System installation/decommissioning skill: installation of critical components of the network and properly configuring them. I installed new wireless access points in building six and properly configured them. I have chosen the installation of access points on building six because it presented me with a unique environment to learn and exercise my skills. I was tasked with installation of the access points and configure them. This I did with the help one technician assigned to me by my supervisor from the department I was working in. Mr. Daniels (the technician) was there to help me whenever I needed help and to show me a few things that I was not familiar with given that he has worked in the field of IT as a technician for over five years.
This piece of work is about my competence. I am going to recount all the activities I carried out to show how effective the skills were to my development both personally and professionally. As a junior network engineer and a student in the technology department at the University of Technology Sydney, I have been able to learn a lot both in and out of the class. Skills learnt in class (theory) were helpful for me at the workplace. I was able to directly relate what I have been doing in class as a student to what is expected in the work place as an employee. Working on the project enabled me to develop skills; autonomy, influence, complexity and business skill.
Autonomy: The competency claim is about the installation of access points on building six so that the students could get better wireless reception and to improve the coverage distance of the wireless network. First, I had to label all the forty three access points and each correctly configured before adding them to VLAN 3120. I had also to create a VLAN called WLAN_Management in the access switch 1.203. In each floor there were twenty three to twenty seven access points installed. I had to look at one switch at a time ensuring that they are properly configured before going to the next switch. I was doing this to improve the Wi-Fi connectivity and also improve the coverage. After installing the wireless access points, I had to ensure that they were assigned to the correct subnet virtual local area network 3120. I had also to include access point 205 which was in subnet 1910 into VLAN 3210.
I had to configure the access points before going ahead to fix them at various strategic points. I had to ensure that I assigned each a dynamic address that was reserved in the addressing scheme of the network found in the routing table. The assigned IP address of each AP had to fall within the addressing scheme of the subnet. There was VLAN 3210 under which the access points were connected to so that they could broadcast and dispense wireless signal in the area to enable users to connect to the Internet. Resetting the AP 205 made it possible to reconfigure the access point so that it could take up the new IP address in VLAN 3210 to avoid IP address conflicts that may arise from improper allocation of IP addresses.
Influence: I had to ensure that I do proper configuration since my actions had a direct impact on the network. One instance is where I had to configure access point 205 which belonged to subnet 1910 and join it to VLAN 3210. This access point had to be configured so that it could be joined to VLAN 3210. I had to reset the access point first so that it could relinquish its IP address in the routing table before assigning it with a new IP address that matches VLAN 3210. This process made it possible to join the access point 205 to the subnet.
Installation of access points in rooms from level nine to eighteen at various strategic points. I had to put I place a chassis where the access point (AP) could fit. I had to screw the chassis in place and ensure that I fix screws into place then go ahead and fix the access point. I also had to remove existing data outlets to make new space for the wireless access points. I also had to connect two cables to the wireless access points. One cable was for Ethernet, and the other was for NEC phone access. The cable for Ethernet was for providing wired Internet access for users. The students in building six had cable ports which they could be able to access the Internet.
I had to configure an access point. I did the following to configure one of the access points. First I had to connect one cable to the wide area network and another to a laptop computer that I was using to configure the wireless access point. Then I had to access the control panel of the access point by putting the default administrator user name and password. I then went ahead and changed the default administrator user name and password. I then clicked on Network to show the available networks. I then clicked on the network name field and from the type drop-down dialog box selected VLAN 3210.
I then went ahead and enabled connection from the mode drop-down dialog box. I then typed the IP address belonging to the Vlan’s default gateway. In the subnet mask field, I typed the Vlan’s name (VLAN 3210) enable network address translation and also enabled dynamic acquisition of IP address. After that, I saved the changes and reboot the access point to effect the changes made before proceeding to site and installing the wireless access point and joining it to the network so that it can disseminate wireless signal through a given range as indicated during configuration.
I was also able to get a lot of concrete experience. Being able to work directly to solve problems added a wealth of experience into my fold. Every day I encountered new experiences which had to be approached in a myriad of ways to come up with a solution. Facing same challenges that I had also encountered before also helped in shaping my learning experiences. For example, assigning IP addresses to the access points was already done before in one of my tasks making it easy for me to tackle the issue.
I also had to do a lot of reflective observation. My duties as an intern exposed me to various emotions. Sometimes I was afraid of the tasks that faced me only to face the responsibilities and find that there was nothing to be actually afraid of. I also had to compare the duties I performed with what I learned in class. The duties performed like installation, troubleshooting and customer support made it possible for me to grow professionally and intellectually.
