Digging deep into Unified Communications from Spain.

First Month Done!

July 26th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in CCIE Voice - (0 Comments)

As the tittle says, I started one month ago to study really hard to achieve the CCIE Voice certification. I have spent a few minutes every week to do self-analysis to see what things are working, and what things are not working like I expected. That is the way I can improve my own “processes” to be more efficient with my time.

Things that I have changed during this time:

  1. I have made some minor changes to my initial schedule, but the total number of hours per week, remain the same.
  2. I received my latest phone 3 weeks ago, so I have had to play Tetris to place all of the phones on my table close to me in a comfortable way. So now I have 4x 7961, 1x 7960 and 1×7962. I put them together to take the picture below (sorry, I am a bad photographer).

  3. I have configured US Eng language in all my keyboards to get used to the positions of symbols, which is quite different from the spanish one. I do not want to waste time or get nervous because of that during the lab day. After one month, I am able to configure at the same speed as before, in fact I now have to think  for a second, if I am typing with the Spanish configuration. I have noticed that some people even buy keyboards with the US layout, but since I do not need to look at the keyboard, it is not necessary for me.
  4. I am using PuTTY and SecureCRT either way to be familiarized with both since it is not clear for me which will be on the lab exam.
  5. I am documenting everything, although it seems really obvious. I intend not just to pass the exam but to retain the knowledge, and at the same time elaborate in very detailed notes for the future. You never know when are you going to use a feature again; it could take months hence you could forget it.

The purpose of all these little details is to try to make the lab day like any other day, to be focused on the important tasks and to avoid any headache over things you don’t expect.

Campus infrastructure and QoS

July 7th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in Cisco - (0 Comments)

During these last two weeks I have been dealing with the campus infrastructure, VLAN, DHCP, TFTP and NTP, brushing up on some concepts, and also with QoS, which has taken me most of my time. QoS was the topic in which I had the less experience, but now, I can say that I understand it and know how it works perfectly.

In this post I will just show you the guides and documents that I am using. Next week I will post again with some examples and notes.

Regarding VLAN, DHCP, TFTP and NTP protocols, if you are pursuing the CCIE Voice, like I am, you should be quite familiarized with these, but it is worth it to have a look at the SRND to refresh best practices

Cisco SRND CUCM 7.x

Try these links in case you need to check any example, commands, or ways to configure something:

Cisco IOS 12.4T

Catalyst 3750 12.2(44) Configuration Guide

Catalyst 3750 12.2(44) Command Reference Guide

Regarding QoS, you should read the following to get the expert level:

Cisco SRND QoS

QoS section in the Catalyst 3750 Configuration Guide

QoS section in the Medianet Reference Guide

Cisco QoS Command Reference

Here you have some useful examples:

Cisco Catalys 3750 QoS configuration examples

In the following link, you can see an animation to make understanding easier.

QoS animation

In a lab environment sometimes is difficult to simulate congestion, therefore you have better know the behaviour of every command that you type because you will just be able to “test” it in your mind.

I also have been watching some videos which have been really useful to learn some tips and new ways to do things.

This is a short post but deep in content.

As promised in previous entries, I am going to explain to you my Cisco lab environment. It could be useful for hundred of purposes, to prepare for your studies, to practise for your CCNP Voice or CCIE Voice certification or just to make tests. Despite the fact that it covers a wide range of topics in the CCIE Voice lab, it doesn’t follow the common topology with three sites.

I built it bearing in mind the CCIE Voice lab, which I would like to get in the future, but since I noticed that the new lab version is coming and that I wasn’t able to dedicate the require time needed in the short term (2-3 months), I decided to stop buying new devices and see what  will happen, however all these things are time consuming!

First of all, below you can find the network diagram which I have deployed.

Cisco Voice Environment

Hardware list

Continue reading…

I can say that my ESXi server is the heart of my lab, so before I got everything, I was doing some research to get the best deal. The easiest way to get it built, is to follow the VMware hardware guide to get a supported server, but it means a higher price and maybe, pointless features for our purpose like redundant PSUs. On the other hand, you will, unlike me, save some headaches with the supported path. I like challenges!

In my case, I wanted something small with support for VM Direct Path and of course, all the hardware embedded on the motherboard. Based on those prerequisites, I found the Asrock Z68 Pro3-M, a micro-ATX form factor motherboard.

Hardware list:

– Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Pro3-M (Graphics and NIC on-board)

– CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 (note that is the non-K version, to take advantage of the virtualization features)

– RAM: 4x8Gb G.Skill Ares

– Case: Cooler Master Elite 342 MicroATX

– PSU: Tacens Radix V 450W

– HD: 1x Samsung SSD 830 128Gb – 4x2TB Seagate ST2000DL003

– Extra: Intel pci NIC.


I boot ESXi 5.0 from a USB pen drive and without doing anything, everything is recognized, the NIC Realtek RTL8111E included.

Continue reading…

Build your own pfSense server

May 20th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in Lab - (0 Comments)

I am not a security expert, although I have been always familiar with the terminology, despite the fact that I have never had the opportunity to work in so much depth in this field. To achieve my goal, I had to implement a firewall in my lab, like every enterprise company, then I started to look for an enterprise solution, but the price of most of them was too high for my requirements so eventually I found pfSense, an open free source solution which include almost of the features found in more expensive commercial firewalls.

It is based on FreeBSD, which as I’m told is one of the most secure OS, it is a good thing working in a platform to protect your network. A complete package system has also been included which allows further expansibility into the system. Packages like Snort, an IDS/IPS, Squid, a caching proxy and reverse proxy are just examples of the power that you can have in this small machine. I have mentioned Snort and Squid because I am using both of them, but you can find a pretty extensive list for different purposes.

In the official web site, you will find all the information to get started but the best thing is that you don’t need a super machine with a lot of resources, any thin client or an old computer will be able to handle the requirements. Sizing is based mainly on throughput and features.

Continue reading…