: Nortel"> Nortel Nortel built its response to our RFP around the Succession CSE (Communications Server for Enterprise) 1000 IP PBX platform. Nortel brought a fully functioning demonstration unit to eWeek Labs San Francisco offices, and we used the system for two weeks to gain hands-on experience.The Nortel Succession CSE 1000 consists of three building blocks: core hardware, including the Nortel Call Server, Signaling Server and Media Gateways; IP Terminals and client devices, such as handsets and operator consoles; and applications. We think the Nortel system provides a good evaluation model for any VOIP product: Look at the hardware, software and applications to ensure that the product platform fits the bill.The Succession CSE 1000 Call Server and Signaling Server use the IP network to manage connections between end points, such as LAN- and WAN-based Media Gateways and IP clients. This means the Succession CSE 1000 provides call control services such as address translation, call admission control, bandwidth control, call authorization and H.323 zone management. The Succession Media Cards inside the Media Gateways support a variety of codecs, including G.711 and G.729A/ B, that bridge packet-based IP and TDM telephone networks. Media Gateways also can be distributed across the WAN, and in this configuration each can support as many as 400 "survivable" IP phones at the remote location. Both Nortel and Avaya provided a wide range of handsets to satisfy our RFP. The good news is both companies provide several handsets that use power over Ethernet and user stations still look and act like traditional telephones. The bad news is that several handsets use a separate AC power supply, which means they stop working when building power is lost. Even handsets that use power over Ethernet are hampered by the power restrictions imposed by the standard: Displays were dim and easily obscured by glareand thats just the LCD monochrome displays. Nortels Symposium Call Center IP product allows call center agents to be sitting anywhere a company has an office, not necessarily in a dedicated call center. This is an option that is difficult to achieve using a traditional telephone system but quite doable with VOIP. The Nortel IP Phones we used in our tests provided good voice quality, with none of the echo or "underwater" sounds weve heard in previous VOIP implementations. The handsets rely on Nortel Succession system software, which provides more than 450 features. Nortels development direction at the desktop goes far beyond the requirements of eWeeks RFP and seeks to incorporate video and file sharing along with user preferences and presence, which affects call coverage rules. Nortels system also includes a failover option, which performed well in tests. Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.