In this blog post I gathered everything I did to pass the Cisco CIPTV1 exam.
Build a Home Lab
It is hard to pass the CIPTV1 exam without a home lab. You need to break things and observe how components behave. And you can not risk your job by doing this on your company’s network, LOL.
Throughout my blog you will see many home lab setups. It took me weeks and months to perfect my home lab settings, since I did not have any user guide. Besides, I found almost no blogs describing how to build a virtual home CCNP Collaboration lab on a tight budget.
I struggled a couple of weeks before I came across a great post about installing CUCM on a VMware workstation. I needed this for CIPT1 labs.Strangely, the website has been taken down due to a hacking attempt.
Well, everything seemed to work fine until the NTP configuration step. Here, I’ve discovered that , when configuring NTP server, make sure your guest machine can connect to the internet and check the public NTP server.
So if you have a computer firewall, disable it.
You can find a list of public NTP servers here
Participate in Forums
Subscribing to forums and asking questions is a good complement to your studies. A be sure not to stay passive and scroll through the pages: make an effort to be the first to reply to questions from other members too!
Download The CIPTV1 Exam Syllabus
The exam blueprint should guide your study plan content. All exam questions will be derived from this document.
Buy The Official Cisco Study Guides
I am always a supporter of Cisco study guides because they are the closest to the Cisco exam contents. However, be prepared: this is the only Cisco Press book for the CIPTV1 exam you will find!
In my situation (around first semester 2016), CIPTV1 Foundation Learning Guide was not even published!
That’s why I supplemented my basic reading list with Cisco Press books from the previous CCNP Voice track, namely CCNP CIPT1 and CCNP CVOICE:
I have one suggestion to do here: read the Cisco Press errata first, and correct the mistakes as soon as possible, especially when it comes to review questions. I fell in the trap of confusion, when I was studying for CCNA, because I didn’t read the Errata LOL.
Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Part1 Foundation Learning Guide
It is recommended that you have Cisco CCNA Voice experience level or certification. This book is written by Josh Finke and Dennis J. Hartmann (who happened to have given me a training in Global Knowledge!). It’s 496 pages long and covers the syllabus for the Cisco CIPT1 exam, which is part of the CCNP Voice certification.
What I liked in the book:
- The book contains a lot of the topics that are covered by the exam. The chapters are organized in a logical fashion. The book starts with an overview of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager architecture and deployment models. I liked that because I always want to see the big picture before going into details. Then, you learn about the required switching infrastructure for VoIP to work. As you progress in your reading, you are introduced to call restrictions and call control features. And you finish with advanced concepts such as digit manipulation and media resources.
- There are good illustrated examples that you can apply on a home lab. And I think this point compensates the typos scattered here and there :)
What I did not like
The are typos, and sometimes ridiculous ones. Take a look at these screenshots:
You should read the Foundations Guide at least twice if you really think about a career in Unified Communications. During the first reading pass, get the basics and see how the chapters relate to each other. In the subsequent passes, take your time to understand the illustrations and, if possible, practice them on a home lab.
This Foundation Learning Guide helped me to focus on the core topics of the CIPT1 exam and not get lost in the Cisco official documentation.
Enroll in A CIPTV1 Training
Negotiate with your employer to pay the cost of a CIPTV1 training for you. Since I am responsible in my company to write the scope of work of our network integration partners, I made sure to include training whenever the project involves Cisco Collaboration products.
I landed in France on February 27, 2011 to attend the former CIPT1 training in Paris, Rueil Malmaison. The whole travel process was rough.
After landing from the plane, clearing custom checks and security inspections, I took the OrlyVal, metro, RER and train, all successively. It took me more than 4 hours to travel from the airport to the hotel, what the fuck! I had difficulties passing through electric gateways in the stations, because all the offices were closed! I thank God and thank those people who helped during my travel.
Choose an accomodation that is logically well connected to your training center. Don’t fall in the trap of choosing the cheapest or the most “in” hotel. You are there to be in a sustained state of calmness of mind and concentration. You are not a tourist (yet).
At the end of each course day, take care of your human needs (food, rest, short sleep) then get back to studies. Review what you’ve learned during that day. Something that frequently happens with 5-day Cisco courses (I noticed that) is that the instructor flies through important topics in order to make through to the lab section. Don’t rely on your “intelligence” to guess things. Do your homework and study alone at the hotel room. It is also a great occasion to build a list of questions, which you can shoot at your instructor the following day.
