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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Using 3725's on the lab

    Here is some info that mark snow posted regarding using 3725's on the lab. I know a lot of people look at these as way to get things working, but there are some IOS changes in the CCNP Voice using CCM8 in the labs that may take away some capability.

    Voice lab hardware - PVDM vs PVDM2, E1 vs T1, and ISR vs cheaper routers - IEOC - Internetwork Expert's Online Community



    If you are serious about studying for Voice, don't even think of anything short of the ISRs (28xx series), and I'll present many good reasons why, to follow.
    1) With ISRs you don'l need NM-HDV's or NM-HDV2's (at least so far as the certification studies go). For the most part, these are simply a means of getting PVDM or PVDM2s into the system. In ISRs, you can put these PVDMs directly onto the motherboard of the router, and put your VWICs into the router/motherboard's HWIC/VWIC slots, reducing the need for spending money on the NM-HDVs.
    2) Even the 3725 doesn't support 12.4(20)T - a vital part of the CCIE Voice Lab. The CCNA and CCNP Voice labs have already surpassed that IOS, and are on to 15.x versions of IOS.
    3) Even if only studying for the the CCIE Voice, it is widely believed (based on historical trending evidence) that the CCIE Voice lab will announce an upgrade to the exam in either Dec 2011 or Jan 2012, that will go into effect (begin testing on the new version) around July 2012. This means that in the (albeit possibly unlikely) event that your studying goes on for more than 15 months (which is roughly speaking not too far off from the average studying time of somewhere between 12-18 months), before passing the CCIE Voice lab, you will most definitely need to upgrade your routers to a minimum of 15.1(2)T, but likely beyond that IOS rev. Now, while it is impossible to predict if you may need to go to an even higher IOS version --one that possibly, though I think very unlikely, goes beyond support of the ISR-- I believe you have a far greater chance of being prepared with hardware that already supports the newer 15.x IOS rev.
    4) While initial CAPEX cost is higher for an ISR, and while of course the newer ISR-G2s have already been out for some time, it is safe to assume that resale values for an ISR will most certainly be higher than those of a 36xx/37xx series device.
    To answer your question about CME versions: It matters a great deal. If you have an older IOS that only supports, say IOS 12.4(15)T (CME Version 4.1), you are missing out on a lot of features that the newer IOS 12.4(20)T (CME Version 7.0) supports - not to mention later IOS/CME versions used in the current CCNA/CCNP Voice exams (CME 8.0), as well as future potential CCIE Voice versions in 15 months or so (CME 8 or 9.0 likely by then) - and not being able to those CME versions can mean a lot of points left on the table during your exams.
    To answer your question about T1 vs E1: Here I will give you a break on cost. At an OSI Layer 1 - T1 and E1 are practically identical. They both use wires 1,2,4 & 5 from a TIA/EIA T568A or T568B structured cabling perspective, and can both use crossover cables to achieve a 'virtual' PSTN using another separate 28xx ISR router (or older - here for your PSTN router you could practically use a 3640/3725 router without much problem).
    From a L2/L3 CCS (Common Channel Signaling) perspective (e.g. T1 & E1 ISDN PRI), there isn't much difference at all. In fact, since the PRI L3 signaling of both is identical, the only difference lies in the PRI L2 signaling portion - namely that T1 uses has 23 B (Bearer) Channels, and uses Channel 24 for it D (Data) Channel, while an E1 has 30 B-Channels and 1 D-Channel, which it uses Channel 15 for (both non-canonically speaking, of course).
    The only practical differences, as it relates to studying, come when we examine the differences between the L2 usage of T1 vs E1 CAS (Channel Associated Signaling - a.k.a. Robbed Bit Signaling), and then the differences are quite vast. The good news is, while T1 CAS (e.g. E&M Signaling) & E1 CAS (e.g. R2 Signaling) can technically be tested, it is much more unlikely to occur, due to a number of other stated objectives in testing by the proctors.
    So my short answer is - if you only buy T1's for your home lab voice study, you should be fine. And if feel you need practice on E1's, rent a few sessions from GradedLabs to get that E1 practice time in.
    On the question of PVDMs vs PVDM2s (vs PVDM3s) SIMM DSP cards: You need PVDM2s or PVDM3s. PVDM2s are good enough for now.
    One other thing: About purchasing VWIC or VWIC2s: Here I will give you another break on CAPEX expenditures. While there are a number of onboard physical differences between the Gen1 and Gen2 versions of the VWIC cards, the configuration portion isn't too great that I think you'll notice too much difference. While the current CCIE Voice lab does use VWIC2s, and short of the ability to configure extended echo-cancellers, there is one other huge difference, but something that can simply be studied and remembered upon entering the lab exam, and it is namely this: Since the VWIC2s can be configured as either T1s or E1s (and the router can't read your mind as to which you might wish to configure them as, prior to you doing so), the 'controller' interface to the VWIC2 doesn't show up in running-config until you enter the global command of 'card-type' to define the card as whichever you want - T1 or E1. Other than that one simple command, which again I believe can simply be studied and remembered upon entering the lab exam, there isn't much other difference that might 'get' you come exam taking time.

