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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default CCNA Voice Lab (for the home)

    Building a CCNA-Voice Lab

    There are a lot of questions surrounding recommendations/suggestions for building a CCNA-Voice Lab. No, this won’t be a definitive guide, as there are many possible roads to travel and variations on a theme. But it might give you ideas for what is needed, what the course topology is, what could be added, and what is possible. This configuration is basically what I used, with the exception of the UC-500, to complete the course.

    For those thinking of the CCVP track, I'll try to highlight what can be reused moving on.

    Please treat this as a work in progress, and I hope some find it usefull. I’ll try to update it (and proof read it better) as time goes on.

    For those wanting to build a CCNA-Voice Lab from GNS3, you'll need to look elsewhere, I personally prefer real "touchy", "feely" hardware where I can.

    So you know where I'm coming from...
    Passed my CCNA in December 2007, passed my CCNA-Voice in June 2009. I’m currently studying towards my CCVP (almost completed CVoice) having come from a TDM PBX background and unfortunately am yet to put any of my investment in CCNA/CCNA-Voice knowledge to practical use, so I don't have all the answers. This is basically what I've learnt as I've muddled through it.

    I’ve broken the Lab down into;
    • “Core”, what is essential
    • “Options”, what could be added or would be nice to have
    For all routers and switches, install as much flash/dram as is required (see Cisco Feature Navigator hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cfn for details), and the more recent the IOS version and hardware platform the better. I’ll also indicate what equipment I used that worked well for me as a base-line.

    See attachment for network topology.

    “Core” Components

    Switch-A
    • acts as a VTP server
    • would suggest 2950/3524 series or later hardware platform
    • I used a 3524
    Switch-B
    • acts as a VTP client
    • supplies access and voice VLANS to IP/Soft Phones
    • would support AutoQoS if possible
    • would suggest 2950/3524 series or later hardware platform and power bricks (CCNA-V), or
    • would suggest 3524-PWR/3550-PWR or later hardware platform (CCNA-V, CCVP)
    • I used a 3524-PWR (this needed some “hybrid” configuration to work, partly from the book, partly from investigation, no AutoQoS)
    DHCP Router
    • acts as a DHCP server (the name gives it away)
    • acts as a NTP server for down-stream devices
    • would suggest 262x/265x or later hardware platform (CCNA-V) with minimum IOS feature set of ipbase
    • would suggest 262x/265x XM series or later hardware platform (CCNA-V, CCVP) with minimum IOS feature set of ipvoice
    • I used a 2691 with adventerprisek9_ivs IOS 12.4T, CME 4.1, Unity Express (allows connection to my home network via fa0/1 and can be used as a gatekeeper for CCVP)
    CME Router A
    • acts as the CME voice gateway
    • should be able to take VIC cards natively, or via a NM voice module
    • needs FXO, FXS ports (CCNA-V), analogue phone(s) [handsfree makes it easier], DSP’s [type depending on router model]
    • optional Unity Express (CCNA-V), can get by without it
    • optional E1/T1 (CCNA-V, CCVP), can get by without it
    • would suggest a 1751/1760 or later hardware platform (CCNA-V) with minimum IOS feature set of ipvoice, as these support VICs natively, can be reused as branch site routers (CCVP)
    • would suggest IOS 12.4T or later
    • would suggest CME 4.1 or later
    • I used a 1760 with adventerprisek9 IOS 12.4T, CME 4.1, WIC-2T, VIC2-4FXO, VIC-4FXS/DID, VWIC-1MFT-E1, PVDM-256K-20
    • while the VG200 supports FXO / FXS / E&M / E1 / T1, it does not support CME. I'd put this into the same category as the MC3810, "a bit long in the tooth"
    Console PC
    I’ve provided an address for where the software is free, or freely available from Cisco with a guest CCO login (yes, you can get some things from Cisco for free). If the links don’t work, just use you’re favourite internet search engine.
    • T.F.T.P App:
      • T.F.T.Pd32 server
        • hxxp://t.f.t.pd32.jounin.net [take out the extra dots]
      • Solarwinds free T.F.T.P server
        • hxxp://www.solarwinds.com
    • Console App:
      • Putty
        • hxxp://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty
      • mRemote (Putty in a tabbed interface)
        • hxxp://www.mremote.org
      • vRD 2010 (Successor to mRemote, reverts to a limited mode after the 15 day trial, but still good enough for a home lab)
        • hxxp://www.visionapp.com
    • Syslog App:
      • Kiwi Syslog daemon (great for monitoring router/switch activity via SNMP once configured)
        • hxxp://www.solarwinds.com
    • Cisco IP Communicator
    • Optional:
      • Router Config App: (depending on router model)
        • Cisco Security and Device manager
          • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/sdm
        • Cisco Configuration Professional
          • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/ccp
      • Cisco Network Assistant (provides simple network management and topology view)
        • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cna
      • Cisco Packet Tracer (handy to have anywhere for simple IP testing, its quiet compared to routers)
      • Cisco CME Quick Configuration Tool (hard to find, but nice to have to see how CME configs are made)
    IP Phones
    • minimum 2 x 7940 series, and CIPC. If you are using a powered Switch B, make sure you know the difference between InLine Power (Cisco pre-standard) or PoE (IEEE 802.3af) [I didn't when I started, but was just lucky with my purchases]
    • I used 1 x 7940G, 2 x 7960G, 2 x 7912G, CIPC
    Other materials
    • CCNA Voice Exam Certification Guide
    • CCNA Voice CBT Nuggets
    • Exam Cram CCNA Voice (handy as an alternate source of information)
    • IP Telephony Using Callmanager Express Lab Portfolio
    • Access to Cisco’s site for documentation and another insight into command usage
    ----------8<----------

