Sunday, December 9, 2012

CUCM LDAP Synchronization Tip

  I finished chapter 4 in the CIPT 1 book along with creating a few labs to go with it. I was stuck with getting LDAP to synch with my domain controller that had Active Directory. For some reason it wouldn't save my settings due to authentication issues. After viewing I noticed that the username had @domainname while my username didn't have this info. Once I added this portion LDAP synched and life was good.

Next up is chapter 5 and I still have a few more chapters to go until I finally register a phone!

P.S. Never hit the undo button in Google Blog, it deletes your entire post and there's no way to go back that I know of. Especially since it auto saves ever 2 seconds which can make things even more useless... Super Frustrating

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A lot Smoother Installation - VMPlayer Tip

I reinstalled the CUCM Publisher last night and the install went a lot smoother than a few months back when I attempted to install it on ESXi on an old HP server. VMPlayer worked surprisingly well even though it's not as convenient as VM Workstation.

The only issue I ran into was getting connectivity to the network which was a combination of things. It didn't like my trunk port on my switch so I changed it to an access VLAN (VLAN 100) for my server subnet. I also had to play with the VMPlayer network settings, once I changed my VM to following connectivity was established:

Network Adapter Settings:
1. Network Connection set to bridged mode
2. Check mark "Replicate physical network connection state"
3. Select the "Configure Adapters" button
4. Select only the Ethernet port or whatever port you use for connectivity, un-select the others.

Tonight I plan on installing the Subscriber and I have to get my hands on Unity Connection still from some where. I have a CUPS 6.0 DVD so hopefully that works when the time comes. At some point I need to run to Walmart or somewhere to pick up a crossover cable, I don't have good tools to make my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rebuilt my Lab with PICS!

Finally got around to rebuilding and configuring my lab again, it's been a very busy year with a lot of changes. I have the majority of the basic configuration finished, I'm using the same design as my last lab before I had to give all of my equipment up. The only thing that I'm missing is a cross-over cable for my Branch IP Phone since I'm connecting it directly to my branch router. I believe this is the reason why it's showing as not connected, at least I hope. I'm using OSPF for the WAN

Not pictured is my beefy work laptop that's 8 core with 24 gigs of RAM or some thing crazy like that. I'm hoping I can get away with VM Player but I may have to go with some of the higher end VM solutions like Workstation or ESXi with a dedicated server if I run into to many snags.

My job role changed pretty drastically and I may not be touching voice as much as I did in the past, I'm being moved to the design and implementation space for my company. There will for sure be enough phone stuff to keep me occupied but it may only be 25% of my workload instead of 80% like my previous gig.

I'm thinking of finishing the CCNP: Voice track and then start moving sideways to CCNP R&S and then the Design tracks. maybe even Data Center stuff depending on how much deeper we get into it at my company.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Knocked out first CIPT1 Chapter

I'm off to a decent start but it could be a little better, I finished up the first chapter out of 16 from the official study guide. I looked around quite a bit and besides the quick reference book there isn't much study material for this exam besides going through one of the training vendors. Once I'm reimbursed for this first test I'm going to invest it into a Skeletek rack with all the goodies like cable management.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Passed the CVOICE Test!

It's about time! It took me a little longer than I expected due to a lot different outside variables but I finally got over the hump on this one. It took the following to get me through:

Cisco Voice Gateways and Gatekeepers
Cisco QOS Certification Guide
Cisco (CVOICE) Foundation Learning Guide (Kevin Wallace)
Sybex CVOICE 8.0 Study Guide

Kevin Wallace 1 exam a month (
IPExpert CVoice videos

Lab's...a bunch of labs
Real World Experience

By far the hardest exam I've taken so far and there's 4 MORE to go before I'm certified. I can finally get back to building out my lab though. Hit hard on QOS, CUBE/Gatekeeper, VOIP Calculations, and Voice Signaling theories.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

About Ready for the Retake!

After a hectic 4 weeks including business travel and settling into the new house; I finally finished the last 3 chapters of the Sybex CVoice book. I'm going to review and go over study notes for the next 3-4 weeks and hopefully have the CVoice scheduled and PASSED this time around. There's a good 5-6 network projects going on at the same time right now. 2 VoIP migrations and even 1 PBX migration happening within the next 6 months.

The PBX migration starts next week, I'm working with an outside consultant for this one. I finished the new dial plan to integrate them on to our CUCM yesterday. There's also multiple MPLS and IPVPN turn-up's happening around the globe. I have all the networking hardware I need to make my voice lab, I just need to purchase a rack for all this stuff and cable management. I'm looking at Dell 2950's for my VM environment, can't wait to have the lab built, but I'm looking forward to how much more I still have to spend for it lol.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Three More Chapters Until Test Retake

I'm starting to make some head way through the last book I picked up for CVoice. I'm hoping to have the last 3 chapters finished in another 6 weeks, it all depends on how busy I get at my gig. Right now I'm working my way through the H.323 Gatekeeper and CUBE chapter. Followed by the oh so famous QoS chapters. Looks like I won't be able to rent any lab time through INE for the entire month of July due to book camp weeks. That's alright I'm already planning and designing my new and improved lab, I plan on even getting a comm rack this time around!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

INE Labs and a Quick MGCP Tip

Slowly but surely I'm making through the Sybex CVOICE book, I'm about 65 percent of the way the through. I've been going through the hands on labs in the book as well, utilizing the INE rack rentals since I'm unable to access real equipment at the moment. I'm not going to lie, just figuring out how to connect to their labs have been difficult...for me. I tried the VPNless method and the Cisco VPN client methods so far. Using the VPNless method I couldn't connect to a lot of the equipment for whatever reason. When using the Cisco VPN client, it seemed to work a lot better but I couldn't access anything else outside of the the lab rack.

