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Nortel Networks sees end to Chapter 11 near

Nortel Networks expects to exit Chapter 11 protection in 2010. Also in the news roundup: Alcatel beefs up UC suite; network manager salaries rise.

Nortel Networks sees end to Chapter 11 near

Nortel Networks expects to emerge from Chapter 11 financial protection by the middle of 2010, the Financial Times reported Wednesday. Reorganization plans will be complete in the next couple of weeks and will be submitted to the board toward the end of the month, CEO Mike Zafirovski told the newspaper. Still, earlier this week, Nortel reported a $2.14 billion quarterly loss, and it took a deep hit in the enterprise technology division. That's the very part of the business the company expected would remain strong and keep it afloat in coming years. Company officials said Nortel's enterprise division suffered losses comparable to those of its competitors as a result of a drop in sales across the board during the recession.

Alcatel-Lucent beefs up UC offering

Alcatel-Lucent has re-branded its unified communications (UC) package, adding a handful of new applications, and is now selling the entire offering on an all-in-one software platform called the OmniTouch 8400 Instant Communications Suite.

The OmniTouch 8400 can be equipped with telephony, presence, SIP-based messaging, fax services, audio broadcast and video/audio conferencing. Each of these applications can also be sold individually, and the new offering can be pushed out to more mobile devices.

One of the additions to the suite, the OmniTouch 8460 Advanced Communications Server, offers a SIP-application creation environment, enabling the integration of UC applications with any business and Web 2.0 application. That means, for example, that a service provider could enable voice chat among a Facebook group, or a business could integrate chat into a Siebel CRM setting. The system can connect groups of up to 3,000 for chat or voice-based messaging broadcast.

The new suite also includes the OmniTouch 8464 audio-conferencing appliance. The system can attach to an existing telephony system or SIP trunks to provide audio-conferencing capability, cutting third-party contracts out of the picture.

Additions to the suite also include the OmniTouch 8660 high-definition (HD) video-conferencing client, which enables browser-based HD communications that rely on powerful Internet-enabled PCs and Web cameras to function.

Finally, Alcatel's mobile client has been expanded to work with more mobile devices. It already worked with Nokia phones and devices running on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1. Now, it will also work with Research In Motion's BlackBerry and, within a year, Apple's iPhone.

Network manager salaries to rise

Amid the never-ending stream of dismal economic news, things may not be so bad for those network managers in the New York tri-state area who can actually find jobs. According to newly released research by Bluewolf, network managers will see a starting salary spike of 14%. Network manager salaries will range from $70,000 to $110,000, up from $70,000 to $95,000 in 2008, according to Bluewolf.

"The downturn in the economy is undoubtedly impacting the IT sector, but there are a few bright spots," said Michael Kirven, co-founder and principal of Bluewolf. "Companies are still making investments in several key areas, including network administration and security, business intelligence, wireless communications, and Web applications -- these areas continue to drive aggressive hiring."

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