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Nortel still good to install?

Nortel still good to install?

Nortel still good to install?

Is anyone still recommending and installing Nortel?
I have a private school maxed out with 24 devices on a CICS (including Call Pilot). They have asked about installing 2 way paging to each classroom (about another 15 phones).
They are already familiar with the current phone system, most rooms (other than classrooms) have a phone.
I think the ideal solution would be to replace the CICS with a MICS, then add M7100 sets. Using "voice call" would provide them with two way audio (including hands free for the teachers).
Moving to IP phones would be a big change as many current phone locations do not have internet.

My BIG issue is; Nortel is dead. Does it make sense to recommend an old product with no future? Or is there something that would better suit the customer?

RE: Nortel still good to install?

Does a classroom need a future? or just a line and handsfree?
-Note that M or T 7100 does not have handsfree so you will need am 08 at minimum.

Depends on the budget and if they want to keep the phones and features they are use too.

If they have a high budget then E-MetoTel would be the way to go to keep the Norstar platform.
Like BCM, it is a hybrid that also accepts IP sets so the conversion to the IP world would be a smooth transition.

We still install the odd Norstar (mostly BCM50's) for the sites with a lower budget.
We did a school recently with a 50, the Advance Productivity Paging comes in handy too for a recess etc, (I send them out fully loaded with all codes)

You can use the built in analog modem for remote access since there is no internet.

Just make sure you give all options to the client and they will appreciate that.

Toronto, Canada

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RE: Nortel still good to install?

I'm still installing Nortel on occasion. Just a couple months ago I installed a BCM 50 and a mixture of 1140E and T7316's for someone.

I presented them with a few different options, Hosted IP, 3CX/Asterisk, Norstar and BCM. They are a fledgling construction company and the owner is very SaaS model averse. His requirements were dead simple. Some voice mailboxes, extension numbers and hold, at as low of a price as possible. When I showed up to do the initial consult, the building had ten analog stations wired in series to a single POTS line from the cable modem... and he couldn't figure out why calls sounded so bad! He was originally going to purchase a MICS, but I sold him on the BCM with the knowledge that as the business grew, I could hang a remote IP phone off the system out in a work-trailer or at his desk at home, and that as soon as they outgrew their CO lines, we could mix SIP in without too much hassle and keep the POTS lines as backup -- then when they outgrew the 50, we could drop a 450 in the rack and keep going until he outgrew that. He went for it, and is ecstatic with how much he got for what he paid. I was up-front with him that hey, Nortel is gone, I'm selling you on a system for which there is no longer manufacturer support, there's a reason this system is cheap. We both agreed that regardless of where in time the technology is, a good phone system is a good phone system, and at the end of the day, all phones regardless of system do the same thing, they ring and you talk.

I don't always jump to Nortel, in fact, I rarely do telecom of any variety professionally, but there are still occasions where it makes good sense and the customer is happy. My thoughts:

Yes, Nortel is long gone, but they manufactured the Norstar and BCM for such a long time and in such massive quantities that there is an unbelievable amount of equipment floating around out there for the price of practically free these days. Couple in the fact that the systems are incredibly feature rich and were built to such a high standard, I don't see why they can't still be valuable as long as the customer is educated on what they're purchasing. They're electronically pretty simple, I rarely see them break, and they're so cheap that I can keep four or five systems on hand as drop in replacements if something goes down out in the field. Replace the now failed supercaps in them and take a system backup every once in a while and there is zero doubt in my mind that they'll keep going for many years yet. I read somewhere once that NT rated the Norstar's MTBF of 100 years -- if that's truly the case, we've only gotten a sliver of their useful life out of them. The handsets are the same way: M, T and i series sets may look a little dated, but you can dropkick one across the room and put it back on your desk and it wont know anything happened. Try that with a Partner phone, or a current Mitel 485G, or most other modern SIP phones -- in a high traffic area this simplicity and build quality is an incredible advantage.

I probably would not Install a CICS or anything lower today unless the customer already had the equipment. In my mind, the only Norstar that still makes sense is the MICS. It's more available and for some reason significantly lower cost than a CICS, while simultaneously being the larger, more expandable system. If the customer is extremely cost sensitive, a MICS can be refurbed, installed, and run until they want something newer, and if the BCM fits the bill when they're ready to upgrade, great. T series sets for the office, M series sets for the warehouse where they'll get filthy, a winning combination.

Documentation is everywhere. If you can't find what you're looking for in the installers manual, you didn't look hard enough. If it's truly not there, a google search will turn up what you need, and if not you can ask here. In my area there are still companies servicing Norstar and BCM.

The current trend of Hosted IP telephony brings with it some very very nice benefits, but there are downsides too. The first is obviously cost, the place I work pays out a large figure every month for a hosted Mitel solution that is not even close to feature parity to a Norstar with CallPilot, let alone an R6 BCM; it's downright infuriating to know I should be able to do something easily, yet the feature doesn't even exit. (And we recently found out that they're going EOS with the platform, want us to migrate to RingCentral and will hike our rate by 15% if we dont!) I've yet to see a hosted system that is as feature complete as a Norstar for the small single location business, but again, not my primary duties, it probably DOES exist, I just haven't seen it.

People LIKE these systems. They really do. They might be old, but I've now witnessed two businesses move away from a Norstar/BCM, and their employees were genuinely pissed that their system got replaced with a newer system that felt clunkier than their Norstar friend. I recently spoke with a refurbisher that told me even now, in 2022 with Hosted VoIP being all the rage, He cant keep Compact ICS' on the shelf.

Please excuse my rambling thoughts on the matter. In your particular case, the phones are already there, the users are familiar with operation of the system. MICS was always meant to be the upgrade path from a CICS anyways, so I see zero reason not to go for it. Retraining the users on a new system, plus the significant expense of new handsets may just not be worth it here when it sounds like there really is nothing wrong with the system currently in place. Add in that it looks to be like the on-prem system is pretty much dead these days, the customer would be looking at moving from a system that works, to a system that costs them money they might not have every month, that may also not function as well as the one currently in place does.

Sometimes, If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- really does make sense!


RE: Nortel still good to install?

Have a star for that post.

Toronto, Canada

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