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Media Center

Itís okay to shed a tear for frame relay

  • TC2 Blog
  • 5/17/2012
  • David Rohde

Frame relay became so popular in the 1990s that it’s easy to forget how radical it was. Variable-length packets, very little overhead, lack of extensive error correction, a bit to mark some of the packets as “discard-eligible” in case of congestion – this was new.

A response to the emergence of fiber networks, frame relay freed enterprises from the need for economically wasteful private line networks for bursty branch-to-data center traffic – so long as network managers could trust such a “virtual” private network for performance and security. It was a big leap for many. Robust service level agreements helped.

This leap of faith – but one that big enterprises took when they heard customer success stories and saw verifiable network performance – is useful to keep in mind as enterprises face another scary network migration from POTS to SIP. And the inevitability of generational changes is now pointed up by one of those touchstone moments in the telecom industry’s unique process for signaling rites of passage – changes in the web-based carrier Service Guides.

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