Posts from ‘Cisco Live’


The rumors have been swirling for many months now about a (seemingly) overdue update to the CCIE Voice blueprint, and having wondered about them myself, I decided to contact 3 proctors that I know and speak with regularly. While they (of course) could not divulge anything specific, they had all heard ‘rumors’ themselves. No one knows exactly when we might see an update officially announced, but two main theories seem to exist as to when it will come.

  1. It will happen one week from today at Cisco Live during the paid 8-hour CCIE Voice seminar

  2. OR

  3. It will come sometime during the month of July

The reasons behind the two schools of thought is that the first just seems to make sense 1) Big Cisco event, seems like the perfect time to announce, and 2) Wait until UC v9 comes out of beta to give a bit more longevity to the exam (have the version of UC servers being tested not as ‘old’ 3 years from now when they update again). It’s possible Cisco could even surprise us and announce a new lab blueprint at Cisco Live and announce the still-in-beta v9 – though I personally think that is much less likely to happen.

Either way, INE will be there to update you live. I will be tweeting and live blogging from the 8-hour CCIE Voice seminar one week from today (Sunday, June 10) beginning at 8am PDT (GMT -7). I will also be tweeting anything interesting that we might find out about the CCIE DC track during the Monday morning session.

At a minimum, we will see an update to UC v8.6 servers, at the maximum, v9. While there are a number of new enhancements to v9 such as redacted and redacted (after all it is still in beta and NDA ;-) ), I personally don’t think it will make too much of a difference either way.

Some of the things we know almost certainly that we’ll see updated are new UCM technologies such as:

  • UCM Session Management Edition (SME) – Think of UCM as a hierarchical proxy/gatekeeper over multiple UCM clusters (my guess is one cluster would be pre-configured)
  • Call Control Discovery (CCD) via the Service Advertisement Framework (SAF) – think IGP dynamic routing protocols for DNs
  • Extension Mobility Cross-Cluster (EMCC or some say CCEM) – nuf said
  • SIP Normalization via Lua scripting language – this is cool
  • Geo-Location Filtering – basically restricting VoIP-to-PSTN hop-off in certain areas due to government law
  • LDAP Custom Filters – self explanatory
  • Security! – This is clutch these days, and UCM 8 and above have it in spades (and an absolute necessity for things like EMCC)

Now, some of the things that I’d be willing to wager on, but we certainly can’t be sure of until announced are things such as :

  • TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) (and possibly even VCS Expressway with an ASA)
  • ISR-G2 voice/video gateways with PVDM3 – needed to conference/transcode/transrate/transsize Video
  • 89xx or 99xx series phones – I’d pick the former since they have newer models with built-in cameras – go figure
  • Jabber Client (replacing CUPC)

One that I don’t think can be tested is the Intercompany Media Engine (IME). This in a nutshell is the ability for UCM clusters to securely ‘discover’ other UCM clusters out on the internet (between multiple companies or autonomous organizations) and learn/build secure SIP trunks between them and then auto-route calls between them. This contrasts with Call Control Discovery (CCD) which is used to auto-learn DNs from other UCM clusters, but within a single autonomous organization. CCD only requires 2 UCM clusters with 2 routers to provide the EIGRP-driven Service Advertisement Framework. IME requires 2 UCM clusters, 2 IME servers each with reachability to either GoDaddy or, and 2 ASA’s to build the secure linkage between them. It is for this reason that I highly doubt that IME could/would be tested.

Whatever may be announced – one thing you do not need to do is panic. Yes, these are new things that you would have to learn. Yes that may take some time. However everything you have already been studying is still 100% relevant and necessary to know. Not only that, but you’ll have around 6 months to finish up your studies and pass the exam before this new blueprint would go into effect.

Also, and perhaps much more importantly, INE has you covered. I’ve already been teaching all of these new topics for well over a year now in certain settings. Most of them can be found in my recently released 62 hour CCNP Voice bootcamp. I’ve also recently started a blog series on Call Control Discovery (CCD via SAF). It has 5.5 hours of video teaching you everything you need to know. Also I will begin another blog series on Extension Mobility Cross Cluster (EMCC) directly following the week of Cisco Live.

Follow me and stay updated throughout the conference!

It’s sure to be a great time at Cisco Live even if we don’t see an update. Hope to see you there!