    Option “A”

    Unity Express

    A moderately expensive item that you can probably get by without for the course and just rely on the Study Guide and the CBT. I always like to have hardware to play with so went hunting on eBay. Make sure if you do get one it comes with the CUE software installed. I took a punt and bought the lowest cost one I could find, that had had the HDD wiped. So had to go searching for the software, fortunately...

    The study material indicated that there are 2 ways to re-install the software, but these make the assumption that software also pre-exists on the HDD. If you do buy a wiped one (and save money) there is a 3rd method found in the CUE installation docs which involved using the boot loader. Think of this as the CUE equivalent of a routers boot ROM. If you need this info, just PM me and I'll pass it on.

    There are a few variants of CUE and depending on your router model will determine which one(s) could be right for you.

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/unity_exp/compatibility/cuecomp.htm

    ----------8<----------

    Option “B”

    Home Network Connection

    Not really required, but very handy for time synchronisation to an external NTP source, and saves doing a set clock on multiple devices. Public NTP servers can be found at;

    hxxp://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Servers/NTPPoolServers

    It'll also be handy to know where to find these if you move on to CCVP. Don't be supprised if it takes 10 minutes or more for your devices to sync to the correct time, it bugged me for a while. If you're using a syslog server to capture all of your output instead of using the console, it's easier to have all your devices, both routers and switches synchronised to the same time source.

    ----------8<----------

    Option “C”

    Remote Site

    To be able to test your VoIP dial-peers it's handy to have second site setup. This can be as simple or as complex as you like, I used a 1760 configured similar to the core site, but without any VIC's, running CIPC and connected via DTE-DCE cable. This allows you to make simple test calls in both directions.

    ----------8<----------

    Option “D”

    UC-500/520

    OK, there's no easy way to say this, it's a big ticket item. Cheapest I've seen is about AU$3000 for the wireless model, without handsets.

    On the plus side, it has almost everything for the SO/HO in one box, DHCP, PoE, FXO/FXS, CME/CUE.

    It has it's own GUI and configuration manager;
    • Cisco Configuration Assistant
      • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cca
    When I did the exam, it was based on v1.8 (give or take) of CCA, CCA is now at v2.2.1 and has changed a lot. So it would be handy to know both.

    For those that can't afford one of these to practice on (and I'm one), print out the screen shots of each tab of the interface and set yourself some scenarios (set up 2 phones, with voicemail, maybe a hunt group too). Unfortunately this won't give you the answers, but it will get you familiar with the interface.

    ----------8<----------

    If there is interest out there, I'll set up a shared folder on 4shared with the Apps and any docs I can think might be usefull. With the moderators permission that is, I don't want to break any rules.

    ----------8<----------

    General Info:

    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World )
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    ----------8<----------

    Changes:

    15-Apr-2010: Added Option C (finally )
    20-Jan-2010: General Info section, and MC3810/VG200 info added
    15-Jan-2010: Added Options A and B
    28-Dec-2009: Relabeled options, updated network diagram, added UC-500 section, added mRemote to Apps
    21-Dec-2009: Initial draft
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by azaghul; 04-14-2010 at 08:38 PM.
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  3. Senior Member luke_bibby's Avatar
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    #2
    Really great writeup, I'm sure this will help a lot of the CCNAV hopefuls (including me).

