Jan
16

A number of people had indicated that they thought my CCNA-to-CCIE-in-a-Year program was a bit aggressive for those with both family and job life to consider, so I've revised the plan into an 18-month plan, and also added a downloadable XLS spreadsheet to assist you in your studies. Simply plug in your starting date, and the spreadsheet should keep you on task on a week-by-week basis. Here's the link to my previous blog post where you'll find the updated plan to download, as well as links to all of the products used in the plan: From CCNA Voice to CCIE Voice in One Year – A Detailed Study Plan – REVISED Dec 31, 2012

Feb
18

I recently finished up recording a brand new CCNA Voice v8 online bootcamp, and it is available for both streaming and download. I also spent a number of hours today revising the extremely popular blog post outlining INE's "CCIE Voice in a Year" study plan.

We are still taking enrollment for our brand new CCNP Voice v8 live online bootcamp, so be sure to register if you haven't already.

 

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Jul
29

Updated with 18 Month Plan!

Not only have I updated the post below quite a bit, but I have also now put together a spreadsheet that you are free to download and customize to your liking. It includes both a 12-month plan that closely resembles what is listed below, but it also includes an 18-month plan on the 2nd tab that can be used by those who simply cannot devote as much time as I propose in the below post. Simply change the start date and the rest will cascade. Use this spreadsheet to be able to propose a very comprehensive plan to your boss if you are getting corporate-backing.

Download the 12 and 18-month plan spreadsheet

Introduction

I often get questions in class or via email that go something like "I am just beginning my studies for CCNA Voice - do I really need a two year AAP subscription?" or "How can I best utilize INE's products to attain the CCIE Voice exam", or simply "Where should I start?".

This document seeks to provide you with a detailed guideline to using each of the products that compliment INE's complete Voice training program. This program structure has been designed under the realistic assumption that you may be able to dedicate roughly 4 days a week, with approximately 4 hours a day (16 hours a week) to some form of study (be it watching our lecture and demo-based VoDs, reading Cisco documentation and books found in our Recommended Voice Reading Book List, or practicing on lab equipment), and be able to span a total duration of roughly 55 weeks from the start of studying for your CCNA Voice exam, and progressing through the CCNP Voice exam, and finally onto being ready to sit for your first CCIE Voice Lab exam attempt. This works out to just around one year of studying, with around 4 weeks off. This could (and probably will) vary, depending on your schedule, as you will undoubtedly need to custom tailor this program a bit to your life. All-in-all, you are going to spend almost 900 hours. I realize that this is a very committed study schedule, and I also wholeheartedly realize the sacrifice involved to commit fully to such an undertaking, however know now that these are hours that you, later in life, will look back on and attribute to some of the most beneficial that you have ever spent in your professional career. So buckle-up, and prepare yourself for the ride.

Note: It is assumed that before beginning this regiment, that the candidate has already studied for and obtained the necessary CCNA (Routing and Switching) exam. If you have not yet completed this Cisco-prerequisite exam yet, we strongly recommend that you take our CCNA Associate Course - 640-802 first, and pass that required exam.

Products Used in Study Plan

Before we start by referencing how to use the structured program, we will start by listing all of the products included, as well as links to those products on our site. We’ll reference these products as we progress through the guide, and we recommend you clicking on each of the product names below see samples of each, so that  you may get to know them and their layout a bit better for a more thorough understanding how and where they fit into this program as you continue reading this guide.

Detailed Structured Approach

Phase 1 - CCNA Voice :: Weeks 1 - 2 (32 hours)

Here in the first 2 week phase you will develop the basic skills and concepts that will stay with you for the rest of your Voice studies. It is very important that you take copious notes while you watch these videos, and review them often. By completion of this phase, you should be ready to take and pass your CCNA Voice exam.