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Tomorrow at 10am PST (-7 GMT) I will be hosting a vSeminar covering one of the new Troubleshooting Labs using our new 32 device racks. This session, as with all of my sessions, is being done hands on and should run about 5 to 7 hours. I will do a quick introduction covering our new racks, lab interface, and details for the Troubleshooting portion of the real CCIE Lab exam but the remaining time I will be doing a troubleshooting lab hands on. To sign up, use the link below and then go to before the session starts.

vSeminar Sign up

This vSeminar is the exact same style as my live bootcamps and that style is hands on. It’s far easier to learn troubleshooting and advanced networking in general if you can see someone experienced walk you through it so you can learn what their thought process is and how they go about the configuration, verification and troubleshooting. Then when you do it yourself it’s far easier since you’ve actually seen it done and not just heard it talked about during a PowerPoint presentation. ;-)

I’ll join in the live chat during the session so if you all have any curve balls you want to throw at me feel free. I love to be challenged ;-)

Here is the logical topology we will be using (click to download the PDF):

CCIE Troubleshooting Lab

Here is the physical topology:
INE R&S CCIE Troubleshooting Physical Topology

This session will be recorded and available free of charge as a sample for our new R&S CCIE Troubleshooting Bootcamp.

Secondly in San Diego during Cisco Live we will be hosting four R&S CCIE Troubleshooting sessions for people to test out our new TS racks, labs and grading interface. If you would like to sign up and reserve a spot use the link below:

We will be giving out an iPad to the best score (fastest time as the tie breaker) from each session.

Lastly I have four weeks off between now and the end of the year that I’m not teaching a public or private CCIE bootcamp. I want to take that time and spend it doing 3 or 4 day technology focused bootcamps covering the following topics:

1. IPv6 (2 Days)
2. OSPFv2 and OSPFv3 (4 Days)
3. BGP (3 Days)
4. MPLS and MPLS VPNs (3 Days)
5. PfR/OER (3 Days)
6. IPv4 and IPv6 Multicast (3 Days)
7. QoS (3 Days)
8. IP Services (3 Days)

There sessions will not be a rerun of the current R&S ATC videos but will build on top of what is covered in them. So if there is enough interest for these, as there appears to be, I’ll run them live in Bellevue, WA this summer. Basically they will run six days a week for four weeks straight. The recordings will be available via download for purchase or streamed with an All Access Pass membership. I’ll post more details regarding these sessions next week.

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Tomorrow I will be doing a vseminar on how to prepare for the R&S CCIE lab and Friday I will be doing another vseminar going over our new R&S CCIE Troubleshooting labs and racks along with a full lab walk-through. The first vseminar will last 4 or 5 hours and the second will last roughly 5 or 6 hours. If you would like to sign up for a session you can use the link below:

vSeminar Sign Up

Before the official announcements goes out tomorrow, if anyone is attending Cisco Live in San Diego in two weeks and would like to attend our party on Monday night (11 June) at the Altitude Sky Lounge next to the convention center (free food, booze and drawings for iPads every 30 minutes) you can sign up using the link below:

INE Party Sign up

Additionally we have space reserved at the convention center and are hosting four CCIE Troubleshooting sessions (two Wednesday and two Thursday). These sessions will last 3 hours each and we will be offering free R&S CCIE Troubleshooting Labs using our new 32 device topology with automated grading. We are giving away an iPad per session to the person who completes the troubleshooting lab with the highest score and fastest time. These new labs will be made available to the public for purchase after Cisco Live. There is extremely limited seating for the troubleshooting sessions so sign up now if interested using the form below. For the INE party we have space for a few hundred people but hurry up and get there early before Brian McGahan eats all of the sushi! ;-)

INE Troubleshooting Sign up

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Brian Dennis and I attended Cisco Live! – Networkers this week, and both enjoyed the privilege of sitting down to talk privately with Yusuf Bhaiji (Program Manager over the entire CCIE program) and Ben Ng (Program Manager over the CCIE Voice track) for roughly 45 minutes. It was quite an enjoyable and spirited talk, and I believe it benefited both sides – our side to gain a better understanding of why some of the choices have been made, and theirs possibly to see things a bit more ‘through the eyes of the typical hard-studying student’. I would like to take a moment to jot down some of the highlights from our conversation, and then unpack them in a bit more detail, so that you may benefit from the open conversation.


I’ll jot down some very simple, high-level topics that were discussed during our conversation, and then unpack them in more detail in the following section.

  • Upcoming changes to every CCIE Lab Exam
    • Protecting the integrity of the CCIE certification
    • Robust, matured results-based grading engine
    • Heuristic logic embedded into task wording
    • Accuracy and detail of lab score reports
    • Cisco’s CCIE Lab Delivery System and virtualization for mobile labs
    • No re-reads
  • CCIE Voice
    • Next blueprint version expectation
    • Topics for current and next blueprint versions
  • CCIE Data Center
    • CCIE Storage grows up
  • Reason behind CCIE Statistics web page being removed

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