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Frame Relay WAN Protocol

Frame Relay is WAN protocol and operates for LAN internetworking at data link layers for a faster and more efficient method of conveying information from one device to the other across multiple routers and switches, hence the term Frame Relay WAN. WAN stands for Wide Area Network. This computer network covers wide geographical area, in contrast to local area networks or LANs that are typically limited within a certain area like an office, campus or a room. The Internet is the most popular example of WAN. The Wide Area Network contains multiple Local Area Networks that are connected across distances. This interconnection is managed by an independent carrier that provides connection between two locations.

For those who are not familiar with Frame Relay, well it is a packet-switched technology and enables stations to share network medium and bandwidth. Two packet techniques are employed by Frame Relay: Variable-length and Statistical multiplexing. However, data integrity is not guaranteed and packets are discarded during network congestion. Anyhow it can still manage to deliver reliable data. It is designed for efficient transmission of data in order to transmit swift digital information.

It is a system of message forwarding by which data packets or frames, are delivered from one or several starting points to counter destinations through intermediary nodes. Network providers employ frame relay for both voice and data used between local LAN over WAN networks. Each user gets a leased line to the frame-relay point. The network of frame-relay handles transmission over the variable path visible to all users.

The frame in Frame Relay is transmitted through virtual circuits to its destination. They are precise paths from the original network point to the destination point. The virtual circuits provide communication paths in two directions; from one point to another. They are identified distinctively by the DLCI.

Several virtual circuits are multiplexed into single circuit for transmissions across networks. This capability tends to reduce complexity of the network required to connect to many terminal devices. The virtual circuit passes through intermediate switches within the Frame Relay.

Frame Relay has the ability to check common errors by its mechanism called CRC or Cyclic Redundancy Check. This mechanism compares two given values and determines whether there are errors that occurred during data transmission from the source to the destination. This is how Frame Relay reduces overhead in a wide area network. It implements error checking mechanism instead of error correction. This protocol is typically executed on reliable network medium, thus data integrity cannot be compromised because correction of errors is left to high-layer protocols operating over the networking.

Frame Relay is designed with an objective aimed at a cost-efficient telecommunication service, particularly in data transmission. It is designed to correct irregular traffic between LANs, and between WAN end points. The data placed in the frames allows for error-correction up to its end points. This enables speed up of data transmission.

In most services and providers like AT&T, they ensure the network is able to provide PVC or permanent virtual circuit, which guarantees the customer not only sees but gets continuous and steady connection without the need to pay for permanent leased line. The service provider will figure out the route of each frame to its end point and charge accordingly.


Author is a staff of Digital Management Solutions an AT&T solutions provider. He's been writing about technological advances for years. Check our more information about Frame Relay WAN and see how it can help your business.

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