    However, all of that can be expensive, not the least of which is this note: You need to have 7961 IP phones at a minimum. So with all that CAPEX expenditure in mind, why not just rent Voice Rack sessions from INE & GradedLabs? You don't need to buy anything (except rack tokens), you don't even need a VPN connection any longer (something we just announced 2 days ago), you don't need phones as we have them all attached to our racks with a free, web browser-based remote phone control client, and you can rent them for around $15 per 6 hour (5.5 hrs usable) session timeslot.

    Given that the average rack-study time to achieve the CCIE Voice (if that's what you are going for at the moment, if not but you do plan to at some point) is estimated at 650 hours, and our 4 daily 6-hour rack sessions contain 5.5 usable hours of rack (30 mins is reserved for inter-session rack reset and both physical & logical connectivity testing), if you purchased 120 sessions for a total of 660 hours of total rack time, and you purchased those rack session tokens in small quantities as you went along in your studies, you would only spend $1,800 USD. If you bought those all up front in bulk, you would only spend $1,440 USD.
    I'm not trying to sell you on purchasing our racks, only to say that cost-wise, they far outweigh the initial outlay of CAPEX by you for the hardware, it's already all setup for you, and you can access it from anywhere - no VPN needed. Not to mention there is no risk to you for later trying to have to resell the hardware.
    Also one last thing about that, is that when you purchase a bulk set of rack tokens ($1 per token with 15 needed for any one Voice Rack session), you can schedule rack time on our website and cancel at any time, and the tokens used from the cancelled session simply go back into your account's 'token bank' - and there is no need to fuss with a credit card charge and credit every time you book and then cancel.

    Anyway, renting may not be right for you for any number of reasons and I certainly can respect and appreciate that - just trying to give you some cost effective alternatives.
    Anyway you decide to go, I hope that I've given you some useful information.
    Last edited by shodown; 04-01-2011 at 05:27 PM.
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  3. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #2
    Great info there.

    I like how he touches on the difference between the VWIC and selectable VWIC2. The first VWIC2-2MFT-T1/E1 that I had to configure I almost sent it back to Cisco because the controller was not showing up in the config for the very reason that he mentions!

    I'm hoping that the IE changes don't go into effect until at least mid-year 2012. That'll give me enough time to finish up the CCNP and get back on the voice horse.
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  4. Senior Member Kelkin's Avatar
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    #3
    Pitviper sounds like me and you are on the same track How close are you with NP?
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    #4
    Pit has his NP =) right?

    But Ditto.. Cisco dont F with me again please.. Change it mid 2012 please.. cuz i plan to be CCIE-V Q1 2012 ..

    but on the other hand.. most of us have 2811+ in our network.. all it takes is a mem/flash upgrade and and ios download to support it. + add in a vwic2 if needed down the line just to test.

