Wide-Area Networking Configuration Guide: Frame Relay, Cisco IOS Release 15S
Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1
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Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

The Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1) feature introduces functionality based on the Frame Relay Forum Multilink Frame Relay UNI/NNI Implementation Agreement (FRF.16.1). This feature provides a cost-effective way to increase bandwidth for particular applications by enabling multiple serial links to be aggregated into a single bundle of bandwidth. Multilink Frame Relay (MFR) is supported on User-to-Network Interfaces (UNI) and Network-to-Network Interfaces (NNI) in Frame Relay networks.

Finding Feature Information

Your software release may not support all the features documented in this module. For the latest caveats and feature information, see Bug Search Tool and the release notes for your platform and software release. To find information about the features documented in this module, and to see a list of the releases in which each feature is supported, see the feature information table at the end of this module.

Use Cisco Feature Navigator to find information about platform support and Cisco software image support. To access Cisco Feature Navigator, go to www.cisco.com/​go/​cfn. An account on Cisco.com is not required.

Prerequisites for Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

  • Multilink Frame Relay must be configured on the peer device.

Restrictions for Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

  • ISDN interfaces and any type of virtual interface cannot be a bundle link.
  • Frame Relay fragmentation (FRF.12) is not supported in Cisco IOS releases 12.0(17)S, 12.2(8)T, and 12.2(14)S.
  • The multilink Frame Relay MIB (RFC 3020) is not supported.
  • FRF.9 hardware compression over multilink Frame Relay is not supported.

Information About Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

Benefits of Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

Flexible Pool of Bandwidth

By combining multiple physical interfaces into a bundle, you can design a Frame Relay interface that has more bandwidth than is available from any single physical interface. For example, many new network applications require more bandwidth than is available on a T1 line. One option is to invest in a T3 line; however, T3 lines can be expensive and are not available in some locations. Multilink Frame Relay provides a cost-effective solution to this problem by allowing multiple T1 lines to be aggregated into a single bundle of bandwidth.

Greater Service Resilience When Links Fail

Greater service resilience is provided when multiple physical interfaces are provisioned as a single bundle. When a link fails, the bundle continues to support the Frame Relay service by transmitting across the remaining bundle links.

Link Integrity Protocol Control Messages

For link management, each end of a bundle link follows the MFR Link Integrity Protocol and exchanges link-control messages with its peer (the other end of the bundle link). For a bundle link to be brought up, each end of the link must complete an exchange of ADD_LINK and ADD_LINK_ACK messages. To maintain the link, both ends periodically initiate the exchange of HELLO and HELLO_ACK messages. This exchange of hello messages and acknowledgments serves as a keepalive mechanism for the link. If a router is sending hello messages but not receiving acknowledgments, it will resend the hello message up to a configured maximum number of times. If the router exhausts the maximum number of retries, the bundle link line protocol is considered down (nonoperational).

The bundle link interface’s line protocol status is considered up (operational) when the peer device acknowledges that it will use the same link for the bundle. The line protocol remains up when the peer device acknowledges the hello messages from the local router.

The bundle interface’s line protocol status is considered up when the Frame Relay data-link layer at the local router and peer device is synchronized using the Local Management Interface (LMI), when LMI is enabled. The bundle line protocol remains up as long as the LMI keepalives are successful.

Variable Bandwidth Class Support

Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1) variable bandwidth class support allows you to specify the criterion used to activate or deactivate a Frame Relay bundle. Consistent with the Frame Relay Forum Multilink Frame Relay UNI/NNI Implementation Agreement (FRF.16.1), bandwidth classes A (single link), B (all links), and C (threshold) are supported.

Class A (Single Link)

The Frame Relay bundle is provisioned when one or more bundle links indicate by issuing a BL_ACTIVATE message that operational bandwidth is available. When this occurs, the bundle emulates a physical link by issuing a PH_ACTIVATE message to the data-link layer.

When the operational bandwidth of a bundle link fails to meet operational requirements (for instance, if it is in rollback mode), the bundle link issues a BL_DEACTIVATE message. When all bundle links are down in a class A bundle, a PH_DEACTIVATE message is sent to the data-link layer, indicating that the Frame Relay bundle cannot accept frames.

Class B (All Links)

The Frame Relay bundle is provisioned when all bundle links indicate by issuing a BL_ACTIVATE message that operational bandwidth is available. When this occurs, the bundle emulates a physical link by issuing a PH_ACTIVATE message to the data-link layer.

