The SPA525G2 phone is over 4 years old now - and while it's still a pretty decent phone (it is still the top of the line Small Business phone) I've started to wonder what Cisco's strategy is in this segment and how much longer we can expect to see this phone being sold as new.
1. Firmware updates for the handset seem to have largely dried up. 7.5.6 was released in May, 7.5.5 June 2013, 7.5.4 was Dec 2012. Two minor point releases in almost two years indicates to me that there isn't a lot of bug fixing going on, and certainly no new features or development going on on this platform any more. There was talk about a version 8 of code for the platform last year to support IPv6, but this has never materialised.
2. The product doesn't seem to be regularly getting PSIRT security updates anymore. Refer:
Sev 2, and not fixed in any released version of code. Bug last modified July 2014.
3. The hardware itself is getting dated. The ethernet port is only 10/100, the wifi is only 802.11b/g. That was pretty awesome 5 years ago but quite a way behind the times now.
Does anyone know what the plans are going forward with this device?
Is there a new model about to be released?
Is Cisco still committed to Small Business Phones or are the efforts instead going into SB Switches (which seem to still be getting lots of love)?
The phone might not need a Gigabit port for it's own data, but a desktop user behind the phone most certainly would benefit from it. Cisco already sell Small Business Gigabit PoE injectors and switches and have done so for some time now (I have both). Look up the SG300-10PP and SG300-28P for examples of this.
As for Wifi - the existing wifi radio in these phones only supports the 2.4GHz band. That's pretty congested in many places and for something which is sensitive to network connectivity, like voice, moving to the 5GHz band with the multitudes of uncongested channels offers significant improvement in voice quality.
It's not about more bandwidth for the phone, it's about a better experience for the end user.
I too am very curious on the state of this model and the SPA series entirely, as an ITSP provider, I have recently started working with these phones as well as doing some development for them - I would hate to be investing time and energy if the product itself is not long for this world...
Does anyone know what the long term plans are for the SPA series phones?
Don't expect that someone aware of Cisco plans will respond you. Cisco internal experts are no longer responding in CSC threads. You will meet external enthusiasts here, but they are not aware of Cisco's plans.
There are exceptional features of Sipura (a.k.a. Linksys, now Cisco) SMB phones - unique PKI certificate embedded in each phone allow you to implement true zero-touch deployment. Also, configuration and provisioning methods are stable over years, despite model numbers and firmware versions are changing. You can use XML provisioning file created for ancient models and it will work even with newer models. It decrease total cost of ownership substantially. Access right of user to the phone configuration can be fine-tuned. Deployment configuration maintenance can be designed to be secure - users are unable to connect unauthorized devices nor fetch (and copy) the configuration of it's current device.
On the other side, Cisco's support for this segment is just poor. Devices are deployed with not working firmware (SPA112) or incomplete firmware (SPA232D+SPA302). Firmwares are often buggy. OK, every firmware, every vendor have bugs in their firmwares. But Cisco doesn't patch even known bugs, even severe security bugs for long time. In advance, release notes are incomplete, Cisco doesn't confess all the bugs patched, so every new firmware needs to be tested for the presence of known bugs again and again. You are not allowed to report firmware bugs to Cisco for free. There are dangerous open (no authentication) private interfaces enabled by default. They can be disabled, but as they are undocumented it's hard to be even aware of it's existence.
Well, if you are skilled technician, if you wish for stable configuration style, if you wish for zero-touch deployment, if you hesitate about unauthorized devices connected by authorized user, you should consider Cisco's SMB phones. It's our case. But I spent countless number of hours to become expert and I'm still frustrated because of Cisco's approach.
Otherwise you should consider other solutions with better vendor's support. Of course, every device is buggy, but you should consider vendors willing to be in touch with the users.
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