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Cisco Certified Voice Professional lab updates mimic live networks

Cisco unveiled details of its CCVP certification refresh, which updates training courses and tests to fall in line with the latest Unified Communications Manager platform.

Cisco Systems has unveiled details of its Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) certification refresh, which updates Cisco's CCVP training courses and tests to fall in line with the latest Unified Communications Manager platform, as well as focusing on more real-world usage in the lab.

This focus on making both the CCVP training and testing resemble live networks is part of a larger shift by Cisco to make its programs focus on the needs of professionals rather than training to the device, said Mary Ng, unified communications portfolio manager for Learning@Cisco.

"It's very typical in our vendor-based industry to do product training," she said. "[Cisco's certification program] is now focused on the needs of the students in their natural working environment."

That means moving from training for the unique commands and tools that Cisco Unified Communications Manager offers to demonstrating how the platforms operate in a live network, with more role-based implementations and real-world monitoring exercises.

"People will learn a lot more efficiently and transfer what they learn as it relates to their job," said Christine Yoshida, portfolio marketing manager for Learning@Cisco.

Ng added that Cisco was working hard to keep its training and certification relevant by considering the entire lifecycle of a deployment instead of just the installation and initial management.

Of particular importance in this update was mobile VoIP, an emerging technology that many networks still struggle to provide, but one likely to become more commonplace as more dual-mode handsets hit the marketplace.

Other topics newly covered or covered in more depth:

  • Management of single-site, centralized and multi-site network deployments
  • Signaling protocols
  • Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE)
  • Enhanced dial plans
  • H.323 and SIP gateways
  • Call Admission Control (CAC)

There will continue to be two tracks to CCVP certification: One for those using the newer Cisco Unified Communications Manager, now in version 6.0, and another for those still working with Cisco Unified Call Manager v4.1. Both paths share the newly updated QoS and TUC exams, the former not having been refreshed in three years.

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Eventually CCVP certification training for Unified Call Manager will be phased out, but that is still on the horizon.

"Over time, it might be two years … we do anticipate the older version [Unified Call Manager] not being part of our program," Ng said. For those who have been preparing for the older Unified Communications Manager v5.0 exam, its grace period is extended until Saturday, July 26, 2008.

For networking professionals looking to advance their careers, beefed up unified communications credentials are one way to stand out. VoIP certainly isn't leaving the enterprise: A recent SearchNetworking survey found voice-data convergence will drive network expenditures next year, and that trend is only likely to increase as other unified communications technologies are added to the mix. Some CCVP lab time is one way to help stay up to date.

Ng said that while the program was aimed at more experienced professionals, it was tailored to bring even those without an IP voice background up to speed.

"We want the program to be appropriate for somebody with 35 to 40 years of experience," she said. "Our curriculum allows us to carry those individuals from older [non-IP] telecom experience to IP PBX."

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