We’ve been putting a lot of time into development for quite a while now on the new CCIE Collaboration blueprint and wanted to share with you a few updates. If you’ve taken a look at the blueprint anytime recently, you know that there is quite a lot of material to be covered, and that a simple 5-day class would never suffice. So we’ve put together a new class that is extremely thorough, spanning a 10-day period, and we wanted to share with you the updated outline for the class structure as well as a sample class topology and list of equipment that we will be using, since many of you have been emailing and asking in our forums about what to buy in order to host your own rack.

CCIE Collaboration 10-Day Bootcamp Dates, Locations and Outline

Sample Classroom Diagram

Sample Equipment List

Keep watching for more updates as we get closer to releasing new material.

UPDATE: Current customers that have the All Access Pass can already view two 4-hour classes that will assist with a few of the subjects. The first related to a (now outdated by GDPR, but still on the exam) technology known as CCD over SAF and also a CAC mechanism known as SIP Preconditions. The second – while not tested on the lab per-se (students have no access to UCS C-Series CIMC), but certainly covered in-depth on the written exam – is UC on UCS.

About Mark Snow, CCIE #14073:

Mark Snow has been actively working with data and traditional telephony as a Network Consulting Engineer since 1995, and has been working with Cisco Call Manager and voice-over technology since 1998. Mark has been actively teaching and developing content for the CCIE Voice track since 2005, and the Security track since 2007. Mark's story with both data and voice technology started out quite young, as he began learning around the age of five from his father who was a patented inventor and a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Mark started out on Unix System V and basic analog telephony, and went on from there to large data networking projects with technologies such as Banyan Vines, IPX and of course IP, and large phone systems such as Nortel 61c, Tadiran Coral, Avaya Definity and of course Cisco Unified Communications Manager in both enterprise and 911 PSAP environments across the US and internationally. Mark is also an accomplished pilot and punched his ticket in 2001. When Mark isn't learning, labing, consulting or teaching, he can be found either piloting or possibly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging off a rock somewhere or else skiing out west. He also might just be enjoying a quiet day at the beach with his wife and two wonderful young kids, Ryleigh and Judah.

Find all posts by Mark Snow, CCIE #14073 | Visit Website

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63 Responses to “Update for CCIE Collaboration”

  1. Terrence B says:

    Thanks for the update Mark. Topology looks great. I wasn’t expecting SME to be on the exam, but I guess they needed something to fill the Void of gatekeeper. This looks like its going to be a pretty pricy lab considering the PVDM3′s and the VWIC3′s.

  2. Tony says:


    Will some ATC and Deep Dive videos be released after a bootcamp session?

    • There will be something similar to this, however you will find all of our new self-paced products being released to be in a much tighter, cohesive delivery format with each other (lectures, demo videos, labs, assessment/grading). More to come on this as we begin rolling it out. Watch this blog for further exciting details.

  3. sb.ccie says:

    Hi Mark,

    Which version of UC software will INE run on this forthcoming training infrastructure ?… 9.0 ? 9.1 ?

    Best regards,

    • UC servers are all v9.1 for everything except UCCX which is v9.0 – which is all in accordance with the HW/SW equipment list. All routers will be 2911s running 15.2(4)M and Cat running 15.0(2)M.

      • Alfredsson says:

        Thanks Mark.

        Based on the previous lab versions, can we assume that the lab will be on the base/main 9.1 versions? (i.e not 9.1.1a nor 9.1.2 for CUCM // .1a or 1b for CUP)


        • There’s no way to be sure what Cisco will run in terms of maintenance releases (following the main train of 9.1). This has always been their stance on just about every CCIE track with regards to SW versions – namely that they reserve the right to run any maintenance releases, and even upgrade mid-blueprint if they deem fit in order to fix bugs, although most of us know this rarely, if ever, happens. Specifically INE will be running v9.1.1 in our racks.

  4. Berkan says:

    Hi Mark,

    Will there be a 10-day bootcamp dates for Europe?


  5. Chevy says:

    Will current CCIE Voice customers have access to the collaboration material?

    • They certainly will. See this post for more details. In fact, current customers that have the All Access Pass can already view two 4-hour classes that will assist with a few of the subjects. The first related to a (now outdated by GDPR, but still on the exam) technology known as CCD over SAF can be found here. The second – while not tested on the lab per-se (students have no access to UCS C-Series CIMC), but certainly covered in-depth on the written exam – is UC on UCS found here.

  6. Deepak Arora says:

    Can you kindly share plans for Self Placed Material

  7. Charles Monteiro says:

    Thanks Mark!

  8. Shane says:

    For those of us who are looking to start CCIE Collaboration, what do you recommend we start with given the interim period where material and topics are a bit sketchy…would it be a good idea to start going through the CCIE Voice content ?

    • It would be good to go ahead and go through the entire Voice portfolio until the Collaboration materials begin releasing. Except for H.323 Gatekeeper, 100% of the existing Voice content is still applicable, and needs to be completely understood for this new exam. While there has been about 20% of an addition of new material, literally nothing except for Gatekeeper has been taken away. So go through the Voice stuff with confidence and just ignore anytime where I say “this is a bug in v7.0″, and skip past the Gatekeeper stuff.

