Well hello out there….I think Alexander Graham Bell would be pretty proud of Justin and I, lol…
As Justin mentioned, we met at Purdue University, lived on the same floor in the dorm, and as soon as I purchased a then expensive Nortel M9000 series set that could plug into the analog lines in our rooms, he would go out and buy 5 of the phones just to outdo me! But seriously we were at Purdue at a great time during Nortel’s heyday in 1998 when the University was upgrading from an antique Automatic Electric PBX that gave us unintended party lines and busy signals, to a fully awesome Nortel SL-100 switch. Old wood grain telephones were upgraded to the then sleek M2000 sets from Nortel, all over the campus. Purdue is still a Nortel/Avaya based CS2100 university with full Call Pilot and now some SIP 11xx sets. West Lafayette and Lafayette are still huge Nortel legacy users….as GTE (one of the hugest Nortel customers) used to be their provider in that area.
Where did this love of telephones start?
I grew up quite fascinated by the Nortel product line. What triggered it was when I was 15 in 1991, a local Chicagoland grocery chain Dominick’s switched over from using ROLM Redwood PBX’s to Option 11 switches in their new stores…one which happened to open by my house. I wondered what these new ash colored, state of the art phones were with the red triangles (M2008s) that also broadcasted paging announcements so clear like a microphone, and thus researched everything and anything about Nortel. In 1996 the director of Telecom at Purdue University hired me on during my education there during an upgrade to an SL-100 switch with Option81 cabinets behind it for the digital sets…that’s where I first learned the difference between Analog and PRI Digital lines. As I mentioned above, my dorm room was equipped with a few M9417s. Then after college, I came across an abandoned DR5.1 and M7xxx sets at one my design sites, so I took it home and had it working in no time.
One of the things that triggered this whole latest IP Telephony interest was a stay back in January 2009 at a JW Marriott in Grand Rapids MI. It was brand new at the time and I was eager to see what phone system they used. I arrived there and I discovered the new 11xx series phones all over the hotel. Then when I went to my room, the hotel room actually had an 1120E on the desk, so I spent a lot of time exploring the CS1000 options. I had already been a Nortel fan for years and had a DR5.1 Norstar at home, but after I used these new IP phones with the enhanced stereo audio for ring tones and voice, I left that hotel knowing I had to go home and get a system of my own. The next business day I called Nortel and located a local partner and bought a system.
I set the system up on my own in a few hours and experienced some of the first frustrations of networking as opposed to TDM telecom setups. I worked through those with the help of Justin and some local friends and had the system up and running, only with analog trunks though. There were some limitations I didn’t like about the BCM and 11xx phones. I set up 3 1140E sets and right away I was dissapointed that the phones didn’t have the 8 cs1000 ring tones, call buzz and enhanced features that the hotel phone had. The IP sets seemed to be watered down versions to mimic the Norstar phones. I also had an impossible time setting to sip trunking. I was so angry I posted something on a blog about having this system as a hobby and how frustrated I was.
An Avaya marketing guy called me and put me directly in touch with a BCM engineer in Ottawa. Because of my inclined interest in the BCM/SIP trunking, he programmed all of my sip trunks and actually did an overhaul of my system to make sure everything was up to speed. That was a great PR move on their part and I still appreciate it to this day.
So that satisfied my interest for a while until I stumbled across the sip firmware for 11xx sets. So I converted a few 11xx phones to sip and was quite impressed that the phone operated more like a cs1000 set with the enhanced ring tones….the only thing missing was the “key click” tones…..DTMF sound is the only option. I learned how to program the code and tftp the phone to my desktop to upload firmware and to deactivate the sip licensing from Avaya so that the phone can be used with non extended feature set on any call server.
Then in October 2011, I ran across E-Metrotel, contacted their president Ardavan Nawaby and thusly have been working with some of the same engineers from Ottawa that now work at E-Metrotel to test all of the code and features in the UCx. I help suggest and test features for their team. Right now they have just tested and released a SWCA line indicator package I have also tested out and it works wonderfully!
“Keep the peace, Use RLS”