    I can tell you one thing right now.. ios 15.1(3) or whatever it is has some weird SIP bugs.. i mean really weird. w/ my provider whom is Callcentric and is a fairly large sip provider. bottom line. It doesn't work properly. interesting enough.. 12.4x works like a charm.
    Last edited by tokhss; 04-01-2011 at 05:36 PM.
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  6. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelkin View Post
    Pitviper sounds like me and you are on the same track How close are you with NP?
    I'm going to try my hand with the SWITCH exam next week (1st NP test). Read the SWITCH and ROUTE foundation guides late 2010 but then life stepped in and I had a little lapse in concentration! Been plugging away again the last few months though.

    How about you?
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  7. Senior Member Kelkin's Avatar
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    #6
    Finished the Switch Exam Guide and almost done with Switch Foundation guide.. Going to spend a week on working labs and hit the exam after that.
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  8. Senior Member geek4god's Avatar
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    #7
    His focus seems to be the CCIE and I wonder how much of this trickles down..

    I have noticed a lot of the lab stickies have been older on much of the Cisco forums and the gear in them is substantial less then when they were done. So I figured some changes where going to happen at some point..
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by geek4god View Post
    His focus seems to be the CCIE and I wonder how much of this trickles down..

    I have noticed a lot of the lab stickies have been older on much of the Cisco forums and the gear in them is substantial less then when they were done. So I figured some changes where going to happen at some point..

    Yes the Focus was the CCIE, but he points out that the CCNP voice are using a new line of code which


    "The CCNA and CCNP Voice labs have already surpassed that IOS, and are on to 15.x versions of IOS"



    I wanted to make this info away since I see a lot of 3725 talk on the boards. Does this mean you can't get a 3725? Of course not, but if you do know the limitations of it and know what work arounds you will need.
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  10. Senior Member geek4god's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by shodown View Post
    Yes the Focus was the CCIE, but he points out that the CCNP voice are using a new line of code which


    "The CCNA and CCNP Voice labs have already surpassed that IOS, and are on to 15.x versions of IOS"



    I wanted to make this info away since I see a lot of 3725 talk on the boards. Does this mean you can't get a 3725? Of course not, but if you do know the limitations of it and know what work arounds you will need.
    I need to co double check the IOS mine will run now lol
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  11. Senior Member geek4god's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by shodown View Post

    "The CCNA and CCNP Voice labs have already surpassed that IOS, and are on to 15.x versions of IOS"
    Okay, so both of mine top out at (1760 & 2620xm)12.4.15T.

    If CCNA is really on 15.x I would assume that some people out there are having some issues as 12.4.15T is the best a lot of people on these boards can run.. Anyone seeing this and if so at what point are they seeing it?
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    #11
    I would think that the IOS revisions are not MAJOR command line changes.. look at 12.4 to 15x its not all that different.

    if you have gn3 then load up a router capable of running 15 and familiarize yourself with the differences.

    but really tho.. like shodown said, not having 15x isnt going to stop you from studying nor will it stop you from passing certifications. just remember the command change, which is normally just a few lines on whatever your trying to do anyways or upgrade / gns it =)
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  13. Cantankerous Old Fart hermeszdata's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by geek4god View Post
    Okay, so both of mine top out at (1760 & 2620xm)12.4.15T.

    If CCNA is really on 15.x I would assume that some people out there are having some issues as 12.4.15T is the best a lot of people on these boards can run.. Anyone seeing this and if so at what point are they seeing it?
    I think one of the problems many of us have regarding IOS availability is our lack of a Partner Relationship or service contract on our eBay scarffed equipment. This makes it really tough to work with the latest IOSs. I have 15.1(3) for my 2811 and 2821 but no other platforms. {12.4(15T)11} for the 1760s and 2600XMs along with a few 12.4(25a/b) versions for the 2600s.

