Nortel updates IOC switch

Nortel Networks Corp. this week announced software enhancements for its DMS-10 voice switches designed to enable independent operating companies (IOCs) to deliver new services to rural subscribers.

The company has also expanded its service and support program for the DMS-10, and announced the return of a popular program to help IOCs plan long-term network evolution.

Scheduled to be available October 2003, Nortel’s DMS-10 504 software release will feature Simultaneous Ringing, Telemarketer Call Screening, and other new services on DMS-10 based networks. The software will also position service providers to migrate to packetized networks at their own pace, Nortel says.

With Simultaneous Ringing, residential subscribers can have incoming calls automatically routed to as many as five different telephone numbers to help reduce missed calls. Telemarketer Call Screening requires callers to assert that they are not telemarketers before allowing these calls to be completed.

The latest DMS-10 software release will also support interworking with service nodes like Application Peripheral from Innovative Systems, which offers services like Find Me, Click to Dial, and Budget Toll with Disconnect.

Other new features include: a new line peripheral that will double the number of individual digital loop carriers supported; Facility Naming, which allows carriers to specifically name facilities with labels that are more descriptive of the type and associated routing; and Alarm Dispatch, for automatic dispatch of technicians in response to carrier-programmable alarms.

The software release also includes security enhancements, such as a unified platform security system, individual operator accounts, and operator password change prompting.

The restarted evolution program, called SR-10, allows service providers to purchase software at a packaged rate, spread their investment over several years and improve budget predictability, Nortel says. The program also includes a 12-month warranty, technical support, patching application, product engineering, installation and start-up.

Nortel expanded its Global Network Services program to provide a package of network optimization services specifically for DMS-10 customers. This package includes trunk facility utilization analysis and identification of unused capacity.

Nortel began the DMS-10 packet evolution strategy in August 2002. At that time, the vendor introduced enhancements to its voice and Succession voice-over-IP products designed to enable IOCs to migrate smaller networks to packet infrastructures, drive a 40 percent reduction in network migration costs, and deliver new multimedia services.

But analysts say those enhancements were defensive in nature, as Nortel sought to stave off incursions from start-ups into a market that Nortel deserted. Nortel’s North American DMS-10 installed base numbers 700 customers, representing more than six million subscriber lines.

“The 504 software release helps to buy Nortel more credibility in a market that the company has all but abandoned on at least one occasion,” wrote Current Analysis Inc. in a recent report. “Many carriers in the rural market looked upon the unveiling of a DMS upgrade program last August with skepticism (because) Nortel has shown a tendency in the past to abandon the rural market until it felt a threat from competitive forces. The timely follow up to last year’s announcement will help to further repair the damage done to Nortel’s relationship with rural carriers.”

However, it is not likely to stop the defection of smaller IOCs attracted to the cost, density and footprint advantages of next-generation alternatives, Current Analysis notes.

“The new software release will have little impact, if any, on a carrier that is looking to cap its investment in the DMS-10 in favor of a less expensive alternative,” the research firms states in its report.

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