POTD: Teldex Hallway phone, TRYP – Manhattan

I have been to many hotels, but this place and the Mirage is the only two I’ve been to where I have seen sets in the hallway. Of course this isn’t a VOIP set.


The Makings of a Telephone Museum, part two

This video has a faster time lapse and I have been able to get all 500/2500 (except for the ITT and other WE black set) to ring through a trick I learned through Jason with a coverage-answer-point, hunt group and coverage-group function on the Definity console. I’ll post that at a later time. But please enjoy this hard work that took nearly a near from idea to completion!

My Collection: Polycom SoundStation Analog Telephone

I’m surprised I have yet to post this picture. I thought I took it after I got it around 2012. Maybe I lost it and that’s why its not on here till now. Anyways, this is a private brand for Lucent, made sometime between 1997 to 2000. In fact Polycom existed in the last couple of years when AT&T marketed their phone systems.

Anyways, you might want to wonder how does an analog Polycom work? Why was it a flying success in the mid 1990s to now?

All analog telephones (or the ones with a speakerphone) are “half-duplex.” This also extends to even ISDN technologies. Half-duplex means only one person at a time can speak, and any ambient noise (in the background) can cut off a conversation resulting in missed words.

Because of regulations of private equipment by the FCC, there are limits to how much power a analog line can provide. In order to do “full-duplex” (basically to allow ambient noise and cutting off someone without breaking up words) the phone is powered locally. This is done by using local power to provide the microphone a full circuit and speaker, to have independent circuits to allow this to work. The only thing the SoundStations need is just the basic telephone circuit (and some power to an outlet.)




Polycoms are typically installed in environments with Centrex, PBX, VOIP, by running behind those services or a conference calling system, which in some cases could run independently.

Versions include a basic set with no display, with a display and the EX modules would enable users to put at least 2 microphones, in environments where there is 20 people or more. You can also add an audio amplifier equipped with speakers and even a subwoofer to stimulate board members!

Private label versions not only were analog, Polycom made digital equivalents for Avaya Red and Avaya Blue using their proprietary protocols. Cisco, Avaya Red and Avaya Blue also got private label proprietary IP sets as well.

While this relic still works, newer generations allowed Soundstations to be wireless, to run off a Bluetooth cell phone, and run IP (though the telephone equivalent is crap, to speak bluntly.)

I’d take an analog Polycom anyday.

PBX Knock-off Guide

This post is for you Jason, you know who you are!

Prior to 2010, having a phone system in the house would be cost prohibitive. With hardware and the needed software cards, it could’ve been up to $300.  VOIP or not didn’t matter (in fact you probably would’ve paid more on VOIP sets than the system itself. And ROI would be out of the window, because at home users would not see cost savings as opposed to a business.)

But if you are in a situation where you can’t afford a system, but want something that resembles it, here is a matrix of wireline phones that look like they could run off a PBX but it doesn’t need to. And they’re analog



Any model number with the second digit of 1 in the Avaya model range like a 7102 indicates it’s an analog telephone that can work in a POTS setup. Avaya will scare the pants out of the customers and claim that you may damage the telephone lines if you plug these sets – especially the ones with the MWI, but that was probably the days when there was ground start and loop start lines, mixed around.

7101 (Think of the Merlin sets and a trimline, and you get this set. Very rare, if you find one, don’t be surprised to pay top dollar.)

7102 (basically a shell of a Merlin BIS or 7400 BIS, but just a single button for flash)

8101 – Supposed to resemble the 8400 series, but it looks more like the 900 series sold to consumers. The difference? Similar quality to the 8400s!

8110 – has up to 10 number speed dial functions

6210 – Resembles the 6400 series or 4400 series in the Magix world, a basic model

6220 – Has multiple buttons for speed dial and a built in modem port for dialup or faxing


Soundstation are the conference room sets, perfect for the dining room. The first generations are the most solid, but are prone to blemishes and scratches. the SoundStation 2 are more plasticy, but aren’t prone to blemishes or scratches, but are prone to cracking.

The SoundPoint analog telephones have been on the market for years, and you can still find them new, or new old stock, like this one from my mother’s work taken years ago.


If you’re up for crummy IP, the SoundPoint IP would be the next option. The requirements would ether be a SIP service or a SIP PBX. Polycoms are considered the poor man’s Cisco to me,  but they also have the resemblance of a Nortel with the removable “Button caps” Polycoms also lack the neatness of having line or handset cables tucked in, they sit loose. I’d just pass on it.


Aastra was spin off of Nortel’s analog telephone offerings. Unlike Lucent, Nortel sold sets intentionally to consumers, and some of their popular consumer-styled sets are found on Etsy and eBay. For enterprise wannabees, Aastra licensed the Meridan name even after the spinoff. There are several models (please forgive me if I don’t have the model numbers right.)

  • M8314
  • M9116 (resembles the T7200 Norstar sets)
  • 9316CW
  • M9216
  • 9417

Another least known feature from Nortel/Aastra was a KSU-less phone system called Venture. Similar to the ComKey, and the modern ones found at Staples, the Venture could run a mini phone system of up to 8 Venture phones. Typically one phone would be the “slave” and the other sets working as “masters”, the latter would be the most expensive. The systems would talk to each other on the same circuit. Unlike offerings from “AT&T” at the time, the Venture was more flexible, such as creating your own extension numbers, and some of these sets also supported voice mail.


