Cisco Wireless Update

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Now is an exciting time to be in the Cisco wireless training arena.

We currently have the IUWNE class, which teaches students the foundations of wireless, and leads to the CCNA-Wireless certification.

Rumours abound that soon Cisco will launch a CCNP level series of classes for the wireless track too.

We know Cisco are committed to wireless, as they have officially announced the ‘CCIE Wireless Written’ and CCIE Wireless Lab’ exams.

CCIE Wireless Written was made available in February of 2009, and the CCIE Wireless Lab is available as of April 13th.

CCIE Wireless Written is exam number 350-050.  The exam is two-hours long, and has multiple choice test with 100 questions.  It is designed to test wireless  professionals in planning, designing, implementing, operating and troubleshooting Enterprise WLAN networks. The exam is closed book and no outside reference materials are allowed.

The CCIE Wireless Lab will only be tested in San Jose and Brussels at the moment.  It is live as of April 13th.  Costs are USD$1,400+taxes.  Cisco have not officially released the hardware or software versions to be tested in the lab yet, watch this space…

Certifications in this Economy

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I find myself in an interesting position during the economic woes because of my verifiable experience and certifications.  Think about it if you had over your resume and you have one or two certifications what does that mean?  Yea read some books took some tests good for him. Well what if you have 5 or 6?  Hum, knows a thing or two is interested in learning, wow those are some pretty old acronyms and some pretty new ones too, been around a while… 10? Um why do you want to work for us? Or better yet, what can we do to keep you from working for our competition??? 15? No really I call B.S. let’s verify this resume before…. What they are all real?! CCNA, CCNA+Security, CCDA, CCNP, CCSP, CCDP, CCIE R&S, Cisco INFOSEC specialist, Cisco Firewall specialist, Cisco IDS specialist, Cisco VPN Specialist, MCSE NT4, 2000, 2003, 2008 + Messaging + Security.  Learn Train Succeed.

Stop and Think: CCSP

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Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP), when you stop to think about the role and responsibilities a security professional takes sometimes it is scary.  You are charged with the confidentiality of your organizations information, what could possibly go wrong?  Well one thing that I have unfortunately seen is when something does go wrong they data owners are normally looking for someone to take the blame / fall.  Being the security professional for your organization also means you get to take the blame.  The blame is different then what you may be used to… As a CCNP your job is to keep things working, move data, and allow communications.  When something goes wrong you get yelled at while you are trying to fix it, once it is fixed life goes on. Someone will normally not be fired due to a piece of hardware failing (assuming you have contingency plans to replace/repair and resolve the issue).  As a security professional (CCSP), when something goes wrong what happens.  Someone gains access to information which they shouldn’t be; what are the repercussions?  Someone will most likely have to take the blame and it’s not good enough to say oops my bad. Most defiantly someone will get fired. But could there be lawsuits for the failure? Maybe that is one if the differences between the salaries of a CCNP vs. a CCSP, the stress and the vulnerability of your position.  No one ever said you would get paid well doing an easy job.

Cisco Certification Abroad

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Cisco Certification in South America seems to be held in high regards.  I was recently abroad over the winter holidays and while lounging about did some job inquiries in Colombia. Little to say there were some heavy salaries to be had if you possess the correct certifications. CCNA seemed to be commanding a minimum salary while the professional certification CCNP and CCSP in particular were being paid US equivalent salaries, this might not seem that big a deal yet once you take into consideration the cost of living difference you will find yourself living the upper class lifestyle.  What really took me back was the salary a CCIE could command.  In order to attract appropriate talent to the game they were offering approximately twice the going US rate.  What does that mean, quarter of a million salary as a base, negotiable up from there.   And once again once you factor in the cost of living you are really quite well off.  So whats my advice?  Learn Spanish and get your CCIE!

Get ready for CallManager 7 Training

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CallManager 7 training is coming, and anyone thinking of installing the latest product from Cisco needs to be aware of it.

From July ’09 CCIE Voice labs will be based on CallManager 7 and related products.

Any Cisco partners wanting to achieve “Cisco Advanced Unified Communications Specialization” requires CallManager 7 knowledge and exam certification.

The “Cisco Advanced Unified Communications Specialization” recognizes partners for their knowledge and expertise in Unified Communications solution based on version 7.  This specialization is designed to help partners meet customer needs.  It empowers partners to support a whole range of customers – from small to medium-sized businesses all the way up to enterprise-scale organizations.  CallManager 7 simplifies solutions required to run over multiple sites and geographies.

This specialisation includes the following Unified Communications Solutions:
•    IP Telephony
•    Video conferencing
•    Integrated voice and Web conferencing
•    Mobile IP soft phones
•    Voicemail / Unified Messaging

Classes available to prepare for CallManager 7 include:

Administering Cisco Unified Communications Manager 7.0 (ACUCM70)
This new, 3 day course will replace the Administering Cisco CallManager (ACCM) course which has been very popular among Cisco customers. The new course updates the content to reflect the latest release of Cisco Unified Communications Manager version 7.0.
This course covers: Introducing IP Telephony; Defining Cisco Unified Communications Manager Basic Configuration; Configuring Basic Route Plans; Route Filters and Digit Manipulation; Class of Control; CAC and Cisco Unified SRST; Media Resources; Features; Moves, Adds, Changes and Administration

Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager v7.0 (UCM70) V1.0
Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 7.0 (UCM70) v1.0 is designed to provide learners with necessary knowledge and skills to install and upgrade Cisco Unified Communications Manager version 7 and to implement the new features introduced with this new release in large, multisite Cisco Unified Communications Manager deployments.

