CCNA Voice Lab (for the home)

azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
Building a CCNA-Voice Lab

There are a lot of questions surrounding recommendations/suggestions for building a CCNA-Voice Lab. No, this won’t be a definitive guide, as there are many possible roads to travel and variations on a theme. But it might give you ideas for what is needed, what the course topology is, what could be added, and what is possible. This configuration is basically what I used, with the exception of the UC-500, to complete the course.

For those thinking of the CCVP track, I'll try to highlight what can be reused moving on.

Please treat this as a work in progress, and I hope some find it usefull. I’ll try to update it (and proof read it better) as time goes on.

For those wanting to build a CCNA-Voice Lab from GNS3, you'll need to look elsewhere, I personally prefer real "touchy", "feely" hardware where I can.

So you know where I'm coming from...
Passed my CCNA in December 2007, passed my CCNA-Voice in June 2009. I’m currently studying towards my CCVP (almost completed CVoice) having come from a TDM PBX background and unfortunately am yet to put any of my investment in CCNA/CCNA-Voice knowledge to practical use, so I don't have all the answers. This is basically what I've learnt as I've muddled through it.

I’ve broken the Lab down into;
  • “Core”, what is essential
  • “Options”, what could be added or would be nice to have
For all routers and switches, install as much flash/dram as is required (see Cisco Feature Navigator hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cfn for details), and the more recent the IOS version and hardware platform the better. I’ll also indicate what equipment I used that worked well for me as a base-line.

See attachment for network topology.

“Core” Components

Switch-A
  • acts as a VTP server
  • would suggest 2950/3524 series or later hardware platform
  • I used a 3524
Switch-B
  • acts as a VTP client
  • supplies access and voice VLANS to IP/Soft Phones
  • would support AutoQoS if possible
  • would suggest 2950/3524 series or later hardware platform and power bricks (CCNA-V), or
  • would suggest 3524-PWR/3550-PWR or later hardware platform (CCNA-V, CCVP)
  • I used a 3524-PWR (this needed some “hybrid” configuration to work, partly from the book, partly from investigation, no AutoQoS)
DHCP Router
  • acts as a DHCP server (the name gives it away)
  • acts as a NTP server for down-stream devices
  • would suggest 262x/265x or later hardware platform (CCNA-V) with minimum IOS feature set of ipbase
  • would suggest 262x/265x XM series or later hardware platform (CCNA-V, CCVP) with minimum IOS feature set of ipvoice
  • I used a 2691 with adventerprisek9_ivs IOS 12.4T, CME 4.1, Unity Express (allows connection to my home network via fa0/1 and can be used as a gatekeeper for CCVP)
CME Router A
  • acts as the CME voice gateway
  • should be able to take VIC cards natively, or via a NM voice module
  • needs FXO, FXS ports (CCNA-V), analogue phone(s) [handsfree makes it easier], DSP’s [type depending on router model]
  • optional Unity Express (CCNA-V), can get by without it
  • optional E1/T1 (CCNA-V, CCVP), can get by without it
  • would suggest a 1751/1760 or later hardware platform (CCNA-V) with minimum IOS feature set of ipvoice, as these support VICs natively, can be reused as branch site routers (CCVP)
  • would suggest IOS 12.4T or later
  • would suggest CME 4.1 or later
  • I used a 1760 with adventerprisek9 IOS 12.4T, CME 4.1, WIC-2T, VIC2-4FXO, VIC-4FXS/DID, VWIC-1MFT-E1, PVDM-256K-20
  • while the VG200 supports FXO / FXS / E&M / E1 / T1, it does not support CME. I'd put this into the same category as the MC3810, "a bit long in the tooth"
Console PC
I’ve provided an address for where the software is free, or freely available from Cisco with a guest CCO login (yes, you can get some things from Cisco for free). If the links don’t work, just use you’re favourite internet search engine.
  • T.F.T.P App:
    • T.F.T.Pd32 server
      • hxxp://t.f.t.pd32.jounin.net [take out the extra dots]
    • Solarwinds free T.F.T.P server
      • hxxp://www.solarwinds.com
  • Console App:
    • Putty
      • hxxp://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty
    • mRemote (Putty in a tabbed interface)
      • hxxp://www.mremote.org
    • vRD 2010 (Successor to mRemote, reverts to a limited mode after the 15 day trial, but still good enough for a home lab)
      • hxxp://www.visionapp.com
  • Syslog App:
    • Kiwi Syslog daemon (great for monitoring router/switch activity via SNMP once configured)
      • hxxp://www.solarwinds.com
  • Cisco IP Communicator
  • Optional:
    • Router Config App: (depending on router model)
      • Cisco Security and Device manager
        • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/sdm
      • Cisco Configuration Professional
        • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/ccp
    • Cisco Network Assistant (provides simple network management and topology view)
      • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cna
    • Cisco Packet Tracer (handy to have anywhere for simple IP testing, its quiet compared to routers)
    • Cisco CME Quick Configuration Tool (hard to find, but nice to have to see how CME configs are made)
IP Phones
  • minimum 2 x 7940 series, and CIPC. If you are using a powered Switch B, make sure you know the difference between InLine Power (Cisco pre-standard) or PoE (IEEE 802.3af) [I didn't when I started, but was just lucky with my purchases]
  • I used 1 x 7940G, 2 x 7960G, 2 x 7912G, CIPC
Other materials
  • CCNA Voice Exam Certification Guide
  • CCNA Voice CBT Nuggets
  • Exam Cram CCNA Voice (handy as an alternate source of information)
  • IP Telephony Using Callmanager Express Lab Portfolio
  • Access to Cisco’s site for documentation and another insight into command usage

