Major CCIE Collaboration Update from Cisco

ccie collaboration Jan 30, 2018

Cisco recently introduced major updates for their CCIE Collaboration written and lab exams, jumping from version 1.0 of these exams directly to version 2.0. If you want all the details, you can visit Cisco's official page HERE. However, if you want a quick overview, this blog post will identify the major updates and discuss the new exam structure.

Will You Be Impacted?

First, let’s see if these changes are going to impact you. If you’re currently preparing for your CCIE Collaboration written or lab exam, the topics you need to know for that exam are still version 1.0 topics, until July 23, 2018. On that day, Cisco flips the switch, and both the written and lab exams cover version 2.0 topics. As a result, if you already have a few months of study under your belt, you might want to accelerate your study efforts to clear the lab prior to the cutover date.

What Are The Eight Topic Domains You Must Master?

In version 1 of the CCIE Collaboration curriculum, the...

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Save Time in Your CCIE Lab with "Router Preconfigs"

On any CCIE lab, time is your most precious commodity. Opinions vary about the best time saving strategies. Some people would have you spend the first 30 minutes of your lab carefully reading through the lab tasks you’ve been given. However, I’m in the group of people that suggests doing a much quicker read-through, noting important features that are going to need configuring, with the belief that you’ll not remember enough detail to justify spending half an hour reading the tasks.

For years, I’ve been promoting my modified device-based approach for tackling the CCIE Collaboration lab, where I have you make a set of boxes on your scratch paper, one box for each device in your topology. Then, as you do your initial read-through, you put task numbers in boxes representing the device on which the task needs to be configured. Then, you can visit each device a minimal amount of times to meet all your lab requirements. If you want to watch a video I did...

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Fundamentals of QoS


Last week (on Cyber Monday), I did a webinar covering the theory and configuration of multiple QoS mechanisms. Here's what you'll learn in this replay of that webinar:

  • Learn QoS Mechanisms
  • Understand QoS Markings
  • Demystify Weighted RED
  • Select Appropriate Queuing
  • Explain the "Token Bucket"
  • Configure QoS Using MQC

Enjoy the webinar replay!

Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945

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Introduction to Collaboration Technologies


I recently did a Facebook Live session covering the fundamentals of Cisco Collaboration technologies. If you missed it, or want to see it again, here's a replay.

Topics covered include:

  • Traditional Telephony Networks
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) Fundamentals
  • Unified Communications Network Components
  • Overview of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM)
  • Overview of Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (CUCME)
  • Overview of Cisco Unity Connection
  • Route Plans
  • IP Phone Registration
  • Overview of Video Networks
  • Cisco Video and TelePresence Endpoints

Also, I'm offering a $100 discount off the price of my Ultimate Collaboration Bundle product. Here's the link to get the discount:

Check out the video for more details about what's included in that product.

Enjoy the video!

Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945

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5 Changes in Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) Version 12.0

If you’re one of the 200,000+ Cisco customers using a Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) server to support your Cisco IP Phones and soft clients, this blog post is for you. Specifically, Cisco recently introduced their latest version of CUCM, version 12.0, and this post will identify a five of the major changes in this new version.

1. Support for Hybrid Deployments

For the past year or so, I’ve been getting questions from people concerned that CUCM is going away, and that Cisco Unified Communication (UC) customers will gravitate towards Cisco’s cloud-based call management solution, called Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). To get some answers, at Cisco Live US earlier this year, I asked one of the Cisco UC engineers about their plans. He assured me that Cisco is committed to going forward with both solutions (i.e. their cloud-based solution and their on-premises CUCM solution). He also explained customers don’t have to choose...

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Configuring Quality of Service Using MQC

The Need to Know MQC in a World of Automation

These days, Quality of Service (QoS) can be configured relatively easy. If we’re using the APIC-EM as a network controller to manage our routers and switches, we can simply point and click our way through the EasyQoS utility and have a very robust QoS configuration applied to our devices. Even at the command line interface (CLI) of a router a switch, we could invoke the power of AutoQoS VoIP (to optimize QoS settings for voice traffic, or (just on routers) AutoQoS for the Enterprise (to discover network traffic patterns and create a customized QoS configuration to reflect our network’s specific characteristics).

However, what if you need to make an adjustment to such dynamically generated QoS settings? If you examine the underpinnings of any of these QoS automation tools, you’ll see they all use the same approach to configure most (of not all) of their QoS settings. This approach is called Modular QoS CLI, or MQC for...

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H.323 Gateway Configuration

Before Cisco had a Collaboration track, they had a Voice track. One of the courses in that track’s curriculum was the CVOICE course, and it really got into the configuration of H.323 gateways. I actually loved that course. I write three versions of the CVOICE book for Cisco Press and taught the CVOICE course for many years.

Sadly (for me anyway), the CVOICE course went away when Cisco moved to the Collaboration track. One of the main topics in that CVOICE course was the configuration of H.323 gateways.

Although, H.323 gateways are still touched on in the Collaboration curriculum, it doesn’t receive the attention it used to receive. Yet, it’s still a critical technology to master.

So, this video seeks to demystify how to configure a Cisco IOS router to act as an H.323 gateway. 

Enjoy the video!

Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945

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What is Cisco Spark?

You might be hearing the term Cisco Spark used a lot these days. But what exactly is it?

That's what you'll learn in this video. Enjoy!


Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945

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A Preview of my CLUS 2017 Session

Are you going to Cisco Live US (CLUS) 2017 in Las Vegas? If so, you might want to come check out my session. It's entitled Number Globalization and Localization for CCIE Collaboration Candidates. But, please don't be thrown by the title. Even though it has CCIE in the title, this session can be super valuable to you if you work with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) servers, regardless of your certification level.

This video gives you the details of what you'll be learning:


You can check out the session in the CLUS Schedule by clicking HERE.

Hope to see you in Vegas!

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Your Framework for Cisco Exam Preparation

You want to get your first (or next) Cisco certification, but do you have a specific preparation strategy, or are you just winging it? If you do have a structured framework you’re confidently executing against, congratulations! If not, allow me to share my seven-step framework for Cisco exam preparation.

Step #1: Identify Your Training Source

When it comes to learning what you need to learn, the good news is, you’ve got options. Let’s compare a few:

Cisco Learning Partner

The traditional approach, and the way I trained certification candidates for nearly fourteen years, is to take an official Cisco course from a Cisco Learning Partner (CLP). You might have the option of taking your course at a training facility or on-line, and you typically get access to the gear you need to perform lab tasks during the course. You also get Cisco’s official course material. However, a gotcha that many people don’t realize is that Cisco typically has different groups...

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