Phone of the Day: Nearby Kohls | Undisclosed location

This was taken at a local Kohls, just a little north of where I live. This is located in massively redeveloped area of box stores when it was just all trees. I can’t remember when it was built, I’m going to bet before the 2009 bankruptcy of Nortel. (Remember a similar post of noticing Mitel sets of their alleged “Do we stand by our man?” post bankruptcy mentality across any former Nortel sites.) Newer stores went with the “screw them” approach of building new stores with Mitel and older stores still run Avaya Blue.

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Avaya Blue 7208 Norstar Telephone – TGIFriday’s – Manchester, NH

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This location uses the older Norstar 7108. This was remodeled around 2013, and I do not like how the drop box is blended in all brown. I never liked anything painted over the main wall (or even siding color if you have seen CPE demarc points being painted over.) Doesn’t look professional especially if markings (like drop IDs) get painted over.

It’s best if you’re in the stature of TGI Fridays to have that part be not painted over. If it’s too distracting visually, well then you got problems to resolve! ūüôā

POTD – Local Kohls

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In today’s¬†Phone Of the Day I recently took this picture of a Mitel IP 5212 set (if memory serves me) ¬†at the Bedford NH store. This Kohls has a few IP telsets and boatloads of analog sets all across the sales floor. There are no sets near the fitting rooms. This store was built within the last five years around the time where perhaps Kohls was in a position of like a dysfunctional marriage:¬†Do I stand with my man? (i.e. sticking to Avaya.) Don’t forget in early 2010s there was a bunch of doubt whether if Avaya would continue in supporting an overrated brand of telephony equipment. There is probably many reasons why in newer stores (of which popped up in my area, as their stores came to my area around 2002 – of which the Norstar 7200s are still in use in those locations) and other reasons such as higher maintenance contracts if you go through Avaya directly and the change of the user interface. Continue reading

Rants: Sales & Marketing’s Abusive Telephony Agenda

If you thought the previous post on lies about TDM PBX not capable of modern telephony¬†was good,¬†then to use the ol Ron Popiel cliche But Wait There’s More!

This post will be a little raunchy, I should’ve posted this on my personal site, but I couldn’t help to resist when I got a couple off-site feedback from people defending my first one, so “the hits keep on coming!” I hope.

This same site had another post from some dude that can’t tell ISDN from T1 or that anything that supports TDM telephony¬†because afterall TDM is automatically native to VOIP technology. The practices of torture, lies and manipulation from S&M (now did you get the innuendo?) is just getting¬†complex now. Anyone that wants to push SIP as a be-all-end-all solution is now getting pushed to customers who can’t a) fight back or b) they don’t know anything about telecom/telephony so they’ll take a solution and in many VOIP setups w/out telecom support, they leave the system abandoned and most often the VOIP system plus the S&M types push and torture, will often be unsupported, phones crashing, users wanting assistance to then be denied by the heartless IT administrators… (why am I writing this during the holidays when this should be more of a Halloween themed post?)

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Rants: IT’s Dissent to Telephony

File this under¬†IT is what it shouldn’t be. I mean, IT as in Information Technology.

A¬†partner¬† of mine gave me a link to a page entitled “Meridian System Tech Support Guide” written by a Nicole Hayward for some pro-IP voice provider. Joe the UCX Guy would have a field day with these types of sales traps.

Let’s take apart the post one by one and call this young lil’ whippersnapper out

It’s no surprise that many network administrators and IT¬†professionals are seeking¬†Nortel Meridian Phone System tech support.

Well, I mean if you’re in IT, you hate people, why would you want to manage a system that requires people skills (AND having to deal with end users?)

¬†Released initially in 1975*, it’s been said that the Nortel Meridian is still¬†the most widely used PBX for businesses with 60 to 80,000 lines. But when it comes to support,¬†the hard truth is:¬†Meridian systems are¬†well beyond¬†end-of-life

* Somewhat misleading, the SL1 came out in 1975, the Meridian 1 went to market circa 1990. As she implies in the last sentence, lets not let the facts get away of a good sale. She uses Wikipedia as a primary source, instead of here. (Laughing out loud!) Don’t get me started with the agism on the last sentence.

Nortel went out of business in 2009, and Avaya acquired its assets. There is no single source for Meridian tech support, but I’ve¬†gathered a few resources¬†and tips below.¬†Please keep in mind:¬†You’re probably better off¬†selecting a¬†Nortel Meridian phone system replacement.

