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Frame Relay

Frame relay might be refered to as "X.25 on steroids". It borrows the concept of logical channels from X.25 and the idea that today's fiber optic connections negate the need to compensate for noisy telephone lines to scale back on processing needs. If the telephone lines don't bear out this act of faith, then frame relay discards frames that arrive with errors and assumes that the upper layer protocols will recover. Frame relay as a service also adds the concept of subscribing to a certain level of bandwidth between two locations (known as a Committed Information Rate - CIR) which is guaranteed to be available by the service provider. If you exceed this subscribed-to level of bandwidth for short periods of time (known as "bursts"), the network will accommodate the extra data as long as spare capacity is available. Frame relay is therefore "bandwidth on demand." Originally optimized and designed to accommodate interLAN data transfer between routers, today, frame relay is fast becoming a mechanism for carrying compressed voice especially for international networks where voice communications costs are higher. Click here to see a representation of the frame relay protocol structure.

Frame Relay Protocol Structure

1997 by STM&P, Inc.