  • We break the CCNA Voice Videos down into halves
    • Week 01 :: Watch 1st half of CCNA Voice videos and take notes
    • Week 02 :: Watch 2nd half of CCNA Voice videos and take notes, review notes and Bookmarks*, and take CCNA Voice exam
Phase 2 - CCNP Voice :: Weeks 3 - 10 (128 hours)

In this next 8 week phase you will upgrade your skills quite a bit more, focusing intensely on the technologies you were introduced to during the CCNA Voice study phase, to get the thorough understanding you will need to take and pass each of the five CCNP Voice exams. This phase will begin to solidify a strong technical acumen which is extremely important for the rest of your CCIE Voice studies. All of the lessons in this phase will be repeated. This is by design and completely necessary to fully comprehending these concepts at a true professional level. Also, while the CCNP Voice exams are not practical, hands-on lab-based exams, they do have some simulations in them that have to be solved by the candidate. That, along with the fact that we believe firmly that you learn best by doing, and have therefore included a number of hours set aside for you to simply experiment in any fashion you choose using either lab hardware of your own or else that which you rent from us. It is still very important that you take copious notes while you watch these videos as well as while you spend practice time on lab equipment, and again - review them often. By completion of this phase, you should be ready to take and pass all 5 of your CCNP Voice exams.

  • We begin by breaking down the CCNP Voice Videos down into thirds
    • Week 03 :: Watch 1st third of CCNP Voice videos and take notes
    • Week 04 :: Watch 2nd third of CCNP Voice videos and take notes
    • Week 05 :: Watch final third of CCNP Voice videos and take notes
  • We follow that up by breaking down the CCNP Videos down into fifths, and mixing in lab practice, along with exam taking
    • Week 06 :: Watch 1st fifth of CCNP Voice videos and take notes while practicing on lab equipment what you have learned here, and take the CVOICE exam
    • Week 07 :: Watch 2nd fifth of CCNP Voice videos and take notes while practicing on lab equipment what you have learned here, and take the CIPT1 exam
    • Week 08 :: Watch 3rd fifth of CCNP Voice videos and take notes while practicing on lab equipment what you have learned here, and take the CIPT2 exam
    • Week 09 :: Watch 4th fifth of CCNP Voice videos and take notes while practicing on lab equipment what you have learned here, and take the CAPPS exam
    • Week 10 :: Watch final fifth of CCNP Voice videos and review notes and Bookmarks* while practicing on lab equipment what you have learned here, and take the TVOICE exam

 
Take a single week of rest, possibly two, but no more, as you are already primed to move directly into CCIE Voice studies.
 

Phase 3 - CCIE Voice:: Weeks 12 - 55 (704 hours)

This 44 week phase is where you will obviously spend the bulk of your time practicing what you've learned over the past 10 weeks - over and over and over and over and over and over and over again - on lab gear. And that's no joke, either. If you thought it was tedious to read that word "over" repeated 7 times, just wait until you begin actually repeating what you've done more than that many times. And if you're one of those who didn't read that whole thing, and skipped to the end of it, maybe you need to re-think whether you're ready to commit to this undertaking of studying for this certification. Now while whether you actually read all seve 'overs' or not doesn't necessarily determine your readiness or ability to commit to such a repetitious regiment of study, I do believe that it demonstrates a point - namely that this phase is going to test your resolve. You will be repeating the same or similar tasks over and over in order to build both accuracy and speed -- finger 'muscle memory', really -- things that will be absolutely crucial to being able to take and pass the CCIE Voice lab exam. We recommend that even if we don't specifically list a given video or lab to be repeated in the syllabus, but you find yourself lacking a thorough and complete understanding in any single topic, that you self-police and choose to go back and re-watch that technology section in any of the video-based lecture-and-demo products, along with reading Cisco documentation on the topic, to gain proficiency before moving on. At the end of this phase, you will be ready to sit for your first attempt at the CCIE Voice lab exam at a Cisco facility.

  • We begin by working with the Deep Dive video series, and accompanying Deep Dive Technology-Focused Workbook (Volume I)
    • Week 12 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 1 :: Network Infrastructure and QoS
    • Week 13 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 2 & 3 :: CUOS & CLI and CUCM System & Phone Basics
    • Week 14 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 4 & 5 :: Users & LDAP and Phone & Calling Features
    • Week 15 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 6 :: Media Resources
    • Week 16 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 7 :: Gateways and Trunks
    • Week 17 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 8 :: Gatekeeper
    • Week 18 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 9 :: Dial Plan Part I (Basics)
    • Week 19 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 10 :: Dial Plan Part II (Globalization, Localization)
    • Week 20 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 11 :: Dial Plan Part III (More Practice)
    • Week 21 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 12 :: Dial Plan Part IV (CUBE)
    • Week 22 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 13 & 14 :: Unified, Device & Extension Mobility
    • Week 23 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 15 :: CUCM Express (CME) System and Phone Basics
    • Week 24 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 16 & 17 :: CME Dialplans, Class of Restrictions, & Media Resources and CME Advanced Call Features
    • Week 25 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 18 :: CME Call Coverage and CME-as-SRST
    • Week 26 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 19 :: Unified Contact Center Express & Scripting
    • Week 27 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 20 :: Unity Connection Mailboxes & AA Trees
    • Week 28 - Watch and Lab: Workbook Volume I :: Module 21 :: CUCM Presence & CUPS with CUPC & IPPM

 
Take a single week of rest, possibly two, but no more.
 