8<

Option “A”

Unity Express

A moderately expensive item that you can probably get by without for the course and just rely on the Study Guide and the CBT. I always like to have hardware to play with so went hunting on eBay. Make sure if you do get one it comes with the CUE software installed. I took a punt and bought the lowest cost one I could find, that had had the HDD wiped. So had to go searching for the software, fortunately...

The study material indicated that there are 2 ways to re-install the software, but these make the assumption that software also pre-exists on the HDD. If you do buy a wiped one (and save money) there is a 3rd method found in the CUE installation docs which involved using the boot loader. Think of this as the CUE equivalent of a routers boot ROM. If you need this info, just PM me and I'll pass it on.

There are a few variants of CUE and depending on your router model will determine which one(s) could be right for you.

hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/unity_exp/compatibility/cuecomp.htm

8<

Option “B”

Home Network Connection

Not really required, but very handy for time synchronisation to an external NTP source, and saves doing a set clock on multiple devices. Public NTP servers can be found at;

hxxp://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Servers/NTPPoolServers

It'll also be handy to know where to find these if you move on to CCVP. Don't be supprised if it takes 10 minutes or more for your devices to sync to the correct time, it bugged me for a while. If you're using a syslog server to capture all of your output instead of using the console, it's easier to have all your devices, both routers and switches synchronised to the same time source.

8<

Option “C”

Remote Site

To be able to test your VoIP dial-peers it's handy to have second site setup. This can be as simple or as complex as you like, I used a 1760 configured similar to the core site, but without any VIC's, running CIPC and connected via DTE-DCE cable. This allows you to make simple test calls in both directions.

8<

Option “D”

UC-500/520

OK, there's no easy way to say this, it's a big ticket item. Cheapest I've seen is about AU$3000 for the wireless model, without handsets.

On the plus side, it has almost everything for the SO/HO in one box, DHCP, PoE, FXO/FXS, CME/CUE.

It has it's own GUI and configuration manager;
  • Cisco Configuration Assistant
    • hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cca
When I did the exam, it was based on v1.8 (give or take) of CCA, CCA is now at v2.2.1 and has changed a lot. So it would be handy to know both.

For those that can't afford one of these to practice on (and I'm one), print out the screen shots of each tab of the interface and set yourself some scenarios (set up 2 phones, with voicemail, maybe a hunt group too). Unfortunately this won't give you the answers, but it will get you familiar with the interface.

8<

If there is interest out there, I'll set up a shared folder on 4shared with the Apps and any docs I can think might be usefull. With the moderators permission that is, I don't want to break any rules.

8<

General Info:

VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
  • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
  • FXS (to an analogue phone)
  • E&M (to a PBX)
VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
  • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World icon_lol.gif)
  • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)

8<

Changes:

15-Apr-2010: Added Option C (finally icon_lol.gif)
20-Jan-2010: General Info section, and MC3810/VG200 info added
15-Jan-2010: Added Options A and B
28-Dec-2009: Relabeled options, updated network diagram, added UC-500 section, added mRemote to Apps
21-Dec-2009: Initial draft
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Comments

  • luke_bibbyluke_bibby Posts: 162Member
    Really great writeup, I'm sure this will help a lot of the CCNAV hopefuls (including me).