I'm sure this has more to do with me than anything else to be honest with myself. The racks are designed for people prepping for CCIE so in the back of mind I feel as though my comprehension of the technology itself is preventing me to wrap my head around on how to correctly connect to their equipment. I may be wrong though, at least I'm able to accomplish what I need so far. I believe over time I'll become more familiar on how to properly connect to everything. If not I'm not afraid to ask for help.


I'm sure most of you know this, in order for MGCP to work correctly and pull the XML file from CUCM, the name on the voice gateway and the CUCM must have the same exact name!

Well it was bound to happen but I'm finally broken in at my new job and made my first mistake that caused downtime for a few sites. I was tasked with installing a template on all of our gateways which included giving them our domain name.

The official syntax for this is ip domain-name domainname; the use of this command changes the name of the Cisco device. So if your device host name is called Gateway and you add the domain name to the device i.e. ip domain-name, the official name for the device is now Even though the device considers to be its name, the host name will still appear as just Gateway when you're staring at the CLI.

Unless you changed the name to on CUCM as well, it will not know how to reach this device. The trickiest part about this is that it doesn't rear it's head right away, Our gateways didn't use the new name until exactly 12:00 AM the following Saturday after I gave them their new domain info. Watch out for this!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost Ready to Buy Rental Time

I've been slowly working through the Sybex CVoice book while also getting acclimated to my new job role. I'm about half-way through the book and I should be plunking down some cash to rent some lab time from INE pretty soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cisco SAF Videos for Free on INE

I'm just writing this note to remind myself that I can view the INE videos on SAF for free.

 I still have a ways away before I start truly studying on this topic but I'm going to need all the help I can get. In other news, I start a new role as Network Engineer (may not be the official title) in a week for a global company. I'm pretty excited but nervous at the same time, I should be able to soak up a ton of knowledge from this new opportunity.

I have to give back my 2821's and I'm not in a position to spend $1400-2000 to replace them. Plus I would really need to get the 29xx models at this point in time. I'm going to start renting lab time because this will save me time, money, and physical space.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I've Been Hitting the Books Slow but Steadily

It's been a very busy month both personally and professionally. I would be lying if I said failing the CVoice exam didn't make me just want to give up on certs all together. With that said I still managed to finish QoS book and I'm working my way though the Cisco Voice Gateways and Gatekeeper book. I then will finish that up with the Sybex CVoice book and start labbing again. The QoS book grew my knowledge A LOT but I def. couldn't take everything in but that doesn't matter because this books goes above and beyond the QoS material I've read in the official book and even the test I failed.

I hope to sit this test again in the next month or so depending on what my $$$ funds look like.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Failed a Certification Test for the First Time Ever

Well long story short, I had my CVoice test scheduled for today and I failed miserably by almost 100 points. I needed a 790 out of 1000 to pass and I only managed a 694. When it came down to it, I wasn't prepared for the questions that were going to be asked on the exam. The material I was using to study wasn't adequate enough to get me through. The thing is that there isn't much material for the CCNP: Voice to begin with so I'm not sure what else to do besides go through the book again and schedule a retake for some time in the near future. My hands on is where it needs to be but my theory isn't.

You have to know ALL of the mathematical formulas, how to convert DSCP to decimal, Make sure you have a very good understanding of QoS (Specific QoS books), and find some outside material to understand CUBE more if you don't work with it. This was an expensive mistake, I'm pretty down right now, I'm going to go through the material and focus on the areas I did horrible on and go from there. The practice exam questions I was using from Cisco's learning network website and the official book aren't nearly as difficult as the exam.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Configured Gatekeeper's for the First Time

I finally did something that I was dreading to do for a long time...configure a H.323 Gatekeeper. It wasn't to bad but I will need to lab it again before the test I'm sure. There's just a slew of commands to remember to get everything up and working properly between the endpoint and gatekeeper. Even the instructor in VOD I was following along with was having issues getting everything up and running. He spent about 25 minutes troubleshooting what turned out to be a codec mismatch issue between dial-peers on two different gateways lol.