  • We follow that up with watching the Advanced Technologies Class (ATC) videos, broken up into thirds
    • Week 29 :: Watch 1st third of CCIE Voice ATC videos and take notes
    • Week 30 :: Watch 2nd third of CCIE Voice ATC videos and take notes
    • Week 31 :: Watch 3rd third of CCIE Voice ATC videos and take notes
  • Next it's time to move on to practicing heavily with Mock Labs! For this phase we will utilize the Mock Lab Workbook (Volume II)
  • This is also the perfect time to go ahead and schedule your CCIE Voice Lab Exam. This is to set a hard deadline for yourself, and to push you towards that goal. Schedule it for week 55.
    • Week 32 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 1 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 33 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 2 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 34 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 3 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 35 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 4 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 36 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 5 (repeat this lab during the week)

 
Take a single week of rest.
 

  • Now you should be ready to attend a 10 Day CCIE Voice Bootcamp. We highly encourage the live classes, however if you cannot manage one, then substitute for the recorded version of Week 1
    • Week 37 & 38 - Attend: CCIE Voice 10-Day Bootcamp (Live Class)
  • Now it is time to go back home, and begin practicing harder on the labs you've already been through, but with the newfound knowledege of your recently-discovered weak areas.
    • Week 42 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 5 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 43 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 4 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 44 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 3 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 45 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 2 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 46 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 5 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 47 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 1 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 48 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 3 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 49 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 4 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 50 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 5 (repeat this lab during the week)
    • Week 51 - Labs: Workbook Volume II :: Lab 3 (repeat this lab during the week)

 
Take a single week of rest.
 

  • Finally it is time to see what you are made of!
    • Week 52 - Take your first CCIE Voice Lab Attempt

 
*Transcripts and Bookmarks only available through All Access Pass streaming playlists, not available via downloaded videos.
 

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Jul
28

We're pleased to announce that our recently announced, highly anticipated CCNP Voice course is available for both streaming and download from our global CDN. Containing everything you need to take and pass the five latest Cisco CCNP Voice exams (642-427 TVOICE v8, 642-437 CVOICE v8, 642-447 CIPT1 v8, 642-457 CIPT2 v8, and 642-467 CAPPS v8), this new course consists of 130 videos totaling over 85 hours of hands down the best CCNP Voice training on the market today. As an All Access Pass subscriber the online streaming version is included at no additional charge. You may also download it now for just $299 or as an All Access Pass subscriber you can download it for only $149.

Each of the 130 videos can be individually downloaded without the need to download the whole class. This will enable you to selectively load them onto any computer or mobile device and watch them at your leisure. Although we do not place any DRM on the files themselves we do limit each purchase to two downloads per video.

Check back often, as we will be adding new labs to our CCIE Voice Volume II Workbook in the upcoming weeks. Also, you may now purchase and schedule your Graded Mock Lab for a proper CCIE Voice assessment of your skills before actually sitting for the actual lab exam.

Jul
22

We're pleased to announce that our recently announced, highly anticipated CCNA Voice course is available for both streaming and download from our global CDN. Containing everything you need to take and pass the CCNA Voice exam (640-461 ICOMM v8), this new course consists of 124 videos totaling over 70 hours of hands down the best CCNA Voice training on the market today.  As an All Access Pass subscriber the online streaming version is included at no additional charge. You may also download it now for just $199 or as an All Access Pass subscriber you can download it for only $99.

Each of the 124 videos can be individually downloaded without the need to download the whole class. This will enable you to selectively load them onto any computer or mobile device and watch them at your leisure. Although we do not place any DRM on the files themselves we do limit each purchase to two downloads per video.

We hope to release our CCNP Voice course sometime early next week - complete with 130 additional videos, and over 85 additional hours of mostly hands-on demonstration along of course with some lecture, so check back often!

