As companies discover the many benefits of Voice over IP (VoIP), IP telephony solutions are being implemented more frequently on their data infrastructures. IP telephony solutions can provide cost reduction, eliminate the requirements of managing separate voice and data infrastructures, and provide enhanced applications as a competitive advantage in today's business world.
The deployment of IP telephony solutions has created a need for certified IP telephony engineers to provide proven, best-of-breed technology. Cisco, a leader in the IP telephony market, provides certifications that validate the knowledge required to implement their industry-leading technology used in real-world Voice over IP solutions.
The five certifications Cisco currently offers are the Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist, the Cisco IP Telephony Operations Specialist, the Cisco IP Telephony Support Specialist, the Cisco IP Telephony Express Specialist, and the Cisco Unified Communications Design Specialist.
Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist
The Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist certification is meant for those individuals that conceive comprehensive IP Telephony solutions. For example, these designers are required to demonstrate their capabilities around using SIP, H.323, or MGCP protocols within a solution. In addition, a thorough understanding of integrating the traditional TDM voice infrastructure with the new IP telephony solution is required.
Two exams must be passed in order to obtain this certification, EVODD and QOS. EVODD is the Cisco Enterprise Voice Over Data Design Exam, which tests individuals on their methodology regarding the detailed design and implementation of IOS-based and Call Manager-based voice network solutions. QOS is the Quality of Service exam, which tests their ability to configure and troubleshoot Cisco IOS routers running Quality of Service protocols. The exam covers topics on IP QOS, classification and marking, congestion management and avoidance, policing and traffic shaping, link efficiency mechanisms, and QOS best practices.
Cisco IP Telephony Operations Specialist
The Cisco IP Telephony Operations Specialist certification is meant for those individuals that maintain comprehensive IP telephony solutions. This certification requires the ability to configure complex Cisco Call Manager platforms using available calling features and dial plans and to successfully troubleshoot issues related to traditional and IP telephony voice technology, PBX and voice mail systems.
Two exams must be passed in order to obtain this certification, IPTT and QOS. IPTT is the Cisco IP Telephony Troubleshooting exam, which tests the candidate's ability to troubleshoot Enterprise Call Manager, Unity, and IP network deployments.
Cisco IP Telephony Support Specialist
The Cisco IP Telephony Support Specialist certification is meant for those individuals that install and support comprehensive IP telephony solutions.
Three exams must be passed in order to obtain this certification, CIPT, CVOICE and QOS. CIPT is the Cisco IP Telephony exam that tests knowledge of installing and clustering Cisco Call Manager, all components of Call Manager, Cisco IP Phones, Cisco Catalyst Switches, Cisco Access Gateways, route plans, telephony service classes, applications, Cisco IP SoftPhone and extension mobility, and the management of the IP Telephony solution. CVOICE is the Cisco Voice Over IP exam, which tests the individual on VoIP technologies and configuration, integrating VoIP into traditional PBX networks, call operation and components in VoIP, and integrating VoIP into the PSTN.
Cisco IP Telephony Express Specialist
The Cisco IP Telephony Express Specialist certification also was meant for those individuals that install and maintain comprehensive IP telephony multi-service network solutions. However, this certification also carries more weight with Cisco's Call Manager Express.
Three exams must be passed in order to obtain this certification, CME, CVOICE and QOS. CME is the Cisco Call Manager Express exam, which tests the candidates on CME overview and positioning, related IOS and voice gateway capabilities, provisioning and planning, applications and troubleshooting.
Cisco Unified Communications Design Specialist
The Cisco Unified Communications Design Specialist certification was meant for those individuals that install, configure, operate, and maintain a Cisco Unity 4.0 voicemail system for stand-alone and unified messaging settings within organizations.
One exam must be passed in order to obtain this certification, CUDN. CUDN is the Cisco Unity Design and Networking exam, which tests the candidates on network components that affect Unity designs, large voicemail designs, voicemail interoperability, and designing customer solutions.
In the IT industry, certifications are means to validate an individual's expertise within a specified area. The above Cisco IP telephony certifications are some of the tools that can demonstrate the capabilities of an IP telephony professional. These certifications could not replace years of industry experience, but they do provide the foundation to design, implement, support and manage Cisco voice over IP solutions.
The next tip will explore the Nortel VoIP certification tracks.
Richard Parsons (CCIE#5719) is a Manager of Professional Services for Callisma Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC. He has built a solid foundation in networking concepts, advanced troubleshooting, and monitoring in areas such as optical, ATM, VoIP, routed, routing, and storage infrastructures. Rich resides in Atlanta GA, and is a graduate of Clemson University. His background includes senior and principal consulting positions at International Network Services, Lucent, and Callisma.