The Nortel Norstar MICS phone system or Modular Integrated Communications System was created to be a phone system for customers looking for a reliable, feature-rich business phone system that would be expandable. The MICS supports up to 24 incoming lines and up to 274 extensions. Though now a discontinued system and now owned by Avaya, the Nortel Norstar line of products was world renowned for delivering what was promised.
The Norstar MICS was produced by Nortel, which at the time was one of the world’s leading telecommunications manufacturers. Millions of phone lines were installed by Nortel all over the world, a company which was known for producing well built and reliable products. The ICS line of business phone systems have a tested mean time between failure (MTBF) rate of approximately 100 years, nearly unheard of in the industry.
When it was produced, the Nortel Norstar Modular Integrated Communications Systems was designed to accommodate a businesses requirements as well as new technological developments. Some of the ways they accomplished this were through:
Though most of those ideas are now readily available by a number of manufacturers, including Cisco, ShoreTel, Avaya and others, at the time they were revolutionary.
The Norstar MICS is the hub of your phone system. Its strength is its ability to connect a variety of equipment and integrate all of the various functions each provides.
Note – some supported features such as Caller ID require you to purchase the service from your local telecom company.
A companies perception of a phone system is mainly based on how much you like your telephones. The Norstar MICS offered four user-friendly desktop phones, one mobile phone, a conference unit and a doorphone.
The “T” series Norstar desktop business phones come in charcoal and platinum color options. The conference phone and the Companion mobile phone are available only in charcoal. Alternatively, the system was also capable of supporting the old “m” series of phones and certain Meridian sets.
The Nortel Norstar MiCS phone system was able to utilize the full range of Nortel voice mail products that were offered at thetime, including Call Pilot, Flash, and Startalk. Probably the most common was the Callpilot 100 and Callpilot 150. Borh tof these systems were robust voice mail platforms which offered a range of features at a competitive cost. However, being flash based, they were also the weak point in the design of the system as flash technology was new and not as stable as what is available now.
Interestingly the Norstar Nortel line offered an introductory VoIP enabling product called the Norstar VoIP Gateway. This device allowed businesses to use their existing company LAN or WAN to transport voice and fax traffic among locations. While available, the product was not a great success and Nortel customers generally did not take advantage of this equipment.
Unlike the VoIP Gateway, Norstar Automatic Call Distribution systems were adopted in many businesses and were very common in implementations. This product used digital technology to provide full integration of Norstar telephone sets and reduce the number of ports required, as previous systems required analog or digital ports to operate. Supporting from 2 to 120 lines, and 2 to 80 agents, Norstar Automatic Call Distribution provided call center solutions for small and medium sized businesses.
Norstar Call Center software was available as an add-on to the CallPilot 100 but was included in the CallPilot 150 (Key-code activation required).