When the operational bandwidth of a bundle link fails to meet operational requirements (for instance, if it is in loopback mode), the bundle link issues a BL_DEACTIVATE message. When any bundle link is down in a class B bundle, a PH_DEACTIVATE message is sent to the data-link layer, indicating that the Frame Relay bundle cannot accept frames.

Class C (Threshold)

The Frame Relay bundle is provisioned when the minimum number of links in the configured bundle issue a BL_ACTIVATE message. When this occurs, the bundle emulates a physical link by issuing a PH_ACTIVATE message to the data-link layer.

When the number of bundle links that are issuing a BL_ACTIVATE message falls below the configured threshold value, a PH_DEACTIVATE message is sent to the data-link layer, indicating that the Frame Relay bundle cannot accept frames.

Load Balancing with Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

Multilink Frame Relay provides load balancing across the bundle links within a bundle. If a bundle link chosen for transmission happens to be busy transmitting a long packet, the load-balancing mechanism can try another link, thus solving the problems seen when delay-sensitive packets have to wait.

How to Enable Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

Configuring a Multilink Frame Relay Bundle

To configure the bundle interface for multilink Frame Relay, perform the steps in this section.

SUMMARY STEPS

    1.    enable

    2.    configure terminal

    3.    interface mfr interface-number

    4.    Do one of the following:

    • frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class [a | b | c [threshold]]

    5.    frame-relay intf-type dce

    6.    frame-relay multilink bid name

    7.    frame-relay multilink output-threshold bytes

    8.    interface mfr interface-number . subinterface-number point-to-point

    9.    ip address ip-address mask

    10.    frame-relay interface-dlci dlci

    11.    end

    12.    show frame-relay multilink


DETAILED STEPS
     Command or ActionPurpose
    Step 1 enable


    Example:
    Router> enable
     

    Enables privileged EXEC mode.

    • Enter your password if prompted.
     
    Step 2 configure terminal


    Example:
    Router# configure terminal
     

    Enters global configuration mode.

     
    Step 3 interface mfr interface-number


    Example:
    Router(config)# interface mfr mfr1
     

    Configures a multilink Frame Relay bundle interface.

     
    Step 4Do one of the following:
    • frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class [a | b | c [threshold]]


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class a


    Example:
    
    
            


    Example:
              


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class b


    Example:
    
    
            


    Example:
              


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class c 3
     

    (Optional) Specifies the bandwidth class criterion used to activate or deactivate a Frame Relay bundle.

    • Class A (single link)--The bundle will activate when any bundle link is up and will deactivate when all bundle links are down (default).
    • Class B (all links)--The bundle will activate when all bundle links are up and will deactivate when any bundle link is down.
    • Class C (threshold)--The bundle will activate when the minimum configured number of bundle links is up (the threshold) and will deactivate when the minimum number of configured bundle links fails to meet the threshold.
    Note   

    If no bandwidth class criterion is specified by using the frame-relay multilink bandwidth-classcommand, the Frame Relay bundle will default to class A (single link).

     
    Step 5 frame-relay intf-type dce


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay intf-type dce
     

    Configures a device to function as the data circuit-terminating equipment (DCE).

    • Only one end of a link should be configured as the DCE. The other end will function as the data terminal equipment (DTE), which is the default setting.
    • This command can be used only if Frame Relay switching has been enabled by entering the frame-relay switching command in global configuration mode.
     
    Step 6 frame-relay multilink bid name


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink bid router1
     

    (Optional) Assigns a bundle identification name to a multilink Frame Relay bundle.

    • The bundle identification (BID) will not go into effect until the interface has gone from the "down" state to the "up" state. One way to bring the interface down and back up again is by using the shutdown and no shutdown commands in interface configuration mode.
     
    Step 7 frame-relay multilink output-threshold bytes


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink output-threshold 500
     

    (Optional) Configures the number of bytes that a bundle link will transmit before the load-balancing mechanism causes transmission to roll over to the next available link.

    • When configured on the bundle interface, this command applies to all bundle links in the bundle.
     
    Step 8 interface mfr interface-number . subinterface-number point-to-point


    Example:
    Router(config-if)# interface mfr1.1 point-to-point
     

    Configures a point-to-point multilink Frame Relay subinterface.

     
    Step 9 ip address ip-address mask


    Example:
    Router(config-subif)# ip address 10.0.1.1 255.255.255.0
     

    Configures the IP address for the subinterface.

     
    Step 10 frame-relay interface-dlci dlci


    Example:
    Router(config-subif)# frame-relay interface-dlci 100
     

    Assigns a data-link connection identifier (DLCI) to a Frame Relay subinterface.

     
    Step 11 end


    Example:
    Router(config-subif)# end
     

    Ends the configuration session and returns to privileged EXEC mode.

