A Frame Relay (FR) network is shown in the figure below. An FR network may be considered as a FR cloud that consists of FR switches, and customer nodes. A FR switch acts as DCE and the customer equipment works as DTE. A virtual circuit is established between the DTE and corresponding DCE. As mentioned earlier, a virtual circuit is identified by a DLCI (Data Link Connection Identifier) number. DLCIs have local significance. It means that on a given physical channel, there can not be two DLCIs which are identical.
Frame Relay is essentially a packet switched network, and can be compared with an X.25 network. Though both Frame Relay and X.25 use same basic protocol HDLC, there are several differences between the two. Some of the important differences between a Frame Relay network and and X.25 network are given below: