerd Vittles receives a small referral fee from Amazon to help cover the costs of our blog. We never recommend particular products solely to generate Amazon commissions. However, when pricing is comparable or availability is favorable, we support Amazon because Amazon supports us. []
  2. If you have that pioneering spirit, you can take the Preview Edition of Incredible PBX 3.6 for a spin today. []

7 Responses to “Introducing PBX in a Phone: Grandstream GXP2200 featuring Incredible PBX”

  1. Alfred Harding says:

    Now if someone could figure out if you could draw power from the POE input in the phone to the Raspberry Pi. Then no wires except for the one CAT5 cable.

    [WM: No POE support on the Pi (yet). Sorry.]

  2. John Shotton says:

    Hey I am really interested in using the GXP 2200 phone, anybody actually using it in a 50 plus user office? We are in the process of building a new office and I would love to switch over from our avaya pbx, but I love my job more. lol

    Alfred: would the POE adapters for the old Nortel i2004 phones work to power the pi?

  3. ward says:

    Here’s a quick tutorial that walks you through building 2-minute Android desktop apps to manage any Asterisk server including Incredible PBX.

  4. Karl Miller says:

    Saw your comment on the pbxinaflash forum Ward, and was wondering what the Incredible PBX VPN was all about? I am interested in having a VPN endpoint at or beyond my router, and was wondering if you are doing this already in the raspberry pi as a VPN endpoint?
    Thanks,
    Karl

  5. ben says:

    There was a post in 2008 here (Nerd Vittles) about Asterisk and the Digium Conundrum.. in it, FreeSwitch was seen as a silver lining to the nightmare that is Asterisk upgrading/breaking maintenance cycle.

    Since then, cool projects like GXP2200 are still based on Asterisk.. why? Surely it’s not better performance, so is there some inherent feature / architecture paradigm that is holding back FreeSwitch adoption?

  6. David says:

    We currently have 8 POTS lines at a doctor’s office. We use four line analog phones, calls that come in on the main number ring on the 1st through 4th lines and these lines are connected to the 2 receptionist phones and the nurses phone. The 1st two lines are also connected to the business office phone – and so on.

    I’ve come across the concept of ring groups (I’ve also seen shared call appearance) – can I assign each line on the Grandstream GXP2200 (or the Aastra 57i) to separate extensions? I’ve tried searching for an answer & have had no luck.

    My idea would be calls coming in from the 1st DID would be mapped to the 1st lines of, say Group A, the 2nd DID to line 2 of Group A, etc. Hope I’m making myself clear.

    Also, do ring groups have problems with caller id as SLA does in Asterisk?

    [WM: CallerID works fine with Ring Groups. And the GXP2200 can support six separate SIP registrations so there would be no problem setting up what you've described.]

  7. Sarah Weiss says:

    Does the Grandstream GXP2200 access Google Voice via the XMPP protocol that apps like GrooVe IP were using to latch onto Voice? When Google went from Talk to Hangouts, they transitioned away from XMPP and will shut it down on May 15th 2014.

    So does anyone know if we will be able run Google Voice and make calls from it on the Grandstream GXP2200 past 5/15/14?

    Did someone figure out how to use the handset using Google Voice? It was previously reported that it only works via speakerphone.

    Thanks to all! Happy New Year!

    [WM: At the moment, our GXP2200 solution uses GrooveIP which relies upon XMPP. The Hangouts client for Android currently does NOT support regular PSTN calls; however, the Hangouts client for iOS does. If Google in its infinite wisdom decides to add this functionality to the Android Hangouts client, then that would be a suitable approach for free calling with the GXP2200 down the road.]
    (cross posted from Android Central)

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