Unanswered Question
May 30th, 2008

Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation. This is an opportunity to get an update on CCIE Voice Certification with Cisco expert Ben Ng. Ben is a program manager with the CCIE program at Cisco Systems, Inc., where he manages exam content for the CCIE Voice track. Ben is excited about how Cisco technologies, UC in particular, are redefining how people communicate with one another; and he is passionate about enabling engineers to excel in Cisco UC careers via training and certifications. Ben is certified in CCIE R&S and Voice.

Remember to use the rating system to let Ben know if you have received an adequate response.

Ben might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Our moderators will post many of the unanswered questions in other discussion forums shortly after the event. This event lasts through June 13, 2008. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.

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Overall Rating: 4.8 (34 ratings)
csco11063007 Sat, 05/31/2008 - 01:50


My company is asking to give the list of equipment that required for the ccie voice lab in our office.

Could you please advice how many routers and switches for the lab practice in a cost effective solution.

many Thanks


benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 05:13

Hi Thomas,

The lab equipment list below should be a good point to start, click on the "Lab Equipment and IOS Versions" in the URL below:

The following is a list of equipment which are accessisable to candidates during the lab:

MCS 7835 Call Manager/CRS Servers, QTY: 2

MCS 7835 Unity Server QTY: 1

Catalyst 6503, w/ 6608-T1 and 48 port PoE linecard QTY: 1

3725 Routers (WAN/Gatekeeper/Gateway), QTY: 3 w/ 2 T1 NM-HDV and and 1 E1 NM-HDV

Cisco Unity Express QTY: 1

VG248 Analog Phone Gateway QTY: 1

ATA186 Analog Telephone Adapters QTY: 1

Catalyst 3550 with inline power QTY: 1

IP Phones QTY: 7

Analog Phones QTY: 3

FAX Mahcines QTY: 1

There is also one 37XX router in the backbone which candidates don't have access to but it are needed for WAN/PSTN silumation. There is also a backbone CallManager server in the lab, but you can easily run CCME on the same 37XX to provide that functionality to save some cost on the server.

I have also talked to many candidates and I was inspired by their creativity to come up with their own practice lab. For example, I have seen people who used router simulators and with IPIPGWY feature for their voice and PSTN gateway, although this won't give you true PSTN termincation, it does satisfied most practice needs for call routing.

Lots of candidates also noted designing and building a cost effective solution for a practice lab has also been a very valuable study experience for CCIE Voice.

Hope it helps and good luck on your project!

FYI, I know there are a number of EoS/EoL equipment on the current list, in that case you should go with the recommended replacement gear in the EoS/EoL announcement.


MARK HOLLOWAY Tue, 06/03/2008 - 17:43

Hi Ben. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

If a candidate passes the CCIE Voice written exam based on the current written exam blueprint and Cisco changes the lab equipment to reflect the UCM family of products, does the candidate have to re-take the written exam based on the new criteria if they want to test in the newer lab equipment setup?

I look forward to your response.



benng Tue, 06/03/2008 - 18:07

Hi Mark,

Any passed written exam will remain valid as qualifiers to take the lab exam, regardless of lab exam blueprint or equipment list update.

So, no, you don't have to retake the written just because we updated the lab equipment list and software version.



sijo_1983 Wed, 06/04/2008 - 08:38


i am doing my CCVP now. i would like to take certification in CCIE in VP, so now i am confused about to write CCVP, please advice.

Sijo Jose

benng Thu, 06/05/2008 - 02:35

Hi Sijo,

Although passing one or all CCVP exams does not "waive" any exam requirement for CCIE Voice certification, the knowledge you learned in the CCVP currilcum will be critical in your praparation for the CCIE Voice. I wish you best of luck in your pursue of Cisco voice certifications.


sijo_1983 Thu, 06/05/2008 - 10:24

Thank you Ben ,

Thank you for your valuable reply. Could you please give me a brief detail about the equipments which are used for the telepresence? i saw the video of telepresence and i am really surprised.

Please give me an idea about Cisco CRS.

-Sijo Jose.

skyelsangi Thu, 06/05/2008 - 10:58

Thanks Ben for the elaborated list, can you please point me towards the right place where I can find the EOS/EOL list for the equipment listed.


benng Fri, 06/06/2008 - 01:04

Hi Sharan,

I usually just google the equipment name with "EOS/EOL", and that has always worked for me. HIH.


Rob Huffman Sat, 05/31/2008 - 07:29

Hi Ben,

First off, many thanks for your participation here :) A question that keeps popping up is;

"When will the CCIE - Voice exam topics switch from CCM 4.x based to CUCM 6.x based?"

Any definitive answer here (or even a "best guess?")

Thanks so much!


benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 05:18

Hi Rob,

Thank you for the welcome and popping the most popular question these days.

Unfortunately I don't have an definitive answer for you at this time - we are still working through the process of deciding on the next round of equipment list and version upgrades

Our announcement will come out at least 6 months before the actual event, and for those who are planning their study efforts, I don't think the upgrade will take place in calender year 2008.

