CCVP: You Must Choose, but Choose Wisely – Part 1

Once you decide to start down the CCVP certification path, you must choose which CCVP path. If you check out Cisco’s CCVP certification page, you’ll notice there are two paths for attaining your CCVP.

The decision depends largely on what version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) you’re using. If you’re using the Windows-based version (i.e. UCM 4.x), you might choose one path, while if you’re using the Linux-based version (i.e. UCM 6.x), you might choose the other path. To distinguish between these two paths, the certification page refers to the Windows-based version as Cisco Unified CallManager, and the Linux-based version as Cisco Unified Communications Manager. In this posting, let’s explore the Linux-based track.

According to Cisco’s website, here are the exams and recommended training for the Linux-based track:

Exam: 642-436

Recommended Course(s): CVOICE Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE v6.0) OR Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE v5.0) AND Cisco Voice over IP fundamentals (CVF v1.0)

Exam: 642-446

Recommended Course: CIPT1  Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Part 1 (CIPT1 v6.0)

Exam: 642-642

Recommended Course: QoS  Quality of Service (QoS)

Exam: 642-456

Recommended Course: CIPT2  Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Part 2 (CIPT2 v6.0)

Exam: 642-426

Recommended Course: TUC  Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications Systems (TUC v1.0)

While these might seem like straightforward recommendations, I have to take issue with the recommended courses for the CVOICE exam (642-436), specifically the option of taking the CVOICE 5.0 and CVF 1.0 courses as preparation for the 642-436 exam. I recently wrote Cisco Press’ CVOICE Authorized Self-Study Guide 3rd Edition, which is based on the CVOICE 6.0 course, and I can tell you that taking the CVOICE 5.0 and CVF 1.0 courses will not prepare you for the 642-436 exam.

CVOICE Book

First a bit of history. Several years ago, the CVOICE 4.2 course spent the first two chapters giving students a basic introduction into telephony, with the remaining chapters focused on voice over IP (VoIP). However, many of the CVOICE students came from a telephony background, and they were bored through the first two chapters. So, what Cisco did was create a web-based self-paced course (lasting about 90 minutes) that provided covered telephony basics. This was the Cisco VoIP Fundamentals (CVF) 1.0 course. The CVOICE 5.0 course, therefore, could omit much of the fundamental information covered in CVOICE 4.2, and students could choose whether or not to go through the CVF course, depending on their background.

The CVOICE 5.0 course, like its predecessors, gave students an introduction into VoIP (e.g. the creation of dial-peers and introducing call control protocols like H.323). Because of its introductory feel, I recommended students take CVOICE as their first course in the CCVP track. Also, I used to recommend that students take the Gateway/Gatekeeper (GWGK) course as the last course in the track, because of its very advanced nature. In fact, I used to tell students that GWGK was like CVOICE on steroids, because it covered many of the same topics, just at a much deeper level.

For example, the CVOICE 5.0 course had about five slides that dealt with configuring an H.323 gatekeeper, while the GWGK course had an entire chapter on that topic.

Here’s where it gets interesting though. You’ll notice in the list of CCVP exams required for the Linux-based track does not include the GWGK exam. What happened to that content? Actually, Cisco merged the CVOICE 5.0 and GWGK 2.0 courses together to create a very much updated CVOICE 6.0 course. That’s right. The CVOICE 6.0 course starts out as a tame introductory-level course, but about half way through, it starts covering topics previously covered in GWGK (e.g. Class of Restriction (COR), configuring voice translation rules using regular expressions with metacharacters, and configuring a Cisco Unified Border Element). As a result, students who have only had the CVOICE 5.0 and CVF 1.0 courses will be unequipped for the CVOICE 6.0 exam (and the CVOICE 5.0 exam has already retired).

While I don’t have any other issues with Cisco’s recommendations for the Linux-based track, I do for the Windows-based track, and that will be described in my next posting. But for now, let me give you my recommendation for the order in which you should take these courses (and their corresponding exams):

1.       1. CVOICE 6.0

2.       2. CIPT1 6.0

3.       3. CIPT2 6.0

4.       4. QoS 2.2

5.       5. TUC 1.0

Here’s my reasoning. While CVOICE 6.0 is far more advanced that it was in previous versions, it still includes foundational content (e.g. dial peer creation) that is important to know before moving on to the other CCVP courses.

The CIPT1 and CIPT2 courses, I believe, should be taken in succession, because CIPT2 is just a continuation of CIPT1.

After completing CVOICE and the two CIPT courses, you’ll be familiar with the various protocols used in a Cisco Unified Communications solution. With that understanding, you’ll be better able to relate quality of service (QoS) concepts to these protocols as you take the QoS course.

Finally, the TUC course focuses on troubleshooting the technologies that you’ve learned in prior CCVP courses. In fact, TUC even expects you to know a bit about Cisco Unity, which is not covered in detail in any of the preceding courses.

Before we wrap it up for this posting, if you are currently headed down the CCVP path or if you already have your CCVP, please vote below to let us know what CCVP track you chose:

Coming up in my next posting, we discuss the Windows-based track for CCVP. See you then.

Kevin 

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)