    Question though: I am currently using my 2621XM with CME 4.1 as my voice router, and plan to buy an NM-2V and VIC-2FXO and VIC-2FXS cards, will I be able to use a VWIC-1MFT-E1 (or T1) in one of the spare WIC slots I have? I looked on the Cisco site but couldn't find anything icon_sad.gif
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hi Luke,

    Not a problem, I hope it helps somebody. But it also helps me by sharing what I know, and being quizzed on it. icon_lol.gif

    Your 2621XM will support the VWIC-1MFT-E1 (or T1) in a WIC slot, but only in data mode natively, not voice mode. To get it to work in voice mode you'd need to add an AIM-VOICE30 or AIM-ATM-VOICE30 as these supply the DSP resources needed. I ran into the same problem with my 2691 and 3725, but managed to get them at a good price from US eBay in for about US$125 each, plus shipping. I got my E1 cards from China (obviously knock-offs, but fine for a lab) and my T1's from the US.

    Here's the link

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/modules/ps2641/products_data_sheet09186a0080088753.html
  • jeev2008jeev2008 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Really helpfuland thanks a lot mate:D
  • jovan88jovan88 Posts: 393Member
    Nice job, thanks for spending your time to do this
  • smohrsmohr Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just wanted to say thanks for the post. I recently obtained my CCNA and will be moving forward with CCNA Voice and CCVP. It's time to start putting together a home lab and I found your thread to be very helpful!
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    @ All,

    Glad to hear that this info has been of some benefit... now to find the motivation to complete it! Thankfully I have a quiet weekend.
  • auosauos Posts: 186Member
    Really great job, but I have 3640 and 2611XM router can I used it for CCNA-V.
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    That shouldn't be a problem, just use the 3640 for DHCP and the 2611XM for CME as you are going to be able to "find" more recent IOS and CME versions for it.
  • auosauos Posts: 186Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    That shouldn't be a problem, just use the 3640 for DHCP and the 2611XM for CME as you are going to be able to "find" more recent IOS and CME versions for it.

    Great, and please what is different between VIC-card and VWIC-card.
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World icon_lol.gif)
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.
  • laidbackfreaklaidbackfreak Posts: 991Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    [*]E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World icon_lol.gif)
    [*]T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    [/LIST]

    Nice discriptions and kudos for the E1.... lmao icon_smile.gif
    if I say something that can be taken one of two ways and one of them offends, I usually mean the other one :-)
  • auosauos Posts: 186Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World icon_lol.gif)
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)


    Many thanks.
  • Corndork2Corndork2 Posts: 266Member
    I think I have all the pieces laying around for the required topology of "Option A" as specified in the first post of this thread. I do have a question though. Router A is designated as a CME voice gateway in your topology. I have a VG200 laying around that I wouldnt mind throwing 2 FXS and 2 FXO's in... would this work for it? If it will then all I need to get are phones and IOS updates. Thanks for the clarification.
    Brocade: BAIS, BACNS, BAEFS Cisco: CCENT, CCNA R&S CWNP: CWTS Juniper: JNCIA-JUNOS
    CompTIA: A+ (2009), Network+ (2009), A+ CE, Network+ CE, Security+ CE, CDIA+
    Mikrotik: MTCNA, MTCRE, MTCWE, MTCTCE VMware: VCA-DV Rackspace: CloudU
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    The VG200 seems to meet most requirements, support for FXO / FXS / E&M / E1 / T1, but looking at the IOS feature navigator there is no mention of any version of CME being supported. So you'd not likely to be able to use it for CCNA:V.

    That being said, it can be used for CVOICE as it supports H.323 and MGCP. But as it's limited to IOS v12.3 there could be a lot of features/commands missing (SIP and gatekeeper being the main ones).

    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.
  • auosauos Posts: 186Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    VIC's and second generation VIC2's are Voice Interface Cards supporting analogue connections for;
    • FXO (to the local telephone exchange)
    • FXS (to an analogue phone)
    • E&M (to a PBX)
    VWIC's and second generation VWIC2's are Voice/WAN Interface Card supporting digital connections for;
    • E1 services for either Voice or Data (The Real World icon_lol.gif)
    • T1 services for either Voice or Data (North America and a few other places)
    I've updated the first post with this info, saves hunting through the thread in the future.

    Hi azaghul,
    If my lab is not connected to local telephone exchange, only two IP phone connect together that is mean I no needed to FXO and FXS cards?
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Although you can use it as an enhanced intercom with just IP phones attached as a starting point, it's more fun to connect to the PSTN and have analogue handsets attached.
  • hermeszdatahermeszdata Posts: 225Member
    Great information here.