    Question though: I am currently using my 2621XM with CME 4.1 as my voice router, and plan to buy an NM-2V and VIC-2FXO and VIC-2FXS cards, will I be able to use a VWIC-1MFT-E1 (or T1) in one of the spare WIC slots I have? I looked on the Cisco site but couldn't find anything
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    #3
    Hi Luke,

    Not a problem, I hope it helps somebody. But it also helps me by sharing what I know, and being quizzed on it.

    Your 2621XM will support the VWIC-1MFT-E1 (or T1) in a WIC slot, but only in data mode natively, not voice mode. To get it to work in voice mode you'd need to add an AIM-VOICE30 or AIM-ATM-VOICE30 as these supply the DSP resources needed. I ran into the same problem with my 2691 and 3725, but managed to get them at a good price from US eBay in for about US$125 each, plus shipping. I got my E1 cards from China (obviously knock-offs, but fine for a lab) and my T1's from the US.

    Here's the link

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/modules/ps2641/products_data_sheet09186a0080088753.html
    Last edited by azaghul; 12-22-2009 at 02:10 AM.
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    #4
    Really helpfuland thanks a lot mate
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  6. Senior Member jovan88's Avatar
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    #5
    Nice job, thanks for spending your time to do this
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  7. Junior Member
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    #6
    Just wanted to say thanks for the post. I recently obtained my CCNA and will be moving forward with CCNA Voice and CCVP. It's time to start putting together a home lab and I found your thread to be very helpful!
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    @ All,

    Glad to hear that this info has been of some benefit... now to find the motivation to complete it! Thankfully I have a quiet weekend.
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  9. Senior Member auos's Avatar
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    #8
    Really great job, but I have 3640 and 2611XM router can I used it for CCNA-V.
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    #9
    That shouldn't be a problem, just use the 3640 for DHCP and the 2611XM for CME as you are going to be able to "find" more recent IOS and CME versions for it.
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  11. Senior Member auos's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by azaghul View Post
    That shouldn't be a problem, just use the 3640 for DHCP and the 2611XM for CME as you are going to be able to "find" more recent IOS and CME versions for it.
    Great, and please what is different between VIC-card and VWIC-card.
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World )
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.
    Last edited by azaghul; 01-20-2010 at 03:49 AM.
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  13. Senile old fart laidbackfreak's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by azaghul View Post
    [*]E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World )[*]T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)[/LIST]
    Nice discriptions and kudos for the E1.... lmao
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  14. Senior Member auos's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by azaghul View Post
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World )
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)

    Many thanks.
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  15. Operations Officer Corndork2's Avatar
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    #14
    I think I have all the pieces laying around for the required topology of "Option A" as specified in the first post of this thread. I do have a question though. Router A is designated as a CME voice gateway in your topology. I have a VG200 laying around that I wouldnt mind throwing 2 FXS and 2 FXO's in... would this work for it? If it will then all I need to get are phones and IOS updates. Thanks for the clarification.
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    The VG200 seems to meet most requirements, support for FXO / FXS / E&M / E1 / T1, but looking at the IOS feature navigator there is no mention of any version of CME being supported. So you'd not likely to be able to use it for CCNA:V.

    That being said, it can be used for CVOICE as it supports H.323 and MGCP. But as it's limited to IOS v12.3 there could be a lot of features/commands missing (SIP and gatekeeper being the main ones).

    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.
    Last edited by azaghul; 01-20-2010 at 03:50 AM.
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  17. Senior Member auos's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by azaghul View Post
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World )
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.
    Hi azaghul,
    If my lab is not connected to local telephone exchange, only two IP phone connect together that is mean I no needed to FXO and FXS cards?
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    Although you can use it as an enhanced intercom with just IP phones attached as a starting point, it's more fun to connect to the PSTN and have analogue handsets attached.
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  19. Cantankerous Old Fart hermeszdata's Avatar
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    #18
    Great information here.

    I am one who is sitll working on my CCNA and and studying VOICE at the same time. What I have found is that my Voice studied are actually helping my CCNA studies.

    Keep up the great work.

    John
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    #19
    Great info, thanks for sharing! I have a question about the FXO/FXS cards you used in your 1760. Is is necessary to use the 4 port VIC2's or can I get by using the first generation 2 port VIC's? The reason I ask is the VIC2's are expensive compared to the first gen VIC's, and I am concerned that I will lose some functionality if I go with the first gen VIC's to save money. Will that be the case?

