Nortel Networks has unveiled a voice/data convergence system that enables small and midsize businesses to use existing telephones while migrating to IP telephony.
Nortel's Business Series system consists of the Business Communications Manager and the Business Policy Switch. The Business Communications Manager, formerly known as the Enterprise Edge, is a small-business IP telephony platform that also supports messaging and call-centre applications.
The Business Policy Switch is a stackable LAN switch that enforces quality-of-service (QoS) policies for IP voice and data.
In addition to supporting IP routing, integrated voice and data applications, LAN and WAN QoS and Web-based management, the Business Series system offers users a choice of circuit-switched telephony or IP telephony, or both. Circuit switching is a feature that competitors Cisco Systems and 3Com do not offer in their IP telephony products, analysts say.
Business Communications Manager supports two LAN connections: one for a router and one for a hub - or a v.32 connection on its WAN card for a separate router or frame relay access device connection. It also sports a single voice T-1 and a single data T-1 that features an integral CSU and supports frame relay, PPP and multilink PPP.
The system also features a single ISDN Primary Rate Interface, as well as a Basic Rate Interface, and supports H.323 for voice-over-IP gateway applications.
The Business Policy Switch is a stackable, 24-port 10/100Mbps Ethernet Layer 2 switch that provides Layer 3/Layer 4 packet classification and prioritisation.
Up to eight of the Policy Switches can be stacked together. The switch also features Gigabit Ethernet and ATM uplink options for connections to other switches and routers.
IP applications can be recognised via IEEE 802.1p bits, IP Type of Service/diffserv byte, source/destination MAC address, IP source/destination address or subnet, TCP/User Datagram Protocol (UDP) source/destination port, ingress port number, IP protocol identification (TCP, UDP or Internet Group Management Protocol), Layer 3 protocols or virtual LAN ID. Once the switch recognises and classifies traffic, it assigns it to one of four priority queues at each port.
Voice traffic is automatically granted the highest priority, Nortel says.