  9. Dan says:

    Mark – thanks for posting this information. There is a version of the new Collaboration topology that has been released which is rumored to be from the CCIE 360 training program. This topology is a little different than the sample classroom diagram you provided. Can you provide some feedback as to how INE came up with the diagram and how it compares to the 360 version?


    • Hi Dan,

      What got posted on Cisco’s Learning Network was in fact the 360 topology, and if you’ll take close note, theirs is more or less a copy of what I’ve already been developing toward for months now. The main difference is merely the number of phones as well as one less router. One of the reasons we have more phones is so that we can have a few directly connected rack phones for students/renters to remotely control and many more that students/renters will have directly in front of them while appearing via L2VPN like they are directly connected. This is compared to a 360 class where you have Zero phones in front of you, and must remotely control ALL of your phones, which is a nightmare with video phones. In fact, one quick note about that topic is the fact that to do some video and all URI dialing, 9971s (or 8941/8945/9951s) are quite important, and they remotely control unbelievably poorly, and will therefore be very important to have directly in front of you. Video can be accomplished somewhat well with our remotely-hosted Jabber clients, but is much better viewed on the 9971s. URI dialing isn’t available until Jabber 9.6, which is unlikely to be the version they run in the actual Lab exam due to its newness. The extra router that we have at the head-end site is so that you can learn, understand and test many important things such as CUBE with box-to-box redundancy (which is very important) as well as high availability and failover of many media resources.

      So to break down the comparison between the two more directly:

      360 BB/Cloud: UCM SME Cluster, VCS, TMS, AD/LDAP, 1 JabberVideo, PSTN Phone
      INE DC/Cloud: UCM SME Cluster, VCS, TMS, AD/LDAP 1 JabberVideo, PSTN phones

      360 HQ: UCM cluster1, IM, CUC, UCCX, 1 Jabber, 2 phones
      INE SA: UCM cluster1, IM, CUC, UCCX, 1 Jabber, 2 phones

      360 BR1: UCM cluster2, IM, CUC, 1 Jabber, 2 phones
      INE SB: UCM cluster2, IM, CUC, 1 Jabber, 2 phones

      360 BR2: CME/SRST, 1 phone
      INE SC: optional CME/SRST, 2 phones, 1 Jabber

      INE SD: optional CME/SRST, 2 phones cluster1, 1 phone cluster2

      Hope that helps.

  10. Hong Kim says:

    Dear Mark,

    In order to save money, there are many CCIE voice INE setting lab on ebay. They are sold b/w $1,000~1,700.
    Would it be good idea to buy those and practice the lab and only new features such as Jabber and SAF use rack rental?

    • Jabber is software only, and can be added easily and at low/no cost with just a few more VMs on your existing ESXi server. SAF can run on 2811s no problems, and with UCM 8.5 and 9.
      Buying old gear is fine and will help you with maybe 50 to maybe 60% of the tasks. The problem is how tightly integrated Video plays a part in just about everything in the new Collaboration lab, and for video with any sort of media interop (conferencing, transcoding, trans-sizing, trans-rating, etc) – you’ll need PVDM3s, which won’t run on any of the older 28xx ISR (G1) routers that you’ll find in the older CCIE Voice lab gear on eBay, etc.
      So while it will certainly help you study for a lot of things, you will still need to rent rack time (or buy updated hardware) for many of the tasks involving calls with video. So that would have to be a judgement call you’d have to make – what is the trade-off worth value.

  11. Steve says:


    In order to prepare for using your online labs I am going to start to purchase end points. Can you tell me how many 9971′s and 7965′s I will need? Prefer the vpn solution with endpoints in front of me.

    Also, do you know what jabber is going to run on? Windows, Mac etc?

  12. Ashish says:

    In order to simulate the CCIE Voice collab lab environment & make it more realistic at my end, i want to use INE L2VPN feature.

    For that i would need to buy a router, couple of phones, switch or some module.

    Keeping voice collab in mind, please advise which router, phone, switch/module i need to buy at my end so that i could connect to INE Lab via L2VPN to make it more realistic.

    Looking forward to hear! Thanks.

  13. woisch says:

    Hi Mark,

    i just want to prepare my BOM and want to ask you why do you use HWIC-2T for the 4x BR routers and not HWIC-1T . And you think we need 4 x BR 29xx routers or 3 enough?


    • Simply because we found HWIC-2Ts more prevalent. 1T would be just fine. We are actually reducing our topology to only 3x 2911 routers. I had 4 in there so that I could demo things like CUBE with Box-to-Box Redundancy which is used quite heavily in enterprise production networks.

  14. Shady says:

    Hi Mark,
    Is there any changes in renting costs for new collaboration topology?
    There is rumor that it will be too expensive.

    • The new equipment is quite expensive, that much is for certain. We will be releasing racks in the coming weeks, and will have an update on pricing then. In the meantime, you can still practice about 75-80% of what’s covered in Collaboration on our Voice racks (which will be entirely replaced, BTW).