    Thanks for the help!
    Last edited by jrb1027; 04-14-2010 at 04:30 PM.
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Glad the info helped. Just saw how many views this had got and was surprised.

    There's no problem at all using the first generation VIC's. The only reasons to go for a VIC2 would be to future proof your investment for later upgrades, if your hardware doesn't support first generation VIC's or you get lucky (my seller on ebay meant to drop the price by $10, but actually dropped it by $100 [plus I didn't know what I know now]). I think the only functionallity you do loose on a 4FXO is they don't support the North American CAMA feature.

    Cheers!
    Dave
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by azaghul View Post
    Glad the info helped. Just saw how many views this had got and was surprised.
    just checked that number now after reading this message fgood little number eh lol

    I think one of the biggest thing about cisco cert procdess is they get you to understand the hardware as much as understanding the ios commands. And this is where you cant beat getting your hands on REAL hardware vs simulators\GNS etc. A Big part of being a network engineer is knowing what capailites your equipment is capable of and the differences between them.
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    #22
    Thanks again, this info really has been a huge help. And congrats on the number of views, it's well deserved.

    I really would like to future proof my investment because I do plan to get both CCNP and CCVP certs, but I'm currently experiencing a bit of sticker shock.

    Edit: How much memory do you have in your 1760? Is 128/32 enough to run a 12.4t IOS and leave enough for CME?
    Last edited by jrb1027; 04-16-2010 at 06:20 PM.
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    #23
    My CME 1760's have 48M/64M flash with 160M DRAM. Most of the voice capable IOS have a file size of 20-26M (12.4T) so running 32M flash doesn't leave a lot left over for much else. Check the Feature Navigator for IOS flash/dram requirements;

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cfn

    If you install SDM (8M optional), CME basic, CME GUI, phone loads (depending on phone model, as much as 9M each), and ring tones, it can really become a bit of a squeeze with anything less than 48M.

    The VIC1's are fine and will serve you well, make sure you get a FXO card compatible with you're country as they make different variants. It's always fun to connect to the PSTN. VIC2's only really come into play in 2800 series and later, you'll need to check compatibility for future proofing;

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk652/tk653/technologies_tech_note09186a0080094fac.shtml

    Sticker shock? Yeah, voice seems to be the most expensive path for a home lab. When I started building my lab I was in the 2nd semester of my CCNA at the local Networking Academy (where they finally let you touch and see a router) and was trying to look at the "long view" (the aim was CCVP), it's been built up now over 3 years so sticker shock hasn't been as devastating (mostly). Know your goal, then, buy it, test it, put it away is my philosophy.

    ----------8<----------

    To give yo an idea of my "long view", I've had an IBM x306 server (MCS-7825) sitting in a box for almost 2 years waiting to have Call Manager installed on it. Now I've started CIPT1, its there ready and waiting. It was bought when CCM 4.x was still in style. But now you can install CUCM in VMware.... oh well. But then I get better performance and also installation experience with the real deal.
    Last edited by azaghul; 04-16-2010 at 08:38 PM.
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    #24
    Those links are AWESOME! The Cisco website is a resourse I have failed to take advantage of in the past. Thank you, that was very helpful!

    Yeah, sticker shock. And trust me, I was shocked when I looked at the "sticker price" for the FXO/FXS's and PVDM's on ebay. My CCNA lab didn't cost anywhere near what this voice lab is going to cost me, so I'm going to have to buy a piece at a time. I'm probably going to have to go with the VIC-2FXS and the VIC-2DID because I can get those for around $65 each vs. $180 on ebay. The cheepest I seen the PVDM-256K-20 was $105.

    It's all good though, because I'm having fun learning. Thanks again, and stick around because I'm sure I'm going to have more questions.
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    #25
    Happy to help. The Cisco site can be difficult to navigate. I was when I started, and still is at time, so many links that similar things or some that just got round and round.

    A PVDM-256K-20 is probably over kill, but it does mean you can have 2FXO, 2FXS, and E1/T1 channels all at once. It also depends on the price of smaller PVDM's and bang-for-buck. You'll also get more value from a 2FXO instead of a 2DID.

    Happy to answer questions, it keeps me honest as well. Always happy to be proved wrong though, as I in no way know it all and am happy to learn more too.
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