I'm having this weird intermittent call issue with my gatekeeper and phones though, I wonder if it has something to do with the voice-class codec I have configured but I may be wrong.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Always Troubleshoot the Obvious

I wasted 90 minutes in today's lab troubleshooting an issue that the IOS told me might cause the issue to begin with. I upgraded my 2821 lab routes to a newer IOS 15 version so that I can lab some Gatekeeper scenarios. I knew about this problem in the past but by default, the newer IOS versions (at least voice specific) enables a configuration to prevent Toll-Fraud. It's called ip address trust authenticate which requires that all IP addresses that attempt to place calls to a gateway be added to a list that allows the call to be place.

Now while I knew about this I figured it wasn't enabled since I already had configured my router and looking in my running-config this command was no where to be found. I went ahead and issued the no ip address trust authenticate command under the voice service voip configuration and sure enough I could place H.323 calls again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Prepping Hardware and Software for CIPT1

While I'm preparing to schedule my test for CVoice and hoping for a first time pass; I'm also getting my ESXi server ready for CIPT1. I already have the domain controller installed along with the CUCM 8.5 Publisher server. I'm hoping that I have enough time today to get the CUCM Subscriber started. I will say that it's very tricky getting CUCM install up and going and it's quick to error out if your system doesn't meet it's "hardware requirements"; at least in VMware.

I used the following template settings to get this to work:

Linux Red Hat (32-bit)
1 Virtual Processor
80 GB Hard drive (SAS 0:0)

I believe it's picky about both the OS settings and the hard drive settings the most. Once the Publisher was up and running I took a snapshot, shut her down, decreased the memory to 1 GB and booted her back up. Cisco gave an error message about them not being responsible for me not using the recommended equipment but it booted right up!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Download My Mnemosyne Flash Cards for CVoice

I uploaded my Mnemosyne Flash Cards for CVoice on the infamous forum. You can grab it here if you're interested:

Shawn's CVoice Mnemosyne's

As mentioned you'll have to rename the PDF extension to XML and then import it into the Mnemosyne program in order for this to work.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

QoS Policing and Configuration

Well I'm nearing the end of the very last chapter of CVoice and after this week everything I study will be review until the test date which I haven't scheduled quite yet. I still have about 20 hours worth of CVoice video material I'm going to go through along with a review guide along with my Mnemosyne before I schedule the test and plunk down $150 bucks.

The last chapter was QoS Policing and configuration which wasn't quite as dreadful as I thought it was going to be. I think that's mainly because there's not a lot of detail you can put into 1-2 chapters compared to the previous CCVP which had a whole book and exam dedicated towards it! The picture above shows one of the token bucket configurations used in CIR (Committed information Rate) when trying to manage/police data traffic sent from CPE to the LEC.

There have been a lack of updates on the blog due to the crazy dead lines and traveling that I've been doing as of late. Sometimes I don't really get to study until 8pm or so which leaves me a dead tired (too lazy) to post a topic. I'm still at it though and I plan on keeping at the pace I'm at throughout the rest of this year unless life happens, which it usually does.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

About Ready to take the CVoice Test

I'm away from home still so I haven't been able to study like I want; however I've been watching IPExpert videos and finishing up the last few chapters in the Cvoice book. When I get home next week, I will finish up the last QoS chapter, and then start reviewing preparing on my first take on my path to CCNP: Voice

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Configuring Digit Manipulation

Spent about 3-4 hours labbing many different call routing scenarios and testing out as many technologies as I can. Along with cleaning up and configuring some high availability scenarios between both my HQ and Branch site in case the WAN goes down. I also setup correct caller-id information over PSTN so instead of just sending out the extension CLID (Caller-id) info it prefixes the area code and CO code as well.

Tomorrow will be another long session, going to deep dive into TEHO, site-codes, Toll-Free Bypass, and if I have time basic over of Class of Restriction (COR) but I'm betting I'll be worn out by time I get to that section.

I want to knock out the rest of this chapter before my employer ships me out to Houston, TX to begin provisioning our new remote DR site. I'll be out there for at least two weeks and I'm afraid I'm going to loose momentum if I can't get good lab time in so I want to get to the upcoming theory chapters ASAP. Thankfully I'll have plenty of IPExpert videos to go through and if I time it right I should be able to complete the Gatekeeper and first QoS chapter while I'm away.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

70 Hours Completed

Well I think I finally put in at least 60 hours total studying over the past 5-6 weeks. I'll probably be about ready to sit for this test about 60 more hours in. I'm 450 pages into my CVoice book currently on Chapter 5 and I went through at least 10 hours worth of training videos so really I probably put about 70 hours in. I finally received the IPExpert videos so I'm going to go through those and try to lab what I can with the exercises they provide. I went through the older CBTNuggets material and a lot of Kevin Wallace material. I'm also still creating and going through my Mnemosyne's, I have over 115 flash card questions now.

My current phone network is about 80% complete, I can call from one site to the other via the WAN but not the PSTN yet. Also I haven't configured my branch site to make calls through the PSTN but everything is good on the HQ and the PSTN (plus vice versa). I'll be testing and throwing up voice translation profiles/rules on my branch router tomorrow. Voice Translations always give me a headache looking at the syntax ever since I first encountered them in CCNA: Voice. I'm going to be diving deep into this until I can wrap my head around the common regular expressions: