Converged Networks: Learning to Run the Whole Show

By Dan Blacharski, ITworld |  News

If you're looking for the "Next Big Thing" in certification and the best
future job opportunities, you would do well to follow this age-old
advice: "Follow the money." A significant percentage of Global 2000
companies are taking advantage of technological advancements and
implementing, or planning to implement, converged networks.

A converged network, which integrates voice, data, and video onto a
single network, is vastly more efficient and cost-effective than running
three separate networks. Of course, the old standards (Microsoft, Cisco,
Novell) and vendor-independent CompTIAs will remain timeless and are
usually a safe bet when deciding on a certification path, but let's take
a quick look at where networking is going and what sort of training and
certification you might need to keep pace with it.

Implementing and maintaining a converged network may not be rocket
science, but it's pretty close. It requires a unique combination of
skills that, together, are in short supply. Of course, plenty of people
are certified to run data networks and plenty of people are certified to
run voice networks, but, there aren't that many who can run both at the
same time.

One place to start would be with the Cisco IP Telephony Design
Specialist certification, which specifically addresses technical issues
related to designing voice over data networks. One of the biggest
technical issues of course, is quality of service. Early experiments in
voice over IP suffered from poor quality of service, and that perception
has remained -- although the technology has now improved to the point
where a VoIP call is just as good as a POTS call. The Cisco
certification covers both the Cisco methodology for implementing voice
of data networks, and deploying Quality of Service.

Another place to look is the vendor-neutral Certified in Convergent
Network Technologies (CCNT) program from the Telecommunications Industry
Association (TIA). The exam requires candidates to pass six exams: Basic
telecommunications, Basic data communications, Computer-telephone
integration essentials, Local area networks, Broadband technologies, and
VoIP essentials. The certification is offered through a partnership with
Prosoft Training. You can find out more at
http://www.prosofttraining.com.

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