Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CCIE Voice Lab v3

Cisco is going to change the CCIE Voice Lab in mid-July 2009. Major changes are:

1) Remove analog devices (such as VG248, ATA)
2) Remove CatOS (Catalyst 65xx)
3) Replace CCM with CUCM 7 (Linux Appliance)
4) Replace Unity with Unity Connection 7 (Linux Appliance)
5) Add CUPS 7 (Linux Appliance)
6) Add SIP phones

IPExpert (a training company) provides some practice labs. The topology would be like below:

Here are some tips if you're going to build your own lab.

PSTN-WAN simulator

As shown in the diagram above, we have a PSTN cloud and a Frame-Relay cloud. We can use a single router to simulate that. And this router could also be the terminal server.

I would choose a Cisco 2811 router with the following modules:

PVDM2-16 (or other PDVM resource).
HWIC-4T : 4-port Serial module for Frame-Relay simulation.
VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1 : 2-port T1/E1 module for PSTN simulation. You need at least three ports. So you may order two of these. Or to save some money, order one 2-port module and one 1-port module
HWIC-8A & CAB-OCTAL-ASYNC : 8-port async module for terminal service

Don't forget the female serial cable (CAB-SS-V35MT). You need at least three.

On HQ, BR1, and BR2 Gateways:

PVDM2-8 (or other PDVM2)

On BR1 and BR2 Gateways
HWIC-4ESW-POE : Ether net module to power up the IP phones.

On BR2 Gateway
NM-CUE : Unity Express Module


Any Cisco IOS switch that supports PoE.


I recommend using virtual machine(VM) for the lab:

1. If you don't use VM, you're going to need the expensive Cisco/HP/IBM server to install CUCM, UC, CUPS.
2. If you don't use VM, you're going to need license files for CUCM, UC, CUPS.
3. If you don't use VM, you're going to need 5 servers and a couple of workstations (to simulate soft phone and run CUPC/CAD)
4. With VM, you can easily clone VMs, which saves you lots of time.

I myself use VMWare. I have no experience on Microsoft Virtual PC (HyperV).

Here are some caveats you need to know about VMWare:

1) You may either use "VMWare Server" (a.k.a. GSX) or "VMWare Infrastructure") (a.k.a. ESX)
2) GSX is free while ESX is commercial license
3) VMs on GSX has issues with NTP. This is a known issue.
4) ESX does not support audio device. Your VM might need an audio device to launch soft phone (such as CIPC or IP Blue). Try google "virtual audio cable" and you should find a solution.

Following is my lab set up with four 2811 routers, one 3560 switch, one PC (8G RAM, 750G HDD):

When creating VM, make sure you choose RHEL 4(RedHat), 32-bit, one CPU. For CUCM 7, you need at least 1G RAM and 60G hard drive. For CUPS 7, you need 1296M RAM and 75G hard drive.


  1. Are you installed CUCM-PUB and CUCM-SUB on VMWareGSX base on Windows 2003 completed by no problem of ntp sync ?
    Follow link to see problem

  2. I installed CUCM-PUB and CUCM-SUB on VMware Workstation 6.0.4 base on windows XP encountered problem ntp sync error.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. Yes, GSX has a known issue on NTP. I updated the blog to reflect this.


  4. is the 3560 similar ios syntax as 3750??... so instead of the 3750...3560 is enough in the lab??.. i have a 3750 i can use... but the sfp modules need to be purchased... there is a small tweak/workaround... but if i can instead use the other 3560 i have.... it will be much easier for me... so u saying thats ok?? 3560 is enough for the job??

  5. IMHO, any IOS switch would be good. They just want you to be able to configure IOS switch to support voice and data (VLANs, QoS, etc.)


  6. Where can we get the softwares for the lab (no licenses)? Thanks-

  7. You may contact a Cisco sales engineer. He would be able to give you a copy.


  8. Michael,

    How to you installed UCCX7 on VMWare?

  9. I assume their going to have AD available for the CUPS integration piece? Any idea if they're doing 2008 or 2003?

  10. Not sure they have AD or not. If they do, it's probably AD 2003.


  11. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  12. Hi Michael,

    Great you've this posted.Feeling clear after study you topology setup.Btw, instead of using HWIC-1T, can using the WIC-1/2T? It might reduce the hardware cost,since WIC-1/2T is still supported by Cisco 2800 series? Any advice?


  13. Yes, you may use WIC-1T/2T. There's no difference as far as FrameRelay was concerned.

  14. Hi,

    I was wondering if someone has answers to these problems.

    Q1. I can’t get the uccx 7 installed on vmware server 2.

