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Chapter 9

Components for Successful Communications

When referring to computers, communications describes a process in which one computer transfers data, instructions, and information to another computer(s). Communications requires a sending device that initiates the transfer; a communications device (such as a modem) that converts the sent material into signals capable of being carried by a communications channel; a communications channel over which the signals travel; a communications device that receives the signals and converts them into a form understood by the receiving device, which accepts the sent material. (Patterson)

Sending and Receiving Devices

Notebook computers, desktop computers, mid-range servers, and mainframe computers all can serve as sending and receiving devices. Internet appliances and Web-enabled devices also serve as sending and receiving devices. Cellular telephones and pagers are examples of wireless devices that can be Web enabled. (Patterson)

Communications Applications

Voice mail functions similarly to an answering machine but converts an analog voice message into digital form. A fax machine sends and receives documents via telephone lines, and a fax modem sends and receives faxes using a computer. E-mail (electronic mail) is the exchange of text messages and computer files via a communications network. Instant messaging (IM) is a communications service that notifies you when people are online and allows you to exchange messages or files. In a chat room, participants use the computer to converse with each other in real time. Internet telephony, or Voice over IP (VoIP), uses the Internet instead of the telephone to enable you to talk to other people over the Web. Videoconferencing uses video and computer technology to conduct a meeting among participants at geographically separate locations. A Web conference uses the Internet, Web browsers, and Web servers. Groupware is a software application that helps people work together and share information over a network. A global positioning system (GPS) consists of earth-based receivers that analyze satellite signals to determine the receiver's geographic location. (Patterson)

Advantages of Using a Network

A network is a collection of computers and devices connected by communications channels that facilitates communications among users and allows users to share resources with other users. Using a network enables people to communicate efficiently and easily, both internally and externally. Each user on a network can share hardware, software, data, and information. Many mobile users connect to a company network server using a secure virtual private network (VPN). (Patterson)

Local Area Network and Wide Area Network

A local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in a limited geographical area such as a home, school computer laboratory, office building, or closely positioned group of buildings. Two popular types of LANs are peer-to-peer and client/server.
A wide area network (WAN) covers a large geographical area (such as a city, country, or the world) using a communications channel that combines many types of media such as telephone lines, cables, and air waves. (Patterson)

Communications Technologies

To communicate effectively requires that a network uses a variety of communications technologies. Ethernet, the most popular LAN, is based on a bus topology, but can be wired in a star pattern. This LAN technology enables personal computers to contend for access to the network. Variations of the Ethernet standard include Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Token ring controls access to the network by requiring that network devices share or pass a token or special signal to access the network. Internet transmissions commonly use transmission control protocol/Internet protocol, or TCP/IP, to manage data transmission by breaking it up into packets. The 802.11 specification is used for wireless LANs. The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) uses a client/server network and allows wireless mobile devices to access the Internet and its services such as the Web and e-mail. (Patterson)

Uses for Intranets and Extranets

Intranets generally make company information accessible to employees and facilitate working in groups. Simple intranet applications include electronic publishing of organizational materials such as telephone directories, event calendars, procedure manuals, employee benefits information, and job postings. An extranet is a type of network that extends to authorized users outside the company. Extranets facilitate communications among a company's customers or suppliers. A firewall restricts access to data and information on a network. (Patterson)

Communications Software

Communications software establishes a connection to another computer or network, and manages the transmission of data, instructions, and information. For two computers to communicate, they must have compatible communications software. Once a connection is established, communications software provides a means to access the Internet. Some communications programs support FTP (file transfer protocol), which is an Internet standard that enables the uploading and downloading of files to and from a Web server. (Patterson)

Telephone Network Work

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the worldwide telephone system that handles voice-oriented telephone calls. With the exception of the final link from the local telephone company to the home, today's system is mostly digital. Data, instructions, and information are sent over the telephone network using a dial-up line or a dedicated line. The transfer rate is the speed with which a line carries data and information, and rates can range from thousands of bits per second (bps) to billions of bits per second. Four popular types of digital dedicated lines are ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), DSL (digital subscriber line), T-carrier line, and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM). (Patterson)

Commonly Used Communications Devices

A communications device is any type of hardware capable of transmitting data, instructions, and information between a sending device and a receiving device. A modem converts a computer's digital signals into analog signals (modulate) so they can be transmitted over standard telephone lines, and then reconverts the analog signals into digital signals (demodulate) that a computer can understand. ISDN and DSL use a digital modem that sends and receives data and information to and from a digital telephone line. A cable modem sends and receives data over the cable television (CATV) network. A network interface card (NIC) is a card inserted into an expansion slot of a personal computer or other device, enabling the device to connect to a network. (Patterson)

Types of Transmission Media

Transmission media consists of materials or techniques capable of carrying signals. Physical transmission media, which use tangible (touchable) materials to send communications signals, include twisted-pair cable, coaxial cable, and fiber-optic cable.
Twisted-pair cable consists of twisted-pair wires that are twisted together.
Coaxial cable consists of a single copper wire surrounded by at least three layers (insulating material, woven or braided metal, and a plastic outer coating).
Fiber-optic cable consists of dozens or hundreds of thin strands of glass or plastic that use light to transmit signals.
Wireless transmission media, which send communications signals through air or space, include broadcast radio, cellular radio, microwaves, communications satellites, and infrared.
Broadcast radio distributes radio signals through the air over long distances.
Cellular radio is a form of broadcast radio used widely for mobile communications.
Microwaves are radio waves that provide a high-speed signal transmission.
A communications satellite is a space station that receives microwave signals from an earth-based station, amplifies the signals, and broadcasts the signals back over a wide area to any number of earth-based stations.
Infrared (IR) sends signals using infrared light waves. (Patterson)

Internet appliance (also called Web appliance) and Web-enabled device

Internet appliances are devices that are capable of connecting to the Internet, but are not typical computers. Blackberry’s and Cell phones are good examples of this.

