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 The first related to a (now outdated by GDPR, but still on the exam) technology known as CCD over SAF and also a CAC mechanism known as SIP Preconditions.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.


I put together a new playlist on our All Access Pass geared toward helping those that have decided to study primarily with the new CCIE Collaboration in mind. What will be included in this playlist is primarily new technologies, specifically those that haven't yet been covered elsewhere in our CCIE Voice v3 products. As the weeks go on, I will continue to update this list with more and more videos covering new technologies in UC v9.1. Keep in mind that until I have this list complete with everything that is newer than UCM 7.x, that you can and should still study all of our CCIE Voice v3 products, as everything except for H.323 RAS/Gatekeeper will still be completely relevant and a very much needed base for your understanding. Once I complete this list, I will probably leave it up for those only wanting to learn the new stuff, like those of you that are already CCIE Voice v3 certified (if you certified on CCIE Voice v2 or v1, and haven't really used it in a while, you're going to want to watch all the material over again as quite a LOT changed from v2 to v3). Also, once I complete this playlist with all the new technologies, I will be recording a completely new top-to-bottom CCIE Collaboration Advanced Technologies Class, that will include everything. And of course, the workbook is being completely re-written as well in our new online format, which you can see a sample of here and here. This video playlist is meant to not only hold you over until then, but also to be able to release material to you in a timely, incremental fashion.

To start with, here is 4.5 hours of material on Call Control Discovery over Service Advertisement Framework (CCDoSAF). At a most basic description, this is dynamic routing of DNs over an enhanced, named instance of EIGRP. It is currently much more detailed and complex than ILS (a newer and much more scalable dynamic routing protocol built-in natively to UCM), but it is also currently far more powerful and allows for things like SRST integration for failover usage with PSTN Aliases, as well as cluster-to-cluster PSTN failover, should the primary SIP/H.323 trunk route go down. Cisco pushes ILS much more in production and it is getting much more support with UCM 10.x, but since the new lab tests on 9.x, and the fact that no CCIE Lab exam has ever been that much interested in real-world design --favoring complexity over ease of configuration and good design-- and the fact that it is very much on the new blueprint, I'd say you best get used to it now, even if it is going away. Also, I recorded these videos on a UCM v8.5 cluster, but that shouldn't matter as this feature hasn't changed since then.

The link for CCDoSAF on the UCM 9.1 Features and Services Guide can be found here.

The link for the playlist is here.

I start off with a general overview including a few slides just for concept, and then I move into hands-on demonstration of the following topic areas:

  • CUCM Inter-Cluster Call Routing
  • CUCM Call Routing with PSTN Failover
  • CUCM Call Routing during SRST Fallback
  • CUCM to CME Call Routing
  • Inter-Cluster RSVP via SIP Preconditions



We recognize that there is new content in the new CCIE Collaboration blueprint. We also recognize that a change to the name of CCIE Voice is long overdue. Furthermore, we recognize that there is about an 80% overlap in content, and only about 20% worth of new material. To this end, we will not be requiring our CCIE Voice v3 customers to re-purchase any CCIE Voice track materials when follow Cisco in rebranding it to CCIE Collaboration.

What this means is that if you have purchased any CCIE Voice v3 product such as a workbook or video course download, you will get all of the upgrades to that product, even when we rebrand the title of our products to CCIE Collaboration to stay in keeping with Cisco's new title. This goes for bootcamps as well, if you paid for and sat one our CCIE Voice v3 bootcamps, you are welcome to come back and re-sit for one of our CCIE Collaboration bootcamps just the same - in keeping with our Bootcamp Reseat Policy.


9 Months and counting to get your CCIE Voice v3 finished before CCIE Voice v4 --err, I mean before CCIE Collaboration-- debuts.


See this newer blog entry before reading anything in this current post. Some of what's below is accurate, but anything in this newer post usurps what may have been said here.


Overwhelmingly, the question I have been asked over and over again in the short time since this was announced is: "If I get the CCIE Voice certification, will I lose it come February when the new CCIE Collaboration debuts?". In short, No, you will not lose your CCIE Voice. Once you obtain the CCIE Voice certification, then provided that you maintain any CCIE Written exam every two years, you will still be called a CCIE Voice. If you take and pass both, then you will in fact be a double CCIE.


