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Archive for the ‘voice’ Category

CCIE-V: Written Exam Preparation – Links

Posted by Jo on June 18, 2009

I came across a posting on OSL to an article written by Mark Lewis on Network Work entitled ‘How to pass the CCIE Voice written exam’. It has a great breakdown of the different sections on the blueprint along with a recommended reading list – its very imformative reading.

There are also a number of follow up articles that contain some really great information on the various protocols featured in the CCIE Voice exams.

Mark is also the author of the CCIE Voice Exam Quick Reference Sheets, which I am using along with the ccbootcamp study guide to prepare for the exam. I will be blogging fairly soon with an update on my progress so far and detailing the materials and methods that I am using.

Links to Mark Lewis’ articles on Network World:

How to pass the CCIE Voice written exam

Understanding Telephony Protocols

SIP Messages

Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP)


H.323 Messages


RTP and cRTP

I also came across a good white paper on the H.323 protocol on the IEC site:

IEC H.323 White Paper

Have  a read through these and enjoy and hopefully they will be of some use to you.


Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Prep, voice, written | Leave a Comment »

CCIE-V: Short Answer Questions

Posted by Jo on June 17, 2009

Cisco have announced that the short answer questions will be coming to the Voice lab on July 16th 2009, and I expect they will be added to all tracks which can only be a good thing. I know that some people dont like these, but anything that adds an extra dimension to the certification is OK by me. I think that Cisco is on the right track with all of the recent changes announced to the lab exam blueprints for R&S, Security and Voice.

CCIE Voice Lab Exam Adding Short Answer Questions:

Also effective July 16, 2009, the Cisco CCIE Voice Lab Exam will feature a new type of question format in a section called Core Knowledge.  In this new section, candidates will be asked a series of four open-ended questions that require a short, typewritten response (typically several words).  The questions will be randomly drawn from a pool of questions on topics currently eligible for testing on the CCIE Voice Lab Exam.  No new topics are being added.  Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to complete the Core Knowledge section of the exam, and may not return to the questions later.  First introduced to the CCIE Routing and Switching lab exam in February 2009, Core Knowledge questions will eventually be added to all CCIE tracks.  The changes allow Cisco to maintain strong exam security, and they help ensure that only qualified candidates are awarded CCIE certification.

Mark at IPexpert has announced on OSL that they will be releasing a version of their flash based question simulation engine, so I am looking forward to checking it out. Im assuming they will follow the same pricing model for the R&S version on this – FREE!

I am currently making steady progress through the ccbootcamp study guide for the written, and will be following up soon with a breakdown of my progress so far. Im still on track to attempt the written exam in August.

Posted in ccbootcamp, CCIE LAB, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, ip expert, ipexpert, voice, written | Leave a Comment »

Voice Written

Posted by Jo on May 31, 2009

OK now Im getting serious about the whole CCIE Voice idea. I have just purchased the ccbootcamp CCIE Voice Written Study Guide and am planning to attempt the written exam sometime in August. This guide was recommended to me by Brandon, James and Jeff on Twitter as a good base to get prepared for the exam. I have also silently in the background been getting up to speed on the CCVP level topics by going through the CBT Nuggets for this course, and have just recently been heavily involved with a UC/IPCC project at work, so feel Im pretty much there with the basics. In addition to the ccbootcamp material James also recommended checking out the Cisco Press Voice Exam Quick Reference Sheets which I intend to do. Its a shame that there isnt a Cisco Press book that deals with the Voice Written exam in the same way there is one for the R&S side of things, but these resources should be plenty to get the required knowledge – I hope.

In the meantime, while I am studying for the written IPexpert will keep updating their workbook for the v3 blueprint, I will also be doing the Volume I labs that they have released so far, as I will soon be moving out of my apartment in Doha into new accommodation where I will have my own dedicated ADSL connection, so no more blocked ports stopping me from VPN’ing to the Proctor Labs equipment and getting my lab on.

Posted in BLS - Volume I, ccbootcamp, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, ipexpert, voice | 2 Comments »

Wow! Proctor Labs Voice vRack Enhancements

Posted by Jo on May 13, 2009

If you havent seen it already head over to the IPexpert blog and check out the latest news on the Proctor Labs voice vRack enhancements.

They have added some great new features, I am really ready to get stuck into my voice studies now – I must admit I was losing focus recently due to outside pressures, but  now I am beginning to miss the CCIE study mode and cant wait to get going again… Im even tempted to go for the great deals they have on the Voice vClass – but have to check the times and dates out.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | Leave a Comment »

All quiet on the western front (but busy out east!)

