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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 »

Hello World!

Posted by Jo on May 6, 2009

Hi there, Im still around here and there.

Ive been totally snowed under with work recently. Ive now been in Doha for 3 months and its flown by really fast  – I did manage a quick break back in the UK last week which was nice (and also brought the love of my life back with me). The DC project Im working on is still rumbling (slowly) on , its a big migration weekend coming up so I dont expect to get much sleep. Its all fun in the end though and I am enjoying it.

So it looks like the guys at Cisco are changing the CCIE R&S blueprint to version 4.0. I have to say I like the look of the new format, the idea of a separate troubleshooting section is a great idea. I almost want to take the lab again to check it out (OK maybe not!). Check out the Mike’s Blog for more details from IPexpert and some great offers. Even though I passed the R&S Im hoping to get access to the new updated materials to check them out. Ive still got some vRack vouchers knocking around so will see what IPexpert send my way in the members section when the time comes. Its always good to keep up with the different technologies that they are adding.

As for my studies, Im hoping that after next weekend the major projects I am working on will be less intensive so I will have time to do some more study. Another hurdle in my way is the lack of VPN access from my ‘shared’ internet connection in the apartment block Im living in. They apparently cannot open up the required ports – which sucks a little. I will be looking for a new place to live sometime in the very near future, so once I have my ‘blisteringly fast’ 2Mb ADSL connection I will be good to go on the study front.

Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE LAB, ip expert, Life | 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 »

OT: 14 days in the desert

Posted by Jo on February 19, 2009

So, Ive been in Doha for just about 14 days now and thought Id write a little about it.

When I left London it was in the middle of a cold spell and I almost didnt make it to the airport in time after it started snowing and the motorway was blocked. Thankfully the taxi driver made it through somehow and I made the plane, which was actually delayed for a couple of hours due to the cold weather. I did manage to pick myself up a new 15″ MacBook Pro – which is very nice to use.

My arrival in Doha was late if rather uneventful and I headed back to my apartment. I will be working here with some guys I used to work with a for a couple of years a while back, so it was good to see everyone again. The first Saturday was spent on a trip out into the desert for some ‘dune bashing’ – we got quad bikes and spent an hour or so racing around – it was great fun! I forgot to take out my camera to get some pictures, but hopefully will be going out again sometime in the near future before it gets too hot.

The working week is Sunday-Thursday here so it was straight to work the following day with aching limbs and all. Ive landed right in the middle of a busy period, and immediately got given a pretty meaty project to work on – a DC migration to be completed by the end of March. That sounds pretty OK, but when you consider the new DC is still under construction it adds a little bit of time pressure. The first lot of A/C units went online today, so we are making some progress at least – so should be able to make the deadline. After the DC project there seems to be a decent pipeline of projects on offer, so I know that I will be kept busy for the foreseeable future.

So apart from working I haven’t really done much else. Ive managed to check out the local area and found some nice authentic Turkish food, dont tell my wife, but its just as nice as hers 😉 Of course being away from the Mrs. is tough, but Im hopeful that she will be out here sooner rather than later once my visa comes through – in the meantime Skype has been a lifesaver. I think I am going to like it out here, the weather is great (for winter) and only need to wear a short sleeved shirt at night, although Im sure the height of summer will be a different story – so looking forward to that also.

Im not great at taking pics so dont have many to show. I have started a blog over at where I will be posting more about my exploits over here, so if your interested check it out sometime – there isnt much on there but I should be adding some more content soon.

Thats about it for now, I have to try and get some sleep as have a mini DR test in the morning that I need to wake up early for. Later.

Posted in OT | 3 Comments »

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 »

New Year, New Job, New…

Posted by Jo on January 14, 2009



I recently went over to Doha in Qatar for a flying visit. I was checking it out as I have a few friends who have been working out there there for the past 18 months or so and they have offered me a position to join them doing some network consultancy initially at the bank they are working for.

I think this will be a great opportunity to see another part of the world and live a different way of life for a while. With the current economic situation I see this as a chance to get out of the UK for a couple of years while things hopefully settle down, by all accounts there is a lot of work over there, so I expect to be pretty busy. Of course the tax free income, flight allowances, accommodation and car costs also helped make up my mind on things as well, so in a couple of years when I am ready to come back to the UK, it will mean I wont have to find a job immediately and can use some savings to upgrade our lifestyle here. For tax purposes I will have to be out of the UK until April 2010, after which time we will evaluate the situation on a yearly basis to see if we are still enjoying it. I am looking at the opportunity as a 14 month contract position with 12 month extensions beyond that. Considering the contract market here in London looks to be drying up, and the fact I wanted to move on from my current company, this is a great chance to see another part of the world and save some cash.

So what does this mean for my CCIE studies? By all accounts Doha isnt the most exciting place in the world, outside of working, going out, eating, drinking and dune bashing there isnt too much else to do, so I should have plenty of time to spend working on my IPexpert workbooks and watching videos.

I will be moving out at the start of February to get stuck in and am looking forward to it – oh and the apartment complex we will be living in has a pool and gym facilities, so no more excuses for not working out and shifting some pounds.

Posted in Life | 8 Comments »

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 »

IPexpert Bargains!

Posted by Jo on December 12, 2008

It had to happen, the day that I dont feverishly check the IPexpert blog for updates, they go and post about some crazy bargains in the pipeline for their readers. Maybe I will now set up an RSS feed for it! 😉

I suggest you head over to the IPexpert blog for more info, and sign up on the different social networks they participate in to be in with a chance of some great deals.

I am back from my holidays now, so will be posting some more on the Voice Lab changes over the weekend hopefully.

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