8520 ISDN Voice Terminal


These sets of JPEGs I acquired over a decade ago. I’m posting these photos because to clear things up with these sets. These 8500 sets was marketed by AT&T, then Lucent then Avaya. They are ISDN sets. Open standards telephones that worked on BRI supported lines. So this set could theoretically work on a Nortel PBX or carrier switch, or a 5ESS central switch or a Definity/Communication Manager PBX. But when Avaya was spun off, who had the rights?

It seems to be Avaya, because Lucent marketed a 202x series of ISDN sets post spinoff. Prior to the 8500s, there was the 7500 (mimicked the 7400 DCP/7300 Merlin sets) and the 6500 (mimicked the Spirit line) essentially giving Avaya the legal right-of-first-refusal perhaps.

8520t_b 8520t_c 8520t_d 8520t

The Museum of Telephony doesn’t give a crud about style and aesthetics unless it hampers on performance. The reason why these sets were boxy, may had been internal processes, as commented recently; or the fact according to a list-serve post related to sets used in the Oval Office, was the sets had ribbon connector inside to support daughter-cards for encryption. While the ISDN sets were used for interoperable purposes, ISDN brought something proprietary hybrids couldn’t, use end to end digital signals to prevent any types of eavesdropping beyond the handset.

A previous post on the 8434 actually opening the case of the proprietary DCP set kinda confirmed the possibility on the PBX side of products, but no known “adjuncts” would support “VIP” styled security.

These open BRI sets were in the White House’s Oval Office until a few years ago when Cisco slowly made it’s way. And after Donald Trump’s latest remarks against Avaya, one can’t feel hopeful that any ISDN, digital telephony or Avaya in any way or all will return. This is one of the few places where one can’t just believe VOIP can be fully secure.


Review: Polycom VVX 310 IP Phone

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m recovering from my dinner, and thought some updates were in order. Today I’m doing a review of these free to me Polycom VVX IP sets.


I found them at a local business that apparently moved. They were outside for “Free” so hey, why not?

These phones are an improvement from the SoundPoint IP sets that I still loathe to this day. Such improvements: you can adjust the set using a plastic thing on the back to three levels; second there is a tuck in space for the handset or headset cable. And BLFs most likely use the AUX jack and doesn’t do that infrared thing that I had doubted the reliability for a long time. Also in this range features wideband calling or high dynamic (HD) voice quality; and a backlit display (seen here) and a single LED with multi colors to show lamp status (or should I say in IT-speak “presence”?) and supports nearly 24 unique lines (or should I say “SIP sessions”?) It has cute screensavers too. If you want to see it, I have posted on my friends-only Instagram feed from mid October.

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Phone of the Day: Avaya 9608 IP Terminal – Fenway Park


I noticed this fine Avaya IP telset yesterday when I went to the historic ball park on the East Coast for the first time to see a Boston Red Sox game. I’ve been to the part a few times before for non Sox events. When I toured the place in 2005, I’ve noticed 6408s in the press box.

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Phones @ Work – Avaya Red Partner 18 Telset – Leda Lanes


This was taken recently at Leda Lanes, the local candlepin bowling alley. Consult the link if you are not a local of Coastal New England. Anyways I’ve frequented the place for a number of years and since I’ve gone here I’ve seen their Avaya Partner system. Over a decade ago, they added on and an adjacent building is for the younger demographic with glow bowl setup and I’ve seen Partner sets tied ether via IROB or maybe the switch is there. Just after the exposure, the two lamps for probably a trunk and station went out.

Avaya Blue 7208 Norstar Telephone – TGIFriday’s – Manchester, NH


This location uses the older Norstar 7108. This was remodeled around 2013, and I do not like how the drop box is blended in all brown. I never liked anything painted over the main wall (or even siding color if you have seen CPE demarc points being painted over.) Doesn’t look professional especially if markings (like drop IDs) get painted over.

It’s best if you’re in the stature of TGI Fridays to have that part be not painted over. If it’s too distracting visually, well then you got problems to resolve! 🙂

Phones @ Work/Video: WFXT/Fox 25 News, near Boston, MA

This recent video (cued up to the appropriate time relevant to this site) albeit for a few seconds comes from WFXT-TV in Boston that I wished I could say is the Fox-owned station. They were for 2 decades, until last summer, as shocking headlines came around the region that the station would be traded for two stations in San Francisco owned by the Cox Media Group.  CMG also got another Fox-owned station in Memphis as part of the trade, but the scandalous changes are not as disturbing as Boston.

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Paging Tips

Some people use a PBX or a KSU system in environments such as retail. And some instances, the most used feature or most liked feature of any telephone system is the ability to page.  However, excessive use and overuse of paging in inappropriate uses can drive customers away if you allow “Open Line Friday*” every day, or allow someone to page and page right after the last page.

*referring to an alleged theme on a major conservative talk radio show that supposedly callers can call in without a narcissist yepping in those 3 hours on such days.

I can’t tell you how Open Line Paging can drive someone with sensory disorders crazy.

Here’s the deal.

Instead of investing in expensive walkie talkies to talk behind the customers back, here is some guidelines in paging.

  • If you have a central extension (such as a customer service desk, where its always manned by someone monitoring the telephone), have that be the go to extension.
  • Instruct employees to dial zero to request a page.
  • Have a structured speech. Such examples
  • “[Person] Telephone call on [Pickup access code]”,
  • “[Person] please dial zero for the operator”
  • “[Person] Please call extension [number]”

Make sure the person is paging has an appropriate tone of voice, do not talk like a high school cheerleader, and do not page so you can hear yourself.

Also in this change of process, make sure you update your Class of Restrictions, Class of Service or COR or COS so the people don’t continue to page at their station or extension. Block access to paging and only enable it to the operator’s or central point of contact’s extension.

Automated paging also will turn away potential customers. Stores like Lowes and Kohl’s have automated paging systems where a user dials an extension to ring out to the automated paging. The real problem is when no one gets to the customer fast enough and the paging system sends more authority. And if you’re going to do “codes” outside of medical centers, reserve that for the walkie talkie. What does “Code 34” mean to a customer when its blasted at like 20db or something crazy like that?