There are many tracks and specialisations to choose from when you are studying towards your CCNP. Previously the voice track was a separate qualification called the Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) however this was recently retired and consolidated into the CCNP (Cisco Certified Networking Professional) along with some of the other older qualifications such as CCSP (Cisco Certified Security Professional).
Why is CCVP now CCNP-Voice?
Cisco realised that there where too many different certifications on offer and this could become confusing to potential employers or candidates wishing to take the qualifications. As a result many of Cisco’s Professional level qualifications have been consolidated into one of the tracks associated with the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) certification. Not only has this streamlined the exam process (allowing for common exams throughout the different tracks); it has also allowed them to evolve the course and give you an even more recognisable qualification at the end.
What is Voice in terms of Networking?
Voice communications are now much more than landlines or POTS (Plain old Telephone Service), which you traditionally might be used to using. Many businesses have realised the benefits of transferring their voice (or telephone) communications to IP services known as VOIP (Voice Over IP). In many cases this is now so well implemented that you might not even know you are talking over a VOIP line. The advantages of VOIP are that the data can now be transmitted over the same cabling as the other networking (e.g. internet) services and hence can be transmitted through new faster cables such as fibre optics, allowing for very clear reception. This also means that costs can be consolidated with VOIP often being cheaper than traditional landlines, especially for international calls. Another benefit is that VOIP can easily be configured to allow for home networking and “hot-desking” with a number being able to follow the user wherever they are located.
What does the CCNP-Voice and the CCVP Focus on?
The CCNP-Voice (replacement for the CCVP) focuses on Cisco Unified Communications Manager (formerly Unified CallManager), which acts as a hub for Cisco Voice Communications. There is now also a focus on integrating and troubleshooting other Cisco Unified Communications Applications such as Cisco Unity Connection and Cisco Unified Presence Application.
Having a CCVP or CCNP-voice (Cisco Certified Professional Voice) shows employers that you are able to create and manage IP Gateways, gatekeepers, voice applications, IP phones and other voice utilities on Cisco routers and Cisco catalyst switches. You will also be expected to ensure that quality of service (QoS) is always maintained at all times and troubleshoot QoS related issues as and when they arise.
How do I get a CCNP-Voice (previously CCVP)?
In order to get a CCNP-Voice (previously CCVP) you will need to take and pass the requisite number exams in the CCNP-Voice career track. These exams are listed on the Cisco Learning Website and if you have previously taken Cisco certifications, they may be eligible as credit towards the CCNP-Voice (previously CCVP). The exams are provided by Pearson VUE and are available in test centres around the globe. Learning materials and courses both classroom based and for self-study, are available through a multitude of high quality Cisco approved vendors and can be found through the Internet.