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Cisco Router Emulates Frame-Relay Switch

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One of the main topics on your CCNA and CCNP exams is Frame Relay. Also, Frame Relay is a popular WAN topology in today’s networks. Getting hands-on experience with Frame Relay in Cisco networks is very important part of your preparation for the CCNA and CCNP exam and imperative for the CCIE lab exam.

 Our lab frame relay switch is not a switch at all; it’s a Cisco router. There are a number of Cisco routers that can serve as your frame switch, but you will need multiple serial interfaces at least four to make a router useful as a frame-relay switch. The Cisco 2520-23 makes excellent frame switches, as well as the Cisco 2600 and 3600 series routers with a NM-4 or 8A/S module installed. Any of these can be found on eBay at reasonable prices.

My particular preference would be a Cisco 3620 with a NM-8A/S module. This will not only provide you with an 8 port frame-relay switch but if you install a NM-32A module it will serve as a terminal server as well.

 

You will also need some DTE/DCE crossover cables. The DCE end of the cables will be connected to the frame switch. A common basic configuration for a CCNA practice lab is three routers that serve as “production” routers, and a 4th router configured as a frame relay switch.



The following is basic hub and spoke frame-relay switch configuration using a 2520, but a 2610 or 3620 with a NM-4 or 8A/S module installed would work as well, only the serial interface name would need to be changed. 

 (Note: Important frame-relay commands marked in bold.)  

hostname FRAME_SWITCH
!
!
ip subnet-zero
no ip domain-lookup
frame-relay switching
!
!
!
interface Ethernet0
 no ip address
 no ip directed-broadcast
 shutdown
!
interface Serial0
 no ip address
interface Serial1
 no ip address
 no ip directed-broadcast
 encapsulation frame-relay
 logging event subif-link-status
 logging event dlci-status-change
 clockrate 56000
! no frame-relay inverse-arp
 frame-relay intf-type dce
 frame-relay route 201 interface Serial2 202
 frame-relay route 301 interface Serial3 303
 frame-relay route 401 interface Serial3 404
!
interface Serial1
 no ip address
 no ip directed-broadcast
 encapsulation frame-relay
 logging event subif-link-status
 logging event dlci-status-change
 clockrate 56000
 no frame-relay inverse-arp
 frame-relay intf-type dce
 frame-relay route 202 interface Serial1 201
!
interface Serial2
 no ip address
 no ip directed-broadcast
 encapsulation frame-relay
 logging event subif-link-status
 logging event dlci-status-change
 clockrate 56000
 no frame-relay inverse-arp
 frame-relay intf-type dce
 frame-relay route 303 interface Serial1 301
!
interface Serial3
 no ip address
 no ip directed-broadcast
 encapsulation frame-relay
 logging event subif-link-status
 logging event dlci-status-change
 clockrate 56000
 no frame-relay inverse-arp
 frame-relay intf-type dce
 frame-relay route 404 interface Serial1 401

The frame-relay switch can also be configured to support a full mesh so that each port can access any other port directly as the following diagram shows.

 

If you feel you now have a good understanding of frame-relay try configuring the frame-relay shown in the following diagram.


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