Frame Relay

What is Frame Relay?

A Telecom NZ service :-( it was managed by Netway Ltd (a wholly owned Telecom subsidiary) but has now been handed over to Telecom's Data Services to provision and manage.
Telecom's Frame Relay Service is another form of digital data service providing point to point connections between locations in New Zealand.
Frame relay services are available in the major cities, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Dunedin. Outside of these Frame Relay service is connected to the nearest of the above cities with an additional cost.
Frame Relay has generally been quite dependable although Telecom have recognised in the past that there have been annoying performance problems. A proportion of New Zealand internet connected sites, including some ISPs are connected to the internet using Frame Relay.

Frame Relay Resources

What does it cost?

Installation: In the major cities installation is $410 per end, other areas it is $530 per end.
Monthly rental consists of access charges per end and link bandwidth charges (known as the CIR, committed information rate).

Access costs:
Speed          City           non-City
64K             700             950
128K           1150            1600
256K           1930            2930
384K           2380            3880
512K           2800            4640
1024K          4080            7380

CIR is $30 per 8kbits within the CBD (Central Business District) of the major cities and $110 per 8kbits outside the CBD.

There is also an additional charge where a delivery point is outside a major city. This charge is the same as the standard DDS step charge between the delivery point and the nearest city that provides frame relay service.

Example: A 64K frame relay link with a CIR of 48K between Auckland and Wellington. The access at each end would be $700 and the CIR wold cost 6 * 110 or $660, total is then $1360.
Over longer distances Frame Relay can provide significant cost savings when compared to wideband and normal DDS and Wideband DDS services.

Ordering Frame Relay

Telecom supply standard application forms for frame relay services.
These can be obtained from the nearest Telecom Business Centre or Sales office and they will post original copies to you or fax them directly.

The application consists of four pages.
Page 1. General Company information and billing addresses Pages 2 and 3. The site drop information, address, contact people, location in building where DDS is to be terminated. There is one page for each end of the DDS link. You will have to contact your Internet Service Provider to get the exact details to complete for their end of your MDDS link. Some service providers prefer to complete the whole document as it makes sure there are no delays due to incorrect or missing answers.
Page 4. DDS interface type and control signal options. The options here for interface type depend on the DDS speed. For 9K6 and below an asynchronous v24 interface or an X21bis synchronous interface is available.

After the completed application is returned to Telecom it can take anything from one day to 15 days for the DDS to be installed. In a very few metropolitan areas there could be longer delays if some upgrading is required of the local exchange. Even longer delays are probable if new cables need to be laid.
Normal installation time is about 5 to 7 days. In any case Telecom will provide a latest date for commissioning the new link.

Frame Relay installation

Just about all DDS installations, including frame relay, are now carried out by Installation companies that contract to Telecom. The good news is that the actual people who do the installations are usually ex-Telecom staff and they tend to know what they are doing. The same person will often install both ends of an DDS and will phone the contact people (as included in the application site forms) to arrange a mutually suitable time to call and do the site installation.

Frame Relay connections requires a single copper line pair. It cannot be installed on a line used for 1+1 or other multiplexing schemes for providing more than one analogue (phone) service over a copper pair.
The installation cost will include stringing an overhead cable from a Telecom street pole to the building and hence to the required NTU location. It will NOT include installing new trunking or excavating for an underground cable on the customer's property or building.

An Frame Relay link is terminated at each end in a modem-like box known as an Network Terminator Unit or NTU.

Internet connection using Frame Relay

Frame Relay is well priced for connection in the major cities. Availability is good and reliability is now said to be as good as DDS connections. For longer distance Frame Relay connections the cost was very favourable compared to the various type of DDS links. However, since the price of higher speed/longer distance DDS has been reduced with effect from 1 May 1997, the cost difference between Frame Relay and DDS links has now closed quite significantly.

Connecting DDS to an Internet network.

The exact type of connection will depend on the interface provided (or requested) on the NTU. The slower 9k6/19K2 NTU with its async interface can be directly connected to an async port on a PC or workstation. This workstation will probably need to be running routing software, most Unix OS will include routing, and other OS such as OS/2, MacOS, Windows NT etc usually have routing capability either built in or by installing additional modules.
Synchronous DDS links will require a router or computer interface that supports synchronous serial connections.
Usually an external ethernet (or token ring) router box is used to manage a synchronous DDS link. This often turns out to be the single most expensive hardware required to connect an DDS.
See Routers from KCCS.

These routers will totally manage an Internet connection providing the required sync serial port interface (usually X21). They also include full routing capability, provide internet routing management and may often include limited firewall capability.

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Last modified: 7 May 1997.