Nortel Expands VOIP Options for SMBs

The company fills out its line of convergence-ready LAN switches designed to help small and midsize businesses migrate more easily to IP telephony.

Nortel Networks will continue its convergence push into the small and midsize business space on Nov. 15 when it broadens its portfolio of LAN switches and mobility offerings.

Nortel will fill out its convergence-ready LAN switches for SMBs first launched in September with a pair of new Business Ethernet Switches aimed at small workgroups and midsize installations.

Nortels SMB push is designed to deliver cheap and simple-to-deploy networking technology that allows SMBs to migrate more easily to IP telephony when they are ready, according to Richard Solosky, director of product marketing for Nortel, in Nashville, Tenn.

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The new BES 200 line of 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet switches provides a larger form factor than the existing BES 100 line in order to connect between 50 and 100 users. The BES 200 includes 24- and 48-port options with POE (power over Ethernet) available on half of the ports. Up to four of the units can be stacked to support a maximum of 192 users, and versions are available without POE.

Nortel is including quick-start tools to speed installation as well as a redesigned Web user interface and easier configuration for stacking the switches.

At the low end Nortel added the new BES 50, designed to connect between 10 and 50 users. The BES 50 line includes 12- and 24-port models, and versions that provide 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. They include POE on 12 ports.

The BES 50 switches complement Nortels Business Communications Manager call server software, which Nortel has enhanced to support more IP phones. "The BES 50 is a data buddy for BCM 50," said Solosky.

The BES 50 switch can automatically detect IP phones and apply QOS (quality of service) to those devices.

BCM 50 provides a range of functions including support for IP phones and trunks, IP routing, VPN, firewall, and contact center applications, as well as voice processing functions such as messaging, auto attendant and customer controlled routing.

Release 2.0 of the BCM 50 software builds on top of those functions support for newer Nortel IP 1100 Series IP conferencing phones, intelligent contact center functionality as well as multimedia reporting for the contact center.

Nortel also expanded its digital mobility handsets with a pair of new 2.4GHz handsets that provide graphical displays instead of character-based displays and feature a more rugged design.

The new handsets and BES 200 are due by the end of November, and the new BES 50 and BCM 50 Release 2 are due by the end of the year. The new switches range from $595 to $2,290.

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