Nortel looks remotely to multimedia

Ignoring its ongoing financial troubles, Nortel Networks has announced a series of new products and upgrades to help enterprises deliver multimedia applications to workers out of the office.

“”What resellers should see when they look at

our portfolio is that they’ve got more flexibility than ever in being able to configure and develop solutions for customers,”” said Anne Swenson, the company’s marketing manager for enterprise multimedia solutions.

The solutions, which will be available this quarter, take advantage of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a text-based protocol based on HTTP and MIME used for integrated voice-data applications.

Nortel is seeing an increased demand by corporations to offer better communications services to employees who are either road warriors or work out of branch offices, she said.

No prices were provided.

The announcements include two new products:

  • BayStack 5520 Ethernet Switches are what Nortel says is the first stackable Gigabit switches providing Power-over-Ethernet for mid- and large-sized enterprises. “”Customers have been forced to chose between buying a Gigabit switch of Power-over-Ethernet,”” said Swenson. “”We put them together in the same box to eliminate having to make a choice.””
  • Communications Server 2100 for large enterprises that need carrier-class reliability. It provides enhanced support for SIP and new wireless IP telephones.

Other announcements dealt with enhancements to existing Nortel products including

  • Release 4.0 software for Communications Server 1000, an IP-based PBX which has been enhanced to increase support from to 10,000 to 15,000 clients per call server;
  • Release 3.0 software for Multimedia Communications Server 5100, a multimedia applications server. The software’s new capabilities include chat, multiparty video conferencing and Web collaboration. While the standard software can handle up to 60,000 users, a micro version is available for companies with as few as 50 users;
  • Release 22.0 of Nortel’s Alteon operating system, which includes SIP load balancing.

These new or enhanced products will be sold through Nortel enterprise resellers including telcos such as Bell Canada. “”Demand is starting to grow”” among small and medium-sized companies for rich media solutions, noted Phil Lightstone, a principal in Bell’s business solutions practice in Toronto.

The increased adoption of voice-over-IP is one indication of that demand, he said as companies seek ways of integrating voice and data networks to do more with less.

Over time as companies see how easy VoIP can be delivered when properly installed they’ll increasingly move to finding ways to take advantage of using video over networks, he predicted.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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