  15. Flavio says:

    Hi Mark,

    Is there any special reason for using that amount of PVDMs? On SA/SB site for example, you have a router with 1 E1 and a PVDM3-256. It’s so expensive…

    Also, is it possible to mix my home lab (not only phones) with INE rented racks?



    • There is. PVDM3-256 is the only PVDM that will allow for homogenous and heterogenous video conferencing, something explicitly stated in the blueprint. That it is so expensive is precisely why we only have one per rack – you only need to test a small 3 or 4 person video conference with loudest speaker video switching between 9971s and J4W (Jabber) clients. You could, however, feasibly build a rack with lower modules (e.g. PVDM3-64) and test everything else, and then rent rack time from us to test video conferencing, etc.

      • sb.ccie says:

        Hi Mark,

        From a financial point a view, it could be easier/cheaper/flexible to find or use two PVDM3-128 than one PVDM3-256…

        So is it possible to do all these ultimate video conferencing/transcoding tests with two PVDM3-128 in the same gateway, or should we have all DPSs on the same PVDM Module (that is an only one PVDM3-256 module in the gateway) ?


        • I haven’t tried a single heterogenous conference spanning two PVDM3-128s. I don’t believe it will support it, but again I haven’t tried to be certain. You would still be able to create homogenous conference bridges for video as well as support 1 audio conference bridge, transcoders and TDM circuits with a PVDM3-128.

  16. Dragos says:

    Hi Mark,

    Do you have any updates on the Collaboration self paced materials (workbooks and videos) and Rack Rental availability?
    Are there any estimated dates for when we could access these?


    • I’ve been busy developing both workbook and self-paced video non-stop for Collaboration for quite some time, and we will be releasing it very soon, along with completely new racks. In the meantime, you can still learn and practice at least 75% of what you need to know using our existing IE Voice self-paced materials and racks. Stay tuned to this blog for updates coming very soon.

  17. Flavio says:

    Hi Mark,

    One more question. Could I use VWIC2 instead of VWIC3? I know that both are supported with ISR G2.



  18. ibrahin says:

    Hi Mark

    Is there E1 , T1 in new lab OR replaced by SIP ?

    Can i use 28XX with any way ?


    • T1 and E1 are both still a very big part of the CCIE Collaboration Lab exam, however SIP ITSP/IP-PSTN trunks will now play a very big part in your testing. Look for many, many hours from specifically me on understanding and troubleshooting SIP trunks in all fashions – for ITSP connections, for EMCC trunks, for SIP E2E RSVP with preconditions, Jabber with BFCP, etc.

  19. Novri says:

    Hi Mark,

    I don’t see any CUBE on the topology, If I see the Collaboration Lab Exam topic they list CUBE as one of the topic.

    Why we need Site D ?


    • CUBE is a huge part of this new exam. Expect to see many hours on the topic of CUBE, along with SIP Profiles to fixup headers, interop SIP-to-SIP, SIP-to-H323, etc. Site D is nothing more than Branch2 really. Site A and B are at the same physical location, and this gives us more flexibility to demonstrate the power of EL-CAC with Blended Locations via a Hub/Bootstrap site, etc.

  20. woisch says:

    when will study material available for collaboration?

  21. Jerad says:


    I know we are all very anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new material. Any news on its release date?


  22. Alfredsson says:

    Hi Mark,

    In the blueprint there is a reference to “Federation”, are you planning a lab around XMPP federation?


  23. Gigi vikraman says:

    Hai mark

    can you tell me router license details.

    • Router licenses can get quite expensive – as you will need the “uck9″ and possibly the “UCVideo” license to accomplish many tasks. There will be a decent number of individual technology tasks can be accomplished with no 2911 router at all – and merely a Jabber client and a UCM Publisher VM. However, many tasks will require the 2911 with PVDM3 and licenses.

  24. Jon Woloshyn says:

    Hi Mark,
    It’s been quite a while since there has been any update here. Can you let us know what the status is on the CCIE Collaboration products and Rack Rentals? Thanks

    • Rack Rentals and Collaboration technology-focused labs are immediately forthcoming. Watch this space for many exciting announcements regarding not only Collaboration, but how all new INE content will be delivered in just the next few weeks. We are working hard on a brand new dynamically-allocated SDN-based system to ensure that our new labs scale to absolutely everyone that requests a rack, and that the huge number of customers we serve on a daily basis won’t bog down even a single request for a timeslot, historically requiring one to queue in a large stack of people waiting to work on a rack.

  25. Javier Herrero says:

    Hi Mark,

    Nice to meet you. I have one question about remote labs.

    How do you solve the problem of not having RTP locally for people that rent voice or collaboration racks? I mean that I haven’t a CP-9971 in my house, so when I want to make a video call from this endpoints. Which way I could check it?

    In resume, how media gets to my home in the case I would rent a collaboration rack despite of the endpoint are phisically attached to your racks?

    Thank you very much.

    • We allow you to connect your own phones to our networks using L2 VPN, so you will get full video and RTP. If you do not have phones, you won’t be able to properly prepare for this lab. There’s really no way around it.


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