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Frame Relay

First, a little disclaimer, Frame Relay is falling out of favor as a WAN connectivity solution for organizations, MPLS and VPN (and MPLS VPN) connections have risen in its place. Alas, Frame Relay is still covered in the ICND2 exam, so we are going to cover it anyway!

Frame Relay is designed to cheaply connect to points together through a network providers cloud. Versus a dedicated leased line Frame Relay is much cheaper because it uses the concept of shared bandwidth. You are guaranteed a Committed Information Rate (CIR) for your data however, your connection is allowed to burst above the CIR if there is additional bandwidth available and based on what you pay for.

Multiple Frame Relay connections can share one serial connection on a router, which helps save on the cost of additional WICs that are needed for multiple dedicated leased lines.

There are two standard Frame Relay designs. The first is using a multipoint configuration where the ip of each router in the network is in the same subnet as every other router. This however, causes some issues with split horizon. Thus, the preferred design method would be a point-to-point design. The point-to-point design takes advantage of sub-interfaces and multiple subnets to avoid the problems with split horizon and a multipoint configuration.

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