Short review of the SIP videophone GrandStream GXV3000.
The GXV3000 is one of the cheap SIP videophone on the market.
Is produced by the GrandStream and is on the market for many years.
There are already a lot of information on the net about this phone, so I'm not attempting to describe the product, rather I want to point out some good qualities and some problems this phone has.
Why this phone ?
Years ago I started to build a private network, in order to talk with other family members and to close friends.
In order to cut the costs, but still having a decent way to communicate, I opted for the VoIP.
Initially I considered Skype, but there were some security and usability issues ... for example the necessity to have a computer always on, running Skype.
People not accustomed to computer surely would have problems to handle such media.
So instead to look for a computer based solution, I started to look for a VoIP phone.
VoIP phones are now quite easy to find nowadays, and they can be really cheap, but at the time, about 6 years ago, the choice was limited and quite expensive.
Especially for a video phone.
After looking around for a while, the choice was the GXV3000, because relatively cheap and with some nice features.
One of the main characteristic I looked for the phone, was the compatibility with the SIP standard.
Having a standard appliance means to have the capability to choose different VoIP providers.
The GXV3000 has the capability to support 3 distinct VoIP providers and this is quite important, since during the years some providers can close or they can have problems, so it is important to always have a backup line in order to be able to call somebody.
I also set up a my PABX based on Asterisk, so to have always a backup line and the capability to use the GXV3000 as an interfonic system in the house.
Each GXV3000 of the network is set up to use 3 different VoIP providers, one of them is my Asterisk server.
It is possible to assign most of the configuration parameters using the menu on the phone, but is much more comfortable to use the web access.
Each GXV3000 has a web server inside, to easily allow to access all the phone parameters.
Each phone has it's own IP address. Assigned via DHCP by default or can be forced manually.
I chose on the phones in my local network, to assign manually the IP addresses, because in this way is easy to associate a specific IP to a phone in a specific location.
The phone in my office it will always be accessible at a specific IP and so on.
But the DHCP assignment works nicely too.
To access the setting page to the phone, is enough to open a browser (Firefox, Chrome, others) and enter the IP address of the phone.
So for example, assuming to have a phone with the IP address equal to 192.168.1.10, is enough to go on the browser and enter in the URL area : http://192.168.1.10
This is what will come out :
Each phone requires a password in order to access the parameters.
By default the password is "admin".
After entering the password different pages will allow to set up all the phone parameters.
Caution ! In order to do so you need to be familiar with the SIP protocol characteristics and the provider setting.
The web setting possibility is very important because allow the administrator of the network to set up also the remote phones. However, for security reasons, it is important to set the remote system (router) to open a specific port and set the phone to accept remote management only through that port.
I'm not describing here all the possibilities. There is a well done user manual that describes in details the meaning of each parameter.
The suggestion is ... READ IT ! It will saves a lot of troubles ! Believe me !
The Pro and Cons
Well, the phone so far has a more than positive result.
In all these years I had NO dead phones. They are working 24/7, 365 days year and they still works nicely. I'm talking about a fleet of 20 phones.
Different matter for the power supply.
The power supply of the phone is quite weak. On an average of 3 years, usually 1 power supply dies.
It is tricky though to figure it out, because they don't die suddenly, but they "degrade" after some time until they reach the point where the phone is not working anymore.
The first sign of the power supply degradation, is the LCD back-light flickering when there is an incoming call.
Usually it starts just noticeable, then after some months the effect is clearly visible and weeks after, the phone starts to act strange, sometime freeze, sometime lose settings.
So if something like that happens, DON'T PANIC !!! Is not the phone broken, only the power supply.
Any power supply capable to give 12V at 1A it will work !
Other minor problems exists with some secondary features, like the integrated browser or the news feed.
Quite hard to set up and often they simply doesn't work.
To recap, let's see a simple table.
- cheap video phone
- decent support
- possibility to remote management
- lot of documentation available
- easy to configure/manage
- on newer models (GXV3005/GXV3006) integration with PSTN
- power supply weak
- some features are difficult to set up/understand
- some secondary features are not working
- no WiFi enabled
If you need a decent VoIP video phone, without open a loan, it is the right choice.
Is not the top, some features could be done better, but it's totally capable to handle the main job.
It is a reliable phone, especially if you keep handy some spare power supply :)