Posted by Jo on March 6, 2009

Hello there,

You may have noticed a severe lack of CCIE Voice updates to this site recently, this is down to me moving out to Doha and being incredibly busy with projects happening at my new job. Without getting too much into the specifics Ive joined the team smack bang in the middle of silly season in terms of workload and currently have 3 projects on the go concurrently that I am looking after.

The main one of these is building a new DC infrastructure (room, power, a/c, and network etc) followed by a period of migrating kit from the old DC out to the new DC – this all has to be complete by the end of the month! I am also overseeing the implementation of a new call centre (supplied and configured by a Cisco ATP and not me!), and when this is done will be looking at a full IPT roll out across the business Im working in (migrating away from a Nortel IPT solution thats in place presently). There are some busy times ahead to say the least.

I was hoping that being out here would give me some extra time to study, but have come across a couple of snags in terms of the projects im working on. Dont get me wrong, I love being busy working with all this stuff, so its great in that respect and Im sure after the beginning of April or end of March the bigger projects will be complete.

Another slight problem I have is that the Cisco VPN client and EzVPN solution into Proctor Labs is blocked by the edge router that provides internet access in the apartment block I’m in! I need to find out what I need to do to get that opened up, so I can study from home and not need to go into the office for it.

Anyway, so what does this mean for my studies and this blog? Well I see that IPexpert are releasing more V3 blueprint Volume 1 labs – which is great. I will certainly be looking at these once I sort out my connectivity issues and have a more managable workload. Ive said before Im in no real hurry to get this one done, and am not looking at a lab attempt before the end of 2009 or early 2010 – but I need to get a move on and get started in April at the latest. I will endeavour to keep the blog updated with some techincal stuff when I get to it…

Posted in CCIE Blog, ip expert, Life, voice | 1 Comment »

Voice 3.0 Material

Posted by Jo on February 4, 2009


IPexpert have released the first batch of Volume I labs to cover the 3.0 blueprint. The new IPexpert / Proctor Labs 3.0 vRack topology is shown above.

The new Volume 1 updates are as follows:

  • Volume 1, Section 1A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement Campus Infrastructure and Services”
  • Volume 1, Section 1B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot Campus Infrastructure and Services”
  • Volume 1, Section 2A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCM Endpoints
  • Volume 1, Section 2B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCM Endpoints”
  • Volume 1, Section 3A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCME Endpoints
  • Volume 1, Section 3B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCME Endpoints”

They have also updated the Proctor Labs booking site so when booking a session it prompts you for what version of the hardware you would like to use and also the ability to load/save configs. I have yet to book a session as I am still preparing for my move this Friday, but hopefully I will get some time to have a look more closely at the new content and features in the next couple of weeks or so. One thing I do see is that there are more SIP devices (the labels on the EzVPN part of the diagram above are now correct and there are  SIP phone for the HQ and BR2 sites that run over the EzVPN tunnel – full list below).


BR1-Ph1 (SIP)

BR2-Ph1 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph2 (SIP)

HQ-Ph2 (SIP)
BR1-Ph2 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph3 (SCCP)
BR2-Ph4 (SIP)

I am looking forward to checking out CUCM 7.0 to see how it differs from 4.1 as well as all the other ‘new’ features that 3.0 will bring to the table.

Mark @ IPexpert has just added a new blog entry covering the new content and changes – head on over here

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »

Thoughts on CCIE Voice 3.0

Posted by Jo on December 21, 2008

We have now all had time to reflect on the new Voice 3.0 blueprint and I have to say that I am pleased that they have announced them! As a relative new comer to the Voice track I must admit that I was not looking forward to learning about the older versions of CallManager and Unity as well as the CatOS and 6608 specific tasks (especially QoS on CatOS).

So what do the new announcements give us…well no more CatOS, which in itself is a bonus and also they have upgraded the software to more recent versions. Doing away with the 6500 platform, VG248, ATA, Fax, Unity means that these areas are no longer relevant so no need to focus on these any more.

Mark Snow over at IPexpert has put together a great post on the blog detailing what the major differences will be on the new exam, and what topics will be useful to study in the current BLS workbooks, I suggest if you are not planning on taking the Voice Lab before mid-July 2009 then you hop on over and check it out. They will be updating their labs and videos and releasing them as they are ready, so I will be looking forward to these, but in the meantime the current workbooks can still be used as they cover 70% of the material. Sure, some of the UI elements will change but the concepts will remain the same.

So what does this all mean for me? Well, I have not been studying over the past month or so and have basically stopped for the year now. Things were a little manic at work and also coming up to Christmas meant there was no time. Now I know what the changes are I will set about working out a schedule that starts early in 2009 to get cracking again working towards the 3.0 blueprint. The changes have given me a new lease of enthusiasm and hopefully I can work though the BLS workbooks using the current material and when IPexpert update them use the new material.

The ‘killer app’ of the BLS for me is the video walk throughs on the Volume III labs, but I guess these will take time to produce based on the new blueprint. Im setting myself a target of attempting the lab by the end of 2009 or early 2010, by which time I expect the training materials to be fully updated.

This will probably be my last post of the year, so wish everyone a Happy Christmas and also a Great New Year when the time comes.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »

Voice Lab Changes Cometh…

Posted by Jo on December 2, 2008

The update has been announced – the voice lab is changing.

New details can be found here:

The changes look quite interesting, I wonder how much of the current blueprint will be useful. I am glad for one that CallManger has been upated to something other than 4.1 (actually CUCM 7.0) and Im not sure if they have done away with the 6500 elements all together?

The Hardware and Software list is here:

As an IPexpert BLS customer hopefully they will be able to provide guidance on when the product and Proctor Labs vRacks will be updated to relect the new content.

Im on holiday at the moment out in Sweden, so I will write some more when I get back on all of this. Its good news though I think!

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Prep, ip expert, Lab Schedule, voice | 2 Comments »


Posted by Jo on November 22, 2008

Jared has written a very nice post over at the IPexpert Blog on a recommended book list for the CCIE R&S. Its good to see that I own 4 of the 7 books he lists on there – and I have to say the list is so much shorter than the recommended one listed by Cisco – which does have its fair share of outdated material.

It is an important part of the process to get the fundamental knowledge of all the different technologies before heading into full scale labs from the workbooks, which you can only get from reading. There is no shortcut really. While I personally didnt read any of the books I own for R&S from cover to cover, I did read large chunks of both of Routing TCP/IP Volume I and II. These books are really excellent. I would have liked to read Internet Routing Architectures a little, but found Volume II to cover most of the bases I needed. Of course the Cisco documentation contains a lot of great information too. If you are reading this and are doing your R&S then I would recommend you check out the article and buy the books.

So this brings me onto books I need for my Voice studies. It would be great if Mark or Vik could do a similar blog post for the Voice track. The thing that concerns me a little is that if the lab is due for a change in the new year, then how many of the voice topics will be out of date. Im sure that all of the Call Manager 4.1 stuff will change, along with the Unity and other non-generic topics. So for now I am going to hold off from purchasing any Voice related books until I know whats happening with the lab changes. The CCIE Voice recommended book list is here.

Posted in CCIE Blog, ip expert, voice | 2 Comments »

Voice BLS Volume I – Initial Session

Posted by Jo on November 1, 2008

Today I had a Proctor Labs session, which I wanted to use to get a feel of the environment. I have an 877W router at home, so opted to use the hardware EZVPN option to connect to the rack. The EZVPN config was fairly straight forward to get going, and it worked first time – which was good! Here is the basic config that I used – I added the [POD] bits as these are variables that change depending what POD number you are using at the time, so a quick search and replace should speed up the config.

crypto isakmp key ******** address

crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-Pod[POD]
connect manual
group vpodg[POD] key *********
mode client
xauth userid mode http-intercept

int dialer 1
crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-[POD]

int bvi 1
crypto ipsec client ezvpn IPx-[POD] inside

ip dhcp pool HOME-DHCP
option 150 ip 10.[POD].200.21

! Add outside ACL Entries – CBAC lets everything else initiated from inside back in
permit udp any any eq bootpc
permit esp host any
permit udp host any eq isakmp
permit udp host any eq non500-isakmp
permit icmp any echo

I have a couple of IP phones (7940 and 7960) that I bought a couple of years ago when I was playing around with Asterisk. What I forgot was that I loaded these phones with the SIP image to use them with Asterisk, so I will need to convert them back over to a recent version of SCCP. Hopefully I can do this in the next week or so.

The IPexpert vRack topology looks like this:

The aim of this session was to complete Section 1 and 2 of Volume I, which covered the basics of setting up the L2/L3 and CallManager infrastructure. I got a bit stuck playing around with the IP Blue soft phone, as it didnt like running in my Windows VM. I did get it going on my native XP laptop and got the PSTN phone working. Proctor Labs provide clear videos that show you how to set up multiple soft phones which was very helpful. I got all the L2/L3 interfaces configured and set up the DHCP scopes for HQ/BR1 on the UCM server and for BR2 on the BR2 router – standard stuff really. I got the phones registered with the CM server, but thats when I called it a day.

I didnt complete all I wanted to, but now that I have an understanding of the basic steps needed to set up the environment, will be able to make better progress next time. I think for now I will use the IP Blue soft phone, but will also look to get another two 7960’s and an ATA 186, so I can have all of the hardware local to me.

If anyone has any Voice kit for sale (7960’s) then please get in touch 😉

Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Blog, ip expert, voice | 2 Comments »