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Cheapest way to set up a VoIP Cisco IP Phone lab?

Hey guys. I need to set up a IP Phone lab in my home to test on.

What is the CHEAPEST way to do this? Right now the only thing I have that is even remotely IP phone related is a cisco MC3810 with a DVMT1 module.

i'm also a student, so cheaper is better! I will get stuff off of ebay I'm just not sure all what i need to get.

I don't really care right now if the phones hook up to my main house line, I just want two IP phones that can call EACH OTHER for now.

3 Solutions

the cheapest way for this is skype phones. if your interested in just calling another phone.

Appart from that In my travels I put on my clients site the IP500 solution www.500.uk.com these are a preconfigured service which required no PABX or exchange and simply plug into the internet. basic handsets can be purchased for £50 with a monthly rental on the lines for £4

If you want just a temporary solutution then rent the phones and lines for the duration you need it for.

The problem you will find is without a central phone system for the IP phones to connect to then you need to rent the service for the calls to be made. however there are free utilities mainly skype which will perform voice calls between to remote sites with the additional of wireless phones cheap on ebay.

What i used to do is get the old hermes smartphones without a sim card. connect it to your wireless install skype on a seperate account and hey presto you have 2 handsets you can buy for £5 on ebay and then make skype calls between phones using the phone.

I presume from your question that you specifically want to test/learn about a Cisco IP phone solution.
Cheapest way is to run dynamips - say under GNS3 and emulate a router running Cisco Unified Communciations Manager Express - IOS 12.4.24T, connect it to the outside world via the ethernet card on your PC and hook up a couple of 7940/7960 phones - cheapest around on e-bay. Gives you a lot to work with. The emulated router doesn't have any hardware specific features such a DSPs for transcoding etc or voice ports but will still do most of what a live system can. With two ethernet interfaces on a PC ( I use a USB to Ethernet cable) you can set up multiple routers and experiment with things like gateways and gatekeepers, WAN QoS etc

If non-Cisco will do there are lots of options as discussed above.
How about zero cost? Download VMWare virutal server for free. Create a vitrual machine to load Cisco Call Manager Server with demo license, download cisco IP communicator soft phone or any other free SIP soft phone (like x-lite http://www.tucows.com/preview/309984 . Install on your host PC and another pc or laptop and use one PC to call another.  If you want to take it further, get a used 1760 series router that has some DSP's and a couple FXO ports and you can plug it into your phone line and use it as a voice gateway to the call manager.
I have a total VMware virtual lab with Call Mangager 7.1, Unity Connection, Presence, Windows 2008 AD server to practice LDAP integration, and a few other optional servers when I need them. I get my voicemai in my email on my smartphone... and it didn't cost me a red cent... (I did have to 'borrow' the actual install disks for the servers, and they are only licensed for demo use)
MaestroDTAuthor Commented:

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