TDC 461 Midterm Exam

Summer II Quarter, 1998


1. Exams are to be completed independently, with no help from classmates, roommates, or other individuals. Use all other resources available to you: Textbooks, course web pages, etc.

2. Exams must be word-processed and spell checked. Drawings may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Please make sure that your full name is on every page of the exam, that each page of the exam is numbered, and that you clearly indicate the question number beside the answer.

3. Save the answers to all questions in a single file. Name your exam file using the following syntax: [lastname][mid].doc (e.g., sadlermid.doc) If you use visio or some other drawing tool for diagrams, please combine all files into a zip file (e.g.,

4. Exams are due no later than 5:00pm on Friday, 7 August, 1998. You may turn in your exam using one of the following methods:

A. Mail your exam file as an attachment using Pine, Netscape, or some other MIME-compliant mailer. I can read documents created in Microsoft Word '95, '97, and HTML. Mail the exam to:

B. Deliver a printed copy of your exam to my office: CSTC 500.

C. Fax a copy of the exam to my office: 312.362.6602

5. If you have questions about the exam, please mail me directly ( DO NOT post questions to the HyperNews group. If someone asks as question about the exam that I think you all need to see, I will repost the question and the answer to the HyperNews group.

*****About the Exam*****

The goal of this exam is to provide you with an opportunity to apply what you have learned thus far in class to real-world problems and to demonstrate your understanding of the areas covered. There is one scenario in this exam and all questions are based on that scenario. The weight of the question (points possible) and approximate time expected to complete the question is provided beside the question number for your information. Completion times are approximate—use as much time as you need/have to complete each question adequately. Comprehensive answers are expected, but I do not expect you to rewrite (or copy!) the book. Feel free to use tables and drawings in addition to or in place of narrative.

*****The Exam*****

You have been hired as the telecommunications coordinator for a venture-capital-funded start-up company that will provide help desk support for custom-developed software for various agencies and businesses in the state of Illinois. The help desk will accept requests for help by e-mail and phone, and will be staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week, including major holidays. The business plan calls for an initial staff of three help-desk operators for each of three shifts, with staff estimated to increase to twenty operators for each shift by the end of the first year. The software tools for which you will be providing support include:

The help desk site will be located in a new industrial park in Evanston, Illinois. Your space, about 15,000 square feet, has never been occupied, so you need to design the telecommunications system from the ground up. Initially, ten cubicles will be set up for call center staff, and more will be purchased as needed. Each staff member will have a computer running help desk software (problem tracking and reporting) into which he or she will log calls and e-mail messages. Staff members will be provided with headsets that attach to their telephone, to prevent neck and shoulder fatigue. The phone system you specify must:

Your responses to questions 1a through 1d below should be integrated into an executive summary, not to exceed six pages.

1a. Incoming calls. Create a table that shows the various services/methods available for providing users with no-long-distance fee calls, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method in this context. Using the data in the table, make a recommendation on the method to be used and provide a full justification for this recommendation.

1b. PBX, Centrex, or Key Telephone System: Define and describe the service alternatives of PBX, Centrex, and KTS. Make a recommendation on service and clearly state the rationale for your decision. Be sure to include any assumptions that you made about the business and its needs that factored into your decision.

1c. System Peripherals: Discuss add-on devices/services for the PBX, Centrex, or KTS system that you recommended in 1b above that will be useful to your help desk operation. Make a recommendation for an initial set of add-on devices/services and projections about services that may be useful in the future.

1d. System Design: Create a map that shows the physical layout of the voice network you specified. Be sure to identify types of cable used inside the building, outside facilities running to the building, and all telecommunication service providers.

2. (15 points; 1 hour) You anticipate some questions from the board of directors about vendors for carrier services (the service you specified in 1a, plus dial tone, long distance, local long distance, etc.). Prepare a brief memo describing the regulatory changes that have occurred in the last twenty years that impact your ability to choose different carriers for different services.

3. (25 points; 1.5 hours) Assume that your plan has been approved and that you have installed your help desk call center, as specified. After about six weeks of operation, the help desk staff supervisor informs you that help desk staff and customers from certain rural areas of the state are having trouble hearing each other on the phone. In response to these problems, the help desk staff are virtually shouting into the phone to be heard on the other end. Prepare a memo to the help desk staff manager describing the possible technical causes of the low volume problem. Include in your memo information about why yelling into the phone will not improve the signal at the receiving end. Conclude your memo with a diagram showing the telecommunications model as it applies to voice conversations, noting any place in the diagram where transmission problems might occur.