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James Love wrote in a message to Mike Bilow:
JL> Why aren't there any affordable frame relay tariffs residential users?
Frame relay is not much use to a residential user. For one thing, it tends to
be economical only in relatively high bandwidth applications, where the
alternative would be T1 or fractional T1. In fact, for practical purposes, a
frame relay line is usually a T1 wire running between you and the telephone
company switch, and the hardware demands for the terminus are roughly
comparable to those for T1.
If I buy a T1 or fractional T1 circuit, as opposed to frame relay, I expect
that I have guaranteed bandwidth between me and whatever is at the other end of
the circuit. With frame relay, the other end of my actual wire is a "cloud"
that somehow manages to get frames from me to where I want them to go, and
there may be bottlenecks within this cloud that throttle back my data. The
ability to build the cloud for average demand rather than peak demand is what
makes frame relay cheaper.
However, frame relay is not quite a common carrier service in itself. While I
might need a common carrier to connect to the cloud, there is no requirement
that the cloud be owned by the common carrier providing the connection to the
cloud, nor by any common carrier at all. Frame relay therefore looks, from the
point of view of the telephone companies, very much like long distance service
to which they provide access and then wash their hands of it. Of course, most
telephone companies offer frame relay switching services, but my understanding
is that they do not do so in their capacity as common carriers.