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Nortel software links IP and digital PBX systems

Nortel Networks is to deliver common operating software for its Succession line of IP private branch exchange (PBX) systems and its older Meridian 1 digital voice switches.

The Succession Enterprise Software Release 3.0 technology will not be out until October, but once the software is available, companies with Meridian 1 switches will be able to use them to provide the same functionality as an IP-based PBX, said Ann Swenson, a senior product marketing manager at Nortel.

Swenson said the software will support Meridian 1 systems as well as Nortel's Succession Communication Server for Enterprise 1000 IP PBX and its upcoming Succession 1000M device, which is also due in October.

IP telephony features that will become available to Meridian users include greater scalability and reliability, intelligent call routing and remote access to applications running centrally.

The cost and complexity of investing in IP devices has been a barrier to many companies, so being able to run IP software on a Meridian 1 switch is "a great direction for Nortel to be going", said Marianne Collin, president of the Meridian user group, which has more than 7,000 members and operates independently of Nortel.

Barry Marks, an analyst at PBI Media's InfoTech subsidiary, said the software will give Meridian 1 users "the opportunity to migrate to an IP telephony platform without a forklift change".

Although Nortel's approach won't provide "a truly unified IP environment, it's a solid step in that direction for Meridian users", he added.

Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld


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