     
    Step 12 show frame-relay multilink


    Example:
    Router# show frame-relay multilink
     

    (Optional) Displays the current Frame Relay multilink configuration.

     

    Configuring a Multilink Frame Relay Bundle Link

    To configure a bundle link interface for multilink Frame Relay, perform the steps in this section.


    Tip


    To minimize latency that results from the arrival order of packets, we recommend bundling physical links of the same line speed in one bundle.


    SUMMARY STEPS

      1.    enable

      2.    configure terminal

      3.    interface serial number

      4.    encapsulation frame-relay mfr number [name]

      5.    frame-relay multilink output-threshold bytes

      6.    frame-relay multilink lid name

      7.    frame-relay multilink hello seconds

      8.    frame-relay multilink ack seconds

      9.    frame-relay multilink retry number

      10.    end

      11.    show frame-relay multilink


    DETAILED STEPS
       Command or ActionPurpose
      Step 1 enable


      Example:
      Router> enable
       

      Enables privileged EXEC mode.

      • Enter your password if prompted.
       
      Step 2 configure terminal


      Example:
      Router# configure terminal
       

      Enters global configuration mode.

       
      Step 3 interface serial number


      Example:
      Router(config)# interface serial 5/0
       

      Selects a physical interface and enters interface configuration mode.

       
      Step 4 encapsulation frame-relay mfr number [name]


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# encapsulation frame-relay mfr1
       

      Creates a multilink Frame Relay bundle link and associates the link with a bundle.

       
      Step 5 frame-relay multilink output-threshold bytes


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink output-threshold 500
       

      (Optional) Configures the number of bytes that a bundle link will transmit before the load-balancing mechanism causes transmission to roll over to the next available link.

       
      Step 6 frame-relay multilink lid name


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink lid first-link
       

      (Optional) Assigns a bundle link identification name with a multilink Frame Relay bundle link.

      • The bundle link identification (LID) will not go into effect until the interface has gone from the "down" state to the "up" state. One way to bring the interface down and back up again is by using the shutdown and no shutdown commands in interface configuration mode.
       
      Step 7 frame-relay multilink hello seconds


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink hello 9
       

      (Optional) Configures the interval at which a bundle link will send out hello messages.

      • The default value is 10 seconds.
       
      Step 8 frame-relay multilink ack seconds


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink ack 6
       

      (Optional) Configures the number of seconds that a bundle link will wait for a hello message acknowledgment before resending the hello message.

      • The default value is 4 seconds.
       
      Step 9 frame-relay multilink retry number


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# frame-relay multilink retry 3
       

      (Optional) Configures the maximum number of times that a bundle link will resend a hello message while waiting for an acknowledgment.

      • The default value is 2 tries.
       
      Step 10 end


      Example:
      Router(config-if)# end
       

      Ends the configuration session and returns to privileged EXEC mode.

       
      Step 11 show frame-relay multilink


      Example:
      Router# show frame-relay multilink
       

      (Optional) Displays the current Frame Relay multilink configuration.

       

      Monitoring and Maintaining Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

      To monitor and maintain multilink Frame Relay, perform the steps in this section.

      SUMMARY STEPS

        1.    enable

        2.    debug frame-relay multilink [control [mfr number | serial number]]

        3.    show frame-relay multilink [mfr number | serial number] [detailed]

        4.    show interfaces mfr number


      DETAILED STEPS
         Command or ActionPurpose
        Step 1 enable


        Example:
        Router> enable
         

        Enables privileged EXEC mode.

        • Enter your password if prompted.
         
        Step 2 debug frame-relay multilink [control [mfr number | serial number]]


        Example:
        Router# debug frame-relay multilink control mfr1
         

        (Optional) Displays debug messages for multilink Frame Relay bundles and bundle links.

         
        Step 3 show frame-relay multilink [mfr number | serial number] [detailed]


        Example:
        Router# show frame-relay multilink mfr1 detailed
         

        (Optional) Displays configuration information and statistics about multilink Frame Relay bundles and bundle links.

         
        Step 4 show interfaces mfr number


        Example:
        Router# show interfaces mfr1
         

        (Optional) Displays information and packet statistics for the bundle interface.

