Nortel Networks plans to deliver common operating software for its Succession line of IP private branch exchange (PBX) systems and its older Meridian 1 digital voice switches.
However, Nortel doesn't plan to ship the Succession Enterprise Software Release 3.0 technology until October.
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, a senior product marketing manager at Nortel, Ann Swenson, said.
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 7000 members and operates independently of Nortel.
Swenson said the new software would support Meridian 1 systems as well as Nortel's Succession Communication Server for Enterprise 1000 IP PBX and its upcoming Succession 1000M device, which was also due in October.
IP telephony features that would become available to Meridian users include greater scalability and reliability, intelligent call routing and remote access to applications running centrally.
PBI Media analyst, Barry Marks, said the new software would 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 Installing the Succession 3.0 software on a Meridian 1 switch could save tens of thousands of dollars compared with buying an all-new IP PBX from Nortel, Marks said.