Mar
09

As continuing pioneers of so many firsts in the CCIE training space, we have noted before on this blog how we have been offering you for over 6 months now, the first and only 100% web-based remote control client that controls not only CUCM SIP & SCCP phones, but also that controls SRST & CME SIP & SCCP phones. And we give it to you at no additional cost to your rental - it's built-in to every rack for free (no need to install a messy Windows-only software client). And now, we are very excited to offer you another first - the ability to access and control everything in our Voice Racks, with no need for any VPN client.

Simply use one of the following HTTP links below to access your Voice Rack (you must have a valid session during the time you try to authenticate):

Please take a moment to watch this instructional video on how to use this VPN-Less connection to access and control your Voice Rack and IP phones.

So to summarize:

  • No messing around with silly macros which don't apply in the CCIE Lab
  • Actual support for SRST (not only CME)
  • Who needs VPN?
  • A software client? Our lips shudder to even think it. No, we live in the real, web-based world
  • 7960's in our 3 Sites? What's the point?? They aren't usable when studying for the CCIE Lab - they're vastly different in every realm of configuration, which will only distract you from studying for the real exam - so why would we even consider including them? We don't, save for a PSTN phone, which just like in the real lab, you don't configure.

And to top it all off, our Voice Racks cost 1/4 of any others.

We look forward to continuing to being the first to bring you the best and brightest innovations that get you one step closer to both of our goals: You Passing Your CCIE Lab Exam.

Feb
22

If you recall from a past article I wrote about "Which Phone Should I Use?” – A Comparison of Models, you may remember from the graphic that support for remotely controlling SIP & SCCP IP phones in CME or SRST was coming approximately around Feb 14. Well, I now have a new graphic to replace that old one (after the jump):


That's right, the very talented and kind folks at Variphy, have just updated their Variphy Insight Remote Phone Control software to include support for SIP and SCCP phones connected to both CME and SRST (either traditional SRST or CME-as-SRST). So now there are literally no phones in our racks that cannot be controlled via our web-based remote phone control client!

Watch the new instructional video here!

Also, I am including just below, the small bit of additional configuration needed to make the Variphy Insight software work with CME for both SIP & SCCP phones. Please note that there is no additional configuration needed to make Variphy Insight work in controlling phones that have fallen back into traditional SRST or CME-as-SRST, due to the fact that they keep their Authentication URL string during fallback, and continue to authenticate via the CUCM (I speak to how exactly this works with INE's racks in the instructional video). Please also note from the below that there is no need for any "ixi" configuration, and I only threw it in below (in shutdown state), to reinforce that principal. In fact, this is what makes it possible to control SIP phones in SRST and CME, since the IXI subsystem currently only supports control over the SCCP CME server and its endpoints.

!
voice register global
url authentication http://177.1.254.3/CCMCIP/authenticate.asp
!
!
username variphy privilege 15 password cisco
ip http server
ip http authentication local
ip http path flash:gui
!
!
ixi transport http
shutdown
!
ixi application cme
shutdown
!
!
telephony-service
url authentication http://177.1.254.3/CCMCIP/authenticate.asp variphy cisco
!



We are in the process of updating all the voice racks in our data center to include this latest version of the client, so be patient as it may take a couple of days to get every rack updated with the new software.

Also stay tuned for some exciting news coming up in the very near future regarding the ability to use all of our Voice rack functionality with NO VPN connection!

Happy Labbing!

-Mark

Feb
09

Lab's 1 & 2 from INE's current CCIE Voice Volume II Workbook have been completely re-written from the ground-up, and have now been pushed to all subscribers in their INE Members area.

These two new labs both contain video-based solutions, which walk you -- task-by-task -- through every step of the necessary configuration, along with plenty of live troubleshooting, just as we should expect when sitting for the actual CCIE Voice Lab exam.

For the first two labs alone, we have recorded over forty hours of video-based solutions.

We are in the process completely of re-writing every lab in the Voice Volume II Workbook, and will be releasing them and posting announcements here about each new lab as they are completed. We will also be releasing new CCIE Voice Deep Dives here shortly. So stay tuned for much, much more from INE's Voice program.

Happy Labbing!