    Although I appreciate the availability of Rack Rentals, I am a touchy-feely type and prefer to have my hands on the equipment when studying. Just no substitute for hearing the fans scream as they power up! I need to get rid of some of my spare 2600/2600XMs and 2950s (enough for 2 labs w/ 4 routers and 3 switches each). Maybe selling those and IF a couple of the IT Support Contract proposals I just submitted go through, I might be able to look into sniping a few bids on evilBay for some newer models/IOS!
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  14. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by geek4god View Post
    Okay, so both of mine top out at (1760 & 2620xm)12.4.15T.

    If CCNA is really on 15.x I would assume that some people out there are having some issues as 12.4.15T is the best a lot of people on these boards can run.. Anyone seeing this and if so at what point are they seeing it?
    For the CCIE Voice you’re going to want to learn on the EXACT IOS version in use in the actual lab. Everything is fair game, including the latest and greatest CME features.

    For the CCNP Voice you’re going to be expected to know the basics. You’re not going to see any ground breaking enhancements between 12.4 and 15.0 at this level. The biggest differences will be additional CME features (which are added constantly) but again the tests will focus on the foundational items.

    Heck, I can't even keep up with all of the added CME bells and whistles between versions! Someone will ask if we can make their phones cook hot dogs for them automatically on Saturday at 4:45am and we’ll say (in a very non-committal tone) "maybe"… and then look it up.
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  15. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelkin View Post
    Finished the Switch Exam Guide and almost done with Switch Foundation guide.. Going to spend a week on working labs and hit the exam after that.
    Yup, we're pretty much on the exact same path
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by hermeszdata View Post
    I think one of the problems many of us have regarding IOS availability is our lack of a Partner Relationship or service contract on our eBay scarffed equipment. This makes it really tough to work with the latest IOSs. I have 15.1(3) for my 2811 and 2821 but no other platforms. {12.4(15T)11} for the 1760s and 2600XMs along with a few 12.4(25a/b) versions for the 2600s.

    Although I appreciate the availability of Rack Rentals, I am a touchy-feely type and prefer to have my hands on the equipment when studying. Just no substitute for hearing the fans scream as they power up! I need to get rid of some of my spare 2600/2600XMs and 2950s (enough for 2 labs w/ 4 routers and 3 switches each). Maybe selling those and IF a couple of the IT Support Contract proposals I just submitted go through, I might be able to look into sniping a few bids on evilBay for some newer models/IOS!

    Once you get the hang of it rack rentals are no problem. I have my own IE R&S rack, but for Voice I'm sticking with online racks due to the high cost of everything that you need. The best part is now that you can do the entire thing without even having harddware IP phones. I haven't tried that option yet, but I have used the racks with an ASA, and IP phones borrowed from work. You don't notice the difference. Even in the real world I've only had one job where I actually configured gear right out the box and rack/stack it. At the current job Jr Engineers take care of that task for us.
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  17. Cantankerous Old Fart hermeszdata's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by shodown View Post
    Once you get the hang of it rack rentals are no problem. I have my own IE R&S rack, but for Voice I'm sticking with online racks due to the high cost of everything that you need. The best part is now that you can do the entire thing without even having harddware IP phones. I haven't tried that option yet, but I have used the racks with an ASA, and IP phones borrowed from work. You don't notice the difference. Even in the real world I've only had one job where I actually configured gear right out the box and rack/stack it. At the current job Jr Engineers take care of that task for us.
    Understood. Fortunately, I use 7940s and 7960s in my home office anyway (including an under-used 7914 sidecar) so that aspect does not bother me. As an independant contractor (mainly for national companies providing 3rd party support), most of what I do is rack/stack with a few config jobs thrown in once in a while. I am trying to expand my local customer base and therefore will be doing everything, at least for the time being. Being an independant for 12 years, I'm not sure I want to shift to punching a clock again. How much demand is there for CCIEs as independant contractors?

