Telecommunications Management, 90-768, Spring 1994

This document was last modified on 12/01/94
Instructor: Ramayya Krishnan
Class Times: 2:00-3:20pm, MW
Classroom: 1002 HBH
Office: 2109 HBH
Phone: 268-2174
Fax: 268-7036
Class Bboard: org.heinz.telcom
Teaching Assistant: Sumit Dutta Chowdhury

This syllabus will undergo continued development and change throughout the Spring 1995 semester. I plan to provide links to copies of the Power Point Slides I will use in the classroom, homeworks and other resources on the Web.

Select any of the items below if you would like to jump directly to that section or separate document.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide managers with an understanding of the key technical and managerial issues in the effective development and use of telecommunications by organizations. Discussion of technology will be set in the context of applications, particularly those emphasizing inter-organizational coordination and service delivery. Topics covered will include basic concepts of telephony and data communication, related hardware and software technology, standards and protocols, local and wide area networks, network management, common carrier services, strategic and operational applications, and emerging trends.

The prerequisite for graduate students who want to take the course is an introductory course on Information Systems. Undergraduates are required to additionally have a 3.25 GPA (on a scale of 4).

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Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course students should understand: Go back to the top

Expectations of Students

A high level of individual student motivation and initiative will be expected. Students will be expected to use Web-based telecommunications resources and review applications and technology described in trade journals such as NetWork World (available in the SEI library). Individual and group learning projects which require self-guided research, experimentation, and an entrepreneurial attitude are an important component of the course. Finally, since the course is an experiment in using the Web and other online resources for both instruction and communication, I would like to request students to be flexible and cooperative as the course evolves through the semester.

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Ramayya Krishnan, office 2109A Hamburg Hall. I will usually be available to meet in my office Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. However, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with me. You should also use the bboard and email to communicate with me and the TA. Remember that all postings to the bboard are public. If you would like to send me a message, please use email.

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Textbook and other Resources

In addition to the book, I expect students to read Network World, a trade publications that summarizes technology as well as business applications, and the Federal Information Technology Weekly, publication that discusses issues of interest to Government Information Technology managers. These publications are available at the SEI library and you should make the time to read them at least once every two weeks.

We will also make use of the extensive, online resources about Telecommunications that is available through the World Wide Web and Mosaic. An excellent starting point is the Distributed ELectronic Telecommunications Archive (DELTA) project maintained by Prof.Robert Minch. In addition, I strongly recommend the WWW virtual library of telecommunication resources. To help students make use of Web-based resources, we will assign one class period to introduce everybody to the Web. This session will introduce tools that can be used to search for Web-based Telecommunication resources as well as a step by step procedure to create Web pages using HTML.

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The grades will be based on two exams, a mid term and a final, a final paper and homework projects. The approximate breakdown is as follows.

The term paper can focus on managerial or technical issues related to Telecommunications. Appropriate topics include the impact of telecommunications on an industry or organization, proposals about how new enabling technologies will make new applications or organiztional forms possible, societal impacts (e.g., privacy issues) related to the introduction of this technology or will develop a detailed description of the technology. The term paper will be a group project. Each group can consist of up to three students. The paper should be well researched and original work. Plan to make good use of the resources pointed to in the section on Textbooks and other resources. Its length should be about 25 pages. The term paper will be presented during the last two weeks of class and turned in on the final exam day.


January 16

January 18
Overview of Course
Introduction to the WWW and resources on the Web
that will be used throughout the semester.

January 23

January 25
Information Needs of Organizations
New types of Computing Applications
Managing new Organizational Forms

Why Telecommunications Management?
What are the business drivers and what are the enabling technolgies?

The Telecommunications Decision Making Framework (Reach, Range and

January 30

February 1

Telecommunications Technology I: Fundamentals

February 6

February 8
Telecommunications Technology II: Fundamentals

February 13

February 15

Telecommunications Technology III: Fundamentals

February 20

February 22

NetWorking: Wide Area Networks

Cicuit Switched and Packet Switched Networks
common channel signalling

Structure of the Telecommunications Industry in the US (History and
Where we are at right now)

Applications: Voice and a range of Voice Processing

FTS 2000: A Overview and an update (technology, acquistion systems
etc.)  Questions: How does the change in the structure of the
Telecommunications Industry change FTS 2000?  How does the change in
the Political Structure (e.g., removal of GSA) change the structure of
FTS 2000?

