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The Perfect Home Automation Phone with USB Interface

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    The Perfect Home Automation Phone with USB Interface

    Just wondering if others are aware of this very impressive phone manufactured by Nortel/Aastra.
    This has got to be the most feature filled phone I have ever used. Has back lighted 3-line display, and supports 2-lines.

    Best part is it has a USB interface, that sends CID, CWCID, and other data to your HA PC.
    While the inculded programs and utilities are written for Windows 95/98, I have found several W2K,XP programs that actually ID the unit as a communications device. Sends and receives data over its USB port in real time, also It stores call info internally, and can send out data in Excel or Access, Text files in comma or Tab delimited format.

    Perfect interface to HomeSeer.

    I see them on eBay all the time both new and used for around a $100 new, and much less for used.

    I liked it so much I purchased 3 for my HA setup.

    Nortel 9617 USB Phone


    Oh forgot to mention that is has programmable keys on the phone, that will actually launch programs, or HomeSeer scripts. My Nortel Phone can even turn on lights in my house at the press of a button.
    Very Cool No ?

    Heres the PDF Manual for the 9617 USB Phone off the Aastra Website. Warning it a large 3 MB file.

    Nortel 9617 USB Phone - Installation Manual



      This phone looks pretty impressive. Looking through the documentation, etc. I only see references to Win98. Do you know if their software will also run under Win2000 Server or Workstation?




        All the software (about 8 different programs/utilities) that come with the phone are written for WIndows 95/98, and were intended to be used on a desktop computer for call/contact management. I have read that some use it on XP in the XP compatibility mode.

        Myself I found a program that finds the phone as a hardware device called M9716, and the software works perfectly on W2K, or XP.

        I would guess anyone with some scripting knowledge could easily adapt the Nortel phone to a HomeSeer script.

        As-Is, the functions are very impressive, and the fact it has two phone lines, allow me to do some pretty creative things with it. Not to mention the fact it logs all calls inbound, and outbound and dumps the data out in Access or Excel format.

        The only reason I can think of that this phone was not a total success in 1999/2000, was the fact it was pricey at $349.00, and had so many features, many people did not understand the USB ports value.
        But Now at $129 for a brand new unit it's a great buy..



          Isn't that a product being dumped in the white elephant secondary market now? Which is why it has Win 98 software?

          Corded too. Not too appealing For the price, I say.


            Yes its being sold on the secondary market, just like that NetCallerID unit you are so excited about (Smile..)

            But I would not be so quick to judge, until you read the large manual on it. This thing is so full of High Tech features it would take a long page to list them all. It's a top of the line executive phone. Built for a company that had money to burn. The Quality, The built in speaker phone, and so many other features are the best I have even seen in one package. (Gees I sound like a salesperson.. Ha Ha !!)

            I think like many High Tech products, I think this phone was to far ahead of it's time, and in 1999/2000 many people did not even have USB ports on their computers. And $349 was a bit out of range for many companies.

            Anyway Makes no difference to me its on the surplus market, $100 is with-in in my "Gadget Budget".

            HMHO: This phone a perfect addition to a Home Automation setup.

            And for the Home Automation Crowd, this phone is a fantastic phone, and the best phone I have ever used, full of potential.

            And much like the NetCallerID device it's quite easy to extract the data from it with the newer OS's. Just need someone like you Stevech, or another guru to write a nice script for HS/HSP (Hint, Hint..).



              Just curious, other than caller id what exactly do you use the phone for? Do you run a business from your home?


              Hum ... How much deeper would oceans be if sponges didn't live there?


                Don't know if the Nortel 9617 fits the bill (url blocked by company firewall) but I have wanted a phone that plays wav file greetings and records digital messages.

                The unit would then connect to a PC with USB/RS232 which would allow the messages to be retrieved and stored on the PC and greetings sent to the the phone from the PC. Then HSP scripts would handle the phone remotely as if it were a modem within the PC itself.

                This would remove audio recording processing from the HS machine and not shut down your answering machine while performing system maintenance on your HS machine.

                Jim Doolittle
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                  I'm Smiling because, my phone system is likely as overkill as the rest of my home automation stuff.
                  If you are really interested in it, I suggest browsing the manual, lots of neat features.
                  The software that comes with this unit is quite impressive, keeps a photo database of callers, WAV, or TTS. So when a known caller calls in, up pops their photo, with a custom greeting. Of course all this can and has already been done with HSP. But this unit is very stable and never misses CID, or CWCID. Another nice thing is that it can completly be controlled by your host PC. Even executes custom macros, or programs.

                  What I hope to do is write a script to interface this phone to HomeSeer, that would open up many possibilities..



                    What software did you find that works w/ the 9617? I bought one quite a while ago, and couldn't get drivers loaded on XP. Finally gave up, still a nice phone for them money.



                      Phil, do you know if the unit would allow pushing data to display on the phone's LCD FROM a program such as HS? I didn't see anything in the docs...

                      - Gordon

                      "It said Windows 2000 or better, so I installed Linux..."
                      | - Gordon

                      "I'm a Man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess." - Man's Prayer, Possum Lodge, The Red Green Show
             - -


                        Gordon Cunningham
                        Can you push data to the Nortel Phone

                        My guess is yes, and I base this assumption on the fact one of the several included utilities allows you to program several buttons on the phone from your PC to execute progrms on your PC.
                        Example: I run the utility to start say Outlook Exress. Immediatly on the phones lighted display it says "OutLook Express", or anything I type in from my PC.
                        It diffanatly supports two way communication over the USB port.
                        Another included utility allows direct control of the speaker phone, dial out, redial, and even Macros all with out even touching the phone itself.
                        I would love to see if it will allow a PC to send TTS or WAV files to the built in speaker.

                        Some very interesting possibilities..

                        Actually stand alone, this is the finest quality corded phone I have even used.

                        Hope that answers your questions,



                          hgys , what software works with Win2K or XP

                          I tried this one and to my surprise it found the Nortel phone as a device called M9617, and it works fine on my XP pro.

                          Accesdis Software Caller ID

                          Interesting program as it allow you to use VB scripting to customize some functions.


                            Phil, thanks for the info. I'm also interested in trying to get the supplied software working under XP in compatibility mode. I probably didn't do enough searching, but can you provide links to discussions by those people who got the Nortel software running under XP?



                              I can't remember where I read that the phone would work in XP Compatability mode. But I see no reason it would not work. I have been using it on one of my workstations thats WIndows 98SE, and it works fine. I'll try it on my XP machine this week and see how it goes.