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GL Communications has released Multi-Link Frame Relay (MFR) Emulator: a client-server-based software application for T1 E1 hardware platforms.

MFR is similar to Multi-Link PPP and both are a form of inverse multiplexing.

Users rely on inverse multiplexing when access line capacity does not scale smoothly; in other words, they notice the big jumps in bandwidth from 56kbps, 1.544 Mbps and 45 Mbps.

In such cases, intermediate bandwidth must be derived by aggregating a number of smaller access lines into larger ones.

MFR is used to derive a larger frame relay pipe by aggregating smaller frame relay pipes.

For example, five T1 frame relay pipes could be bundled to appear as a single 7.5Mbps frame relay pipe.

Advantages of using MFR include better bandwidth sizing according to customer traffic requirements and a potentially enhanced QoS by minimising delay.

MFR works by bundling multiple T1 circuits into a multi-link bundle and fragmenting the individual frame relay frames into fragments.

These fragments are then transported in parallel over the multiple T1 circuits.

At the other end, the fragments are reassembled into the original frame relay frames.

The protocol includes the use of sequence numbers to allow the fragments to be reassembled correctly and to ensure that the reconstructed frames are sent out in the original order in which they entered the network.

Frame relay (FR) and MFR can be emulated and analysed using GL’s client-server-based MFR Emulation and FR Analysis software modules.

MFR is an optional application for GL’s card- and USB-based T1 E1 platforms.

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