EDI and Inter-organizational coordination
WalMart EDI Case

Something on ATMS and Electronic Benefit Systems

February 20

February 22

Networking: Local Area Networking

Basic Lan technology
LAN Standards
PBX, Digital PBX vs. LAN
PBX vs. Centrex
Managerial Problems that need to be addressed
Moves and changes, virtual organizations

Speaker: CMU Telcommunications Dept., Centrex vs. PBX at CMU,
Organization of the Telecommunications Dept.  at CMU

Tour of the Data Comm. Center at CMU

February 27

March 1

High Speed Networking (Frame Relay, SMDS, ATM)
Applications Enabled by the Technology

Speaker: Medical Applications: Get the Dr. that Giri Suggested

March 6

March 8

Communications Architecture: ISO-OSI, SNA

March 13

March 15

Communications Architecture: TCP/IP, InterNetworking

March 20
March 22
Spring Break

March 27

March 29
National Information Infrastructure: the Internet

Speaker: Ben Bennington, Speaking about the NII, On and Off Ramps

April 3

April 5

The WWW, Issues Related to becoming a Service Provider on the Web,
Electronic Commerce, Electronic Filings (EDGAR with the SEC),
Electronic Filings with the IRS

Commerce Net, ArtsNet, Privacy, Security, Copyright, Economic and
Organizational Issues

April 10

April 12

Client Server Computing
Business Process and Business Network redesign

April 17

April 19

Technology Adoption Under Network Externalities
Interaction with Standards Setting Bodies
Tridas Mukopadhyay?

April 24 

Term Paper Presentations

April 26 

Term Paper Presentations

May 1 

Term Paper Presentations

May 3

Term Paper Presentations


Date	Topic					Reading

1/20    Introduction				DATON skim
1/25    Telecommunications 			Fundamentals Stallings Ch. 4
1/27    Telecommunications			Fundamentals Stallings Ch. 4
2/1     Telecommunications			Fundamentals Stallings Ch. 6
2/3     Basic transmission protocols    	Stallings Ch. 5
2/8     Building the Network: WANs      	Stallings Ch. 7
2/10    Building the Network: WANs      	Handout
2/15    Building the Network: LANs      	Stallings Ch. 8
2/17    Communications Architecture     	Stallings Ch 10
2/22    TCP/IP  Stallings 10
2/24    Introduction to Internet Services       Handout
3/1     Introduction to Adv. Int. Services      Handout
3/3     Implementing Internet Services		Guest Speaker
3/8     Review Session				Handout
3/10    Midterm Quiz 
3/22    Building Internet Services		Handout
3/24    Emerging Network Tech: SONET/ATM        Chapter 9, Handout
3/29    Emerging Network Tech: Wireless		Handouts
3/31    Emerging Network Tech: Satellite	Handouts
4/5     LAN Operating Systems			Handouts
4/7     LAN Management				Guest Speaker
4/12    Groupware: Lotus Notes Demo		Guest Speaker
4/14    Telecommunications Policy		Handout
4/19    Telecommunications Economics, 
	Standards and Business Strategy		Handout
4/21	Strategic Industry Impacts IRS Case
4/26	Term Project Presentations 
4/28	Term Project Presentations 
5/3	Finals Review

The group project will focus on the impact of telecommunications on the different industries or will develop a detailed description of technology. Please form a four person group by Tuesday 1/25. Project topics will be assigned randomly to different groups. Projects will be a 25 page paper to be handed in on 5/3 as well as presentation on 4/26 and 4/28.

Session 1


This session examines the changing role of communication-based technologies in organizations and identifies key telecommunications technology, management and policy choices and issues confronting both telecommunications and business managers. These issues and choices will be addressed in greater detail during the semester.


