Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


An Examination of Remote Access Help Desk Cases

Aaron Steinfeld, Ritika Sanghi, Joseph Giampapa
Daniel Siewiorek, Katia Sycara

September 2003

Keywords: Human Computer Interaction, help desk, system administration, problem resolution, remote access, mental models, network interoperability

As a precursor to explorations on future network interoperability problem resolution methods and tools, it is necessary to obtain an understanding of problems in the present day. The remote network access application area was chosen as a case study due to rich sources of information, frequent problems, and considerable detrimental impact on user efficiency. To this end, existing remote network access help desk data was acquired and analyzed. The data was used to characterize remote network access interoperability problems and identify key issues. For the data examined, the two largest problems specific to remote end users were obtaining modem phone numbers for their location and adequate user rights upon connection. Potential for better knowledge re-use and dissemination of solutions to common problems to the general population was also observed.

13 pages

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