“No single source” – well wasn’t that Northern’s way of using vendors for non Fortune 500s? Whatever. Like the UCX system. All you need is a server replacement. All gateways and digital and IP stations made in the last 25 years will work, young miss. instead of some crappy phone service that that basically emulates tip and ring over IP to be honest. I gotta do a SIP article sometime soon.

On the common system failures, this girl confuses the M1 line to the key based Norstar. (And yes I’m being crude, because there are women out there who do love¬†TDM phones and can be much more intelligent than some millenial) ¬†Again, sales have no damn clue about telephony at all.

  1. System Programming Failure – “The Nortel Norstar system utilizes a super capacitor (super cap) for maintaining the programming data in memory. The problem is that the supercapacitor has a high incidence of failure as it ages. There are no outwards sign of failure (nor any way to test, other than unplugging the system) as it’s only there as a data “backup” system.” ¬†[Kremlacek]

IT people or ones with aggressive sales backgrounds are very manipulative. If she ever worked for me, I’d press her for harassment charges, with her kinda tone that shows below.

If you¬†have prior experience with Meridian equipment, manuals may help. Otherwise, don’t try this at home, folks.

What, I can’t have an M1 in my house?¬†Not even an Option 11… my goodness what planet are¬†YOU¬†on?

While I couldn’t¬†find a single repository of Nortel Meridian manuals on¬†Avaya.com, many¬†of the past PBX resellers and business partners have published them.¬†I¬†found a big list of Meridian 1 Options 11C, 51C, 61C, and 81C manuals here.¬†You can find a particular manual by Googling¬†the system option, e.g. “Meridian 1 Option 11C Manual.”

Yeah Google may not be your best friend, ever tried SUPPORT.avaya.com? And what is this Unix reference of “Repository” – we we call it in the ‘biz a COLLECTION…grrr!¬†

At this point, I want to become a Wookie…and I’m not even a Star Wars fan!

Among the other options, she writes about the various options, but basically rips and writes the content, and doesn’t put it into her words, like whatever Avaya’s brochure says, must be true, type of attitude.

So here goes the sales pitch:

While it’s¬†tempting to keep your existing phone system on its last legs, consider the costs:¬†your time, a technician service and/or Avaya maintenance contract, refurbished parts, etc. And at the end of the day, it’s a short-term fix. You are better off considering a new phone system solution, and it’s likely a hosted VoIP PBX will work for you.

Why hosted VoIP? If you were getting along fine with the basic phone system functionality that the Meridian PBX offered, your organization will be floored with the capabilities that a cloud VoIP providers offer.

Um, excuse me? Do you even have a clue how many features the M1 has, or are you judging on the original SL-1 specs from 1975? Oh wait, there’s more!

Switching to hosted VoIP can be done in a matter of days. Most hosted VoIP solutions, like OnSIP, have 50+ phone sytem features, utilize your existing LAN, and require no investment in equipment beyond the phones.

There is over 300 end user features on the M1 and I am not even CLOSE to being a Nerdtel fanboy, Nicole!¬†There you go, these scare tactics + sales makes customers creep out and cave into some dummy millenials who can’t tell from tip vs ring, or the functionality of a true PBX vs some Asterisk type. Good luck cutting over to a “hosted” solution for 8,000 ports (an average port count in an M1 setup.) ¬†These IT and sales people want to sit at their workstations and not get them fingers dirty in those lovely 66blocks with hard wired telephones.

Of that, lets turn this sales pitch, to something relevant to the Museum, if you walked away in the last calendar year learning something new about telephony, please return the favor with kind feedback or a donation¬†or something on the Wish List. I’m love to get tiny compensation to take time out of my busy live to try to fill the Web of something other than the Political Correctness of Technology known as Information Technology or PCs. I stride to be 99.999% accurate and clear of all the exhibits and posts before it gets published.

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Phones @ Work: Avaya Blue Norstar Set – Local BJ’s

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BJ’s Wholesale Club is regional chain of bulk goods, similar to the national chains like Costco and Sam’s Club. You typically can find this in any Northeast state north of New Jersey and south of the deep north woods of New England.

In many of their stores, they use Avaya Blue’s Norstar line. This one is a 7310, on the market from the early 1990s to about 2010.

Phones @ Work – Local Michaels

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I’ve had some issues with the local AC Moore, so I went to the local Michaels, about 6 miles west of the Turnpike. I left like a bandit getting about 6 things for under $25. Most were on 50% price discounts, the former store will only allow such discounts on select items and with coupons only or less than 40%…

Anyways, this place uses an Avaya Blue system, ether a Norstar or BCM. It appears to be using a two-digit dialing plan. I did hear both a page (Joe the UCX guy would like that) and when I checked out a lady used a walkie talkie.

