Categories: CCIE , Cisco , Cisco Routers , Cisco VOIP , GNS3 , virtualization , Voice LAB -  Comments
Is it possible to build a voice lab without actual hardware? The answer is yes and no. You can build a very good lab using GNS3 and VMWare but it is not possible to build a complete lab. The underlying emulation engine for GNS3 (dynamips) does not support digital signal processors (dsps) or voice cards.
Over the next few months, I will show you how to build a very good lab without any hardware. If you want a more complete lab, you will need to obtain at least one router with dsps and voice cards. I have a 2611XM router with DSPs, a vic-2fxs card, a vic-2fxo card and an ATA-186.
Disclaimer and Due Credit:
This tutorial series is heavily based on by Jayanm of Chicago, IL. Jaynam has obtained the following Cisco Certifications: CCIE (Voice) – CCVP – CCSP – CCNA – CQS (PIX,VPN,IDS) – VMWare Certified Professional.
I really appreciate the ground breaking research by Jaynam.
Updates and Videos in the series:
I will include future videos in this section as they are created. It is a good idea to bookmark this particular post or subscribe to our RSS Feed if you would like to keep up on all future tutorials.
- How to install Call Manager 4.x in VMWare
- How to install Call Manager 6.x in VMWare
- Basic Call Manager Preparation
- How to run multiple IP Blue softphones on a single PC
- Voice lab – Running GNS3 as root
- Voice Lab – Headquarters build
- Voice Lab – Frame-Relay WAN
- Linux Bridging for GNS3 LAN communications
- Voice Lab – Branch1 and Branch2 Virtual Machine
- Voice Lab – Adding a physical router
- Voice Lab – PSTN Simulation LAB in GNS3 – Part 1
- Voice Lab – PSTN Simulation LAB in GNS3 – Part 2
I am using a fairly basic pc with a 3Ghz hyperthreading CPU and 2GB Ram. By today’s standards, it is nothing special.
Update 1/19/09: I have added Dell 750 server with 4GB RAM for virtual servers at the Headquarters location.
As I mentioned before, I have a 2611XM router with a couple voice cards and some dsps. This is not manditory but I will include this hardware with the lab series for those that would like to purchase the hardware to follow along.
I will be emulating 3725 routers because they will be seen on the CCIE lab. Although the 3725s call for 256 MB requirements, I have found that they only actually use ~192MB ram on my PC.
Jaynam and others have opted to use 2691’s. You may find this works better for you also.
I have chosen to use Ubuntu Linux for my host operating system due to better performance over XP, stability, availability, ease of use and price.
Host OS: Ubuntu 8.0.4
PC Emulation: VMWare Server v1.0.6 or 2.x
Router Emulation: GNS3 v0.5 / v0.6
What is possible without hardware?
It is possible to test lots of different Cisco VOIP Technologies. Here is a short list. I am sure I will make mistakes with this list or leave things out. Feel free to email me or make a comment to help me get a more complete list.
Call Manager Features
- Call Routing – Partitions, CSS, Time of Day routing, Route Groups, Route Lists, Route patterns, Translation Patterns, Line Groups, Hunt Lists, Hunt Pilots, 4 digit dialing
- Media Resources – Software Based Media Resources only – Music on Hold, Software Conference Bridge
- IP Phone registration and dialing
- Redundancy – SRST, AAR
- Call Admission Control – Locations based and Gatekeeper
- Unity Integration
- Extension Mobility
- Attendant Console
SIP-UA.com offers free SIP trunks for voice labs.
- Call manager Express
- Digit manipulation
- Auto Attendant
- TCL Scripts
- Voicemail Integration from CME to Unity
- WAN QOS
- Frame Relay
- Class of Restriction (COR)
What is not possible without hardware?
- Xcoder registration and testing
- Hardware based conference bridges
- Router based MOH
- voice port configuration
- t.37 fax store and forward
- Fax relay
- Anything related to hardware not emulated, VG248, ATA, CAT6500, Catalyst 3550 switch.