An analog Aastra found at the NYS Capital, Albany NY, 2011

The Venture extended through VOIP with an IP offering since VOIP phones typically connect to a PBX or a “cloud” service and only rarely do VOIP phones dial out to analog trunks, that really this concept is unneeded.

Meanwhile, if you wanted a Meridian-like set (like the 3900 series), look at the Vista series. Some resemble the boxy sets from the 90s, but later models have the more curvy look. It’s large screen can be supported if your phone company has support for ADSI (forgot what that stood for – to lazy to search.)

ADSI which gives bits of data to the phone to check stock quotes, directory services, book a plane, etc… it may be outdated for 2015, but it was the dream around 2000. The people at Asterisk must’ve seen something to this as they supports this specifically for sets like the Vista. Some phone providers use Asterisk, so just check your provider. If your provider doesn’t support it, it does retain a 100 number call directory, speed dial, etc.

A Picture of a Nortel Vista 390 phone

This is an Aastra 390 that is used as the “house phone” for my mother and grandmother that is not tied to the phone systems. The cool thing is depending in your provider, it may push out the time when a call comes through. (makes it easier when a power outage occurs or when you go out of daylight/standard time zones during late winter, fall times of the year.) This feature probably requires a CLID service from your telco.

The Vista supports message waiting notification, so you’ll get the red light blinking if you have voice mail waiting. Even from the phone company!

Downside is the Vista’s backlit display is always on. There is no on or off features.

There is an IP version of this set, that supports up to 4 line appearances

Other vendors

boston 200

I still can’t drool over this Telematrix telephone taken at the Boston Harbor Hotel when I was having my complex jaw surgery in 2010. This was actually a solid terminal. Great plastics, heavy base, so it won’t move off base and seemed to be reliable. On their own website, they would tout this for centrex users or for the government (and hospitality markets obviously.)

I hope this buyer’s guide helps you out finding your short term fix of a long term issue – wanting your own PBX or key system.

Repost: Nortel Logic-1 Analog Telephone

I follow Joe The UCX Guy’s blog, he posted yesterday a picture featuring his father working in a federal office from the early 1990s. The phone pictured is a Nortel SL-1 telephone from the mid 1970s. It’s quite interesting in Avaya Blue, legacy sets lasted much longer than say Avaya Red. Any Dimension or Horizon telephone was scrapped off many desktops by that same time, and yet the original “wedge” SL1 sets were common place even into the 90s.

Apparently in the same post, his father passed away on Wednesday. In some of his posts in recent months of Nortel sets at area hospitals, he mentioned about his sick father. I typically wouldn’t go this far in discussing other sites and the people involved, but I have had off-web communications with Joe and therefore I feel its worth sharing and giving a tribute.

So out of tribute and to go along with the Avaya Blue theme, here is a video I made last winter showing an analog set similar to the one linked. Basically this is a repost from another one back at that same time.

Telematrix Analog Telephone

This was taken nearly 3 years to the day at the Boston Harbor Hotel. I had surgery done on this week 3 years ago. I never had any serious surgery done one me, no overnights, and not in the largest city in the area. My mother was kind to reserve a few nights, as a way to keep me relaxed the night before and the day and half after. It was nice to say the least.

boston 200

The room phones were cool. Rough, solid and bullet proof – not that anyone would want to damage, but you know many hotels not only cheap by putting analogs in the rooms, but many are very cheap like made in China hopefully without lead paint being used. You would think that these places would have entitlements to use TDM phones while the front desks would have IP phones.

I digress.

This phone IIRC was a Telematrix analog phone. It sat on the desk in the room. I believe there are two lines. In the bathroom there was a 2554, very nice. This 5 star hotel seemed to have a 3 or 2 star type of phone system. I saw a Comdial phone in the front desk, which I find funny because the Mount Washington Hotel, a 3 star (IIRC) has a 5 star PBX now given the new owners have modernized that place.

My Collection – AT&T (Avaya) 7102 Analog Voice Terminal

Here is another private collection of another office telephone. It’s an AT&T (now Avaya) 7102 Analog telephone.

These were made by AT&T in the mid to late 80s, sports the “R” handset (Merlin style) while having a basic featureset with a 12 digit dial pad and a “Recall” (read: Flash) to use additional features of the PBX or “Call Waiting” as this terminal can – in fact – be used for residential landline services.

In fact, the ringer is much like the very old AT&T 1810 digital answering machine/house phone I had at my family’s house. It doesn’t have the sound of the digital telephones unfortunately.

I got this on eBay a while back, and here is the gallery

It was made in Korea, kinda odd for phones to be made out of the States at that time. Maybe this was built in the same plant as the other consumer phones that AT&T continued to produce leading to the spinoff to Lucent in 1996.  I opened the phone and the guts looked like a cheap Asian produced device.

This phone however, is a shell of a BIS-10 (or a 7410 Plus), take the DESI paper off, and you’ll see the empty spots for those buttons. It was kinda surprising to see, but I guess since there was a membrane cover, it didn’t matter. I’ll post that picture (and redo the picture gallery in a neater workspace) at a later time.