Overwhelmingly, the question I have been asked over and over again in the short time since this was announced is: “If I get the CCIE Voice certification, will I lose it come February when the new CCIE Collaboration debuts?”. In short, No, you will not lose your CCIE Voice. Once you obtain the CCIE Voice certification, then provided that you maintain any CCIE Written exam every two years, you will still be called a CCIE Voice. If you take and pass both, then you will in fact be a double CCIE.


So we finally have our answer. Those of us who are already CCIE Voice – we are not grandfathered in as CCIE Collaboration. CCIE Collaboration is a completely new CCIE track. Voice had a good 10 year run. Now it’s time to get busy and move on with the new CCIE that’s in town. At least that is what Cisco is telling us. It actually makes very little sense why they have done this. The hardware blueprint is almost identical, with a few slight enhancements. Testing days don’t overlap. Cisco even calls it CCIE Voice v4 on a few docs. Why the full retirement vs. a simple name change is beyond me. CCIE R&S has gone through massive changes over the 20 years it’s been out (next year) -it clearly looks nothing like it did in 1994- and it’s still called the CCIE R&S. Security as well. CCIE Communications and Services looks nothing like the CCIE Service Provider of today, but a simple name change sufficed in that case. At any rate, let’s take a look as to what has changed.

Perhaps the most sought after link as to “What if I take the ABC Written Exam, but the XZY Lab Exam – what will I be called?”, can be found here. One of the things it tells us is this:

“A candidate can use either the CCIE Voice or CCIE Collaboration written exam as part of a CCIE Collaboration certification. If a candidate passes either the CCIE Voice written exam or the CCIE Collaboration written exam, combined with the CCIE Collaboration lab exam, they will attain a CCIE Collaboration certification.” However, this does clearly tell us that you must actually pass the CCIE Collaboration lab exam to obtain the title of “CCIE Collaboration”.

Last days to test

CCIE Voice
The last day to take the CCIE Voice Written exam is November 20, 2013.
The last day to take the CCIE Voice Lab exam is February 13, 2014.

CCIE Collaboration
The CCIE Collaboration Written exam availability begins November 21, 2013.
The CCIE Collaboration Lab exam availability begins February 14, 2014.


Frequently Asked Questions regarding this new certification and any possible upgrade path can be found here.


Syllabus and some general info can be found here.

Written Exam Topics

Written Exam topics can be found here.

Lab Exam Topics

Lab Exam topics are extensive but not very revolutionary from CCIE v3, and can be found here.

What’s New?

As expected, Video. 9971 phones with USB-cam sled. Telepresence Movi, albeit in the cloud (candidate doesn’t have to configure). URI Dialing and ILS as expected. SAF via CCD (dynamic DN routing via EIGRP), something that is incredibly useful even if not often deployed. Cross-Cluster Extension Mobility presents an obvious need for at least two full UCM clusters. No word on SME, but that doesn’t mean they can’t test you on it – as it’s just another UCM cluster (and nothing to be afraid of). SIP pre-conditions such as for RSVP which falls right in line with SAF/CCD and which INE has plenty of content on already. Clearly Presence will have Inter-Federation – probably with WebEx, although they could have a Microsoft Lync cluster in the cloud/backbone that you would simply have to interface with. We know that there is no more H.323 Gatekeeper, and no more possibility of T1/E1 CAS, as we see in this Cisco document.

Lab Hardware and Software

Hardware hasn’t changed too, too much from CCIE Voice. In fact, from looking at it, you’d wonder if it isn’t mostly the same. Still has Frame Relay interfaces, which is crazy. Video phones such as 9971. Telepresence with Movi (ehem, Cisco Jabber Video for Cisco Telepresence) in the backbone. UC on UCS as expected.

CCIE Collaboration Lab Equipment and Software List
Lab Equipment:
Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) C460 Rack Server
Cisco 3925 Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2)
Cisco 2921 Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2)
ISR G2 Modules and Interface Cards
– 1-Port 3rd Gen Multiflex Trunk Voice/WAN Int. Cards – T1/E1
– Cisco High-Density Packet Voice Digital Signal Processor Modules (PVDM3)
– Cisco Service Ready Module 710 Service Module with Cisco Unity Express
– 4-port Cisco Gigabit EtherSwitch 10/100/1000BASE-TX autosensing EHWIC with POE
Cisco Catalyst 3750-X Series Switch
Cisco Unified IP Phones 7965 and 9971
Cisco Jabber for Windows
Cisco Jabber Video for Cisco Telepresence*
*In backbone, no candidate configuration required

Software Versions:
Any major software release which has been generally available for six months is eligible for testing in the CCIE Voice Lab Exam.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager 9.1
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express 9.1
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express 9.0
Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM and Presence 9.1
Cisco Unity Connection 9.1
Cisco Unity Express 8.6
All routers use IOS version 15.2(4) M Train
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches uses 15.0(2) Main Train

Network Interfaces:
Fast Ethernet
Frame Relay

Telephony Interfaces:


  • The certification is an expert-level certification that ensures that you gain knowledge and experience in collaboration solutions integration and interoperation, configuration, and troubleshooting in complex networks and the challenges of video, mobility, and presence as the foundation for workplace collaboration solutions.

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