    I am one who is sitll working on my CCNA and and studying VOICE at the same time. What I have found is that my Voice studied are actually helping my CCNA studies.

    Keep up the great work.

    John
    John
    Current Progress:
    Studying:
    CCNA Security - 60%, CCNA Wireless - 80%, ROUTE - 10% (Way behind due to major Wireless Project)
    Exams Passed:
    CCNA - 640-802 - 17 Jan 2011 -- CVOICE v6 - 642-436 - 28 Feb 2011
    2011 Goals
    CCNP/CCNP:Voice
  • jrb1027jrb1027 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Great info, thanks for sharing! I have a question about the FXO/FXS cards you used in your 1760. Is is necessary to use the 4 port VIC2's or can I get by using the first generation 2 port VIC's? The reason I ask is the VIC2's are expensive compared to the first gen VIC's, and I am concerned that I will lose some functionality if I go with the first gen VIC's to save money. Will that be the case?

    Thanks for the help!
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Glad the info helped. Just saw how many views this had got and was surprised.

    There's no problem at all using the first generation VIC's. The only reasons to go for a VIC2 would be to future proof your investment for later upgrades, if your hardware doesn't support first generation VIC's or you get lucky (my seller on ebay meant to drop the price by $10, but actually dropped it by $100 [plus I didn't know what I know now]). I think the only functionallity you do loose on a 4FXO is they don't support the North American CAMA feature.

    Cheers!
    Dave
  • laidbackfreaklaidbackfreak Posts: 991Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    Glad the info helped. Just saw how many views this had got and was surprised.

    just checked that number now after reading this message fgood little number eh lol icon_smile.gif

    I think one of the biggest thing about cisco cert procdess is they get you to understand the hardware as much as understanding the ios commands. And this is where you cant beat getting your hands on REAL hardware vs simulators\GNS etc. A Big part of being a network engineer is knowing what capailites your equipment is capable of and the differences between them.
    if I say something that can be taken one of two ways and one of them offends, I usually mean the other one :-)
  • jrb1027jrb1027 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks again, this info really has been a huge help. And congrats on the number of views, it's well deserved.

    I really would like to future proof my investment because I do plan to get both CCNP and CCVP certs, but I'm currently experiencing a bit of sticker shock.icon_surprised.gif

    Edit: How much memory do you have in your 1760? Is 128/32 enough to run a 12.4t IOS and leave enough for CME?
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    My CME 1760's have 48M/64M flash with 160M DRAM. Most of the voice capable IOS have a file size of 20-26M (12.4T) so running 32M flash doesn't leave a lot left over for much else. Check the Feature Navigator for IOS flash/dram requirements;

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/go/cfn

    If you install SDM (8M optional), CME basic, CME GUI, phone loads (depending on phone model, as much as 9M each), and ring tones, it can really become a bit of a squeeze with anything less than 48M.

    The VIC1's are fine and will serve you well, make sure you get a FXO card compatible with you're country as they make different variants. It's always fun to connect to the PSTN. VIC2's only really come into play in 2800 series and later, you'll need to check compatibility for future proofing;

    hxxp://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk652/tk653/technologies_tech_note09186a0080094fac.shtml

    Sticker shock? Yeah, voice seems to be the most expensive path for a home lab. When I started building my lab I was in the 2nd semester of my CCNA at the local Networking Academy (where they finally let you touch and see a router) and was trying to look at the "long view" (the aim was CCVP), it's been built up now over 3 years so sticker shock hasn't been as devastating (mostlyicon_lol.gif). Know your goal, then, buy it, test it, put it away is my philosophy.

    8<

    To give yo an idea of my "long view", I've had an IBM x306 server (MCS-7825) sitting in a box for almost 2 years waiting to have Call Manager installed on it. Now I've started CIPT1, its there ready and waiting. It was bought when CCM 4.x was still in style. But now you can install CUCM in VMware.... oh wellicon_sad.gif. But then I get better performance and also installation experience with the real deal.
  • jrb1027jrb1027 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Those links are AWESOME! The Cisco website is a resourse I have failed to take advantage of in the past. Thank you, that was very helpful!

    Yeah, sticker shock. And trust me, I was shocked when I looked at the "sticker price" for the FXO/FXS's and PVDM's on ebay.icon_lol.gif My CCNA lab didn't cost anywhere near what this voice lab is going to cost me, so I'm going to have to buy a piece at a time. I'm probably going to have to go with the VIC-2FXS and the VIC-2DID because I can get those for around $65 each vs. $180 on ebay. The cheepest I seen the PVDM-256K-20 was $105.

