Study strategy for the CCIE Voice lab

Unanswered Question
Jun 30th, 2008

I started studying for the lab in May, was wondering if anyone could share their studying strategy. I started by ordering the vendor labs (IPexpert) and virtual rack time (Proctor Labs). Soon after, I realized that there really is no way to save your configurations for the CallManager or Unity or CRS, which is a problem since later lab modules require that everything before it to be built (how can you test gateways and gatekeepers without your dial plan that was built in the previous module.) If you want to work on trouble points in module 7, for instance, you are going to have to rebuild pretty much everthing in the previous 6 modules, which REALLY sucks. Has anyone else found this issue vexxing? The only thing I can imagine that will be a big help is the Multi-Protocol challenges (about 15 of them) that are self-contained and pretty much iterate the content of the first 15 modules.

If you are studying for this lab, how are you approaching it?


I have this problem too.
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gpulos Tue, 07/01/2008 - 02:56

Hi Shikamaru,

You are correct in the fact that the ipexpert labs further down require some of the configuration of the previous labs.

Each lab outlines the tasks to be completed as well as the 'prerequisits', which are pieces of previous labs or entire previous labs be in place in order to accomplish the goal of that lab.

For example, Lab 7 has a prerequisite of Lab 1 be completed first.

Since Lab 7 only covers Catalyst & IOS conference bridges and transcoders as well as meet-me, ad-hoc conferencing and MOH, there is no need for a dial-plan to be tested.

You would not need to rebuild everything in the previous 6 labs as IPIPGW, Gatekeeper and Call Restrictions are not needed to be able to test results in Lab 7. (you will need lab 1 though as previously stated)

You can test all of Lab 7 without all of the previous labs being completed; except for lab 1.

Sometimes ipexpert labs expect you to get the tasks completed for a section without having the entire dial-plan in place because they would go over that in a following section.

In those cases, you can of course, completed configuration of pieces required to do thorough testing of your labs solution. ie: In order to fully test Lab 5, you really need to complete the dial-plan which is not tasked until lab 6.

In that case, I just complete the tasks as I know they would need to be completed to get my testing done.

(without going into lab 6, I knew that CME dialing to CCM needed to be completed so I could do complete testing of my lab 5 solutions)

Do not let this get you down as there is a method to the ipexpert madness.

If you require complete testing of a lab that the tasks did not ask you to provided the entire solution too, just complete the solution as you know you should. It will only help you get better with planning, understanding and configuration.

(if you need too, go ahead and look at the next lab in the sequence or any other lab to see if they have the tasks you are looking for; it's OK because it is your time and your thought process that will be enhanced)

As far as what I do, I have purchased the workbooks/proctorGuides as well as a 65 session block.

To compliment my purchase, I've built the entire CCIE Voice lab in my office as well, down to the last piece, exact version, hardware, etc.

I've got 5 VMWare sessions: 1 Pub, 1 Sub, 2 IPCCX and 1 Unity as well.

I use my office lab to do the bulk of the studies/learning and only use the ipexpert sessions to assure I've nailed the technologies.

Of course, I also study/memorize every single page of the SRNDs. ie: QoS, CCM, CME and IPT. It is alot of course, but that is what the CCIE is....ALOT!

(you can't be an expert with trainee level preparation)

That said, please keep your focus and if required, send me emails at [email protected] and I'll help you where I can.

I know it's tough....very tough, but also very possible with the due diligence and and time put in.

You are absolutely on the right track though. I could not offer a better study track than the one you've picked so good luck and keep up the good work.

You will be a CCIE-V before you know it with your hard work.

shikamarunara Tue, 07/01/2008 - 07:26

The one nice thing that came out of having to do the previous modules for labs 1-10 is that it helped me learn the campus implementation core tasks pretty well. The monotony of rebuilding parts of the lab, though, is tough to overcome sometimes. I decided to book-study the first 17 modules and work 18-31 in the lab (one module each week on Sunday, I spend the week leading up to it hand-writing the solutions.) The nice thing about this approach, I think, is that each Multi-Protocol Challenge Module includes all of the information you need to be able to configure, no guess work on what should be done and doesn't need to be from previous sections. The other nice thing about it is that it covers everything from the previous 17 modules. My plan is to do these multi-protocol challenges 1 per week, which should take me to October, then spend a few weeks reviewing week spots, then take the boot camp in February for the lab in April.

"Pulos". So you're Greek, eh? ;)


mshavrov Wed, 07/02/2008 - 05:44

When I just started, I was struggling with this too. Then I just realized, that it just builds your confidence, if you repeat the same steps over and over and over. For example, you work on the lab for Unity. How long does it take to do basic CallManager config, autoregister phones, probably configure basic gateways and simple routing? Probably 3-4 hours when you do it for the first time. And probably 30 minutes, when you did it 20-30 times. So, just take it as an additional practice.

shikamarunara Wed, 07/02/2008 - 07:40

Yes, that's how I look at it too. When are you going to take the exam?


mshavrov Mon, 08/04/2008 - 16:27

Another "strategy" for "lab rental" - try to do most of your Lab on paper first (i.e. type routers/switches configs, plan partitions/route plan/etc., write down the steps you gona go...). Then, when you start your "paid lab time", you will have a strategy, steps, and even copy-paste configs. It will verify your memory on command syntax, as well save the time while you doing your lab.

Good luck,



CCIE Voice (in progress)


Headset adapters for Cisco IP Phones

shikamarunara Mon, 08/04/2008 - 20:05

Thanks, Mike. I've starting doing some of that as well, but decided that I should have some home lab equipment for IPIPGW, IPMA, transcoding, CCME/CUE, and other situations. It won't cover WAN and QOS situations, but I'm hoping to focus on some trouble spots without rebuilding entire labs every week.



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