Abstract conceptualization was also a part of my routine. Whenever I was faced with any challenge or had to do a new task, I had to sit and think the issue through before going ahead to do the job. I had to have a visual representation ‘in my head’ and come up with the possible ways of coming up with the solution. One time I checked through Lacoste, 2016 to get an idea that would help me in subnetting. The book had a wealth of knowledge on maters subnetting. I used the book as a reference guide to on many occasions making it easy for me to solve problems I was facing.
Active experimentation also made it possible for me to come up with new ideas and innovative ways of solving problems. My experience in installing the wireless access points made it possible for me to interact with various students whose opinion came in handy on several occasions. Dealing directly with ‘the real stuff’ made it possible for me to configure and reconfigure the access points. This made it possible for me to experiment how access points operate before and after configuration. How to go about the business of configuring the access points till it became a part of me. I can now say with confidence that configuring and installing access points is a walk in the park for me.
Business Skill: Constant communication between the technical team, my supervisor, technician, and students improved my communication skills. Installing the access points in various strategic places through various floors in building six enabled me to interact with several students. I could meet several down the hallways and engage in greetings keeping it short and brief given that I was not allowed to talk or chat when I was performing my duties. I had to also talk to the students so that they could allow me to access their rooms whenever it was necessary. I used to access their rooms to work on the data ports located in their rooms. I had to be careful with their belongings and refrain from touching or moving them as directed by the housing department and therefore had to be permitted before I could be able to do so.
The experience gained while working as an intern is a lot. Being on the ground enabled me to take a direct approach to solving problems. Whenever there were problems with the network, a network device or there was an individual who needed help, I was sent to solve the problem. Every day I experienced challenges of different nature of varying complexities. I had to be flexible in my approach to solving problems and be vigilant in my duties to provide solutions whenever one was needed. Whenever I encountered any problems, I had to consult my supervisor and other members of the technical team in my department.
Constant communication between the technical team, my supervisor and the technician who was aiding me in doing the installations also went a long way I improve my communication skills. The fact that I was free to consult whenever I encountered any challenge made it possible for me to develop excellent communication skills and made me a better person in communicating my findings and activities to my supervisor. Constant engagement with the technician who was directly helping me in the installation also went a long way in helping me develop the necessary intercommunication skills needed when undertaking duties.
The technical skills I learned from the various endeavors over the period that I was an intern is unparalleled. I was always tasked with doing the duties first hand. Whenever there was an issue with customer support, I was sent by my supervisor to go check it out. Installations and configurations were also given to me. Whenever there was an installation, like the installations of access points, I was tasked with installing it, crimping the Ethernet cables, assigning the right IP addresses to the access points and joining them to the right virtual local area networks. I had to see that the access points were correctly merged into the system to avoid creating any IP conflicts that might have disrupted the network.
Complexity: installation of forty three access points is not an easy task. Making them work correctly by joining them to the network is even more cumbersome. Many are the times I could configure an access points set it properly to pick the reserved IP address yet the access point would fail to behave as expected. I was usually forced to reset the access point ‘causing trouble’ and reconfigure it properly so that it could join to the network eliminating the possibility of interfering with the whole network. I had to take details into account keeping a keen eye on everything I was doing to avoid making silly but costly mistakes that usually arise due to carelessness.
After finishing the installation and configuration of the access points, I had to do a check of the network to confirm that things were running as expected with the permission of my supervisor. I had to use a network analyzer to check through the network. I used a software (Advanced IP Scanner) to check the network devices. Advanced IP Scanner is a wonderful tool given that it is lightweight and has a friendly user interface making it easy to use. Using Advanced IP Scanner, I was able to map all the wireless access points including those newly installed. The Advanced IP Scanner was very helpful in identifying those access points and other network devices with problems. This made it easy for me to correct network errors resulting from hardware and software problems.
Advanced IP Scanner is a wonderful tool that is a must have for every network administrator. I discovered a lot of knowledge working with the software. My supervisor was always there to answer my questions regarding Advanced IP Scanner. I remember him taking me through the basics and later showing me the technicalities involved with the network analyzing tool. This made my work easy, enjoyable and interesting. Every time I made a discovery that there was a problem with any of the devices I would act on the problem and whenever the problem proven stubborn, I could seek the opinion of my supervisor who would help me get a solution. This good working rapport made me grasp both personal and professional skills.
Working as an intern was an eye opener for me and personally I can say that it improved my skills a great deal. The skills learned first-hand while tackling problems head on was an addition to what I had been learning in class. Working as an intern made it possible for me to explore the different career opportunities related to my major at school. I was also able to make a decision where I realized that I had chosen the right career path for myself since I enjoyed my work a great deal. I was also able to create networks for myself that could come in handy when looking for a job.
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