So we finally have our answer. Those of us who are already CCIE Voice - we are not grandfathered in as CCIE Collaboration. CCIE Collaboration is a completely new CCIE track. Voice had a good 10 year run. Now it's time to get busy and move on with the new CCIE that's in town. At least that is what Cisco is telling us. It actually makes very little sense why they have done this. The hardware blueprint is almost identical, with a few slight enhancements. Testing days don't overlap. Cisco even calls it CCIE Voice v4 on a few docs. Why the full retirement vs. a simple name change is beyond me. CCIE R&S has gone through massive changes over the 20 years it's been out (next year) -it clearly looks nothing like it did in 1994- and it's still called the CCIE R&S. Security as well. CCIE Communications and Services looks nothing like the CCIE Service Provider of today, but a simple name change sufficed in that case. At any rate, let's take a look as to what has changed.

Perhaps the most sought after link as to "What if I take the ABC Written Exam, but the XZY Lab Exam - what will I be called?", can be found here. One of the things it tells us is this:

"A candidate can use either the CCIE Voice or CCIE Collaboration written exam as part of a CCIE Collaboration certification. If a candidate passes either the CCIE Voice written exam or the CCIE Collaboration written exam, combined with the CCIE Collaboration lab exam, they will attain a CCIE Collaboration certification." However, this does clearly tell us that you must actually pass the CCIE Collaboration lab exam to obtain the title of "CCIE Collaboration".

Last days to test

CCIE Voice
The last day to take the CCIE Voice Written exam is November 20, 2013.
The last day to take the CCIE Voice Lab exam is February 13, 2014.

CCIE Collaboration
The CCIE Collaboration Written exam availability begins November 21, 2013.
The CCIE Collaboration Lab exam availability begins February 14, 2014.


Frequently Asked Questions regarding this new certification and any possible upgrade path can be found here.


Syllabus and some general info can be found here.

Written Exam Topics

Written Exam topics can be found here.

Lab Exam Topics

Lab Exam topics are extensive but not very revolutionary from CCIE v3, and can be found here.

What's New?

As expected, Video. 9971 phones with USB-cam sled. Telepresence Movi, albeit in the cloud (candidate doesn't have to configure). URI Dialing and ILS as expected. SAF via CCD (dynamic DN routing via EIGRP), something that is incredibly useful even if not often deployed. Cross-Cluster Extension Mobility presents an obvious need for at least two full UCM clusters. No word on SME, but that doesn't mean they can't test you on it - as it's just another UCM cluster (and nothing to be afraid of). SIP pre-conditions such as for RSVP which falls right in line with SAF/CCD and which INE has plenty of content on already. Clearly Presence will have Inter-Federation - probably with WebEx, although they could have a Microsoft Lync cluster in the cloud/backbone that you would simply have to interface with. We know that there is no more H.323 Gatekeeper, and no more possibility of T1/E1 CAS, as we see in this Cisco document.

Lab Hardware and Software

Hardware hasn't changed too, too much from CCIE Voice. In fact, from looking at it, you'd wonder if it isn't mostly the same. Still has Frame Relay interfaces, which is crazy. Video phones such as 9971. Telepresence with Movi (ehem, Cisco Jabber Video for Cisco Telepresence) in the backbone. UC on UCS as expected.

CCIE Collaboration Lab Equipment and Software List
Lab Equipment:
Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) C460 Rack Server
Cisco 3925 Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2)
Cisco 2921 Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2)
ISR G2 Modules and Interface Cards
- 1-Port 3rd Gen Multiflex Trunk Voice/WAN Int. Cards - T1/E1
- Cisco High-Density Packet Voice Digital Signal Processor Modules (PVDM3)
- Cisco Service Ready Module 710 Service Module with Cisco Unity Express
- 4-port Cisco Gigabit EtherSwitch 10/100/1000BASE-TX autosensing EHWIC with POE
Cisco Catalyst 3750-X Series Switch
Cisco Unified IP Phones 7965 and 9971
Cisco Jabber for Windows
Cisco Jabber Video for Cisco Telepresence*
*In backbone, no candidate configuration required

Software Versions:
Any major software release which has been generally available for six months is eligible for testing in the CCIE Voice Lab Exam.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager 9.1
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express 9.1
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0
Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM and Presence 9.1
Cisco Unity Connection 9.1
Cisco Unity Express 8.6
All routers use IOS version 15.2(4) M Train
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches uses 15.0(2) Main Train

Network Interfaces:
Fast Ethernet
Frame Relay

Telephony Interfaces:


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 Cisco.com, 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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