Say What? PBX systems were used for Data Only?

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A company back around 1986 decided to get a Nortel SL1 PBX just for data purposes. In an article in Network World, which was a newspaper at the time, reported a Colorado company, Martin Marietta Aerospace Corporation used the SL1 to link various Ethernet, AppleTalk, NetWare networks. Obviously most computer networks at the time were serial-types.

Almost missing in the article was the focus on voice technology, they did use a SL100 PBX by Nortel for their voice traffic. The article and user was really precisely  focusing on the use of a Voice PBX to be used strictly for data.

Data PBX systems was not a wild idea, especially in the mid 80s to even into the 90s. Because most networks were serial based, it was no different than say to use it for voice purposes.

A lot of this technology would become outdated by the mid 1990s when TCP/IP became the standard computer networking protocol and all the proprietary, hardware based networks would move top of TCP/IP and Ethernet based networks and run them as an application type layer.

This was taken from the Network World’s archives on Google Books, copyrighted by the IDG Group.

Avaya Red/Avaya Blue – What’s In The Name?

On my Instagram page the other day, I got a response from the museum that acquired my old Avaya sets, as previously mentioned. I posted the image of the transfer of deed for the sake of it shown below

As shown in the comment, the person who runs their Instagram account, assumed I was¬†literally¬†referring the Avaya sets as “red”. I replied to the thread suggesting them to check out the glossary.

Avaya Red and Avaya Blue are not household names, but for technicians and support professionals to differentiate two different systems made by two different companies prior to 2009.

Avaya, spun off from Lucent in the year 2000 to “unlock shareholder value” (which in retrospect was a bad idea) was once the phone system (“Enterprise Networks”) division of Lucent. Everything that was once part of the Western Electric unit of AT&T became Lucent. This included the production and support of System 75, System 85, System 25/Merlin Classic, Merlin Legend/Magix, Partner, Definity, Communication Manager, IP Office, etc. There are more systems that I’ve just omitted for the sake of time. Because Avaya’s original color was red in the logo, this division is called Avaya Red

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This Avaya 8434DX (a functioning one – that I own) is considered “Avaya Red” because it was supported by Avaya and was made during the AT&T/Lucent years running on a System 75, System 85 and Definity systems. This would be considered “Avaya Red” because the coprorate color was Red since inception

When Nortel went bankrupt in that same year, Avaya made an offer to acquire the enterprise division that once produced the Nortel Meridian 1, SL1, SL100, Norstar, BCM and CS1000 and CS2100. Because Nortel had their corporate color in Blue, Avaya called this division Avaya Blue

A Picture of a Norstar 7310 taken at the NH Telephone Museum in Warner, NH

This Norstar 7310, taken at the NH Telephone Museum, is considered Avaya Blue because they acquired Nortel’s enterprise division, many years after the spinoff. The color in their logo was blue, and this would indicate that such system was a former Nortel asset/product/etc.

Not should we be encouraging re-writing history; but the harsh reality is Nortel’s name has been long gone for a few years now. It’s not to say their legacy still lives on (take that – you ignorant salesforces at Cisco!) nortel.com has now just over a year or two become a simple WordPress.org site for benefits of ex Nortel employees or updates to shareholders. As late as 2012 Nortel was still disposing assets. But it’s not 2012 anymore, and using the name “Nortel” doesn’t make sense anymore. But calling a Norstar Set “Avaya”, doesn’t make sense ether. That’s why the Museum put a policy of any new posts after the summer of 2015 to use the Avaya Red/Avaya Blue identity language. All Avaya Blue posts will still have a Nortel tag.

So basically, the Avaya sets I got rid of wasn’t literally red in color, just indicated the sub brand in the big enterprise Avaya is now today.

Since I let the cat out of it’s bag, you can stalk me on Instagram. I post mostly telephony and other stuff too.

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Nortel/Northern Telecom Comtempra Trim set

DSC_0094 Nortel (at the time Northern Telecom) back in the 1970s broke away from making Western Electric clones of their telephone offerings and made somewhat more stylish telephones. This was taken recently at the NH Telephone Museum.

On a related note, Nortel also sold this same type of set as a lineman’s test phone (also called a buttset.) Albeit somewhat modified for a use for a test phone, those were common for some technicians during the 70s into the 80s. I do not know if the test set of the Comtempra had a dial or not.