We are currently using a Nortel CICS but are looking at a BCM 50 solution.
I am very comfortable with the technology and can perform the installation myself. But I have concerns that as this is effectively a Linux computer with telephony add-ons both key code authorization and software updates are completely in their control and, if the mood suits them, they could freeze me out. My purchasing options are my local telephone company (very reluctant to use them) or a national distributor based 5 hours away with the thought of ridiculous travel charges anytime I need them to flip a Nortel authorized switch.
My preference is to buy the equipment online and configure/install it myself. The building is already wired to CAT5 so all I need to do is take a couple of RJ21s to a 24 way patch panel and use patch cables to connect to the existing structured wiring.
What are the drawbacks? Has any one something similar in the USA?
As an aside, I have found Nortel's attitude towards licensing the product a little odd. They base the system around an open source OS but attempt to wrap that with a very restrictive Nortel license. I asked if they published the code for the open source portion of the soft/firmware and they responded they don't have to as they have a "corporate" license for Linux. Very odd.
Any help, advice and guidance very much appreciated. Cheers Barry
In it's current incarnation the BCM is a Linux based system, but as you know with the OS being open source a designer is free to manipulate or change the code as it suits him. So I think, in this case what you are left with is something more appropriate to the specific needs of the device. I've been calling it Nortux.
This is a far cry better than the NT 4 based BCMs that preceded it. Microsoft was the controlling license holder and was ultimately responsible for upgrades, because they allow no one to see their code.
That having been said I understand what you mean about BCM 50 license key codes. Nortel has been a little bit paranoid that some will be able to crack in and get more than what they paid for so they have been a little extreme but keep in mind the 50 is a complete cafeteria style machine, you pick and choose what features you want and don't pay for features you don't want or need. This is what causes the need for the extreme number of key codes.
I hope this helps you a little bit. I realize that you probably would like to do as much of your own work as you can, and I think you can if you team up with the right supplier.
You said that you were uncomfortable with using a local Telco company as a supplier. Bad blood or just bad word on the street? Most of the major Telco companies are installing these types of devices now. I know Verizon does so does AT&T also Embarq and Quest. The 5 hour away guy may also not be as bad as you think as long as remote access to the BCM is maintained for remote upgrades and patches.
I've been installing these things since they came out and the Norstars before that. I've yet to see anyone get burned by one. The worst things I've seen are bad installs by someone who didn't know what they were doing and component design flaw which Nortel always made good on.
I like the use of an open source OS compared to something like NT. I don't expect Nortel to release the code that supports the selective implementation of features through the use of key codes (providing it is 100% proprietary). Nortel expects license compliance for their product and should expect to comply with the license requirement of others. Part of that is the release of source code as applicable. It doesn't have much impact on what I'm doing but I do expect everyone to play along nicely!
I don't have any real issues with any local telco as such except that a product like the BCM 50 seems to parallel networking of computers. Not long ago, even pretty simple networking required someone experienced in the art so to speak. Over time, the functionality is pretty much available out of the box. There's no need to pay someone thousands of dollars to establish a network suitable for most small business. And that where I see the BCM 50 except a desire by both Nortel and the supply chain to try and make it more expensive than it needs to be. Also, I get the feeling that many treat the BCM 50 much as they did the PBXs of the past when really its the Windows XP/Linux of the present i.e. doing their best to make it more complex and expensive than it really needs to be.
Case in point: I see the BCM 50 more as a computer/network product than a PBX. My installation is harmonized around computer structured wiring rather than a dual CAT5/CAT3 standard. To me, you should be able to plug any device into any socket providing it is correctly configured at the equipment end. Nortel made some moves towards this with the nifty breakout board for the BCM 50 main unit. No more RJ21 to punchdowns here. Except they don't make them for any other media modules!
I don't mind paying someone good money to do what I can't. I do object, through the imposition of artificial constraints, being charged a great deal of money for something that I can do and, from a convenience point of view, do quicker. Remember when you had to get your oil changed at the main dealer otherwise your warranty was voided?
So, what I'm really asking is: if I purchase my Nortel equipment through an online supplier (much as I do 99% of my computer hardware/ software), will Nortel try and make things impossibly difficult with respect to software upgrades (for an Open Source O/S no less) and key code implementation? I don't expect them to honour any hardware warranty because they will have had no control over the installation and any mis-configuration of the software is all so my problem much as it is with computer hardware/software.
I'm not looking to deal anyone out of the equation but it's like I don't need Michael Angelo to paint the outside of my house! But if I did, I'd be happy to pay him what he is worth. How much does a dead guy charge to paint a house these days?
------------------------------------- Taff __!__ -----o----- \" \" I install both BCM and Norstars, you are better off going to a MCIS if you need more capacity. Your licensing requirements are less and you get a bullet proof system with the Norstar. No patches, no computer headaches. I have customer sites running DR4 software on their Norstars. The only thing I have to do is manually change the time 2x a year since the new DST took effect. The BCM with Rel 6 is probably going to be MD/EOL around 2015/16 and who knows how many patches will be issued by then, and remember when you have a problem, the first thing that the support people ask is if the system is patch current. I hope this was of some help to you.