Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taming Dial-Peers for CCIE-V Lab

Accuracy and efficiency are two critical success criteria for the IE lab. I know that this is not a monumental revelation! On my own personal journey, I am starting to develop/adapt strategies for taking the test and tactics for streamlining execution. You need both. 

You need a strategy so that you don't get lost. There are several popular strategies, but you have to pick one (or create one) that works for you.

You also need to put together some tactics for executing specific tasks. This is different than having a strategy for taking the test. Think of the test-taking strategy as a "macro-level" thought process and the tactical execution of tasks as a "micro-level" process. They work together and can, if you aren't careful, work against each other. 

You can come up with strategies/tactics on your own or you can adapt these from your contemporaries that are on the same journey as you. I recommend that you explore the latter approach first. There are lots of good ideas out there. In fact, the topic of today's blog is to discuss having a convention for creating dial-peers, translation rules, and translation profiles. The approach provided is a combination of an idea I got from the ipExpert boot camp and my own method for building out dial-peers in production environments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cisco Jabber for iPad Pt 2 Individual Accounts and Hosted Services

Using Jabber with Hosted Services
Last month I posted a blog on provisioning Cisco Jabber for iPad to use CUPS and CUCM. For part deux, I wanted to switch gears and provide a walk through for provisioning the Jabber client to use hosted services for Presence and video. 

Namely, I am going to discuss using Cisco WebEx Connect for IM/Presence and Cisco's Jabber Video for TelePresence (or as I like to call it, It is worth noting that we are going to explore the "Personal Account" provisioning track here. That means discussion of WebEx Connect with CUCM or Cisco VCS won't be front and center. That will come later.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CCIE-V Understanding Basic MGCP Ingress Call Setup

About two weeks ago I posted an article on Understanding Basic MGCP Egress Call Setup. At the same time I started an outline and collected traces for the "ingress" view of MGCP. Then a "little bird" told me about a blog article that Vik Malhi posted on that covers dissection of the ingress call. Vik's article breaks it down quite nicely (no big surprise here) and there is no sense in duplicating effort!

Vik's article is entitled: MGCP T-Shoot Call Setup and Tear-down. It is a good read as is his other articles on the ipExpert site. Good job Vik and many thanks for all of your contributions to growing our collective knowledge and understanding.

Thanks for reading. If you have time, post a comment!

CCIE-V Looking at SIP Call Setup from UCM to ITSP

As I mentioned in a previous blog on MGCP Egress Call Setup, I have been studying for the CCIE-V and putting some emphasis on getting cozy with trace files. This is a necessary aspect of the IE voice exam. In what may become a series, I am taking my notes and dumping them in the ol' blog blender. 

In this installment, I want to walk through a SIP call setup scenario.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview on Cisco Support Community

Recently I was interviewed for the Cisco Support Community, which is an online technical support forum for Cisco Systems. The content of that interview is available here. I wanted to thank Dan Bruhn and Litsa Pitsillidou for setting up the interview and for their (as well as their team's) dedication  to making the Cisco Support Community so successful!

I'd also like to thank Litsa and Rhonda Raider (Raider Communications, Inc.) for conducting the interview. You're tops in my book!

Thanks for reading. If you have time, post a comment!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Using SQL to Report on Route Lists and Groups in CUCM

In this installment of the SQL query series I wanted to actually explore a query that is inspired by one of the comments on my blog. The reader asked:
Is there a command that will show the route list, route group, and gateway a pattern points to?

Seems like a reasonable request to me. Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) doesn't provide a command that will dump this information but there are a couple of ways to get at the data and using SQL is one.  

In the toolkit I developed to survey customer sites, I have a query that does exactly that. Using SQL, or more accurately using AXL/SOAP API to access SQL queries, is the best option when bulk surveying a site for the purpose of gathering data that will be processed off line. However, there is another method that is more straightforward for a quick view of the path a pattern will take through your dial plan.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CCIE-V Understanding Basic MGCP Egress Call Setup

For the past couple of months I have been diligently preparing myself for a successful CCIE-V lab. One of the key factors in successfully navigating this exam is your ability to quickly troubleshoot a problem and, sometimes, provide information to the proctor about how you came to your conclusions. 

Unfortunately, you can't say things like "well, I know the codec is G711 because the phone told me so (double "?")" nor can you use explanations such as: "based on the annunciator message, I conclude that the call is failing because it is Unallocated/Unassigned". You actually need to show definitive proof to back up your conclusion. So, you need to dissect traces or debugs and demonstrate that you understand them fluently. 

I have been collecting notes on trace dissection as I study and I figured that I should try to integrate studying with my blog a little more than I have to date. So, this may be ugly but I am going to start with a basic MGCP call and using "debug mgcp packet" to identify the key phases of call setup, media initiation, and call termination.