Frame Relay Equipment

In order to connect to a Frame Relay network, both DTE and DCE equipment needs to be located at the customer premises. This DTE equipment is usually a router, whose serial interface connects to a DCE device. In the past, customers required a completely separate DTE device known as a Frame Relay Access Device (FRAD) to connect to a Frame Relay network. However, almost all routers sold today (with an appropriate serial interface) are capable of handling Frame Relay encapsulation and communication. The DCE device is usually a CSU/DSU that provides clocking functions and the connection to the provider’s physical circuit. Ultimately, the physical link from the customer premises connects to the Frame Relay switching equipment of the service provider. This switching equipment is not the responsibility of the customer. The figure below illustrates the interconnections of equipment on a Frame Relay network.

Figure: Connections through a Frame Relay network are made using DTE, DCE, and PSE equipment.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.