Stay toned.


Rob Huffman Mon, 06/02/2008 - 05:26

Thanks Ben!

I hear a giant sigh of relief going up out there :) +5 points for this very kind follow-up.

Take care,


rimon.vallavanatt Mon, 06/02/2008 - 05:59

Is it allowed for a candidate to come the day before their lab to look at the testing facilities and visit with the proctor(s) for a few minutes?

benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 10:17

Hi Rimon,

Yes, generally we do allow pre-lab visit so that a candidate could see the lab or meet the proctor briefly. Just show up at the lobby (10am - 3pm) and inform the lobby ambassador the purpose of the visit, he/she should contact the proctors for you.

Such visits are subject to a few conditions though:

1. Your visits must take place a couple days prior to your actual lab attempt

2. The visits are subject to the proctor's availability - proctors are very busy keeping the lab running - sometimes they are fully engaged in supporting actual candidates that they could not spare the time to host the pre-lab tour. If this does happen, please understand that their priority is to take care of in-lab candidates first.

3. Please avoid questions specific to your lab attempt, such as, "which rack will I be assigned tomorrow?" etc


ayo.monehin Tue, 06/03/2008 - 01:39

This is one of the best news I've heard in a while regarding the CCIE-V exam.

I'll quit yapping and get on with my studies, hopefully I'll pass the exam while it's still based on 4.x.


Ayo Sat, 06/07/2008 - 19:02

Hello Ben Ng,

Just a question. During the exam, for example I have tested and was sure that my AAR is working as per exam requirement. However, I still lost points on that section. What might be the possible reason? Also, if a candidate score like 78 or 79, would the proctor take some extra effort to make sure there is not grading mistakes? Thanks.

benng Fri, 06/13/2008 - 08:47

Hi Boonchi,

I am just trying to clean up all the unanswered post before the end of this forum. I think it's been answered.


itbuilders Sat, 05/31/2008 - 11:04

Hello Ben and other CCIE VOICE champs!

I'm planning to clear my CCIE VOICE written in mid July.

I have a quick question regarding the CCIE VOICE lab.

How much time one has to wait in the waiting-list to take actual CCIE voice lab? (after you do the CCIE voice written, and booking\paying for the lab)

I understand all three lab locations have their own schedule, but is there a way of knowing if I can schedule the lab in a specific month.



Chris Deren Sat, 05/31/2008 - 19:45


I belive you are referring to the diffulty of scheduling a lab. Let me tell you how I tackled it after my first attempted failure, to my surprise I noticed that there are no dates available, so I kept checking the availablity every day several times a day, especially after midnight PST (hint), for 3-4 days, and to my surprise I found an available date 31 days from my first attempt (you have to wait at least 30 days before each attempt). So, my tip is check several times a day and you will find your date.



itbuilders Sun, 06/01/2008 - 13:07

Thank you Chris for the info.

You are referring to the CCIE Voice LAB right? Where did you take it?


benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 10:48

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your handy tips to those interested!


benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 10:45

Hi Don,

There are four Voice labs currently: San Jose, RTP, Brussels, and Tokyo. Once you passed your written exam, you should be able to schedule your lab attempt at a location most convenient for you.

Currently we do still have wait-lists across all locations. With that being said, frequently I observe that lab seats become available around 28-30 days of the actual date. This is because candidates sometimes postpone their lab attempt just before they're "locked-in" to the payment.

What I always suggest to candidates is that they first assess their readiness and set a realistic goal for your lab attempt date, then go online and secure any seats available at your desired location, even if the only date you could get is 3 months later then what you've hoped for. In the mean time, you should prepare and study as if you're taking the lab on or near the target date you originally set.

Then around 1.5 month before your target date, you should start going online, multiple times daily, to see if any seats opened up near your target date, if anything is available, swap your seats.

I know you've prabably got better things to do then to marry to our online scheduling tool, but of all the people who came to me about "how to get a seat sooner", this has never failed.

In the long run, we are working very hard to scale to meet the demand, by opening more seats in existing lab sites and expand to new sites.

Hope it helps,


itbuilders Mon, 06/02/2008 - 10:52


Thanks for the info.

I'm thinking either Sydney \ Brussels for the exam.

Yes you are right about th exam readiness.

I'm also planning to take a boot camp before I take the actual lab. Any recommendations for such bootcamps in ASIA \ EUROPE or AUSTRALIA ?



benng Mon, 06/02/2008 - 12:30

Hi Don,

Thanks for reminding me about the Sydney Voice lab. :-) I hope our Sydney proctor Scott will forgive my mistake.

Sorry but I don't recommend bootcamps. However, I am sure you can ask around to narrow down the list.


hassan_oudeh Sun, 06/01/2008 - 04:39

Hi All,

Any news regarding the blueprint of ccie voice, when it will be changed ?

What are the expectation of this ??


