Homework 5: Due October 12

A health insurance company maintains headquarters in Hartford, with eight offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Each of the city offices services a major number of suburban agents' offices. Eevry day, claims information is transmitted from the suburban offices to the regional offices. The regional centers collect, record and sort the claims information and transfer the processed information to corporate headquarters.

Initially, the transfers from the suburban office were handled at the end of each business day., averaging 65 claims of 500 characters apiece from each of the 10 offices per city. The total daily traffic from each agent site was 140,000 bits. At these levels, each suburban site transmitted for one to two hours per day, and each downtown area transmitted for about four hours daily.

Over time, the volume of claims to be processed grew. Although no additional agents or sites were added, the volume grew to five times the previous amount.

With the growth in business, the company recognized the competitive value of interactive claims processing, allowing agents to immediately access and update records in the regional and corporate centers. The new service was installed and averaged 500 to 1000 daily 1000-character queries from each agent site. All queries were directed primarily to databases at the downtown offices. Unresolved queries were redirected to Hartford headquarters. This type of traffic load required an average of two terminals at each agents' site to be able to access either the downtown or the corporate center on demand. Transmission was sporadic with total daily traffic under 1 million characters.

The company then embarked on a major expansion. Suburban offices increased to an average of 25-30 per downtown site. Downtown locations increased to 50 and regional centers were established in New York, Chicago, and San Franscisco. Traffic volumes for both end-of-day processing and interactive queries experienced a 10-20 fold growth.

At each stage of the health insurer's growth, what is the appropriate communications approach for supporting data transmission requirements? A qualitative analysis of the problem statement will suffice. You should provide a rationale for your recommendation.

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Ramayya Krishnan rk2x@andrew.cmu.edu