The answer to this question is the same as the answer to most Cisco questions: it depends. Which class works best for you will depend on what your current level of knowledge is and what your job responsibilities are. In this blog I will go over the different Collaboration classes available, what is covered in the classes and what knowledge or experience is needed to get the most out of the class.
If You Are New to Cisco Voice
For students that are new to Cisco voice, the best place to start is either the CLACE (Administering Collaboration Environments) or the CLFNDU (Understanding Cisco Collaboration Foundations) class. They are both considered entry level classes and there is no associated Cisco exam for either of them. There is a lot of overlap between these two classes. They both cover the initial set up of Communications Manager, configuring phones, configuring users, and setting up a basic dial plan. Let’s look at the differences between these classes to help you decide which will be better for you.
CLACE is geared towards the day to day administration of phones and how to configure features like Hunt Groups, Extension Mobility, and Single Number Reach. This is often the best class for students who are not familiar with data and telephony networks.
CLFNDU doesn’t cover as many day to day phone and feature configuration tasks but it does get into other things like configuring voice gateways to send calls out to the PSTN and using the Real Time Monitoring Tool (RTMT) to troubleshoot calling issues. This is often the best class for students who have less than a year of Cisco voice experience, or who have experience with other brands of PBXs but are just getting started with Cisco’s Communications Manager. While it is not a formal pre-requisite, CLFNDU is a good preparatory class for students who want to get CCNP Collaboration certified.
If You Already Have Some Experience With Cisco Voice
If you have more than a year of experience using Cisco’s Communication Manager or have taken the CLACE or CLFNDU class, then the best Collaboration class for you is CLCOR (Implementing Cisco Collaboration Core Technologies). This class focuses on the core Collaboration technologies of Communications Manager and voice gateways but also includes sections on the Instant Messaging and Presence server and the Unity Connection voicemail server. This class goes deeper into CUCM and gateway configuration than the introductory classes and includes sections on troubleshooting.
This is a CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) level class and is geared towards students who already have some Collaboration knowledge. This would be a difficult class for a student who is new to Collaboration. There is an associated exam for this class (350-801). This is the core exam required for students who want to get CCNP Collaboration certified.
After the CLCOR class, Cisco has several classes available that specialize in different aspects of Collaboration, depending on the student’s interest or job function. For students that want to focus on advanced call routing, the next class to take would be CLACCM (Implementing Cisco Advanced Call Control and Mobility Services). This class covers configuring and troubleshooting call routing in Communications Manager (CUCM) and Communications Manager Express (CME), including using globalized call routing, URI based call routing and Call Admission Control (CAC). Passing the associated exam for this class (350-815), in addition to the CLCOR exam, gives the student a CCNP specialist certification in Collaboration Call Control and Mobility Implementation.
For students who are interested in learning about Collaboration applications other than Communications Manager, the CLICA (Implementing Cisco Collaboration Applications) class would be the best option. This class covers configuring and troubleshooting the Unity Connection (CUC), Unity Connection Express (CUE), Instant Messaging and Presence (IM&P) and Cisco Unified Attendant Console (CUAC) servers. Passing the associated exam for this class (350-810), in addition to the CLCOR exam, gives the student a CCNP specialist certification in Collaboration Applications Implementation.
Students who want to learn about Cisco’s Expressway servers should take the CLCEI (Implementing Cisco Collaboration Cloud and Edge Solutions) class. This class goes over using Cisco’s Expressway Core and Edge servers to provide Business to Business (B2B) video calls and Mobile and Remote Access (MRA) for video devices. Passing the associated exam for this class (350-820), in addition to the CLCOR exam, gives the student a CCNP specialist certification in Collaboration Cloud and Edge Implementation.
I hope this information helps you pick the Collaboration class that will be best for you. All classes mentioned above are five day classes and are available online over Webex or in person. These classes focus on learning by doing hands-on lab work and less on class lecture on theory.
Comment below if you have any questions.
Click here for a full list of Skyline-offered Collaboration courses.