Wireless headset and softphone setup for Mac-based SMB?
June 2, 2013 6:09 PM   Subscribe

For the last two years I have been trying to implement what I think is a pretty straightforward VOIP solution which has in turn probably taken around twelve years off my life. We operate a great IP-PABX system in our 10-person Mac-Laptop based office that we are very happy with, and for the last three years have been running IP handsets but have been desperately seeking a solution that would enable us to use softphones with wireless headsets (non-bluetooth). Has anyone here done anything similar with a degree of success? My list of demands is as follow:

-Must support SIP accounts.
-Must either pull from OSX Address book or LDAP server, and talk

X-Lite, Bria, and Blink: Seem to be the only players here for Mac that I have found, but none have been great in terms of equipment integration. Not sure if there are any other options?

Skype Connect:
Great integration, but can only use Skype for outgoing calls, which are not at great rates for Australia, where we are located.

-Must be able to interact with softphone so we can make and receive calls from the software interface and not the hardware.
-Must have some sort of wireless option (DECT preferred) - If some sort of physical handset, should have a wireless option.
-Should be able to ring externally (i.e, a ringing base or external speaker - using airplay or external speakers is not an option)
-Should not completely mess with the audio output settings on OSX. I.e, not require manual changing of setting each time laptop is reconnect.
-Price not an object. Just let it work for the love of god.

We've Tried:
Jabra 9400 Series: Minimal mac integration. Ringer on base does not work with Softphone. Lot's of manually changing of audio device settings.

Haven't Tried:
Plantronics Savi Series : From my research online, no ringing base, minimal Mac integration.

Logitech H800/600 or other Gaming Headsets : Next to try.

If I am crazy for even thinking a setup like this could ever work, just let me know. It just seems a bit crazy that I could be the only one who wants a setup like this at a business at my size.

TL;DR - How can a 10-person Mac Laptop based office make and receive calls using a softphone and wireless headsets where making and receiving a call is a simple as clicking a button on screen?
posted by LongDrive to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a pretty good softphone called Telephone in the Mac App store, and it's free.

I believe it's SIP only.

OSX Address Book integration is there.

Regarding Headset integration with Telephone.app, it seems to connect to anything which presents in the Audio System Preference panel as an Input and Output device.

Apologies, I don't use it with any headsets, bluetooth or otherwise.
posted by tomierna at 7:46 PM on June 2, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks Tomierna!

Will definitely check that out – After re-reading my post, I think the headset is probably the most important part of the equation in terms of being able to integrate with the Audio components of OSX. HID compatibility doesn't matter too much - The Jabra (and many other devices) work flawlessly with Skype, as it has the user base to demand that, but they don't allow access to their SDK or anything like that to make it work with other softphones such as Bria in the same way, even though they say that it's 'Compatible'.
posted by LongDrive at 8:01 PM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: My question to you is why you just don't buy a regular voip phone? I worked in voip for almost a decade and we never installed handsets that tied into softphones. We installed softphones, and we installed polycom or cisco phones (or any of the many other available).

You can register your softphone and desktop phone at the same time, and the advantage of doing it this way is that you don't need your computer on to get calls.
posted by empath at 5:13 AM on June 3, 2013

My recommendation for a sip phone, btw, would be polycom or aastra. Both work pretty well.
posted by empath at 5:14 AM on June 3, 2013

Response by poster: Empath- I never thought of that - can you go into any more detail at all? I always thought that you couldn't provision more than two devices to an account as each one needs their own ip. That said, a major reason for doing this is trying to cut down on cables in the office, as each workstation needs two Ethernet ports, one being PoE to power the phones. As we are a smb and tend to expand and contract with our team at various times, this can be quite expensive. Further complicating matters is that we have two net connections - one dedicated VoIP and the other for net. A soft phone solution just seems like the most elegant fit.
posted by LongDrive at 5:58 AM on June 3, 2013

You don't need a separate cable for VoIP phones. They have an Ethernet pass through, and you don't have to use POE, it's just convenient.
posted by empath at 9:28 AM on June 3, 2013

Feel free to memail me with more details about your setup, if you like, and I can go over it with you. Soft phones are fine for convenience and mobility, but if you have people sitting at a desk that want a handset, regular VoIP phones are still the best way to handle that, IMO.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on June 3, 2013

Polycom phones and high end Jabra DECT headsets are a great solution if you can cope with using hardphones. Wideband codecs make converstion so much better.
posted by dirm at 2:14 PM on June 3, 2013

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