Beginning your journey into the IP Telephony world (Part II)

Dave Schulz is subbing for Wendell this week in the blog. Dave has been involved in networking and security for over 24 years.  Working for a reseller in the Midwest, his experienced has varied from installation/support, consulting and management to contracting for an enterprise data center.  Currently, Dave teaches voice technology for Skyline Advanced Technology Services.  Dave has certifications in CCNP, CCDP and CCVP. 

Now that you have a good basic foundation for study and a desire to embark are your journey, we need to take our first steps.   Along with good study habits, learning the technology it is advisable that you begin your journey by taking a look at Cisco's Career Certifications & Paths location for CCVP (Cisco Certified Voice Professional) on their web site.  See:


You will notice on this site, that Cisco suggests a number of courses and tests that lead to the CCVP certification.  Whether you desire to attain this certification, or, are just looking to gain the knowledge, it is advisable that you concentrate your study efforts on these specific course materials.   This will insure that you are well covered in all the basic technology concepts, leaving no gaps in your knowledge base. 

If you currently have a background in networking, I suggest that you start with the CVOICE path (642-432).  The training can be achieved through a number of different methods.  First, you can purchase the CVOICE book from CiscoPress (  This will provide you with solid basics of voice technology as they apply to not only routers, but Cisco CallManager.  And, as I mentioned in the my first article, you need to know the technology and what the commands are doing, rather than just knowing which commands to type.  Then, I would advise attending the instructor-led CVOICE course, provided Authorized Cisco Training Partner.  Skyline Advanced Technology Services hosts these and all other Cisco courses in various cities throughout the US (check our web site on  Instructor-led training is not only a good start to learning the technology, but will help "fill in the gaps" of your understanding, and works to clarify all aspects of voice technology through lectures, discussions and lab exercises.  Also, the course guides that you receive are great reference materials in your arsenal.  One of the main reasons to attend instructor-led training is the invaluable hands-on experience you will gain by working on equipment in a non-production environment.  In an instructor-led course, you are able to interact with peers, ask question and gain invaluable knowledge that you would not normally get through reading a book or personal study.  Of course, personal study/reading, along with instructor-led training is like a well-balanced meal.  You really need both to help build a complete understanding. 

Once your complete the required courseware, you should be well-prepared to take the Cisco certification exam for that specific courseware (scheduled through Vue at, if so desired.

Secondly, I suggest following up this class with taking the CIPT (Cisco IP Telephony) course.  You need to decide which specific operating system you want to learn, either CallManager (version 4.x or 5.x).  Keep in mind that CallManager version 4.x is based on the Windows Server platform, where CallManager version 5.x is based on the Linux platform.  The resource that I suggest here would be to read the CiscoPress book called, Configuring Cisco CallManager and Unity: A Step-by-Step Guide, by Dave Bateman.  This book is currently only available for CallManager version 4.x.  Then, you should plan on attending the CIPT1 and CIPT2 courses (also offered by Skyline), for the same reasons I mention for the CVOICE courseware.  These two courses will not only prepare you for the CIPT exam (642-444 for version 4.1), or, (642-445 for version 5), but provide you a solid foundation for IP Telephony, and a working knowledge of CallManager. 

The other courses mentioned on the Cisco Career & Certifications site will build on this technology.  Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications Systems (TUC), with exam 642-426, will build a deeper understand of CallManager and Unity, from the perspective of troubleshooting and knowing how to use the specific tools integrated within CallManager.  The Implementing Cisco Voice Gateways and Gatekeepers (GWGK) course, with exam 642-453, will also build on your understanding of gateways and gatekeepers that you previously learned within the CIPT courseware.  Finally, the Quality of Service (642-642) courseware will provide you with an understanding to manage the quality of service within your existing network, since it is important to optimize the given bandwidth before implementing IP telephony.  The best resource I would suggest here for QoS, along with the instructor-led training, is to purchase the Quality of Service book (CiscoPress) book written by our host of this article, Wendell Odom. 

Finally, your study resources should also contain two necessary items.  The first item is the Solution Reference Network Design (SRND) for CallManager.  Cisco makes these available on their web-site, and, has provided these for every technology and product that they support.  The CallManager SRNDs' are over 900 pages of design information, technology and product information that will accelerate your learning, and help build your understanding on CallManager.  The second resource is the Cisco DocCD ( that provides all configuration information on CallManager.  Also, if you are planning to go on to CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) certification, this is the only documentation that you are allowed to use during the lab exam.

In the next installment in this series, I will address the learning of voice technology for those that may not have a networking background, and also, address the questions and replies to the past articles.  So, feel free to send your questions and thoughts and I'll do my best to help set you on the path of breaking into the world of IP Telephony.


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