Hasan Odeh

rhindle2k2 Mon, 06/02/2008 - 18:20

Hi Ben,

This may be a silly question, but I'm working hard on my strategy right now and in particular what I draw on the paper provided which proved to be a big stumbling block in my first attempt. Is it appropriate to ask what the size of the paper is that is provided in San Jose? It is a large piece as you know that appears to be the size of 4 8 1/2 x 11 pieces, but I don't think it is that big.

I know it may sound trivial, but every little bit of preparation helps when taking on this exam.



madan.kumar Mon, 06/02/2008 - 20:55

Hi Ben,

Thanks for all the info shared

I'm abt take up my written, Could you pls let me know for the lab shd i start pratice with 6.X (since the whole process takes 8 to 10 months)

Or shd i start practise 4.x.I know its kind of repetive of Rob's question but just need some clarity on this.

Thanks so much


Farrukh Haroon Tue, 06/03/2008 - 00:38

Hello Ben

Welcome Back, and Thanks for answering our queries :)

I got to know by the CCIE Proctor in Dubai there are plans for the Voice Lab in Dubai (in Cisco's New Location there), is it possible for you to provide an 'estimated' time for this (if its happening)?



benng Tue, 06/03/2008 - 18:24

Hi Farrukh,

Yes we do have plans to expand voice lab to newer locations, and Dubai is one of them. Unfortunately I don't have dates at this moment, but it will be after the Cisco office moves to the new location.


benng Fri, 06/13/2008 - 08:50

Hi Madan,

Sorry I missed this one earlier.

Practice with the current version is my suggestion. Again, most of the important topics in the lab test, regardless of the software versions, stays pretty much the same, you have to know it no matter what.


benng Tue, 06/03/2008 - 18:20

Hi Keith,

In San Jose, we provide one large sheet of scratch paper by default, and candidate may request additional paper if needed.

As far as the paper size goes, I believe it's A3 (11x17) instead of the stardard A4 (8 1/2 x 11).

Paper size do vary at different lab locations, some labs use A4 size. However, at all sites, candidates can request additional paper as long as he/she actually run out of room on the provide ones.


CCSI_Instructor_2 Tue, 06/03/2008 - 06:52

Hi Ben, can you confirm current IOS version. Last I heard was 12.4(3g). I know it can be anything 6mos or later. Looking for what is currently in San Jose lab. Also can you confirm CME version is still CME 3.3. thks - hg.

benng Tue, 06/03/2008 - 18:29

Hi hg,

The IOS used in Voice lab is 12.5 main train, namely, 12.4(5b).

Yes, the CME version is still 3.3.


benng Fri, 06/13/2008 - 08:50

Hi hg,

You're welcome and I wish you best of luck.


mabrook110 Tue, 06/03/2008 - 10:20

hi, my question is that i have in my company callmanager 4.1 on MCS 7825l-3.0-IPC with 3.0 GHz CPU . Now we want to upgrade it to 6.1. And i want to thank u for ur generous help last time

. But this time i found that 6.1 is linux based software so will it work on the specifications i

mentioned above and if not then wat i need to add or buy more????



Ahmed Elnagar Tue, 06/03/2008 - 13:52

Hello Ben;

Thanks alot for your time and effort, really we appricate this.

I know it is a very general Q, but can you please recommend a best practice startegy for preparing to the CCIE-V lab exam.

Also what is the estimated time for preparation.

Also do you have an estimation "officialy or estimation" the avarage numbers of attempts untill candidets pass?



benng Fri, 06/13/2008 - 09:08

Sorry Ahmed,

I missed your post earlier.

I always recommend anyone to go beyond the configurations into troubleshooting, which will enable you to konw not only how to configure something, but why the configurations are needed.

Estimated time of preparation: it really varies between people and their technical background.

No, I don't have an official average number of attempts. I don't think it is fair to "gauge" someone's technical ability by the number of attempts taken to pass. How do we know, without knowing the person and their journey, that someone passed in 5 times is technically stronger or weaker than someone who passed in the first try?


benng Fri, 06/13/2008 - 08:57

Hi Hussain

I believe 6.1 is supported with the 7825I2 MCS server only. However, please double-check with the experts monitoring the "Unified Communications and Video" forum. This thread is about CCIE Voice certification only.



Farrukh Haroon Tue, 06/03/2008 - 18:45

Hello Ben, Thank you for the earlier reply.

From amongst the books listed on the CCIE Voice recommended reading page, if possible can you suggest the indispensable books or the more important ones? The list seems to include some very old books that even Cisco Press has stopped publishing. I am thinking of ordering books to start my CCIE Voice pursuit, so any directions would be highly appreciated



benng Thu, 06/05/2008 - 02:05

Hi Farrukh,

Two books I particularly enjoyed reading is "GWGK" book and "Troubleshooting IP Telephony".

Thanks for letting me know that some books on the recommended reading list are out-of-date, I will review and update them if needed.



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