Implementing Cisco Unity Connection 7.0 (IUC 7.0)
IUC is a new course which is based on Unity Connection 7.0. This Course is designed to provide learners with necessary knowledge and skills to manage and administer Cisco Unity Connections v7.

CCNP Getting Harder

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So I have another CCNP class coming up in a few weeks.  Cisco has really started to ramp up the difficulty of all their exams, CCNP included.  It will be interesting to see how the students in my next batch are able to adapt to the additional complexity of these tests.  It almost seems one in particular the ISCW exam is starting to ask questions which are greatly outside the Cisco official curriculum which concerns me greatly.  How is it Cisco can sell at great expense a course which in no way prepares you for their exam process?

As I continue to teach new Cisco courses I find it will be even less useful to attempt to follow their prescribed class flow and lab guides.  Too bad they were really quite well done. Perhaps they are redeveloping their CCNP class content.

Possible Cisco Certification Learning Path

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So you want to be wireless certified.

Well what are you going to do?

First of all there is CWNA and WL# (pronounced Wireless Sharp – obvious if you are a ‘C’ programmer, or music afficionado) entry level vendor independent certifications.  These give you the basics of Wireless, with WL# also covering WAN and PAN wireless offerings, WIMAX, Bluetooth etc.

Then you could move up to CWSP, a wireless security certification above CWNA.

In Cisco’s world, there has been the long standing Cisco Wireless LAN Support Specialist, that expired July ’08.

Now you can become a Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Field/Design Specialist.  This Certification is current, and requires you to pass 2 exams, one bases on Cisco Lifecycle Services, adn the other based on the CWLF and CWLAT class.  Each category Field or Design has a different exam, but they are both based on the same classes.

For the Design specialist, you will need to be CCDA Certified.

For the field specialist, you will need to be CCNA.

Cisco has nowlaunched a new Wireless Certification, CCNA-Wireless.

This cert requires you to pass one exam, based on the new IUWNE class.  However you will need to be CCNA to get the certification.

Cisco are also rumoured to be preparing some new Professional and Expert level exams.  S if you fancied becoming CCWP or CCIE-Wireless (or whatever the may be called) the rumour mill is rife with what they may do.

The latest info on Cisco’s website says ‘Coming Soon!’ for the Professional level, but does give information on a new CCIE-Wireless-Written level exam.  Will a Wireless lab follow?  We will have to wait and see.

Keep watching this space, when we know you’ll know.

:)

[Editorial Note: Since this article was written, the following web page has gone live, explaining there is in fact a CCIE Wireless Lab, but it is invitation only, and is in BETA.  Watch this space folks...]

CCNA 640-802 Exam: Harder or Easier?

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So I just recently took my CCNA 640-802 exam.  I must admit it was substantially harder then I had expected.  Granted, I passed in record time with a perfect score… (Fast enough to set off alarms; they are holding my passing score for a few days).  Nonetheless, Cisco has out done themselves by setting the bar quite high.  They have lowered the passing score necessary but made the questions substantially harder than any of the previous CCNA exams.  It will be interesting to see how the market at large receives this.  It will require substantially more hands on time to pass the CCNA exam as they have included several very involved simulator questions.  Practice your show cdp neighbors and show cdp neighbors detail commands is all I can offer.  Good luck!!!

Improved Exam Security Components

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It’s about time! Cisco has finally improved the security components of taking an exam. When you sit for your CCNA or CCNP exam you will be required to show two forms of identification. A driver’s license and a credit card will suffice as long as your signature matches. Also while at the signing up for your CCNA, CCNP exam you will now be photographed and a digital signature will be captured. These measures are to help reduce the number of proxy test takers. A proxy test taker is someone who takes your CCNA exam for you as an example. Also Cisco has implemented additional test security measures, namely exam forensics. What this means is while you are taking your Cisco exam, they have metrics on how long a question should take, if you start blowing through your exam faster then what is considered normal you will set off all sorts of alarms. Cisco then reserves the right to hold your exam and review the manner in which you answered your questions. If they feel you had a preconceived notion on the exam answers you will be asked to resit the exam at Cisco’s expense. If you are unable to pass or do not agree to this retest, Cisco will not recognize your achievement. I feel this is a step in the right direction. Too many people were getting their CCNA & CCNP certifications by cheating.

Cisco and Voting

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Well the time has come at last.  It is Nov 4th.  Election time.

Don’t forget, the most important thing is to get out and vote.

Cisco or Microsoft, it doesn’t matter, as long as you vote.

Last week we had a guy on one of our classes called Joe.  He wasn’t a plumber, and he wasn’t THE Joe the plumber.

He was CCNP and MCSE.  He was obvioulsy choosing both sides!

This is a great certification combo in the current market, as it covers the desktop and infrastructure requirements.

He was next choosing whether to go for CCVP or CCSP bootcamps.

With the introduction of the new CCNA Certifications becoming Cisco certified has been made easier.

You can aim for CCNA-R&S, then go CCNA-Sec/CCNA-Voice/CCNA-Wireless.  Then aim for the next level exams.

CCNA-R&S leads to CCNP
CCNA-Sec leads to CCSP
CCNA-Voice leads to CCVP
CCNA-Wireless currently has no ‘NP’ level equivalent, but rumours abound that Cisco will be launching a ‘CCWP’ program within the next 2 years.

Good Luck, and VOTE!