    Regardless of the answer to that question I plan to persue the CCIE Cert. Knowledge is Knowledge. It is also POWER! Long Live POWER!
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    #17
    Clocking in a BEETCH.. but the right job will allow remote support from home and a stable beefy income also, working for a provider really exposes you to how complex and weird a global design really is.

    get that CCIE-V cuz its priceless imo and goodluck! =)
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by hermeszdata View Post
    Understood. Fortunately, I use 7940s and 7960s in my home office anyway (including an under-used 7914 sidecar) so that aspect does not bother me. As an independant contractor (mainly for national companies providing 3rd party support), most of what I do is rack/stack with a few config jobs thrown in once in a while. I am trying to expand my local customer base and therefore will be doing everything, at least for the time being. Being an independant for 12 years, I'm not sure I want to shift to punching a clock again. How much demand is there for CCIEs as independant contractors?

    Regardless of the answer to that question I plan to persue the CCIE Cert. Knowledge is Knowledge. It is also POWER! Long Live POWER!
    For independent CCIE's the money is there. It would prove best to be close to a large market city or be able to travel to one. If you have experience setting up VOICE you should be fine. Also UCCX/UCCE is always in demand for people who want to build out call centers. Integrating M$ Lync with CUCM will also become huge as I think its better than the current version of presence. Its all a matter of your skill set and your ambition to learn new things.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by tokhss View Post
    Clocking in a BEETCH.. but the right job will allow remote support from home and a stable beefy income also, working for a provider really exposes you to how complex and weird a global design really is.

    get that CCIE-V cuz its priceless imo and goodluck! =)

    I'm one of those guys, I will be working 100 percent from home in a few weeks due to my Wife getting a job in a different city. For my small design duties the Jr guys will be plugging it all in for me and I will just be doing my configs remotely. For ASA's UC5XX, and route/switch that will be pretty easy. I'm not to sure how I will do the CUCM yet. More than likely I will come in 1once every 2 weeks and get that done ahead of time.
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    #20
    CUCM stuff will require office presence from what I have noticed =) but thats just our policy. I dont see why you cant remotely config it as long as you got someone to do the initial basic startup configs.. and honestly, that all can be written up in a doc with some small changes per site/ deployment.

    remote work can be great =) enjoy it!
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  22. Cantankerous Old Fart hermeszdata's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by tokhss View Post
    Clocking in a BEETCH.. but the right job will allow remote support from home and a stable beefy income also, working for a provider really exposes you to how complex and weird a global design really is.

    get that CCIE-V cuz its priceless imo and goodluck! =)
    I'm in the Denver Metro area. Not hugh but not small either. Most of the past 12 years In did the Road warrier routine, coast ot coast and border to border. Spent more time in hotels than my own bed!

    Recent events have put me in contact with some high ups in Qwest resulting in their requesting that I participate in their Partner Program.

    A site I had on Monday/Tuesday had connectivity issues once I brought them on-line with Qwest (long story another topic). Qwest support determined the problem was the CPE. The only thing that changes was the block of IPs and therefore the static IP assigned to the customer's Netgate 8100. The Qwest account rep called me Tuesday 8AM (Didn't get to bed until 4:30AM due to working on the company's sister site) to advise me of their findings. After a few minutes, CAR brought conferenced in a Senior Engineer and I explained the troubleshooting steps I went through, Ping and Tracert with both URLs and IP addys. Some sites worked some not. The initial problem pointed to a local DNS issue. tracert said otherwise. timeouts began happening at the 4th or 5th router in their Core. Obviously, if packets exit the CPE and the ISP router and pass through one or more additional routers, the problem is not a Local Issue. When I ran through that info and made that last statment about packets dropping where they did, he immediately gave me a direct number to level 3 commenting that a lowly CCNA/CCNA:Voice seemed to know more about routing then their L1 and L2 support. That's when he asked if I would be interested in Partnering with Qwest in the Denver area.

    For those not familiar with the Partner aspect, basically as explained to me, it appears to work much like Cisco. IF a Quest customer does not have current IT support, Qwest will make referrals. If Qwest has an individual or company that is on Their Partner List they will make that specific referral. they also have a 2nd list of IT Service Providers who are not registered Partners that they use if no RP is available. In that case the pick 3 from that list and let the customer choose!

