How to Configure a Cisco Voice Certification Lab

Configuration of a Unified Communications lab requires some background work in order to get the environment fully functional for study and testing purposes. The tasks involved are as follows:

Step 1: LAN Switch Configuration

Switch configuration is probably the easiest part of the overall setup process. The three primary connections that the switch will make are to the IP Phones, the VMware server, and the CUCME device/UC-520.  The various tasks are as follows:

  1. Inline Power
    By default, power should be configured to automatically detect the attached device, but if it has been disabled, use the following commands to correct the issue:power inline auto: Enables power detection and supply
    no shutdown: Enables the interface or resets it
  2. IP Phone Configuration
    1. Data VLAN
      First decide what VLAN-ID you plan to use to support any data traffic you might want to support from a PC plugged into the back of the IP Phone:switchport mode access: Sets the port for access mode
      switchport access vlan <VLAN-ID>: Identifies the Data VLAN to map to

      Make certain that the VLAN exists, and if it does not, issue the following command from global configuration mode:

      vlan <VLAN-ID>

    2. Voice VLAN
      Due to the nature of voice traffic, a separate VLAN needs to be configured on the IP phone.  Configuration is as follows:switchport voice vlan <VLAN-ID>: Identifies the voice VLAN to map to

      Make certain that the VLAN exists, and if it does not, issue the following command from global configuration mode:

      vlan <VLAN-ID>

  3. UC520 Port Configuration
    Truthfully, there are multiple options for deploying both the IP phones and the ports on the UC520. First, you could have one phone on the UC520 and one on the 3524 Switch, both on the switch or both on the UC520. Placing one on each will enable you to test and configure voice connectivity between the CUCME and CUCM sides of the lab. Ideally then, configuring a trunk from the UC520 to the switch is the most helpful, as follows:switchport trunk encapsulation dot1q: Sets the trunking type
    switchport mode trunk: Sets the port to trunk only mode

Step 2: UC520 Initial Configuration

Configurations of any Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express devices are similar no matter what specific model you use; the basic tasks are CLI driven using traditional IOS commands. The reason I recommend the UC520 is the simplicity and overall cost involved. Integrated into the device are Packet Voice DSP Modules (for converting analog voice to VoIP packets), voice messaging, and in most cases, analog connectivity. FXS come with the unit by default, but FXO (for connecting to an analog phone line) usually has to be added. Assuming that you are placing one IP phone on the UC520 and connecting a trunk to the switch, the following configuration would be required to get things operational:

  1. IP Phone VLAN Configuration
    1. Data VLAN

      First configure the Data VLAN settings you previously configured on the switch:switchport mode access: Sets the port for access mode
      switchport access vlan <VLAN-ID>: Identifies the Data VLAN to map to

      Make certain that the VLAN exists, and if it does not, issue the following command from global configuration mode:

      vlan <VLAN-ID>

    2. Voice VLAN
      Next, configure support for the Voice VLAN previously configured on the switch.switchport voice vlan <VLAN-ID>: Identifies the voice VLAN to map to

      Make certain that the VLAN exists, and if it does not, issue the following command from global configuration mode:

      vlan <VLAN-ID>

  2. Trunk Configuration (configured in previous section)
  3. VLAN Interface (Layer 3) Configuration
    You will find it rather helpful if you create Layer 3 VLAN interfaces on the UC520 (Switch Virtual Interfaces) for testing purposes as well as setting up routing. You create this with VLAN-Identifiers corresponding to the VLANs using the following command syntax:interface vlan <vlan-id>
    ip address <IP-Address> <subnet-mask>
  4. Routing Configuration
    While the UC520 is literally an “Office in a Box,” it has limited routing capabilities. The simplest approach, and one I often use, is to configure a default route out to the switch and/or router (if you happen to be using one). Additionally, you may have to configure some static routes on the other devices so that they can reach the Integrated Service Engine interface address. If you configure a laptop or desktop on one of the VLANs, then you will be able to use the web-based GUI on that interface to perform all the voice-related configuration tasks.At this point, you should have the capability of fully creating the CUCME environment for testing and study purposes.

Step 3: Server VMware Configuration

Option 1: Physical Servers

As I mentioned previously, you can choose to use individual servers (such as laptops, desktops, etc.) on which to install the various Unified Communications components. If you use VMware vSphere ESXi 4.1 or later (check your specific hardware for compatibility), then you will have the fewest issues when loading the CUCME, Unity Connection, and Presence software. The installation software performs a hardware check, and I have watched installations fail on physical servers attempting to install the Linux OS. VMware creates a far more forgiving environment in that regard. The installation process with vSphere is very smooth and simple with a minimum of fuss to get the hypervisor installed.

Option 2: Virtualized Servers (recommended)

I have built and installed CUCM, Unity Connection, and Presence on physical servers in both lab and production environments, but doing it in a virtualized setting is really a breathtakingly simple endeavor by comparison. You have some flexibility in the hardware you use, at least in a lab environment, and I have done so on both a Cisco Unified Compute System C-Series (rack-mounted C200/210), as well as a Dell R710. The procedures are the same as described previously as far as installing the ESXi software. Regardless of the option, just make certain to enable trunking on the server(s) and place them in an accessible VLAN.

Download and configure the vSphere client, which is the software that allows you to create and maintain VM’s on your server(s).

Regardless of which server option you choose, you will need to create virtual machines to host the Unified Communications software. Go to the Cisco Unified Communications Virtualization site for Virtualization downloads.

Each server’s software has preconfigured templates that make the VM creation process a great deal less complex, which are called Open Virtualization Archive, or OVA, files. One example of these templates is displayed below:

Related Courses
CCNA Voice Certification
CCNP Voice Certification
CCIE Voice Certification

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