Nortel Fleshes Out Unified Communications Vision

Nortel is backing up its unified communications vision with products aimed at both enterprises and carriers.

Nortel Networks at VoiceCon on March 5 will back up its unified communications vision with a series of new and enhanced products aimed at both enterprises and carriers.

Nortel will extend its unified communications vision beyond the work it is doing with Microsoft in their joint Innovative Communications Alliance to integrate IBMs Lotus Notes with its Multimedia Communication Server 5100 Unified Communications platform.

Nortel developed a multimedia client for Lotus Notes that works with the MCS 5100 to deliver functions such as "click through calling, e-mail and calendaring," along with voice messaging and conferencing, according to Tony Rybczynski, director of strategic enterprise technology at Nortel in Ottawa.

The new release of the MCS 5100 also simplifies collaboration to allow users to access voice, video, conferencing, e-mail, instant messaging and presence features with a few mouse clicks.

As part of Nortels effort to focus on software and services, moving away from a proprietary hardware-based platform, the new MCS 5100 can be implemented on IBM servers running Linux, and Nortel opened up the platform with new APIs to allow third-party developers to create "communications-enabled business processes," said Rybczynski.

Nortel will also add a new family of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based IP phones for the MCS 5100, including a desktop Wi-Fi phone.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Nortels MCS 5100.

In addition, Nortels flagship Communications Server 1000 IP Telephony PBX will get a face lift with a major new release of its software.

Version 5.0 can now scale to support 22,500 users from a single server, bumping capacity by 7,500 end stations. Nortel also opened up the Communication Server 1000 software to run on off-the-shelf server blades from IBM and HP.

Other improvements culled from customer feedback focus on "simplifying it, making it secure and resilient, and making it open to Microsoft integration along with other third-party solutions," said Stephane Cliché, global enterprise product marketing manager at Nortel.

For large carriers and enterprises looking to centralize voice, fax and e-mail, Nortel will launch the Unified Messaging 2000 system, capable of supporting up to 1 million users.

Also on tap at VoiceCon are a pair of new Nortel Ethernet Routing Switches that are designed to provide more competitive price/performance for Power over Ethernet on Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet links.

The ERS 2500 switches, which provide Fast Ethernet connectivity, are aimed at branch offices and small and medium-sized businesses. The ERS 4500 switches support Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet.

Both include non-POE options as well as quality-of-service prioritization and the ability to auto-discover VOIP (voice over IP) handsets.

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