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Top 3 Causes of Nortel Phone System Failure

Dave Haggblad - Wednesday, April 13, 2016 |
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As I'm reasonably sure you are aware, the Nortel Norstar telephone system was built in the late 1980s. I know that it may still be working; however, I am also sure we can agree that it will not last for much longer.

When you have an older system, every day you arrive at your business and your phone system is still working it's like rolling the dice hoping for another 7.

It's time to sit down together and develop a replacement strategy so you can avoid having to make a decision about which new phone system to buy and what options you need while in a panic because your system is dead and your customers can't get hold of you! 

Not to mention that having to make those choices in a rush will most likely cost you more than it should as you may not get the best deal or may end up buying things you don't need.

So here's some more reasons your current system may fail and why you should look at updating your system now. In the mean time, we have a good but dwindling selection of spare parts that will keep your current Norstar phone system limping along.


Top 3 Causes of Norstar Phone System Failures

PBX Power Supply Failure

The number one reason why Nortel's older phone systems fail is the power supply. The power supply has an important role as it converts regular AC electrical current from the wall to a lower voltage DC current that the system needs. That conversion process creates a lot of heat and eventually that heat "burns out" the power supply. Obviously if your power supply component fails and you don't have any redundancy (the Nortel system doesn't), your whole telephone system goes down. This means your system can't process calls and your customers can't reach you.  Your voicemail, if equipped, won't answer either.

Card Failure

The 'Line Card' or one of the 'Station Modules' that handle phone connections and such can often fail. If the Line Card/Module fails there are no inbound or outbound calls. This means any customers trying to call you will hear the ring but no answer! Not exactly a good way to treat customers. If a Station Module fails telephones stop working, just like that.

System Programming Failure

The Nortel Norstar system utilizes a super capacitor (super cap) for maintaining the programming data in it's internal memory.  If the power goes out for some reason this super-capacitor provides the system with instructions on how your system is set up.  

The problem is that the super-capacitor 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. 

With a failed super-capacitor, in the event of a power failure you'll then lose all of your programming (extension numbers and names, line settings, call handling, etc.). The system will require complete reprogramming to restore service. It can take hours and it will never get programmed exactly the same way as it was before. 

Plus, you've got the costs associated with replacing the super capacitor because if you don't it will just happen again the next time your system loses power.

What should you do?

The simplest approach is to adhere to the old adage, "failing to plan is planning to fail".  

Call us today at 403-543-6959 to discuss a plan for replacing your old and tired phone system. Surprisingly a new system may actually cost less than your original one did back in the day, and with today's technology you might even find that you can pay for your system with savings we find from reviewing your phone bill and leveraging that new technology. 

We recently saved a customer over $500 a month by installing a new system and reviewing his phone bill.  His new system is paid for in less than a year and after that the $500/mth goes right into his pocket or to reinvest in his business.  

What would you do with an extra $500/mth?


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