Lots more than Customer Support

Text: Mari Lähteenmäki | Article photo: Anssi Kumpula

Systems specialist Matias Hämäläinen works with Soihtu and its owner Student Union in a variety of different kinds of commissions. His work days include tasks in monitoring, administration, development and support.

“I think the Soihtu tenants might find the network operations as the most perceptible part of our job. The most visible might be the info screens in the Soihtu Housing and Ilokivi buildings”, Matias thinks.

The Soihtu Houding locations’ network hardware is owned by Soihtu. Soihtu is also responsible for the tenants’ successful Internet connection. However, to access the Internet, the traffic passes the University network appliances. Matias communicates often with the JYU Digital Services.

“Upon signs that the problem cannot be located in the tenants’ equipment, we first look through the Soihtu cables and connections. Then we contact the University. They monitor the network of devices in the Soihtu locations. We can often offer very detailed information for the University to speed up their repair process”, Matias explains the long-term co-operation with the JYU Digital Services.

Matias is often called, when a new device needs to be installed upon a Soihtu staff member’s desk, or a personalized training needs to be given on a new software.

“Installing devices is the most rewarding thing in my job. You get to see the fruits of your labour, when a specialist gets the new device up and running and can focus on the task at hand, or the customer wi-fi in Rentukka gets back on track. It’s an instant gratification”, Matias smiles.

There are things that Matias wouldn’t like to do again, though: crises of large magnitude and urgency. There’s a case from the winter of 2019 that Matias recalls all too well.

Small power outages are possible in the urban areas, and at one point, they were very common in the Jyväskylä area. In 2019, one of these blackouts was too long. The UPS system feeding the tenant network lasted for half an hour. Then the power run out. When the electricity was back on, some parts of the system were recovered, but something had gone wrong.

“Quarter to eleven my phone rang. It was a co-worker telling me one of the vital processes of the tenant network could not be recovered. We needed to find out quick what we could do to restore the tenant network operations. Thankfully a backup copy of the lost data existed, but nevertheless, that was rough”, Matias says.

The exceptional events of 2019 taught us a lesson, and nowadays the vital services of the tenant network are protected by a live backup, making sure no data is lost, no matter how long a power cut.

“I don’t wish that would ever take place again though”, Matias underlines.

After the interview, the systems specialist is needed at Ilokivi, and after that he will go back to Kortepohja for another commission. A mere nugget of Matias’s tasks are visible to the audience, a lot is hidden inside walls, data lockers and network devices. The Soihtu staff and tenants, however, get to experience the outcome of this work in the functioning services of a smooth everyday.

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