Opening the door to VoIP…

I just finished reading O’Reilly’s Packet Guide to VoIP and took notes.

Though I am still very strongly interested in obtaining my CCNP, I am going to need to present a design for a unified communications project for my (current) largest business client in the near future. I don’t know if I’m going to go as far as actually obtaining the CCNA Voice certification, but I am definitely going to learn what I need to for a small network of about 30 clients.

I’ve been thinking of using a Catalyst 3560 PoE switch coupled with probably a 2921 router. I’m not sure about phones yet; I haven’t looked that far into it. I’m also currently unsure about how I’ll provide connectivity to the outside world; whether it will be an ITSP via SIP trunk or some other method.

I’ve viewed the videos produced by Jeremy Cioara on CCNA Voice, and read part of the official textbook. I’ve also viewed about 1/4 of the CCNA Voice series produced by INE.

However, I realize that the world doesn’t necessarily revolve around Cisco. This company’s primary motivation for moving to VoIP is unified communications, ie complete integration with MS Outlook. I thought that reading this O’Reilly book on VoIP might create a broader picture for me with regards to VoIP. While the book was very informative, I can’t really say that that actually happened. The book pretty much read like a really long Wikipedia entry.

Because of my previous studies, I know Cisco pretty well at this point, which is why I am leaning toward using their products, even though I know they are more expensive than other solutions. I also know that that is one of Cisco’s goals with having such an extensive body of training and certifications; that definitely makes good business sense. I’m definitely interested in less expensive solutions than Cisco, but not if I have to invest the same amount of time in learning the system as I have with Cisco and networking in general.

So after I produce the design proposal for this unified communications project, I’d like to get back to more seriously studying for the CCNP. I was well on my way with the SWITCH exam and it probably wouldn’t take much to get back into it.