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A hybrid (Key/PBX) telephone system manufactured by Nortel Networks, starting with the introduction of the 3x8 series in 1988, and continuing with the 6x16, 8x24, and up to the 0x32 MICS. It is (according to Nortel) the best selling hybrid telephone system in the world. Reasons for this might be attributed to the fact that it can work with various telephony services (POTS, T1, PRI and BRI), is fairly sturdy (you can still buy 1988 era 3x8's on the 'Net) and is fairly easy to program (I have been installing them for the last 4 years). The Norstar can support many features, (which of course are sold seperately, either by Nortel itself or third party vendors). Some of these are:

  • Voicemail. (Nortel's Norstar voicemail systems work very well with various Norstars).
  • Wireless extensions. (although Nortel has had many problems with their wireless systems, if you hear a salesperson try to sell you a "Companion" wireless system, or a "M7410" cordless phone, run like hell, they both have been discontinued by Nortel and have unresolved issues. There are however some third party wireless systems that work well with the Norstar).
  • ACD(Automatic Call Distribution).
  • CDR (Call Detail Recording).

Personally, I like the Norstar, it almost does everything a full-blown PBX does, and it blows away lesser key systems with its many features. My only problems with the Norstar is that the newest model (the MICS) is expensive as far as these systems go and the add-ons (such as voicemail) are VERY expensive. Another consideration is the size of your comapny, the Norstar usually tops out at about 200-250 extensions.

Source for dates and models were found at www.nortelnetworks.com

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