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Time to Upgrade Your Nortel Phone System?

Nortel was the gold standard for business phone systems and a trailblazer in converged voice and data networks. At its height, Nortel was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of highly functional and exceptionally reliable telecommunications and data networking equipment. Until a series of financial missteps eventually led the century-old telecom company’s downfall in 2009. As the dust settled on their bankruptcy, Avaya stepped in to purchase Nortel’s enterprise business unit and set about integrating Nortel technology into their product line.

Why Now?

If your organization is still using Nortel equipment, the clock is ticking. Nortel equipment served well during its time, but its days are numbered. So, now may be the time to consider end-of-life options for your phone system.

Most of Nortel’s popular product lines, such as the Communication Server 1000 and CallPilot Server, have already reached, or will soon reach, their end-of-sales date. Which means Avaya has already, or will soon, start phasing out service and support for these technologies.

If you’ve been using your Nortel system for years and you are averse to change, you can still purchase new or refurbished Nortel replacements at a reasonable price. However, as time passes, parts will get scarcer and the pool of technicians available to work on Nortel equipment is shrinking fast.


Aside from service and support considerations moving forward, there are several benefits your organization can realize from upgrading or replacing your outdated Nortel systems today, for example:

  • Enhanced unified communication features such as video conferencing
  • Tighter and simpler integration with new technologies and applications
  • Simpler and quicker moves, adds, changes
  • Advanced presence management
  • Support for mobile device experiences


With support options dwindling and more reliable solutions available that offer rich feature sets and tighter integration with leading-edge technologies, it might be more cost-effective in the long-run to just replace your entire system. Considering the time and expense of maintaining old equipment, dealing with phone issues that interfere with customer relationships, and the technology gains you can realize from a new phone system, you may be ready to cut your old Nortel system loose before it becomes a millstone around your neck.

Migration Paths

If you are ready to consider upgrading or replacing your Nortel phone system, Avaya might seem like an obvious choice. Nortel users can get discount pricing and credits for their existing licenses when migrating to Avaya systems. Avaya has a roadmap for moving Nortel users gradually over to its unified communication solutions. It encourages Nortel users to continue making tactical short-term investments, such as adding new phones or features, to their CS1000 systems, while making long-range strategic investments in Avaya’s Aura architecture.

However, Avaya is not your only option. If you are open to new possibilities, there are other tier-one manufacturers, such as Cisco and Microsoft, offering a wide range of solutions for replacing your Nortel system. Cisco, a leader in networking as well as unified communication, is an ideal choice for organizations interested in replacing their entire infrastructure. Organizations with Enterprise Exchange deployments might get synergy and savings from a Skype for Business solution. These manufacturers are eager to entice Nortel users into adopting their technologies so they may be willing to negotiate discounts for hardware, software and support services.

There also solutions that incorporate a session management layer gateway for SIP-based applications, enabling you to add functionality while slowly phasing out your Nortel equipment over time, instead of ripping and replacing everything all at once. These solutions will integrate seamlessly into your Nortel environments and provide modern unified communication and collaboration with minimal disruption to your workforce.

Whether it’s from Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft or any other vendor, the best solution is the solution that’s right for you, based on the criteria that are important for your organization. Determining which solution and migration path are right for your organization and whether the benefits will outweigh the costs can be complex. Vendors are continuously enhancing their solutions and introducing new features. Aside from features, there are other factors to consider such as on-premises or hosted, reliability requirements, versatility, expandability, and total cost of ownership.

Cerium Can Help

So, how do you decide if and when you are ready to upgrade? The first step is finding a knowledgeable technology partner that isn’t trying to shoehorn you into the products they sell. A partner that has your best interests at heart. Cerium is that partner.

We take a big picture approach that ensures your technology investments will align with your near-term and future business objectives. We employ a consult, integrate, and operate engagement methodology to define successful outcomes, design and integrate the solution that delivers the greatest value, and continuously support and improve your environment over time.

We consider several factors to help you determine which solution is the best solution for you and the optimal timing for implementing the solution, including:

  • Your existing technology and user license investments
  • Your network’s capacity
  • The user experience and business outcomes you desire
  • Your patience for disruption
  • Reliability and security requirements for your network and data
  • Your internal resources, such as training and support
  • Your preference for planned capital expenditures or monthly operational expenses


Whether you are interested in the benefits cloud-based VoIP solutions deliver, or you want to maintain more control with an on-premises solution, or you need a hybrid solution that offers the flexibility of the cloud and still enables onsite control, Cerium can design the solution that is right for you. We can also help you explore managed hosted and self-managed hosted solutions to see if they fit your requirements and can save you money. Once you’ve landed on a direction, our Nortel Migration Guide can provide specific recommendations to get you going.

We have a long history of partnering with Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, and other tier-one manufacturers, to provide our clients with cost-effective unified communication and collaboration solutions based on their needs, not on our margins. With nearly two decades of industry experience, we know the past and understand the future of communication and collaboration technologies.

Cerium builds solutions around your business. We connect your culture, processes, and technologies to bring your communication and collaboration experiences to life. We understand that you have a significant investment in your networks and communication systems, so we design solutions that leverage your existing technology investments and integrate seamlessly into your existing environment. We take a holistic approach that ensures your technology investments are aligned with your current business strategies and have the flexibility and extensibility to meet your future needs.

To learn more about options for upgrading or replacing your Nortel phone system, contact Cerium Networks today.

The sun is setting on your old Nortel system. Do you have a plan?

As your Nortel system nears the end of its life, now is the time to develop a roadmap for the future. Cerium can help you get there with minimal disruption to your organization.

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