Mark

Jan
27

The Cisco Unified Communications feature called Mobile Connect (also familiarly referred to as Single Number Reach) is truly a great feature of Unified Communications Manager, and can provide us with many efficiencies both in being able to be reachable just about anywhere, and in being able to be easily identified when placing inbound calls from our mobile phones into the CUCM cluster to our colleagues. As admins, we know that if we wish to have our users place calls from their mobile phones inbound to their colleagues inside the CUCM cluster, that we need to match up all or at least part of their inbound calling party number (CLID) to their CUCM Remote Destination. But what happens when what the carrier is sending CLID digits inbound to our IOS voice gateways that differs significantly from our Remote Destinations in CUCM, especially if we have truly embraced Cisco's push toward true Globalization in v7.0, v8.0 & v8.5?

The fact is that many, if not most European carriers (as well as many more all over the world) send CLID in through an ISDN PRI into the enterprise gateway with a preceding "0" as a courtesy  digit for easy recognition and ease in dialing back out, since this "0" is very commonly used as a carrier-recognized national dialing prefix. If we were speaking of the US and Canada, this "0" we are speaking of would be akin to dialing a "1" prior to the national number. Now in the US and Canada, if a carrier in the US sent CLID into a gateway with a "1" preceding any 10 digit number, this would work fine since the US/Canada country code also happens to be "1". However, the "0" preceding a variable length number is not valid in a true E.164 number format (e.g. If you dialed the phone number from outside of whatever country we were talking about, you would omit that preceding 0 from your dialed digits).

So what are we to do to get our inbound CLID to match our RD's?

That is exactly what we will explore here today in video format, as you watch a very small excerpt from our video-based solutions to one of the many new labs we will have in our new CCIE Voice Volume I & II workbooks.

Click here for the 25 minute video discussion on "The Trouble with European MGCP Gateways and Mobile Connect Inbound Calling Party Matching".

(BTW, if the video starts off with a bit of an echo, just hit CTRL-R to refresh the stream. And then stay tuned to this blog for some very exciting announcements about new formats for video solutions in the very near future)

Happy Labbing,

Mark

Jan
21

I have been asked for many years now, "What is the best phone to use when studying for the CCIE Voice exam?". And while this answer has changed over the years with the different blueprint requirements (with no doubt whatsoever it will change again come next blueprint), the answer for the past year and a half has been a tough one. You see, the actual CCIE Voice lab exam uses Cisco 7965G phones - which you certainly do not need to run out and buy, since all of the same features can be tested using a lesser model, say a 7961 or 2 hardware phone (only difference would be the background image - color and resolution). And certainly, without a doubt, using hardware phones --attached to an INE / GradedLabs Voice Rack using hardware EzVPN through a Cisco IOS router or Cisco ASA-- is hands down, the absolute best way to study.

However, not everyone has the capital outlay needed to achieve such a pristine study environment. In fact, when we at INE got together with another company to offer a discounted rate to students on some 'remote phone control' software --so that students could get the 'next best thing', namely controlling the same hardware phones without purchasing them-- the price still exceeded many of our clients' budgets. They would say (a bit incredulously) to us, "You mean I spent all this money on your great self-paced products, but  now I get surprised to find that I must spend more money just to make your racks work for my lab session??". And you know what? I tend to agree with them. It didn't seem all that fair at all. And then that company decided to raise their prices, which I understand -business is business- it just didn't fit with our needs for our students any longer. So now, after having been approached by every company in this comparison list to use their product, we settled with what we believe is far-and-away the absolute best among them, Variphy Insight, and let our clients use it for free. That's right, it costs you absolutely nothing to use our remote phone control software with our racks. And we have FIVE 7961 phones and one PSTN phone attached to every single CCIE Voice rack.  Not only is their product lightweight by the pure use HTML, but it can be used with any OS.

So what I have done is, after carefully evaluating many possible methods of hard-phone vs. softphone vs. remote phone control software, put together a side-by-side comparison of many of the more popular means of studying for the CCIE Voice exam. This list is by no means exhaustive, however it is a very fair look at each product and what it can offer you in terms of 1) Cost, 2) Features, 3) OS Support, and 4) Ability to Use One Client for everything you need to do in your CCIE Voice self-paced studies. I hope this helps some people, and please comment on things you like, dislike, or would like to see, and we will do our absolute best to accommodate you.

Voice Self-Study Phone Comparison

By the way, we will be releasing complete rewrites with exhaustive video solutions to our Volume I and II workbooks in coming weeks - a few will release in less than 2 weeks.

Oh, and stay tuned for some upcoming announcements soon that will make your self-studying even easier!

Happy Labbing,

Mark

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