Voice mail vs. answering machine.

Voice mail is different from an answering machine in that an answering machine simply records a voice onto a tape or similar recording device. Voicemail actually changes an analog voice message into digital form.

Chapter Ten

E-Commerce in Business

Electronic commerce (e-commerce), sometimes called e-business, is a financial business transaction that occurs over an electronic network. With the elimination of the barriers of time and distance that slow traditional business dealings, transactions can occur instantaneously and globally. E-commerce has changed the way businesses do business. Many companies no longer have merely a physical bricks-and-mortar location but have both a physical and an online presence - clicks-and-mortar businesses. Such businesses that provide customers with more than one shopping channel are called multichannel marketers. (Patterson)

E-Commerce on Global Society

Some advantages of e-commerce are that global markets have no geographic boundaries, businesses have access to millions of people, customers have access to multiple suppliers and prices, stores are open all the time, feedback is immediate, turnaround time is short with changing information, FAQs provide customer support, companies have the ability to gather and analyze customer information, new and traditional approaches generate revenue, the middleman is eliminated, distribution costs are reduced or eliminated, and the cost of paperwork is reduced.

Business-to-Consumer, Consumer-to-Consumer, Business-to-Business, and Business-to-Employee

B2C is businesses selling to consumers – the e-version of a retail store.
B2B is business to business. This is typically small business purchasing their goods from a larger wholesaler or vendor.
B2E is business selling to employees. You see this most on internal websites (intranets). An example might be an HR site allowing employees to purchase stock in the company.
Business-to-consumer (B2C or B-to-C) e-commerce consists of the sale of products or services from a business to the general public. Consumer-to-consumer (C2C or C-to-C) e-commerce consists of individuals using the Internet to sell products and services directly to other individuals.
The most popular vehicle for C2C e-commerce is the online auction. Business-to-business (B2B or B-to-B) e-commerce consists of the exchange of products and services between businesses.
Business-to-employee (B2E or B-to-E) e-commerce, sometimes called intrabusiness e-commerce, refers to the use of intranet technology to handle electronic transactions that take place within a business.

E-Commerce Revenue Streams

A revenue stream is the method a business uses to generate income. Some of the more common e-commerce revenue streams include direct sales, which is the purchase of a product or service that is delivered to the customer; downloads of products such as software, music, movies, books, and other items; software rental of an application that exists on a Web site; advertising; subscriptions to services; Web site hosting; and online storage services for storing backup copies of data and information.


E-retail, also called e-tail, occurs when retailers use the Web to sell their products and services. A customer visits the electronic storefront of the online business. The customer collects purchases in an electronic shopping cart and then enters payment information. This financial information is sent to a bank for authorization and then sent back to the e-retailer. Confirmation is sent to the customer, the order is processed, and the package is prepared for shipment. Shipping information is posted on the Web, and the package is delivered to the customer. (Patterson)

E-Commerce Market Sectors

In addition to retail, other market sectors include finance that supports online banking and online trading; entertainment and media, which includes music, videos, news, sporting events, and 3-D multiplayer games; travel, including driving directions and airline, car, and hotel reservations; and health issues, including databases of doctors, dentists, and online pharmacies. (Patterson)

Issues Associated with Building an Electronic Storefront, Accepting Payment, Managing Product Delivery, and Designing, Managing and Promoting the Web Site

Choosing the software and hardware to build an electronic storefront is one of the more important decisions facing e-retailers.

Some e-retailers may choose to develop and maintain their Web sites in-house, while others outsource all or part of the system.

Using e-commerce software, a merchant can set up an electronic storefront with a product database combined with a shopping cart.

Credit cards are the most popular method on the Web for the acceptance of customer payments.
Another option is to use an electronic money (e-money), also called digital cash or e-cash, payment system.

Traditional delivery services such as Federal Express and UPS often handle the shipping of products. Web site navigation must be convenient, efficient, and easy to use.
Fulfillment includes managing and storing inventory, packaging and shipping products, and maintaining records of all transactions. A successful Web site attracts customers and keeps them returning to the site.

Many e-commerce sites now use eCRM (electronic Customer Relationship Management) to combine a personalized touch with customized service to customers.

Some e-retailers manage their Web sites in-house and others outsource. Selecting a Web site and domain name is a crucial decision and can have a great influence on the number of visitors a Web site receives. Submitting the name to search engines and purchasing banner ads are other promotional options. (Patterson)

Works Cited:

Patterson, James. CIS105. CIS105 PVCC.. Paradise Valley Community College. 2003