Session 2/3: Telecommunications Technology 1: Fundamentals

This session reviews basic concepts in telecommunications from a technical perspective. Subjects covered include:

Chapter 4 Stallings

Session 4: Telecommunications Technology 2: Fundamentals

This session continues consideration of basic concepts in telecommunications from a technical perspective. Subjects covered include:

Chapter 6 Stallings

Session 5: Telecommunications Technology 3: Basic Protocols

Telecommunications protocols specify conventions for interaction between different communicating devices. In this session we examine how different protocols are applied to enable different devices to effectively communicate and their relative efficiency and costs in utilizing telecommunications resources. Topics to be covered include:

Chapter 5 Stallings

Session 6/7: Telecommunications Technology 4: Building the Network

The previous technology sessions primarily examined the transmission of information between two points. This session builds on the prior session and examines issues that arise in implementing a network to communicate among multiple parties. Subjects covered in this session will include:

Stallings: Chapter 7

Session 8: Telecommunications Technology 5: Local Networks

This session examines the design and implementation of local networks. Specifically it will examine the use of local area networks or digital PBXs to meet local communications requirements. Subjects covered in this session will include:

Chapter 8: Stallings

Session 9: Communications Architectures 1: ISO-OSI and SNA

In this session we consider the organization of software and hardware that specifies a communications architecture. Specifically we consider the International Standards Organizations seven layer Open Systems Interconnection Model. We also briefly consider the structure of SNA.

Session 10: Communications Architectures 2: TCP/IP In this session we look at the alternative communications architectures specified by TCP/IP. We consider the evolution of the TCP/IP, its core functions and components, strengths and weaknesses, and requirements for basic configuration.

Session 11/12/13: The Internet

In these three sessions we explore the structure and organization of the Internet, and familiarize ourselves with different Internet services: e.g telnet, ftp, archie, gopher, WAIS and World Wide Web. We consider how to connect to the Internet and also how to develop services on the Internet.

Session 14/15 Review and Quiz

Session 16: Building Internet Applications

This session looks at MOSAIC as a powerful client to the World Wide Web. In this session we look at how to create hypertext documents for access and retrieval over a network. You will convert your term projects into a document that can be browsed using MOSAIC.

Session 17: Emerging Technology Infrastructures and Architectures

The transition to digital transmission is transforming the architecture of the communications infrastructure. In this session we examine the effects of new high bandwidth transmission media and changing communications requirements on the architecture of the communications infrastructure. Topics covered include:

Session 18: Emerging Technology Infrastructures and Architectures 2

Improvements in radio based communications are transforming the structure of communications network service architectures. In this session we examine the features and applications of these technologies to business needs. Topics include:

Session 19: Emerging Technology Infrastructures and Architectures 3

Improvements in satellite technologies are transforming the range of communications alternatives available to managers. In this session we examine the features and applications of traditional and emerging satellite systems. Topics include:

Session 20: Collaborative Technologies and Communications (CT&C): LAN Operating Systems

The shift toward LAN based client server computing requires new ways of managing the allocation of communications and computing services. In this session we consider the features and resource management functions of LAN operating systems.

Session 21: Collaborative Technologies and Communications: Managing Local Area Networks

Guest speaker: In this session we focus on the design, management and implementation of local area networks and the interconnection of these networks in an organizational setting.

Session 22: CT&C Applications: Groupware

In this session we go beyond the traditional tools for electronic mail and computer conferencing and consider new tools that support collaborative work. These include asynchronous distributed computing tools like "Lotus Notes" and synchronous communications tools such as video-conferencing. We examine how firms may use these tools to support key business processes.

Session 23: U.S Telecommunications Policy

This session discusses the evolution of government policy, the context for telecommunications management in the U.S. Beginning with a consideration of different regulatory actors and objectives, we will move through the regulatory history to focus on the breakup of AT&T as a the pivotal event. We examine the implications of this event for management and consider the economic and political rationale underlying this regulatory regime.

Readings: Teaching Note - Ajit Kambil

Session 24: Standardization and Innovation Adoption

In this session we consider the standards setting bodies and processes for standards formation in the telecommunications arena. Specifically we examine the requirement for critical mass in the new telecommunications services a manager may contemplate. In addition we consider how managers may use standards strategically.

Session 25: Strategic Applications of the Telecommunications Resource

The objective of this course is to make the telecommunications resource available as a strategic tool. In this summary session, we combine the telecommunications discussed throughout with the manager's strategy choices. In addition to the role of telecommunications in the firm's policy structure, we will look at significant changes now on the horizon, particularly the "network firm" and electronic marketplaces.


"ELECTRONIC FILING (A) and (B)" Ajit Kambil, Mimeo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987

Session 26/27 Group Presentations

Session 27 Finals Review

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If you have any comments, about the course or any other matter, you can find a comment card here.

Ramayya Krishnan

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