Alcatel (formerly Alcatel-Lucent)

Alcatel (formerly Alcatel-Lucent) is an age-old telecommunication equipment manufacturer that is well known across the European countries. This time around we'd check out some IP phones that this company has to offer.


The term VoIP came into the limelight rather recently whereas the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) system has been used for telecommunication throughout the last century. One of the major drawbacks of the traditional analogue telephone network is the associated charge. IP telephony is in general much cheaper than their other half. But due to over dependency of IP telephony on the internet it can be a tad bit less dependable, although they have become considerably reliable and robust these days.


The models included in the list are some of the most popular IP phones that Alcatel has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at the phones then.


Alcatel 8001


Alcatel 8001 is a mid-range, business-grade VoIP phone with 2 lines. It features a dot-matrix display (132x64) with support for up to 5 lines of text to be drawn simultaneously. A good news is that it supports PoE meaning you can power it by connecting to some PoE switch.

It comes with some pretty nifty features. Along with the basic calling functions, it supports call holding, call conferencing, do not disturb (DND) mode and auto answering. It includes 2 separate RJ-45 Ethernet ports for the sake of ease of management and modification. It makes it possible to connect this to a PC hassle freely. It also comes with a couple of RJ9 ports and a 3.5 mm port for connecting external headsets, and a USB port which not only helps connect other devices but charge them as well. It can be set up and configured using either the web-interface, phone or auto-provisioning (again, supports FTP, TFTP, HTTP or HTTPS) which is pretty handy. Also, as a bonus, it supports more than 25 popular languages including English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Portuguese, Russian and German.


Although it does come with a lot of cool features, everything's not all hunky-dory. One thing to notice is that it includes neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth which seriously hampers its usage value. Another negative is that the included Ethernet ports are of 10/100Base-T variation (aka fast Ethernet), not Gigabit which implies that it won't be able to handle higher bandwidth.


Pros:

  1. The inclusion of PoE is a big positive. It becomes useful in case your phone is way too far away from a power socket.

  1. The Operation system offers built-in VPN client support

  2. Alcatel 8001 is pretty hot connectivity wise- a couple of Ethernet ports, a couple of RJ9 ports, a 3.5 mm port and a USB port makes it super-efficient.

  3. It can be configured in any of the 3 available ways- via the browser, the phone or the auto-provisioning.

  4. It supports an array of different languages making sure the user is comfortable in their preferred one.

Cons:

  1. There's neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth in this phone which could have been a worthy inclusion. So, no wireless connectivity.

  1. Both the Ethernet ports are, as told earlier, of 10/100Base-T type. A Gigabit port would have made it capable of handling higher bandwidth. And higher bandwidth equals to higher data transfer speed.


Alcatel 8008

Here comes a feature-rich, higher mid-range IP phone from this age-old company- Alcatel 8008. It comes with a 2.4 inch 128x64 B&W LCD panel which can draw up to 3 lines of text simultaneously. It also offers 6 programmable keys which come in handy in such a business phone.

As told, this IP phone is stuffed with tons of features including most of the basics and some slightly advanced ones. It comes with a couple of RJ45 Ethernet ports for connecting both to the Internet and your PC. Both the ports are of the relatively slower 10/100Base-T variance though which is a bit disheartening. Other than those, it comes with a couple of RJ9 ports for attaching external headsets. Another positive of 8008 is the support for Wideband audio (aka HD voice) which makes the audio quality much better than most of the others. It also features the PoE which makes it possible to power it via the Ethernet cable. And lastly, it supports even more than 25 languages including Spanish, Russian and Chinese (other than English obviously) making sure you can work in your preferred one.


Even though it offers a lot, it leaves some room for improvement as well. First of all, the price is somewhat higher than most of its competitors. Secondly, there is neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth support in it. And lastly, as mentioned earlier, the Ethernet ports are of the slower variance.


Pros:

  1. It comes with the PoE enabling you to deliver power via the Ethernet line.

  1. The HD voice capability makes sure you get the richest possible audio experience.

  1. The connectivity of Alcatel 8008 is passable, if not good, with a couple of Ethernet ports and a couple of RJ9 ports for connecting headsets.

  1. Multilanguage support is a great add-on.

Cons:

  1. It's not as affordable as the earlier one- the price is a bit on the higher side.

  1. Both the equipped 'fast Ethernet' ports are relatively slower than the latest 'Gigabit' ports.

  1. The absence of wireless connectivity drags down the usage value. Also, the addition of a USB port would have been welcomed.


Alcatel 8018

Your hunt ends right here if you were searching for that one single phone that would be able to handle it all. Alcatel 8018 is the perfect fit for that place.

Unlike the rest of the models, this one is filled with tons of handy features- some are basic, while the rest of them are rather advanced which are needed only by some of the power users. 

8018 features a 2.4-inch white backlit B&W LCD (128x64) panel which can render up to 3 lines of text simultaneously. Although the display is perfectly fine for everyday usage, a colour panel would have been a much better choice at this price. This model ships with fully backlit buttons including 6 softkeys along with 4 programmable keys which helps streamline the workflow.

This model simply outperforms the other two in terms of the connectivity options. A pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports which are capable of handling high bandwidth needs easily, an RJ9 port for connecting external headsets, and an additional USB port for attaching extra devices such as a loudspeaker or smartphone- all that one can expect from a business-grade phone. It also supports the HD voice standards (also known as Wideband audio) implying the user would get the best possible hearing experience. Another great feature that one can take advantage of is the PoE which makes it possible to power it via the Ethernet cable.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this IP phone is its price which is much higher than the rest. Priced over $150, it can be considered as a higher mid-range phone and, hence, is up for grabs to a much lesser number of users. And secondly, which is a prominent side effect of the PoE, Alcatel doesn't ship the power adapter with it.


Pros:

  1. The Power over Ethernet (PoE) would come in handy in case there's no power socket near your phone.

  1. It's simply much superior to the rest in the connectivity section with 2 Ethernet ports, an RJ9 port and a USB port. There shouldn't be any problem connecting additional devices.

  1. Both the Ethernet ports adhere to the Gigabit standard meaning it can handle higher data transfer speed.

  1. Anyone would be amazed at the audio clarity thanks to the HD voice support.

Cons:

  1. The price tag is simply way too steep for most of the general buyers.

  1. There's neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth that you can take advantage of.

  1. It comes with a rather bland B&W display which is a bit disheartening. You should always expect, at the very least, a colour panel at this price.


Comparison:

These business class IP phones belong to different price categories. Firstly, decently equipped Alcatel 8001 falls in the lower mid-range category. The 8008 and the 8018, on the other hand, belongs to the higher mid-range section.

But the price is not the only difference between the 8001 and 8008. Another difference between the 8001 and the 8008 is the absence of the HD voice feature in 8001. But the 8018 model is the cream of the crop and comes with tons of handy tools. One thing that you'd find only in this one, not the other two, is the Gigabit Ethernet port.


One cool little feature that makes it stand out from the crowd is the customisation option. It comes with a fully customisable clip and faceplate which can be used to bring that personal touch of your brand or company.

In short, while the 8001 and 8008 would be a good choice for the budget users, the 8018 can prove to be a perfect fit for some of the bigger business owners.


Conclusion:

So, that's all for now. I hope that was useful. Today's lesson?? Never jump the gun and order an IP phone unless you know them even better than the back of your hand. 

Have owned one of them before? Was it a rock star? Or had a bad experience, maybe? Let us know what your thoughts about them are.