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Nortel upgrades communication technology

Networking provider upgrades a slew of products so large companies can better connect their workers.

Nortel Networks says new enhancements to its products will let employees of large companies more easily communicate with colleagues down the hall or across the world.

On Monday, the company announced several enhancements to its Ethernet switches and communications servers. The new features are meant to tie telephony, instant messaging, and desktop video conferencing together much more tightly, so that remote employees can communicate better and faster with colleagues at headquarters, said Alex Pierson, general manager and vice president of enterprise networks at Nortel.

Nortel has enhanced its BayStack 5520 Ethernet and Alteon load balancing switches to provide more bandwidth to desktops so that they are better able to handle applications such as video.

The company has also added more Session Initiation Protocol features to its Communication Server 1000, Multimedia Communication Server 5100, Communication Server 2100 and Symposium Call Center Server. SIP is a standard protocol that enables collaborative communications such as conferencing, telephony, presence, events notification and instant messaging over an IP network.

Nortel has already been delivering SIP-enabled solutions to a large base of customers including SBC, Verizon, SaskTel, China Railcom, China Netcom, Bell Canada and BT.

The new SIP enhancements will make it much easier for users to integrate IP telephony with other SIP-enabled applications like Instant Messaging and video, Pierson said.

"From a management and user experience, the new features will allow IP telephony and other multimedia applications to be entirely blended on the desktop," Pierson said.

Through engineering advancements on these platforms, Nortel has also greatly increased the scalability of its IP communications servers, allowing as few as 50 workers and more than 200,000 users to be connected through a single server.

The company also introduced enhancements to its IP telephones, which will allow them to be the first to offer moving video, Pierson said. IP telephony users have been clamoring for more-advanced features on IP phones, such as video.

A total list of products that have been upgraded include the Communication Server 1000, Multimedia Communication Server 5100, Communication Server 2100, Symposium Call Center Server Release 5.0, Alteon Operating System 22.0, BayStack 5520 Ethernet Switches, and IP Telephones, models 2006 and 2007.