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Bradfield Computer Center: On-line Network Advisor

(Ed Horne, Dave Lebowitz, David Plunkett, Rodney Townsend, 1996)

The Bradfield Computer Center Help Desk at Southern Methodist University assists SMU students, faculty and staff with their various computer and computer networking problems both on and off campus.. The workers of the Help Desk currency serve as a liaison between the computer consultants that SMU employs and the SMU community.

After working with the Help Desk in various capacities over the past four years and examining the protocol that is currently being used, our group was continually left with the impression that the problem resolution process could be streamlined. It was concluded that the Help Desk should take a more pro-active stance in solving the sundry computer problems that they log. By discussing the situation with Help Desk workers, our group discovered that what the Help Desk needed was some sort of ``tool package" that would empower them to resolve fairly simplistic problems and/or direct the problems to the right person, the two greatest areas of waste.

It was through this formulation that the idea for the Bradfield Network Advisor was born. Our tool implements various network commands and tools to resolve common computer and/or network issues. By using the Bradfield Network Advisor, this group believes that not only can the Help Desk take a pro-active stance in the problem resolution process, but be a valued part of it.

To this end, an HTML-based online network diagnosis and trouble-shooting system, called the Bradfield Network Advisor, was implemented. It permitted automated testing of printers and network connections via selection from a menu of possible actions. (Originally located at

Richard S. Barr
Fri Feb 17 16:09:51 CST 2006