So for example, I booked a room in a hotel that is 20 mns away from the training center, on feet! And I also had the option of taking the bus, stop at La Défense and take the RER heading towards Rueil Malmaison.
The last day of the training, or the day after it, get disconnected from tech and go enjoy some tourist time. I wandered like a dumm tourist anywhere I could to “feel” Paris a bit.
After the training I was not courageous enough to study more and pass the exam. So, Cisco changed the exam code to CIPTV1, and now with whole new video topics and hardware to consider.
I needed exposure to the new topics. I needed access to this new hardware (such as Cisco 9951), which in my current previous job was only accessible to C-level directors, not us the techies.
So I managed to enroll in Cisco CIPTV1 training in France in April 11, 2016. From the first sight I saw a couple of 9951 and 7961 phones and servers like CUCM, TelePresence Server and TelePresence Conductor! All other servers were hosted elsewhere and we had remote access to them.
The lab gear I had access to is:
- one Cisco 7961 phone (Type A SCCP phone)
- two Cisco 9951 (modern SIP phones)
- two routers:
- Cisco 2911 HQ router, equipped with one E1 card, for PSTN connectivity
- Cisco 2911 router equipped with one E1 card, to emulate the PSTN.
And I was lucky this time to have a small learning group: the instructor, one other guy, and me. Better I could not find LOL.
The lab sessions were chunked in a way that allows to understand one key concept at a time. But:
- The lab sessions focused less on Toll Bypass techniques.
- There are a couple of errors towards the last lab sessions.
We had only two participants, including myself, which is awesome. I had the opportunity to ask as many questions I wanted. And we were able to finish the curriculum and focus on the labs.
Here are some of the topics I’ve practiced in the labs:
- Checking correct settings on phones
- Eliminating DNS Reliance in CUCM
- Configuring Feature Services and Network Services on a CUCM cluster
- Configuring LDAP synchronization
- Configuring LDAP authentication
- Configuring phones on CUCM
- Associating directory numbers to phones
- Configuring shared lines
- Configuring line appearance
I had both the CIPT1 Student Guide (which I received during the official Cisco training in France) and the Foundations Guide. I found that the Foundations Guides gave more details and explanations than the Student Guide.
Throughout the pages, and after reading some official Cisco technical documentation, I’ve found that the Student Guide contained some mistakes.For example, let’s take Call Survivability.
In the Student Guide, it says that call survivability is maintaining the RTP stream between two IP endpoints when the CUCM fails. However, the foundation Guide and I agree that call survivability involves TDM-to-IP-calls too.
Another exemple: does MGCP support call survivability? the Student Guide says no. Maybe it was supported in a later release, you’ll probably say. Read the following line:
“Media Gateway Control Protocol has supported call survivability (call preservation) since it was introduced on the gateway routers, but H.323 gateways did not support this feature until Cisco IOS 12.4(9T)” , Dennis Hartmann, from Network World magazine..
Here’s what the Foundations Guide says:
So I focused my efforts on the Foundations Guide and dumped the CIPT1 Student Guide I got from the training course.
Write Blog Posts
Throughout my studies for the CIPTV1 exam I documented my notes in posts, which helped me evaluate my assimilation level.
Find my CIPTV1 exam study notes under the category CCNP Collaboration.
Complement With Cisco Online Documentation
When I decided to go the CIPTV1 exam route, I saw some gaps between what the blueprint contained, and what the study guides describe. To fill in the gap, I read the following documents, either completely or selectively. I decided in advance that I am accepting reading from the screen. Why? because as a network engineer that climbed the ladder from the bottom, I did not have the luxury to print all the online documents.
Why did I not continue with CIPTV2?
If you study and pass the CIPTV1 exam, then the logical next step is to study for the CIPTV2. Here, I briefly expose the CIPTV2 exam: Implementing Cisco IP Telephony and Video part 2. The Foundation Learning Guide is officially published but not yet released by Ciscopress on March 24th 2016. As of March 19th, the book is also still not provided by Amazon.
Why did Cisco release a CIPTV2 book before CIPTV1? I think Cisco aims to migrate the existing CCNP Voice professionals to CCNP Collaboration.