    I converted the UCCX 7 cd into a iso image using ULTRAISO software so that I can pick the iso image in vmware

    I selected windows 2003 but keeps getting the message that the boot file and operating system is missing in vmware

    " PXE-MOF-E53: No boot filename received - , PXE-MOF is exiting Intel PXE Rom. , Operating System not found "

    Q2. I downloaded Unity connection 7 from cco but it is in 2 parts. iso files part 1 and part 2. I can't combine the files ?


  15. UCCX is just an application. It's not a bootable CD. You need to install Cisco OS 2003 first.

    All files from CCO is NOT bootable. They can't be used for fresh install. To combine the file, please read the README on download page.

  16. Hi Michael,

    For the T1/E1 connections between every remote site,we just use the traditional RJ-48 crossover UTP will do in our simulation right?I assume the pinouts is same as those crossover cable, is that correct?


  17. Yes. We just use cross cables for T1/E1 connections.

  18. Michael,

    Any idea which IP phone endpoints will be used? 1st gen, 2nd gen, or 3rd Gen? I'm guessing 2nd and 3rd, but anything you might be able to pass along would be great ;)

    Thank you,

  19. question: would one 3750 POE switch would be enough for all three sites or no?? I am assuming the vlan config for voice and data would be identical? Can you please confirm that?

  20. Yes. Any IOS PoE switch would be fine.

  21. Thanks for the Reply Michael. One more question: are you running all 5 VM servers on one machine?? I am planning on buying a Quad core desktop with 8 Gbs of RAM. Would that be enough for the Lab??

  22. hey I'm also looking for the same VMWare information.

    How many boxes with what CPU/RAM/HDD would we need to install all the server components in the lab.


  23. Michael,

    Cool blog...hope to use this a good resource for my preparation..

    This is my idea of the lab v3


  24. I use ESXi (free) on an i7920 @4Ghz with 12Gb RAM. So far I have CUCM7.x, CUC7.x, CUPS7.x and UCCX5.0 all running without a problem (if someone could let me have an eval of 7.x that would be great!).

    I am going to use GNS3 for the network routers and IPBlue for the phones.


  25. holy crap. how much did that box cost you??

  26. Quite a lot but when (if) I get finished it will be used as one powerful desktop for photoshop processing :)

  27. I am thinking of buying an XPS Desktop from Dell. Hopefully that should be enough. Quad Core 8 GBs of RAM.

  28. I have a few comments and questions.
    First off, there is an 8-port 3560 POE switch that has the same IOS and capabilities as the 3750 switch - part # WS-3560-8PC-S. I plan to share this between 2 sites and use a 4-port built in PoE card for the other site.

    I just stopped by my local Microcenter Computer Store and it looks like I can get the I7 920 with 12 gigs of RAM for around $1200, maybe less. One question I had is:
    Is it wise to either RAID 2 hard drives, use a 2nd hard drive as a mirrored backup, OR it's only $40 for each 160GB hard drive (if that speed things up because each OS has its own hyperthread). Any thoughts would greatly be appreciated.

    One other way to save money could be to buy a 2600XM for one of the remote sites. A Cisco TAC guy told me that you can run CME 7.0 on there, but I haven't actually seen it done. Can anyone confirm?

    If you wanted to just have one site be T1 (versus T1 & E1), would this card work: VWIC-2MFT-T1 2-Port T1 Card. If so, are there any commands/syntax that differ on this card versus the VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1?
    Thanks. Russ -

  29. for the VMware can we use multiple PCs instead of one high end PC?

  30. Yes, you can use multiple PCs. As long as all the virtual machines are on the same network subnet, they can talk to each other.

  31. It's OK. I'm getting an error. When I put in the esxi 4 disc, the VMWare screen comes up, finds my processor / RAM. Then it says "failed to load lvmdriver". My friend who helped me build the server said that it have something to do with an incompatible NIC card. Any ideas? Thanks. Russ -

  32. folks' - I just started setting up for a v3 lab. From my understanding of linux, the way it generates memory pages beyond 768MB RAM changes. So far I am getting good results on all products with:
    768 MB RAM
    80 GB HDD (Split into 2GB files) {vmware thin provisions so don't panic}
    1 vCPU
    Choose Redhat 4 (32 bit)
    1 vNIC

    5 simultaneously guests in both vmWare Workstation (latest build ~ v6.5) & Fusion (latest build v2.0) Dell E520 3GB (XP32) & Black Macbook 4GB (leopard)

    All drives continuously defragmented.

    If you have a free server class box, check the hardware requirements and use ESXi.


  33. Just to add: If during the installation you keep crashing and dumping diagnostics, disconnect the cd-drive in vmware (ESXi / ESX / Workstation [fusion it does not seem to matter]). Probably the best time to reboot is when it asks to reboot.


