Nortel Bolsters SMB Portfolio With New Data, VoIP Wares


Nortel also is adding new sales training and marketing tools for channel partners targeting the SMB space.

The product and channel rollouts come as part of a broader SMB channel push by the Brampton, Ontario-based vendor that began with the launch of its first SMB data networking products in June.

"The goal here is to try to strengthen our SMB portfolio so we make it easier for the channel and our partners to sell converged SMB solutions," said Richard Solosky, director of product marketing at Nortel.

Nortel's new SMB products include two switches: the Business Ethernet Switch 50 and the Business Ethernet Switch 200, which join the current BES 100 to fill out the product family.

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The BES 50 is available in four models as Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet switches with 12 or 24 ports. All models include support for Power over Ethernet, making it an ideal "data buddy" for Nortel's Business Communications Manager 50 SMB VoIP platform, Solosky said. The BES 50 product line is scheduled to ship next month, with prices ranging from $750 to $1,375.

Nortel's new BES 200 is a higher-end Fast Ethernet switch with Gigabit ports for uplink and stacking. It's available in 24- or 48-port versions, with or without support for Power over Ethernet. The product is slated to ship this month at prices ranging from $595 to $2,290.

In addition, Nortel unveiled Version 2 of its BCM 50 IP-PBX, which is available via a software upgrade to current customers. The update adds applications such as the Intelligent Contact Center and the Multimedia Contact Center, which bring enterprise-level call center capabilities to SMB customers, Solosky said. Version 2 also adds support for an expanded array of Nortel phones, including the new Digital Mobility 7430 and 7440 wireless handsets, also launched Wednesday. The handsets are scheduled to ship in December, priced at $376 and $468, respectively.

On the channel front, Nortel is launching new SMB-specific online product training as well as two new tools: Marketing on Demand and SMB Quote Builder. Marketing on Demand is an SMB-targeted tool for helping partners create co-branded collateral for events, direct mailings and promotional items. SMB Quote Builder is a configuration tool for Nortel's SMB portfolio that will be available to partners next quarter.

Nortel has rolled out a number of channel-focused SMB initiatives in recent months, including an expansion of its relationships with distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Westcon Group in July to focus on the SMB market. In August, Nortel opened a contact center to generate SMB leads for partners, and in September the company rolled out a fast-track accreditation program for SMB solution providers that want to sell the BCM 50 VoIP system.