In my previous blog article, New and Worth Noticing in the World of Unified Communications, I wrote that Avaya has a new release of SIP firmware that adds support for many Aura features on Nortel 1100 and 1200 series IP phones. I mentioned that as a former Nortel employee that warmed the cockles of my telephony heart. What surprised me was how many other hearts it warmed and people (at least the kind of people who follow my blog) are genuinely interested in knowing what the new features are.
Please note: Version 4.4. is currently in controlled release, but general availability will be announced soon.
First, I need to explain a few concepts. If you are a Nortel person you are probably familiar with Flexible Feature Codes (FFC). FFCs are a way of activating and deactivating features by dialing a code into a telephone set or pressing a pre-programmed key. For example, you might turn on Malicious Call Trace by entering *28. Ring again might be invoked with #31. These values are set by the system administrator and each CS1000′s FFCs can be tailored to meet a company’s specific needs.
Over in Avaya land they have a similar concept, but they call them Feature Access Codes (FAC). They too can be programmed by a system administrator and perform the same function of accessing a particular feature on the PBX.
There is also the concept of a Feature Name Extension (FNE). A FNE is dialable extension that is interpreted as feature activation/deactivation. So, by using FACs and FNEs you can allow both internal and external telephones the ability to turn on and off telephony features.
This is exactly how Avaya added a number of new features to Nortel 1100 and 1200 series SIP phones. Some new features require an FNE, some require a FAC, and one utilizes both. However, users aren’t required to memorize these codes or dialable numbers. Features are assigned to buttons on the 1100/1200 phones allowing a single key press for feature activation and deactivation.
I’ve borrowed the following tables from an Avaya presentation to show you the new Aura features available with firmware release 4.4. The tables gives you the CS1000 feature name, the corresponding Avaya Aura feature name, and the access mechanism. Note that some features like Change Coverage are unique to Aura and did not exist on CS1000. Also note that Nortel’s Mobile X is now mapped to the Aura equivalent, Enhanced EC500.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool. Do I get everything I had on my old CS1000? No, but I get just about everything that the average user would want. Some features such as Multiple Appearance Directory Number (MADN) are missing and those users would need to be moved to a 96xx phone for bridged call appearances, but there is enough to make most other users happy.
In addition to new telephony features, 4.4 adds presence, directory access, One-X PC client control, TLS, SRTP, remote access via the Avaya SBC, support for wide-band G.722-64k, and multi-user login. For details please refer to the appropriate Avaya documentation.
It’s important that I point out a few things. First, the 1100 and 1200 phones cannot be used for contact center or as attendant consoles. You still need 96xx phones for those purposes. Also, 1110, 1150E, and the 1210 telephones do not support SIP and cannot be migrated to Avaya Aura.
Still, Avaya added a lot of great stuff that extends the useful life of all those 1140s out there and that makes this long time Nortel boy very happy.