Thirty-thousand feet of Ethernet cable and special anti-static carpeting. Hundreds of computers and 50-plus server racks. The UNH InterOperability Laboratory (IOL) may have moved less than 2.5 miles from Technology Drive to its new location in downtown Durham, but that doesn’t mean relocating this top testing facility for data and networking communications projects was an easy task.
Working with local businesses and Fortune 500 firms like Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard and At&T, the IOL helps determine that products not only work but also meet specified standards and can be used together, testing technologies that enable you to connect your phone, laptop and car to the internet, for example. IOL senior engineer Lincoln Lavoie worked for more than two years with the developer of Madbury Commons, the lab’s new Madbury Road address, to have the space purpose-built to meet the IOL’s needs — including more energy-efficient climate control and dedicated areas for the IOL’s sensitive equipment, additional training areas for students and visitors, dedicated space for equipment with ample power, cooling and noise isolation and increased energy efficiency. The new location also provides improved accessibility for the IOL’s involvement with UNH tech camps for middle- and high school students and for the IOL’s 125 undergraduate and graduate student employees.
Lavoie and Mara Bernazzani, communications coordinator for the IOL, describe the new facility as a win-win for employees, Durham and UNH. The IOL hosts hundreds of industry professionals and students from across the globe every year, so Durham businesses will also see more visitors, and IOL employees will work in surroundings designed specifically for the work they do. UNH students gain “real-world, hands-on experience,” Bernazzani notes, with the IOL reporting 99-percent job placement for its student employees.
“I’ve never had a student not get a job,” Lavoie adds.
Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2016 Issue