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Product Reviews
May 2004

snom 100 & 200

snom technology AG
Pascalstra�e 10
10587 Berlin
Tel. (HQ): 49 (0) 30-398 33-0
Tel. (U.S.): 972-745-1221
Web site: http://www.snom.com
Price: $100-Snom 100,
$200-Snom 200

Editor's Choice Award

Installation: 5
Documentation: 5
Features: 5
GUI: 4.75
Overall: A

snom, a Germany-based company, may not be the best known player in the VoIP space, but they produce a family of SIP and H.323 phones as well as SIP proxy/registrars and SIP media servers that can compete feature-for-feature against any of the �big boys.� When you then factor price into the equation, snom is often a much less expensive solution. The snom 100 and 200 phones are Linux-based, compatible with H.323/H.450 or SIP protocol suites and contain Web browsers as well as SMS functionality. snom utilizes and supports open source and does not incorporate any special chips or software in its phones. Thus, snom is not subject to license fees, which add costs and are dependent on bug fixing by other companies. We checked out both the snom 200 and the snom 100 and liked what we saw.

It was a strange concept at first, but we fell in love with ability to actually �log onto� our desktop VoIP phone using a standard browser. The snom phones� integrated HTTP Web server makes configuration and remote management easy. The company�s phones also support LDAP and TAPI, which enables the ability to dial from Microsoft Outlook or look up an employee in a corporate directory. Other potential applications include server-based voice recognition, presence, and encryption.

The phones are compatible with VoIP gateways and gatekeepers based on SIP and H.323/H.450. Features include call list, deny list, call waiting, call hold, call divert, conference call, transfer, redial, speed dial, SMS send/receive, echo cancellation, phone book, multiple ring tones, an HTTP Server, and a graphical display with four soft keys.

The snom 200 features five programmable function keys and two Ethernet ports. It features a dual line graphic (2x24 character display), six LEDs, text display and key pad, as well as an AC97-compliant audio subsystem.

Both the 100 and the 200 have a second Ethernet port with VLAN support enables users to �daisy chain� the phone with a PC. Both phone models feature multiple language support, and very importantly they support power over Ethernet via the IEEE 802.3af standard.

We tried to get the snom 100 and 200 to work with an old beta version of Microsoft�s SIP-based RTC Server, but weren�t successful � through no fault of the snom phones. So instead we installed snom�s own SIP server (snom 4S SIP Proxy/Registrar) and were able to successfully register both the Snom 100 and 200 phones with the SIP server. The 4S SIP Registrar Proxy, is compatible with SIP phones from snom, Cisco, Pingtel, and Siemens, as well as being interoperable with Microsoft Messenger (which we successfully tested). The proxy runs on Windows 2000 and XP, Linux, and Solaris.

In addition, we also installed snom�s 4S SIP Media Server, which enables media related features such as voicemail, auto attendant, conferencing, and announcements. (Keep an eye out for a full-fledged review of the snom 4S SIP Media Server in a future issue.)

Once the phones were registered, we were able to successfully make calls from one phone to another as well as conference in a third VoIP phone. The voice quality was excellent with minimal latency. We used Hammer�s Call Analyzer to determine its VoIP quality and other parameters. First we measured the MOS score � a voice quality measurement that approximates the ITU-T Mean Opinion Score (MOS) metric by incorporating packet loss, latency, and jitter. It scored an excellent 4.32 MOS score (0-5 range) as well as jitter that was 0. In addition it had an R-Factor score of 94 ( 0-100 range, 0-bad, 100-best). The R-Factor score is determined using stream metrics and the Telchemy algorithm.

We should mention that STUN � which is incorporated in all of snom�s SIP VoIP phones � enables you to easily deploy SIP devices over most NAT routers. snom also supports UPnP, which is another technology for resolving VoIP across NAT issues.

Fairly unique to the snom VoIP phones is their support for standard PC headsets since they use the same jacks on the phones as you would see on a PC�s sound card. We all know that a PC headset is an order of magnitude less expensive than a phone headset, so this is certainly a cost savings advantage.

snom takes user feedback to heart. For instance, they found that too many users  users would move their phones on their desk and the A/C connector would come loose. They then changed to an RJ-11 connector which was much sturdier and less apt to become disconnected. We liked the overall ergonomics of the phone, the use of open standards, the built-in Web interface, and of course the excellent voice quality. TMC Labs would not hesitate to recommend the snom 100 and snom 200 VoIP phones.

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