Bell Atlantic Offers Frame Relay Network Customers Seamless Connections with ATM Sites

Bell Atlantic Offers Frame Relay Network Customers
Seamless Connections with ATM Sites

Versatility Preserves Investments in Frame Relay

October 12, 1998


Jim Smith, Bell Atlantic,

Alan Hill, Bell Atlantic ,


NEW YORK -- Frame relay network managers can now expand their
networks by integrating ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and frame
relay services on a single network. The new feature from Bell Atlantic is
called Frame Relay-to-ATM Service Interworking.

The combination of both services on the same network provides the
flexibility to select on a location-by-location basis the best service -- either
ATM or frame relay -- to support customer applications.

"Many companies have created frame relay networks to increase bandwidth
at a reduced cost, but heightened use of multimedia is causing some
network managers to also consider using ATM," said Cheryl Lyle, ATM
Product Manager, Bell Atlantic. "Frame Relay-to-ATM Service
Interworking provides an economical solution combining the best features
of both networks while preserving existing investments. Customers see the
opportunity to expand networks to include many more sites now that frame
relay and ATM can be fully integrated."

The new Bell Atlantic interworking service is available in Maryland,
Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia
and West Virginia. It is designed for government agencies and businesses
with branch offices and regional centers, especially those in finance,
education, and health care.

Successful Trial at Virginia Tech

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is one
such customer. The university conducted a successful 60-day technical
trial that linked several ATM and frame relay sites to ensure that they
would operate smoothly using the current infrastructure.

Bell Atlantic's Frame Relay-to-ATM Service Interworking feature will
allow Virginia Tech to grow NET.WORK.VIRGINIA, which is an
important network of physical locations in the state dedicated to providing
lifelong education to the people of Virginia.

"There are 250 network locations right now, including universities and K-
12 schools connected primarily via ATM. We expect that number to
increase to about 2,000 locations over the next year since they can be
connected via both frame relay and ATM," said Jeff Crowder, project
director for NET.WORK.VIRGINIA at Virginia Tech.

The Interworking Function

The interworking feature is transparent. Frame relay end-users are
unaware they are connected to an ATM user and, likewise, the ATM end-
user is not aware of the connection to a frame relay user. In the Bell
Atlantic network, the interworking function is provided by Ascend's B-
STDX 9000 Multiservice Switch. The switches performing the frame relay
to ATM interworking are equipped with Ascend's DS3 ATM card, which
are connected to an Ascend CBX 500 ATM switch.

"Bell Atlantic is providing a seamless connection -- through Ascend
equipment-- between the frame relay and ATM networks, which is critical
for end-users. We are on our second generation of interworking products,
which have proven to be user-friendly and easy to provision and, as a
result, helpful in this seamless connection," said Tom DeCanio, vice
president, product marketing, Core Switching Division, Ascend
Communications, Inc.

Frame Relay and ATM Benefits

Frame Relay remains one of the most popular and fastest-growing methods
of transporting voice and data over wide area networks. ATM has become
the preferred technology for supporting multimedia applications over wide
area networks.

Instead of using costly physical facilities to connect multiple locations,
frame relay service uses the public network to give customers Permanent
Virtual Connections (PVCs) that provide multi-site connectivity through
the same physical access line. A single virtual circuit can take the place of
hundreds of dedicated low-speed lines, cables, hardware units, and
modems. By sharing network resources, businesses benefit from greatly
reduced costs.

ATM Cell Relay service, based on powerful ATM and SONET
(synchronous optical network) technologies, supports applications
including video distribution and conferencing, distance learning, local area
network interconnections, high speed data base access, digital libraries,
research collaboration and Internet support for both high speed access and
network backbones. Most importantly, ATM supports all of these
applications on a single network.

Bell Atlantic's Large Business Services offers an extensive suite of
communications solutions. Whether for voice, data, images or video, Bell
Atlantic's All@once Solutions represents a tailored approach for
customers. Account team members work closely with information and
business managers, combining a keen understanding of their business
requirements with professional consulting skills, guiding customers through
the complexities of network analysis, product selection, installation, and
migration paths. To learn more about All@once Solutions -- a perfect fit
for business -- visit www.bellatlantic.com/largebiz/, or call 1-800-846-1200,
extension 7299.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and more than
seven million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.