         

        Examples

        The following example shows output for the show frame-relay multilink command. Because a particular bundle or bundle link is not specified, information for all bundles and bundle links is displayed:

        Router# show frame-relay multilink
         
        Bundle: MFR0, state up, class A, no fragmentation
         ID: Bundle-Dallas
         Serial5/1, state up/up, ID: BL-Dallas-1
         Serial5/3, state up/add-sent, ID: BL-Dallas-3
        Bundle: MFR1, state down, class B, fragmentation
         ID: Bundle-NewYork#1
         Serial3/0, state up/up, ID: BL-NewYork-1
         Serial3/2, state admin-down/idle, ID: BL-NewYork-2
        

        The following example shows output for the show frame-relay multilink command when a Frame Relay bundle is configured as bandwidth class C (threshold):

        Router# show frame-relay multilink
         
        Bundle: MFR0, state down, class C (threshold 3), no fragmentation
         ID: Bundle-Dallas
         Serial5/1, state up/up, ID: BL-Dallas-1
         Serial5/3, state up/add-sent, ID: BL-Dallas-3
        

        The following example shows output for the show frame-relay multilink command when the serial number keyword and argument are specified. It displays information about the specified bundle link:

        Router# show frame-relay multilink serial 3/2
         Bundle links :
         Serial3/2, HW state :down, Protocol state :Down_idle, LID :Serial3/2
         Bundle interface = MFR0,  BID = MFR0
        

        The following examples show output for the show frame-relay multilink command when the serial number keyword and argument and the detailed option are specified. Detailed information about the specified bundle links is displayed. The first example shows a bundle link in the "idle" state. The second example shows a bundle link in the "up" state:

        Router# show frame-relay multilink serial 3 detail
        Bundle links:
          Serial3, HW state = up, link state = Idle, LID = Serial3
          Bundle interface = MFR0,  BID = MFR0
            Cause code = none, Ack timer = 4, Hello timer = 10,
            Max retry count = 2, Current count = 0,
            Peer LID = Serial5/3, RTT = 0 ms
            Statistics:
            Add_link sent = 0, Add_link rcv'd = 10,
            Add_link ack sent = 0, Add_link ack rcv'd = 0,
            Add_link rej sent = 10, Add_link rej rcv'd = 0,
            Remove_link sent = 0, Remove_link rcv'd = 0,
            Remove_link_ack sent = 0, Remove_link_ack rcv'd = 0,
            Hello sent = 0, Hello rcv'd = 0,
            Hello_ack sent = 0, Hello_ack rcv'd = 0,
            outgoing pak dropped = 0, incoming pak dropped = 0
        Router# show frame-relay multilink serial 3 detail
        Bundle links:
          Serial3, HW state = up, link state = Up, LID = Serial3
          Bundle interface = MFR0,  BID = MFR0
            Cause code = none, Ack timer = 4, Hello timer = 10,
            Max retry count = 2, Current count = 0,
            Peer LID = Serial5/3, RTT = 4 ms
            Statistics:
            Add_link sent = 1, Add_link rcv'd = 20,
            Add_link ack sent = 1, Add_link ack rcv'd = 1,
            Add_link rej sent = 19, Add_link rej rcv'd = 0,
            Remove_link sent = 0, Remove_link rcv'd = 0,
            Remove_link_ack sent = 0, Remove_link_ack rcv'd = 0,
            Hello sent = 0, Hello rcv'd = 1,
            Hello_ack sent = 1, Hello_ack rcv'd = 0,
            outgoing pak dropped = 0, incoming pak dropped = 0

        Configuration Examples for Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

        Configuring Multilink Frame Relay Example

        The following example shows the configuration of bundle "MFR1." Serial interfaces 5/0 and 6/0 are configured as bundle links:

        interface MFR1
         no ip address
         mls qos trust dscp
         frame-relay intf-type dce
         frame-relay multilink bid router1
        !
        interface MFR1.1 point-to-point
         ip address 10.0.1.1 255.255.255.0
         ip pim sparse-mode
         mls qos trust dscp
         frame-relay interface-dlci 100
        interface Serial5/0
         encapsulation frame-relay MFR1
         frame-relay multilink lid first-link
         frame-relay multilink hello 9
         frame-relay multilink retry 3
        interface Serial6/0
         encapsulation frame-relay MFR1
         frame-relay multilink ack 4

        Configuring Variable Bandwidth Class Support Example

        The following example configures the Frame Relay bundle "MFR1" to use the class B (all links) criterion to be activated or deactivated:

        interface MFR1
         ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0
         frame-relay interface-dlci 100
         frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class b

        Additional References

        Related Documents

        Related Topic

        Document Title

        WAN commands: complete command syntax, command modes, command history, defaults, usage guidelines, and examples

        Cisco IOS Wide-Area Networking Command Reference

        Standards

        Standard

        Title

        No new or modified standards are supported by this functionality.

