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April 19, 2010

Cisco CCNA Voice Certification Guide


Thus far, I’ve written 2 certification guides based on the associate level exams from Cisco:

Today, I’ll be continuing with another one of the CCNA concentrations: CCNA Voice. I will follow the same format as in my previous articles, where I provide you with a brief overview of what the exam entails and what materials can be used to help you prepare and pass your exam.

Voice technology is also another field that has gained quite a lot of interest over the past couple of years and will continue to do so for some time to come. The Cisco CCNA Voice certification is geared towards candidates wanting to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in this field.

With a CCNA Voice cert added to your resume, you’re validating to employers that you have the necessary skills required to deploy and maintain a Cisco Voice infrastructure. Some of the technologies covered on the certification are Voicemail solutions, IP PBX, IP Telephony and call control.

Does CCNA Voice Have 2 Certification Options Like the Foundation CCNA?

CCNA Voice Certification OptionsThe quick answer is yes.

Just like the CCNA, the CCNA Voice also has two options available to candidates:

• CCNA Voice Enterprise

The CCNA Voice Enterprise option is suited for professionals that will be working in large Voice environments. Candidates are required to be knowledgeable in how the Cisco Unified Communication Manager 6.0 (CUCM) works.

The advantage of taking this option is that, if you do later decide to go for your Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP), you would have already completed one of the required 5 exams. Whereas, if you decide to take the commercial option outlined below, you’ll still have to complete all 5 exams.

The required exam for the enterprise option is 642-436.

• CCNA Voice Commercial

The CCNA Voice Commercial option focuses more on the technologies used by smaller to medium-sized organizations consisting of less than 2,000 employees. The Cisco Call Manager Express (CME) and the Cisco Unity Express (CUE) are the area’s most focused on.

The required exam for the commercial option is 640-460.

CCNA Voice

CCNA Voice Exam Objectives

As mentioned above, there are two exam options available to candidates, each with a different exam.

Let’s first take a look at the topics covered in the Enterprise (exam 642-436) option. The CVoice exam consists of approximately 60-70 questions that must be completed in 75 minutes. As a prerequisite for the CCNA Voice track, candidates are required to have a valid CCNA Certification (aka Not Expired).

Exam Objectives for CVoice – Enterprise (Exam 642-436)

These are just some of the objectives for this exam; for the complete list of topics, see Cisco’s Learning Network.

Describe the components of a gateway

  • Describe the function of gateways
  • Describe DSP functionality
  • Describe the different types of voice ports and their usage

Describe a dial plan

  • Describe a numbering plan
  • Describe digit manipulation
  • Describe path selection

Describe the basic operation and components involved in a VoIP call

  • Describe VoIP call flow
  • Describe RTP, RTCP, cRTP, and sRTP
  • Describe H.323

Implement a gateway

  • Describe the gateway call routing process
  • Configure analog voice ports
  • Configure digital voice ports
  • Describe considerations for PBX integration

Describe the function and interoperation of gatekeepers within an IP Communications network

  • Describe the function and types of gatekeepers
  • Describe the interoperation of devices with a gatekeeper
  • Describe gatekeeper signaling

Implement a gatekeeper

  • Configure devices to register with a gatekeeper
  • Configure gatekeeper to provide dial-plan resolution
  • Configure gatekeeper to provide call admission control

Implement an IP-to-IP gateway

  • Describe the IP-to-IP gateway features and functionality
  • Configure gatekeeper to support an IP-to-IP gateway
  • Configure IP-to-IP gateway to provide address hiding

Exam Objectives for CCNA Voice – Commercial (Exam 640-460)

Now, let’s look at some of the topics covered in the Commercial option (exam 640-460). The commercial option has approximately 60-70 questions with an allotted time of 90 minutes.

Describe the components of the Cisco Unified Communications Architecture

  • Describe the function of the infrastructure in a UC environment
  • Describe the function of endpoints in a UC environment
  • Describe the function of the call processing agent in a UC environment

Describe PSTN components and technologies

  • Describe the services provided by the PSTN
  • Describe time division and statistical multiplexing
  • Describe supervisory, informational, and address signalling

Describe VoIP components and technologies

  • Describe the process of voice packetization
  • Describe RTP and RTCP
  • Describe the function of and differences between codecs
  • Describe H.323, MGCP, SIP, and SCCP signalling protocols

Describe and configure gateways, voice ports, and dial peers to connect to the PSTN and service provider networks

  • Describe the function and application of a dial plan
  • Describe the function and application of voice Gateways
  • Describe the function and application of voice ports in a Gateway

Describe and configure a Cisco network to support VoIP

  • Describe the purpose of VLANs in a VoIP environment
  • Describe the environmental considerations to support VoIP
  • Configure switched infrastructure to support voice and data VLANs

Implement UC500 using Cisco Configuration Assistant

  • Describe the function and operation of Cisco Configuration Assistant
  • Configure UC500 device parameters
  • Configure UC500 network parameters

Implement Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express to support endpoints using CLI

  • Describe the appropriate software components needed to support endpoints
  • Describe the requirements and correct settings for DHCP, NTP, and TFTP
  • Configure DHCP, NTP and TFTP

Implement voicemail features using Cisco Unity Express

  • Describe the Cisco Unity Express hardware platforms
  • Configure the foundational elements required for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express to support Cisco Unity Express
  • Describe the features available in Cisco Unity Express

Perform basic maintenance and operations tasks to support the VoIP solution

  • Describe basic troubleshooting methods for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express
  • Explain basic troubleshooting methods for Cisco Unity Express
  • Explain basic maintenance and troubleshooting methods for UC500

CCNA Voice Training Options

As usual, the first place to look for training is the Cisco Press store. At least, this is where I usually start. From here you’ll find the 2 recommended books for both the Commercial and Enterprise options.

CCNA Voice Exam PrepCCNA Voice Official Exam Certification Guide (640-460 IIUC) covers all the topics required for the commercial option.

Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE) Authorized Self-Study Guide, 3rd Edition covers everything you need to know for the enterprise option.

There is also the Quick Reference Guides available for both books. Remember that these guides can be used in the review stages of your studies, basically the final stages just before you take the exam.

If you’ve read my past articles on Packet Tracer, you would have seen that this could be used for your CCNA and CCNA Security preparations. However, this is not the case for the CCNA Voice concentration. Your options for lab exercises are going to be Dynamips or Rack Rentals.

As is customary, I always recommend Transcender’s practice exams to use as practice before you sit the actual exam. The questions are usually to a slightly higher degree of difficulty than the real exam which is a good strategy to use. This way, when you sit the real exam, everything seems a lot easier. Of course, with proper preparation, all the questions will be manageable regardless of whether or not you use the Transcender engine.

CCNA Voice Track

If you’ve recently completed your CCNA and are currently looking to go further into the networking field, then you may want to consider taking the Voice path. A lot of jobs today require engineers to have some knowledge of voice technology and how to support it — the CCNA Voice track is an excellent cert to have.

Let us know your thoughts and if you have any other recommended training solutions. Good Luck!

About the Author

(CCNA, CCNP, CCNA Voice, MCSA, MCP, Net+, A+) is a technology enthusiast and a Systems Engineer with over 3 years of experience in the IT field. He spends most of his time playing video games, reading and researching the latest technological advancements as well as studying for his next IT certification. At the moment he is preparing for his MCTS on MOSS 2007 and MCITP Server Administrator. His long term goals include obtaining CCDA, CCDP and MCITP Enterprise Administrator certifications. Jason is very passionate about becoming one of the best IT Professionals amongst his peers and he dreams of one day being able to be a successful IT consultant.