Hello Guest! Welcome to ep6network, Get all components from Basic Networking.
Something you might want to know about us.
Don't be hesitated to contact us if you have something to say.

Virtual-Circuit Networks

| | Thursday, April 30, 2009

Virtual-Circuit Networks.'
Frame Relay and ATM

In previous post , we discussed switching techniques. We said that there are three types of switching: circuit switching, packet switching, and message switching. We also mentioned that packet switching can use two approaches: the virtual-circuit approach and the datagram approach.

we show how the virtual-circuit approach can be used in wide-area networks. Two common WAN technologies use virtual-circuit switching. Frame Relay is a relatively high-speed protocol that can provide some services not available in other WAN technologies such as DSL, cable TV, and T lines. ATM, as a high-speed protocol, can be the superhighway of communication when it deploys physical layer carriers such as SONET.

We first discuss Frame Relay. We then discuss ATM in greater detail. Finally, we show how ATM technology, which was originally designed as a WAN technology, can also be used in LAN technology, ATM LANs.


Frame Relay is a virtual-circuit wide-area network that was designed in response to demands for a new type of WAN in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

1. Prior to Frame Relay, some organizations were using a virtual-circuit switching network called X.25 that performed switching at the network layer. For example, the Intemet, which needs wide-area networks to carry its packets from one place to another, used X.25. And X.25 is still being used by the Internet, but it is being replaced by other WANs. However, X.25 has several drawbacks:

a. X.25 has a low 64-kbps data rate. By the 1990s, there was a need for higher data-rate WANs.

b. X.25 has extensive flow and error control at both the data link layer and the network layer. This was so because X.25 was designed in the 1970s, when the available transmission media were more prone to errors. Flow and error control at both layers create a large overhead and slow down transmissions. X.25 requires acknowledgments for both data link layer frames and network layer packets that are sent between nodes and between source and destination.

c. Originally X.25 was designed for private use, not for the Internet. X.25 has its own network layer. This means that the user's data are encapsulated in the network layer packets of X.25. The Internet, however, has its own network layer, which means if the Internet wants to use X.25, the Internet must deliver its network layer packet, called a datagram, to X.25 for encapsulation in the X.25 packet. This doubles the overhead.

2. Disappointed with X.25, some organizations started their own private WAN by leasing T- 1 or T-3 lines from public service providers. This approach also has some drawbacks.

a. If an organization has n branches spread over an area, it needs n(n - 1)/2 T- 1 or T-3 lines. The organization pays for all these lines although it may use the lines only 10 percent of the time. This can be very costly:

b. The services provided by T-1 and T-3 lines assume that the user has fixed-rate data all the time. For example, a T-1 line is designed for a user who wants to use the line at a consistent 1.544 Mbps. This type of service is not suitable for the many users today that need to send bursty data. For example, a user may want to send data at 6 Mbps for 2 s, 0 Mbps (nothing) for 7 s, and 3.44 Mbps for 1 s for a total of 15.44 Mbits during a period of 10 s. Although the average
data rate is still 1.544 Mbps, the T-1 line cannot accept this type of demand because it is designed for fixed-rate data, not bursty data. Bursty data require what is called bandwidth on demand. The user needs different bandwidth allocations at different times. In response to the above drawbacks, Frame Relay was designed. Frame Relay is a wide area network with the following features:

1. Frame Relay operates at a higher speed (1.544 Mbps and recently 44.376 Mbps). This means that it can easily be used instead of a mesh ofT-1 or T-3 lines.

2. Frame Relay operates in just the physical and data link layers. This means it can easily be used as a backbone network to provide services to protocols that already have a network layer protocol, such as the Internet.

3. Frame Relay allows bursty data.

4. Frame Relay allows a frame size of 9000 bytes, which can accommodate all local area network frame sizes.

5. Frame Relay is less expensive than other traditional WANs.

6. Frame Relay has error detection at the data link layer only. There is no flow control or error control. There is not even a retransmission policy if a frame is damaged; it is silently dropped. Frame Relay was designed in this way to provide fast transmission capability for more reliable media and for those protocols that have flow and error control at the higher layers.


Frame Relay provides permanent virtual circuits and switched virtual circuits. The routers are
used,to connect LANs and WANs in the Internet. In the figure, the Frame Relay WAN is used as one link in the global Internet.
Virtual Circuits

Frame Relay is a virtual circuit network. A virtual circuit in Frame Relay is identified by a number called a data link connection identifier (DLCI).

Permanent Versus Switched Virtual Circuits

A source and a destination may choose to have a permanent virtual circuit (PVC). In this case, the connection setup is simple. The corresponding table entry is recorded for all switches by the administrator (remotely and electronically, of course). An outgoing DLCI is given to the source, and an incoming DLCI is given to the destination. PVC connections have two drawbacks. First, they are costly because two parties pay for the connection all the time even when it is not in use. Second, a connection is created from one source to one single destination. If a source needs connections with several destinations, it needs a PVC for each connection. An alternate approach is the switched virtual circuit (SVC). The SVC creates a temporary, short connection that exists only when data are being transferred between source and destination. An SVC requires establishing and terminating phases.


Each switch in a Frame Relay network has a table to route frames. The table matches an incoming port-DLCI combination with an outgoing port-DLCI combination. The only difference is that VCIs are replaced by DLCIs.

0 responce(s):

Post a Comment


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner