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Nortel Continues to Enhance its Telephony System Portfolio, Enterprise Division Sale Pending

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July 24, 2009

Nortel Continues to Enhance its Telephony System Portfolio, Enterprise Division Sale Pending

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, Business VoIP

Following a declaration of bankruptcy in January 2009 and now the pending sale of its Enterprise Solutions business to recent bidder Avaya, Nortel continues to enhance its small and medium business (SMB) and enterprise telephony systems. Over the last month, Nortel announced new hardware and functionality for two of its platforms, the Software Communication System (SCS (News - Alert)) and the Communication Server (CS) 1000. And, earlier this year, the company upgraded its SMB offer, the Business Communication Manager (BCM), with a new Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) capability. Below are some of the latest enhancements.

Nortel BCM: Nortel continues to develop and enhance its Business Communications Manager (BCM) portfolio of IP telephony systems designed for the SMB market. In October 2008, Nortel launched BCM450 to extend the capacity of the BCM portfolio to 300 users with a scalable version that targets the larger segment of the SMB market. The BCM portfolio now handles from three to 300 users with BCM50 (3-30 users) and BCM450 (30-300 users), providing a migration for legacy Norstar customers, as well as a growth option for earlier BCM200 and BCM400 platforms.  In February 2009, Nortel focused on employee productivity and customer service with a value-added feature called Message Forwarding that is now included with the BCM Unified Messaging (UM) capability. Message Forwarding sends an e-mail notification of a voice or fax message to the user’s device of choice such as a RIM Blackberry or Apple iPhone, Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Mac OS Mail or other e-mail client. Optionally, a compressed .WAV (News - Alert) file can be attached and forwarded, so the user can play the voice message or display the fax message on the destination device.

Nortel SCS: With the recently-announced SIP-based Software Communication System (SCS) Version 3.0 in June 2009, Nortel increases scalability to 2,000 users per server and to several thousand users in a networked configuration in order to address larger, distributed enterprises. Initially, the product was called SCS500 with scalability to 500 or so extensions. However, with the new version 3.0, Nortel brands the product as simply 'SCS,' noting that SCS is a software solution with no real limitations in terms of scalability. The latest SCS 3.0 software has the expanded capacity (to 2,000 users per server), but also improves the management of multi-server configurations, runs on additional Dell and IBM (News - Alert) server platforms and supports SIP trunk connections without the need for an external Session Border Controller (SBC). SCS 3.0 also supports new SIP variants of the Nortel IP Phone 1200 Series and more third party applications.

Nortel CS 1000: In July 2009, Nortel unveiled some new options for its CS 1000 IP distributed communications solution for larger enterprises. Release 6.0 adds new hardware that improves reliability (new Commercial Off The Shelf or COTS servers have built-in redundant power supplies). And, a new co-resident Call Server and Signaling Server (CP PM Co-res CS and SS) offers a more cost-effective configuration for deployments that do not require redundancy. Administrative improvements include centralization of media services and dial plans. For users, R6.0 extends CS 1000 telephony features to SIP clients and adds a few improvements for IP phone users such as support for 25 languages. Nortel says a forthcoming report will highlight the energy efficiencies possible with CS 1000 6.0 and its components.

As the bidding process for the Nortel Enterprise Solutions business takes place over the next month or so, and as industry analysts speculate and predict the outcome for Nortel, its customers and the competitive enterprise communications market, Nortel continues to serve its customers by enhancing its range of telephony platforms. A free SCS 3.0 upgrade is available for existing SCS customers with a Software Release Subscription (SRS) contract. Similarly, when CS 1000 customers have an SRS contract in place, the CS 1000 R6.0 upgrade is free. Current BCM customers simply apply the latest BCM software update via Business Element Manager or Network Configuration Manager and then enable the Message Forwarding feature within the CallPilot Manager (Administrator) or Mailbox Manager (User) console. Visit for more information on Nortel business telephony systems and other IP PBX (News - Alert) market offers.

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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