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Section A

problem1) Why is digital signal considered better than analog signal? Describe their advantages.

problem2) What is the purpose of placing twists in a pair of wires used as transmission medium?

Section B

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Case Reference: Starbucks Deploys Wireless LANs

Starbucks is a number one U.S. specialty coffee retailer, and it operates more than 5000 coffee shops in office buildings, shopping centres, airport terminals, and supermarkets in some 20 countries world wild. Starbucks sells coffee drinks and beans, pastries, and other food items and beverages, as well as mugs, coffeemakers, coffee grinders, and storage containers. Company also sells its beans to restaurants, business, airlines, and hotels, and it offers mail-order and online catalogues. Starbucks has expended into coffee ice-cream (with Dreyer’s) and makes Frappuccino, a bottled Coffee drink (with PepsiCo.)

In January 2001, Starbucks and Microsoft announced the agreement to jointly offer high-speed internet connections in all 3000 Starbuck’s stores all through North America. Starbucks select Compaq Computers as the major hardware supplier for this project, now part of Hewlett-Packard. H-P is providing iPaq handheld computers, that Starbucks customers could use to access broadband content and services.

Project is part of overall Starbucks strategy to upgrade its operations including the introduction of Starbucks customer cards, that are intended to speedup orders and eventually allow customers to order drinks over mobile phones. Starbucks also believes that giving customers ability to access the 10-Mbps wireless LAN while enjoying a cup of coffee on the comfortable couch would lure more customers into its coffee shops during off-peak post-breakfast hours-the company presently does 80 percent of its business in the morning. Starbucks has 15 million customers a week, and 90 percent of them use internet. So providing internet access might be a benefit to many of its customers. Starbucks offers the service at fees ranging from $2.50 for 15 minutes to $59.95 per month for unlimited access.

MobileStar Network Corporation was picked to install the industry standard 802.11b LAN complete with wireless radios and antennae in Starbucks stores. One LAN is capable of supporting 20-40concurrent users. Latter, MobileStar pulled plug on its wireless network services, so Starbucks partnered with wireless subsidiaries of Deutsche Telekom, I-Mobile International, and VoiceStream wireless. Customers access network through a portal that Microsoft developed for Starbucks on its MSN online service Access to portal carries no change, but once customers surf beyond it or check their email, they would either have to enter the user number or signup online, first installation were completed in spring 2001 in the Pecific Northwest. Starbucks planned to expand its internet access for customers to all 3000 North American outlets and 70 percent of its stores worldwide by the end of 2003.

Starbucks is weighing some options to encourage use of the wireless LAN technology, including sale of wireless modem cards in its stores—provided it does not detract from coffee experience. Starbucks has also started discussions with main laptop computer manufacturers to provide incentives for customers to purchase the wireless LAN Devices.

Some industry analyst believes that Starbucks has positioned itself too far ahead of the technology curve by launching this service so early. After all, not that many people have wireless modem today. A preparer for Fortune magazine tested access to the internet from Starbucks outlets and complained that he had to visit five stores before he could get it to work. He also pointed out the total lack of the publicity for the wireless networks—there were no signs, no brochures, no one available to offer customer service, nobody in the stores who knew anything about the wireless LAN.

Rollout plans were delayed when MobileStar Network Corporation shut down its offices in October 2001. By February 2002, Starbucks confirmed that VoiceStream the North American affiliate of T-mobile International had acquired MobileStar and will be the service provider for the high speed internet access that Starbucks is continuing to rollout to company-owned stores.


problem1) What evidence may support critics’ comments that Starbucks has positioned itself too far ahead of the technology curve?

problem2) Discuss the potential risk of “pushing” the technology so “hard” that it takes away from the coffee experience

problem3) Make the list of action that is needed to complete rollout of this new technology in a manner that would provide the effective and useful service to the customers.

problem4) What is your opinion about Starbucks strategy?

Computer Network & Security, Computer Science

  • Category:- Computer Network & Security
  • Reference No.:- M93166

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