    One never knows what impact they may have on those they deal with remotely or the potential doors of opportunity that may open as a result. I had not even remotely considered the Partnering prospect. Truthfully, I didn't even know they had that program and I have done a number of turn-ups with them as a sub to another company since relocation from Virginia 2 years ago!

    HooRah!
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    #22
    Most of my work is support anyway so its not a big deal for me. I only do around 20-25 percent design. So I just need to be able to get in and out of other peoples networks. But I was looking for a way to not make a 2 hour drive in the office for 15 min of work.
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    #23
    Hermesz.. thats great man! clearly working on the the end has benefited you but long term, whats your goal ?you have been doing this for 12 years now, whats next?
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  25. Cantankerous Old Fart hermeszdata's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by tokhss View Post
    Hermesz.. thats great man! clearly working on the the end has benefited you but long term, whats your goal ?you have been doing this for 12 years now, whats next?
    What Next???
    Welllllll! I turn 56 in July so as you may imagine I've road in more than a few rodeos! I'm at the point in my life where I need to find a way to produce a consistent income where the physical demands are less for 2 reasons.
    1. It's getting old pulling bundles of Cat5e, lifting heavy Point of Sale registers, heavy rack mount servers and UPS units.
    2. More importantly, I've been unable to do any of the above since 4 December 2009 as a result of a work related Auto Accident. (See Photo Below)
    o An un-insured motorist turned left in front of me and I hit him @ 45MPH resulting in neck, back and head injuries which still cause memory/communication issues.
    o It took my insurance company 6 months to approve a valid claim and I am still fighting their denials of treatment.
    o 90% of the contracts I had prior to the accident are gone because of the amount of work offers I had to turn down.
    Taken after my release from the Emergency Room ~ 6hours after the accident. Could have been much worse! $9K in damage to vehicle!

    I am not looking for, nor do I want sympathy from anyone. I posted the above to help answer the "what's next?" question. All I have been hearing from the doctors for the past 9 months is "you can't ...", "You won't be able to ...", and "you will just have to accept this reality." My response is to raise my hand, showing them the back of with my fingers extended and tell them "Read between the lines!"

    The work I have been able to do involves lifting 20# or less (the current medical restrictions); router, switch, firewall installs, ISP cutovers, etc. I've averaged less than one of those a month since the accident (10 total in 17 months).

    So, to answer the "what's next" question, I will keep taking advantage of my down time (I am receiving Temp Disability for the time being) to study for the CCNP/CCNP:Voice exams, take whatever work I can within my current restrictions and hope that some of that work will generate referrals for similar work (gaining the necessary "Who you Know" contacts as a result of "What I Know!"). I started independent contracting in June 1999 while living in Virginia. I re-located to Denver in February 2009 due to the economy and on the recommendation of one of the companies I had been contracting with since 2003. Financially, although initially tough, this was a good decision because almost immediately I saw an over 400% increase in work across the board and that figure increased monthly (even past the date of my accident). A rough estimate of income lost as a result of the accident is in the $200K range (and yes, I do document this). It originally to me a little over 4 years (1999 - 2003) to get to the point where I could actually put money in the bank (beyond living/business expenses) while living in an area (back in the sticks) where I averaged driving 60+ miles one way to get to a job site. The 2007/2008 economic crash effected me just as everyone else, and I found myself having to drive twice as far, receiving 25% less in compensation in order to maintain the same level of gross revenue. It actually got to the point where I would have been better off "flipping Hamburgers" @ a local McDonalds because when totaling driving time and my time on site, subtracting gas, business insurance, and material expenses I was making less than $5.00/hr. Thus the re-locate.
    Hopefully now, with the certs that I currently have (and hope to get in the near future), I'll be able to re-build my business, albeit in a slightly different direction, with a much stronger economic base. The bottom line is this, as one may readily see below my screen name, I am a "Cantankerous Old Fart". "Can't" is not in my vocabulary!
    Sorry this took so long!
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  26. Senior Member
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    Jul 2003
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    #25
    Damn Inspirational !
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