What is Frame relay?

Frame relay is a networking technology that is used to transmit data between devices over a wide area network (WAN). It is a high-speed, packet-switched technology that is used to connect devices located at different geographical locations, such as offices, data centers, and other networked facilities.

Frame relay works by dividing data into small units called frames, each of which contains a header and a payload. The header contains information about the frame, such as its destination and the path it should follow through the network. The payload contains the actual data being transmitted.

Frame relay networks operate at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model, which means they are responsible for transmitting data between devices on a network. They are used to connect a wide range of devices, including computers, servers, routers, and other networking equipment.

Frame relay networks are known for their high performance and reliability and are often used to transmit large amounts of data over long distances. They are commonly used in enterprise networks, service provider networks, and other types of large-scale networks.


Frame relay  is defined in a number of technical specifications developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), including:

  • RFC 1490: This specification defines the frame relay framing method, which is used to encapsulate data in frames for transmission over a frame relay network. It also defines the frame relay header format and the use of Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) in frame relay networks.

  • RFC 1294: This specification defines the use of Class of Service (CoS) in frame relay networks, which allows different types of traffic to be prioritized and treated differently based on their CoS value.

  • RFC 2427: This specification defines the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) architecture, which is an extension of frame relay that allows packets to be forwarded based on their label, rather than their destination address.

  • RFC 2590: This specification defines the use of Quality of Service (QoS) in frame relay networks, which allows different types of traffic to be prioritized based on their QoS requirements.

  • RFC 3569: This specification defines the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) techniques in frame relay networks, which allows multiple organizations or companies to share a single frame relay network while maintaining the security and privacy of their own data.

These and other technical specifications are important resources for anyone working with frame relay networks, as they provide detailed information about how frame relay works and how it can be used effectively in different networking environments.


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