  34. has anyone got the images for Unity Connection 7 and UCCX 7 or point me in the right directions

  35. What about IP phones? Will 7960s do or would we need 7961s??

  36. or atleast 7962's

  37. Actually 7961s will do just fine according to ipexpert.

  38. Thanks for such a wonderful post and encouragement.

    I have always wondered how to emulate the PSTN on E1/T1 cards?

    Would it mean we could only do T-1 CAS/E1 R2?

    No PRI possible on this setup?


  39. CISCO 3750 is a multi layer switch and many labs asks us to configure DHCP pools on the switch itself...are there any work arounds for it as I am using a 3524 which doesnt seem to support DHCP pools on it.

  40. Hello,
    I'm about to start my ccie voice lab prep. I got almost all the required hardware (90% completed)
    now my main problem is getting the PSTN and FRAME RELAY cloud setup. basically the physical connection.
    I learnt that it could be done with a 2811 router. but here is my question
    what type of cables do I need? (I have 4 vwic-1mft t1, 2vwic-1mft e1, 6 serial cards)
    I would really appreciate if you could help me strted


  41. For the FR, you need serial cables.

    Depending on the serial adapter on the router, there are two kind of cable - the traditional serial cable (big one with DB-15 connectors). Or the "Smart Serial" cable (blue cable with small adapters).

    For PSTN, you need E1/T1 cross cable (RJ45).

  42. Thank you very Michael. I'll try that this weekend.

  43. Nice blog MLuo,

    I'm in the process of finishing up my CCVP.
    Due to budget, I can't currently afford 2801 for now but hope to add them slowly in the months to come.

    I know the current V3 exam uses the PVDM2 for the E1/T1 interfaces.
    My question is, right now I have a bunch of 3640s and have access to my friends 1760s.
    I'm aware this is using an older PVDM but how much difference are the PVDM3 configs?

    Correct me if I'm wrong but once the T1/E1 cloud is configured & peering to the PSTN backbone, is it really THAT much difference?

    If you can be specific, that would be great so I know what I'm currently missing out on.
    That is, which commands & parts on the lab won't I be able to do?

  44. You'll need to configure E1/T1 on your side (user side) other than Telco side.

    You should be able to use PVDM instead of PVDM2 in the lab.

  45. Other than configurations, once I get it up, will I lose any functionality & commands that the new lab requires?

    Will I still be able to do all the redundancy commands? SRST? High Availability? etc?

  46. Hi everyone

    I finally got my Voice lab setup, but unfortunately, I just realize that the IOS that I have on routers is not the right one.
    I have c2800-spservicesk9-mz.124-22.t.bin on the 2800 routers and
    c3825-spservicesk9-mz.124-22.t.bin on 3800 router
    thus, some commands such as gatekeeper and many others are just not working because it not a voice IOS.

    I cannot download the right IOS from CIsco website as I do not have enough privilege.
    Can someone help me with the right IOS?

    Thank you

  47. I'm not sure of the exact IOS u are looking for but u can easily find ios from google =)

  48. I spent a lot of time on Google searching the right IOS and so far, I haven't found one yet.

    The ideal IOS would be
    but anything ...124-x.T.bin (where x is greater than 9) will be good to start.

    I was able to find

  49. Hello,

    Is it possible to set up a lab for CCIE VOICE V3
    using Cisco 2600XM , NM-DHV , VWIC-1MTF-T1/E1 .

    For The PSTN cloud I intend to use Asterisk with ISDN PRI/E1/T1 intefaces.

    Thanks !

  50. Hello,

    Can someone help me with BR1 router sample basic configs.
    For some reasons,none of my BR1 phones connected via HWIC-4esw can register with CUCM. they can't even get IP address from DHCP server (BR1 router).
    "show IP dhcp binding" indicates that 2 IP addresses have been issued but the phones continuously show "configuring IP"
    I can ping BR1 voice vlan from any router or PC of network.


  51. Very helpful blog!

    I am a newbie in VMware. I am trying to install ESXi 4.0 on my i7-920 HP PC loaded with 9GB Mem, 700+ GB SATA disk and windows 7 OS. I installed ESXi 4.0 in a USB pen drive. It is not booting up with ESX 4.0 and in BIOS there is not even a USB drive boot up option.

    It seems you guys are using some sort of VMWare to install UC. My objective to build a UC lab as well. I would appreciated if you can shed some light on installing VMWare ESXi on a desktop PC.

    thanks/ rakib at

  52. Does anyone have the uccx 7 software. I have been searching for it all to no avail. Thank you in advance

  53. Hey...thanks for the info.. i have an issue while installing CUPS 7.0 on esxi 5.0. It fails everytime. Is it a supported platform for CUPS7?

  54. I read the about the information elsewhere too. But you have explained it in nice way. A good read literally. Thank you.
    Cisco Training

  55. anyone can share on how to configure the PSTN cloud?