    It's all good though, because I'm having fun learning. Thanks again, and stick around because I'm sure I'm going to have more questions.icon_thumright.gif
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Happy to help. The Cisco site can be difficult to navigate. I was when I started, and still is at time, so many links that similar things or some that just got round and round.

    A PVDM-256K-20 is probably over kill, but it does mean you can have 2FXO, 2FXS, and E1/T1 channels all at once. It also depends on the price of smaller PVDM's and bang-for-buck. You'll also get more value from a 2FXO instead of a 2DID.

    Happy to answer questions, it keeps me honest as well. Always happy to be proved wrong though, as I in no way know it all and am happy to learn more too.
  • jrb1027jrb1027 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well, my lab budget is spent. I think I have everything I'll need except a second 2950 switch and ip phones+bricks. I have a 2924 XL from my CCNA lab that I can use, and I can always use Cisco IP Communicator in-place of real phones. I would love to have had the money for Unity Express, but I'm hoping I can just study those sections closely and take good notes to get by.

    My question is will I run into any issues using a 2924 switch. Since I'm not sure how deep into QOS CCNA Voice goes, will the 2924's limited QOS capabilities be enough to cover the exam's objectives?. Also, will I be limiting myself by using soft phones vs the real thing? I know there is no substitute for the real thing, but from what I've read IP Communicator is pretty close.

    Thanks
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I wouldn't be too concerned about QoS in CCNA-Voice, it only gets 10 pages in the Study Guide and most of that is very basic theory. The only command they look at is auto qos. This probably won't be supported on a 2924xl. I ran into the same problem using a 3524xl-pwr, just had to bypass implementing QoS on the switch, but you can do it on the router.

    The other limitation you are likely to come across with the 2924xl is voice VLAN support. My 3524xl had the commands to implement multi-VLANs as per the Study Guide, but in practice... I had to implement a hybrid solution that worked fine. If you have trouble working it out when you get to that stage, open a new post and I'll share my solution.

    As a PoE/InLine power switch is probably beyond your budget, look for a 2950 switch with Enterprise Image, this should (I don't have one handy) support more features compared to your 2924xl.

    The CIPC will work fine in place of real phones, so no problems there. The only problem I can see, it you'll either need multiple PCs to implement multiple phones, or possibly multiple NICs in one PC. Everything is tied to the MAC address.

    Cheers,
    Dave
  • notgoing2failnotgoing2fail Posts: 1,138Member
    Wow is this fantastic or what??

    I have yet to look into voice but I know there are so many components and one day knew I had to confront them.

    This will really help me out and others.

    For those studying this topic or completed it, would you say that it's the most "fun" topic out of the CCNA security, voice and wireless?
  • azaghulazaghul Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    For those studying this topic or completed it, would you say that it's the most "fun" topic out of the CCNA security, voice and wireless?

    Voice... funicon_cheers.gif
    Security... something I'll need to look at, just to broaden my knowledgeicon_study.gif
    Wireless... as long as I can walk round the house with my laptop then I'm happysleeping.gif
  • peanutnogginpeanutnoggin Posts: 1,096Member
    Wow is this fantastic or what??

    I have yet to look into voice but I know there are so many components and one day knew I had to confront them.

    This will really help me out and others.

    For those studying this topic or completed it, would you say that it's the most "fun" topic out of the CCNA security, voice and wireless?

    I just finished my CCNA Security on Thursday. I immediately jumped into the voice Official Cert Guide. The book is written by Jeremy (CBT Nuggets) which means its thus far a lot more interesting than the Security (official cert guide). I'm waaaaaaaaay more engaged in the voice than I was with the security. I enjoyed the security studies... but I could only look at and deal with the SDM for so long before my eyes would begin to bleed and my mind would explode trying to figure out a java error! icon_evil.gif icon_evil.gif

    The voice seems alot more fun thus far. I'm still reading through the theory of voice and the foundation of PSTN. I can't wait until I get to the configuration part. Hope this helps!
    We cannot have a superior democracy with an inferior education system!

    -Mayor Cory Booker
  • peanutnogginpeanutnoggin Posts: 1,096Member
    azaghul wrote: »
    Voice... funicon_cheers.gif
    Security... something I'll need to look at, just to broaden my knowledgeicon_study.gif
    Wireless... as long as I can walk round the house with my laptop then I'm happysleeping.gif

    I could not agree with this more!!! icon_thumright.gif icon_thumright.gif icon_thumright.gif
    We cannot have a superior democracy with an inferior education system!

    -Mayor Cory Booker
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