A US city is to pioneer a citywide Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) network, giving businesses and residents access to new internet, mobile and video services.
Harrisonburg, Virginia, will become the first US city with an IPv6 network in the third quarter of the year, said Mark Bayliss, director of the Harrisonburg Project and chief executive of internet service provider Visual Link, the project’s main funder.
The city hopes to become an IPv6 test bed where prospective users can see the power of the successor to IPv4, he said.
Harrisonburg is joined in the project by the local James Madison University, which will use the network to deliver virtual learning services, said Christopher Harz, organiser of the US IPv6 Summit in Virginia, where he and Bayliss spoke.
"Eventually, this will involve training, classrooms and education for a whole bunch of disciplines we haven't even thought of yet," Harz said.
Bayliss and Harz suggested that the network would make many new applications available.
The way IPv6 connects computers would enable mobile commerce, with mobile phone users able to book places on train services or at public events and downloading a barcode that could be displayed on the phone in lieu of carrying a paper ticket, Harz said.
IPv6's more efficient network routing would cut the cost of providing internet-based video services by huge amounts, Bayliss added. Independent television stations, which would not need to sign up with a cable or satellite operator, would also spring up on IPv6 networks.
IPv6 would have nearly unlimited network address space, allowing documents to be given their own network address, creating a new field of authentication services, Harz said.
Harrisonburg will also provide IPv6 voice, data and map services to its emergency response agencies, Bayliss said.
The city plans to start demonstrating eight IPv6 products soon and a test area for military and civilian applications is slated for the third quarter of this year.