Where to begin as a new VOIP administrator

Hello Friends,


I am a new face here on the INE forums and I have just recently purchased the CCNP VOICE VoD series, I have so far completed through a good portion of the videos.


However I have a few questions that perhaps some may be able to assist with. One of our most experienced VOIP engineers has resigned suddenly and I just recently 'inherited' my organizations voice responsibilities since I had some basic turnover and my CCNA Voice.  Now mind you this was basic stuff and I mostly learned on my own with no real world experiences, some hands on practice but it was some home lab gear strictly for the CCNA Voice studies. 

But my question is, where do I begin as far as taking over VOIP duties?  What should be some of the first things I am documenting and observing?  I have been doing the job for a little while now but I'm more or less ensuring day to day stuff is completed for users.  If any real disaster or problem occured I would be SOL!  Now to be honest there is another engineer but he works at a remote location and we hardly communicate because he is very busy and seems like he doesn't have time to train a new person, I happen to be the only candidate at the time to accept the fast turnover since I had a voice certification. 

What can anyone reccomend as far as where I should begin first to undestand the basic foundation of the VOIP network. I have some basic access to call manager and unity servers but not to any gatekeepers and gateways.  We have nearly 10-15k phones so most of my day is absorbed performing menial tickets and I know there is probably a faster way to complete some of the things I am doing but until I learn how I just do what I can do to keep the train moving.

Any advice is very welcomed!

Thanks and good luck to anyone else studying for their Voice track



  • Bob -

    Welcome to the world of Unified Communications.  I hope you enjoy the show and all the moves/add/changes that end users request.  No other Cisco concentration deals so much with the end user.  They're our bread and butter and, depending on the day and request, a thorn in our side. ;)

    I would suggest that you begin reading the CUCM SRND guide.  This will give you an understand of what the different components in CUCM are for and how they relate to one another.  This, more than any other Cisco document (IMHO), will give you the "why" foundation.

    On top of that, the CUCM Admin and Connection Admin guides are excellent resources.  Have you considered pursuing any certifications in UC beyond CCNA Voice?  I found that the certification path gave me the structure I needed to increase my knowledge at a rapid pace.

  • Hey Matt,


    Thanks for the response.


    I checked out that CUCM SRND document today and holy cow 1400 pages.. between that and these VoDs I certainly have my hands full.  I am fotunately in a situation where I am can dedicate a good portion of time to learning so thats been my focus the past week.  I've made it through the CVOICE portion of Mark's bootcamp class and I'll say it's definitely good material.  I've never used videos before but its a welcomes changed of having someone explain concepts to me rather than trying to read a book and interpret what I am reading and end up understand a concept wrong.  I'm going through them now a second time taking a bit more defined notes.  Or maybe I just enjoy hearing Mark's voice..heh.

    I haven't yet decided if I am going to supplment my training with a CVOICE book yet but I feel as if Mark does a great job so far.   I do plan on pursuing my CCNP Voice track however I dont want to rush into a certification and just be 'paper certified'.  I feel if I have the title of a CCNP I better be able to perform the duties of one, so understanding and beinging able to demonstrate the concepts and foundations is extremely important for me, as it should be for anyone I imagine.


    However back to some of the points before.. if you were to walk into a new position, what would be some of the first documentation or diagrams you would be looking for or creating for yourself?  Everytime I request some simple data like this I feel it goes on deaf ears, so perhaps it just doesn't exist so I figure I'll do it myself, I just dont know where to start.  I hope that makes sense!


    Thanks for sparing a few minutes of your time.

  • I think you're approaching it correctly.  Don't pursue the knowledge for the sake of a certification (an acronymn after your name only gets you an interview...not the job).  Pursue the certification for the sake of knowledge mastery.  That was my goal when I first began and it's also why I decided to get my CCIE Voice before I ordered my CCNA book.

    To answer your second question, if I had to choose a few documents to create when I moved into a voice architect role at a customer, it'd be the following:

    • Complete network voice topology (Visio).
    • Device management spreadsheet containing hostnames, IP addressing, serial number, IOS version, etc. (Excel)
    • Proposed standards document containing naming conventions, configuration templates, IOS standard (Word)
    • Change management document (Word)

    I hope this helps!

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