Prepping for My First Crack at the CCIE Collaboration Lab Exam

Well its finally here… On 4/26 I’ll sit for my first crack at the CCIE Collaboration Lab Exam in RTP.

I am excited and nervous but more than anything ready to get in there and do it!

After last week’s final (so far) demise of IP Expert, which I had rack rental tokens with, I was forced to shell out some cash for time on the INE racks. I don’t mind the INE racks but I seriously believe that had they stayed in business, the ProctorLabs (IP Expert rack rentals) would have been much better.

My home lab setup while better than some was not nearly verbose enough to allow to me study and prepare the way I wanted to. I could have probably built something at work to do the job, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given this week for nothing but prepping and going into the office just sounded like a bad idea. INE allows for a L2VPN connection to their equipment which allows me to use my own phones and thus get the “touchy feely” prep for the lab as well as the technical practice.


With regards to the technical practice, I found a supposed lab scrape on a forum (don’t ask I don’t remember which one) and I have materials from when I attended an IP Expert CCIE Collaboration Lab 10 day boot camp last December. The IPs are different but the technology is the same.

As an engineer that’s been working in the Cisco AVVID space for 12+ years now, I’ve developed some bad habits and while it has been painful, I think my lab prep and study have helped me break at least some of them. For those in the same position, my best advice is below…

  1. Read. Don’t assume you know because you’ve seen it all before, just read.
  2. Think on your feet. Because you may have seen it all before (see point 1) you probably can figure out what just about anything the exam throws at you.
  3. Do you play the points vs. finishing game?  No idea. I’ll let you know after 4/26.

I guess I’m not truly sure how long 8 hours is, but I hope I can at least make a decent showing. My confidence right now after a week of prep is high but we’ll see what stepping into the exam room on Tuesday does to me.

Wish me luck!






3 thoughts on “Prepping for My First Crack at the CCIE Collaboration Lab Exam

  1. Good luck, could you help me, i’m strugling with my SiteC config, the phones are not registering, can you give me your config to compare ?, regards, Mohamad

    1. Hi Mohamad,

      Unfortunately, I am unable to provide my entire configuration. I will provide help but I am not in the business of posting entire configurations as I want to encourage others to learn and to troubleshoot.

      As far as phone registrations go, you need the following…

      Your IOS DHCP Pool (Do not forget Option 150)

      ip dhcp pool SC
      option 150 ip

      Voice Service VOIP Configuration (remember to bind SIP to your interface (Voice VLAN in this case) and also remember your “registrar” commands

      voice service voip
      no ip address trusted authenticate
      allow-connections h323 to h323
      allow-connections h323 to sip
      allow-connections sip to h323
      allow-connections sip to sip
      fax protocol t38 version 0 ls-redundancy 0 hs-redundancy 0 fallback none
      bind control source-interface Vlan31
      bind media source-interface Vlan31
      registrar server expires max 600 min 60

      For SIP phones, you need at least the following…

      voice register global
      mode cme
      source-address port 5060
      max-dn 10
      max-pool 5

      For SCCP phones, you need at least the following…

      max-ephones 5
      max-dn 20
      ip source-address port 2000

      90% of the problems that I have seen come from issues in the sections above. You will of course need several other things (and even more depending on the lab question) but I think this should get you started.

      Good Luck!


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