Difference Between Frame Relay and ATM

The difference between frame relay and ATM is lying in the speed of transmission, efficiency, and the main is accurate delivery of the packet, etcetera. The frame relay provides a speed of  1.544 Mbps or 44.736 Mbps. While the  ATM provides a speed of  51 Mbps or 155 Mbps. Here this article gives the information about difference between frame relay and ATM are listed below.


Definition of ATM:

ATM stands for Asynchronous Transmission mode. ATM is a switching technique developed by integrating the features of the telecommunication device and computer networks. ATM makes use of cells in order to transfer information of many service forms such as voice, data, and video. These cells are encoded by using asynchronous time-division multiplexing. These cells are nothing but the collection of fixed-size packets.

Definition of Frame relay:

The frame relay is a packet mode transmission service devised to handle the upgraded type of WAN(wide area network). X.25 was the earlier technology used in place of frame unnecessary increase in the rate of flow and the use for error control. These service uses either a permanent or switched virtual circuit to set the connection and for uses the enable the transfer of bit from source to the destination at a fair speed at an affordable cost. 

The main key difference between frame relay and ATM:


  • Frame relay has a variable packet size, With ATM has a fixed packet size.
  • Frame relay is the cost of frame relay is low, While the ATM is costlier than frame relay.
  • The throughput of frame relay is moderate, While the ATM throughput is high.
  • The reliability of frame relay is less, while ATM is a good reliable.
  • The packet transfer speed of the frame relay is too low, but the packet transfer speed of ATM is too high.
  • Frame relay does not support Quantifiable quality of support, ATM supports Quantifiable quality of support. 
  • In frame relay, the packet delay is more, While in ATM, the packet delay is low or less.
  • Frame relay does not provide flow control and error control, While the ATM provides both the error control and flow control.
  • Frame relay operates at layer 1 and layer 2 of OSI stack, ATM operates at layer (physical layer) and layer 2(data link layer).
  • Frame relay supports dynamic bandwidth allocation, While the ATM supports dynamic bandwidth allocation.
  • Frame relay and ATM both support MAN and WAN network type. 
  • Frame relay is a developed virtual circuit WAN. It assembles and disassembled packets from a different network, ATM is mainly developed for WAN, but high data rate supports have pioneered its use in LAN. 
  • Freme relay not suitable for LAN and CAN, while the ATM suitable for LAN and CAN.
  • Frame relay does not provide flow control or error control. These functions must be supported by upper layers, While the ATM data is segmented and packed in ATM cells. Each ATM calluses a 5-byte header and 48 bytes of payload carrying data information. An 8-bit error control field in the header part of the ATM cell is used for error control. It provides flow control at the user to a network interface.
  • Frame relay carries traffic in the form of data only, ATM can carry voice, video, image, and busty nature of traffic.

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