Written by: Nathan Stiles, Student and Junior Technical Support Engineer at SolutionInc.
As a university student at Acadia University, I heavily rely on WiFi and Internet connectivity to efficiently and easily manage my study routine. For my first two years at Acadia I lived on residence, where I spent most my time studying and hanging out with friends. Both of these activities mean that I made a lot of use of the WiFi on campus, such as having access to class resources and competing in very competitive Mario kart tournaments. The quality of WiFi in residence differed from the quality of WiFi in the academic buildings. The academic buildings like the library and classrooms had very consistent and good quality WiFi. This is most likely due to the fact that most academic buildings have very large open areas allowing there to be less interference than in residence buildings. WiFi in residence was not bad, although it had its moments where disconnects would happen and the quality/speed would fluctuate. This was likely caused by the high density of the buildings (lots of rooms close together, floors, people and a high concentration of devices). Access Points (APs) at Acadia residences are mounted on the ceiling in public hallways, along with Ethernet port interfaces in each room allowing for a wired connection. Having APs in each room would have made the WiFi experience much smoother and more enjoyable while in residence. Also having my own Personal Area Network (PAN) to manage my devices would’ve been great – something that I’ve learned about at SolutionInc.
My first two years of Computer Science primarily consisted of programming languages (Java, SQL, C, and assembly), math, and data structures. In my second year I was introduced to the C programming language which allowed me to switch from the comfort of the Windows environment over to the world of Linux. This leap into Linux taught me how to code in C (which the Linux operating system is written in) and increase my overall understanding of computers and operating systems. In my third year of Computer Science I took a networking class, which changed how I view and perceive wireless signals as well as how they are transmitted. It’s easy to forget that you’re almost always surrounded by signals that carry data. Not only do these signals carry data, they can travel to the correct device, in the correct location. As much as I learned to theoretically understand networking properties and principles, there is no better way to learn, then to get a job in that field.
For the summer between my third and fourth year of school I applied for a co-op position at SolutionInc. I had researched and applied to multiple companies in the IT industry, although SolutionInc was the first company I had applied to as I had heard many good things about the company and the people who worked there. It was my first interview for a tech job and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I managed to survive the interview and was offered a position as a Junior Technical Support Engineer for a four month co-op. Over my time at SolutionInc I was able to apply knowledge I had learned at Acadia in programming and networking, (Linux to the SolutionIP software, and networking to reaching servers and APs for support) which allowed me to go to the next step of learning, application. I was then given the chance to extend my coop another four months, until the end of 2018. Every single person at SolutionInc influenced me in some way and gave me invaluable work experience that I would not be able to achieve while at school. I was able to build upon my technical problem-solving skills, professional skills (emails, office etiquette, task management), and even gain some business and marketing insight by creating splash pages for different clients. I’ll be going back to school in January of 2019, but I will not be leaving SolutionInc empty-minded.