I am kind of faced with a challenge right now in my Cisco Certified Network Associate class. I actually have to learn enough about Frame Relay to pass Interconnecting Network Devices 2, the second of two in the series to get certified. I have never actually worked on a Frame Relay network, much less know what one even is. At least there is YouTube, Packet Tracer, and a full day tomorrow to get a crash course in it.
Unfortunately, Cisco removed Frame Relay from their curriculum but not their tests. The test preparation software I am using has several questions asking about DLCIs, mappings, circuit verification, etc. By the time I was doing networking for a living, frame relay just recently became a legacy technology. I was working on T1 and T3 circuits and just began exploring MPLS. Amazing how today MPLS is now considered legacy, having largely been supplanted by Metro Ethernet.
From what I am reading about frame relay is that it is certainly not very fast but a high reliable wide area technology, falling somewhere between ISDN and a T1 in terms of bandwidth. Frame relay was probably a nice compromise between the two technologies. These days, Verion fios would basically be considered a form of metro ethernet because there is no encapsulation or anything of that nature Instead, it’s raw wide-area ethernet.
In some ways I am looking forward to learning a little about a legacy technology that I heard about once upon a time. It will be nice being able to understand the technology so I am not just memorizing answers to a test but understand what the answers mean. I have found that it is easier to commit things to memory when I have a context for them. So, for reference, here is the YouTube video that I am going to watch and emulate. Below is part 1 of a 4 part course.