        --

        MIBs

        MIB

        MIBs Link

        No new or modified MIBs are supported by this feature, and support for existing MIBs has not been modified by this feature.

        To locate and download MIBs for selected platforms, Cisco IOS XE software releases, and feature sets, use Cisco MIB Locator found at the following URL:

        http:/​/​www.cisco.com/​go/​mibs

        RFCs

        RFC

        Title

        No new or modified RFCs are supported by this functionality.

        --

        Technical Assistance

        Description

        Link

        The Cisco Support website provides extensive online resources, including documentation and tools for troubleshooting and resolving technical issues with Cisco products and technologies.

        To receive security and technical information about your products, you can subscribe to various services, such as the Product Alert Tool (accessed from Field Notices), the Cisco Technical Services Newsletter, and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds.

        Access to most tools on the Cisco Support website requires a Cisco.com user ID and password.

        http:/​/​www.cisco.com/​techsupport

        Feature Information for Multilink Frame Relay FRF.16.1

        The following table provides release information about the feature or features described in this module. This table lists only the software release that introduced support for a given feature in a given software release train. Unless noted otherwise, subsequent releases of that software release train also support that feature.

        Use Cisco Feature Navigator to find information about platform support and Cisco software image support. To access Cisco Feature Navigator, go to www.cisco.com/​go/​cfn. An account on Cisco.com is not required.

        Table 1 Feature Information for Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1)

        Feature Name

        Releases

        Feature Information

        Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1)

        12.0(17)S 12.2(8)T 12.2(14)S12.2(28)SB 12.2(33)SRA 12.2(31)SB2 12.2(33)SXH

        The Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1) feature introduces functionality based on the Frame Relay Forum Multilink Frame Relay UNI/NNI Implementation Agreement (FRF.16.1).

        In 12.0(17)S, This feature was introduced on the Cisco 12000 series.

        The following commands were introduced or modified: debug frame-relay multilink, encapsulation frame-relay mfr, frame-relay multilink ack, frame-relay multilink bandwidth-class, frame-relay multilink bid, frame-relay multilink hello, frame-relay multilink lid, frame-relay multilink output-threshold, frame-relay multilink retry, interface mfr, show frame-relay multilink.

        Frame Relay fragmentation (FRF.12)

        12.3(9) 12.3(11)T 12.2(30)S

        Frame Relay Fragmentation based upon FRF.12 allow long data frames to be fragmented into smaller pieces and interleaved with real-time voice frames or other delay-sensitive traffic.

        In 12.3(9), this feature was introduced.

        Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1) - Variable Bandwidth Class

        12.0(30)S 12.4(2)T 15.0(1)S

        Multilink Frame Relay (FRF.16.1) variable bandwidth class support allows you to specify the criterion used to activate or deactivate a Frame Relay bundle.

        In 12.0(30)S, this feature was introduced.

        Glossary

        BID --Bundle identification. The BID is the name used to identify the bundle. The BID can be assigned, or the default can be used.

        BL_ACTIVATE --A message that controls the addition of a bundle link to a Frame Relay bundle.

        BL_DEACTIVATE --A message that controls the removal a bundle link from a Frame Relay bundle.

        bundle --A logical grouping of one or more physical interfaces using the formats and procedures of multilink Frame Relay. A bundle emulates a physical interface to the Frame Relay data-link layer. The bundle is also referred to as the MFR interface .

        bundle link --An individual physical interface that is a member of a bundle.

        DLCI --data-link connection identifier. A value that identifies a permanent virtual circuit (PVC) in a Frame Relay network.

        HELLO message --A message that notifies a peer endpoint that the local endpoint is in the operational state (up).

        HELLO_ACK --A message that notifies a peer endpoint that a hello message has been received.

        LID --link identification. The LID is the name used to identify a bundle link. The LID can be assigned, or the default can be used.

        LMI --Local Management Interface. A set of enhancements to the basic Frame Relay specification. LMI includes support for a keepalive mechanism, which verifies that data is flowing; a multicast mechanism, which provides the network server with its local DLCI and the multicast DLCI; global addressing, which gives DLCIs global rather than local significance in Frame Relay networks; and a status mechanism, which provides an ongoing status report on the DLCIs known to the switch.

        NNI --Network-to-Network Interface. The interface between two Frame Relay devices that are both located in a private network or both located in a public network.

        PH_ACTIVATE --A message that indicates that the Frame Relay bundle is up.

        PH_DEACTIVATE --A message that indicates that the Frame Relay bundle is down.

        UNI --User-to-Network Interface. The interface between a Frame Relay device in a public network and a Frame Relay device in a private network.